The offense drives the Green Bay Packers during the Mike McCarthy–Aaron Rodgers era. As of today, the duo’s heyday came in 2011, when they orchestrated the third-highest scoring offense of all-time (2013 Denver Broncos, 2007 New England Patriots). For most head coach-quarterback combinations this would be an impossible feat to repeat, but McCarthy-Rodgers is not your average union. Following the arrival of key players, the 2017 Packers offense is set to soar past its 2011 counterpart.
The 2017 Green Bay Packers Offense Will Be Better Than 2011
In 2011, Aaron Rodgers elevated his stature from good to great. He set a league record with a 122.5 passer rating, and a multitude of franchise records. He set a franchise record for passing yards (4,643), passing touchdowns (45), the most consecutive games with 300 plus passing yards in a season (four), most 300 plus passing yards games in a season (eight), and highest average yards per attempt (9.91).
And since that incredible season, Rodgers has only gotten better.
In 2011, McCarthy employed Ryan Grant and James Starks as the primary backs. Grant rushed for 559 yards on 134 attempts, which averages to 4.2 yards per attempt, while Starks had 578 yards on 133 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per attempt. Neither of them filled the role as a workhorse back, but the running back by committee the team used was enough to produce 1,558 total yards and 12 touchdowns.
During the draft, Ted Thompson addressed the running issues the team faced last season by drafting three running backs. BYU’s Jamaal Williams (134th overall), UTEP’s Aaron Jones (182nd), and Utah State’s Devante Mays (238th).
Williams is a big, bruising, between-the-tackles runner. Jones is more of make-you-miss runner. Mays had a strong junior season (966 yards), but a knee injury limited his senior campaign. Through three preseason games, Jones and Mays have looked better than Williams. Especially Mays, who’s shown physicality, power, and burst, which is a good sign for a player coming back from a devastating injury.
Do not forget about the greatest running back to wear number 88, Ty Montgomery. Last season, the former wide receiver had 77 carries for 459 yards, which averages to 5.9 yards per attempt. What’s even better is that these running backs each present a different skill set that complements each other.
If this group can produce between 2,000 and 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns over the course of the season, it will help the lethal passing game, and make the offense deadlier than the 2011 counterpart.
Aaron Rodgers had a plethora of weapons to throw the ball to during his first MVP season, but tight end Jermichael Finley was the player that made it all work. Finley commanded such attention in the middle of the field that it opened lanes for outside threats.
In the years that followed Finley’s career-ending injury, McCarthy has been outspoken about getting an athletic tight end to roam the seams in the middle of the field. Last season, the Packers acquired Jared Cooks to fill the void, but he was not resigned. To fill that presence, Thompson signed Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.
Bennett is a better football player than Cook, and was signed him to a salary cap friendly deal. The addition of Bennett alone makes the Packers offense better, but Thompson also signed Kendricks. These two will battle it out with incumbent Richard Rodgers for the starting role. Bennett is the big-play player this offense has been missing, but he’s also a great run-blocker. Kendricks is hard to assess because he’s never played with a great quarterback.
Both teams possess a unique collection of talents at their disposal, and one of the greatest signal callers to pull the trigger. Look out. In 2011, Packers receivers also set a franchise-mark for receiving yards with 3,667 and touchdown receptions with 38. This new wide receiver corps has big shoes to fill, but there is enough talent to match the production of its 2011 correlative.
In the end, Aaron Rodgers will not throw more than 45 touchdowns or his franchise-record 4,643 yards; however, the offense will be more balanced therefore more unpredictable and harder to defend. Overall this offense, on paper, is more stacked all over the field and will outscore the 2011 team.