The health of every NFL team is crucial heading into the season. You don’t need to be Captain Obvious to know that. But there are some NFL teams that health is at the top of their “must-have” list. It is pretty simple why – their depth just isn’t very deep. That is the category that the Green Bay Packers health falls into for this coming season.
Green Bay Packers Health Crucial for Success this Coming Season
The “In Gute We Trust” group won’t like reading this. But Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has left several key positions on the Packers roster thin in regards to depth. Because of this, making sure Green Bay’s health is at its best this coming season will be key to their success.
Now, not every position is weak in regards to depth. The Packers seem solid at quarterback, running back, outside linebacker, interior offensive line, and safety. However, not all the positions have the quality type of depth these positions appear to have. Here are positions that if the Packers health falters, they might be in trouble at.
The Packers know what they have in David Bakhtiari. Bakhtiari is one of the best starting left tackles in the NFL. Having him protect Aaron Rodgers should make Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur feel very secure.
Rick Wagner signed this off-season to take over for standout and oft-injured starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga. While Bulaga dealt with injuries throughout his playing history, when healthy, he was one of the best at his position. Wagner is a step down in ability and in recent history, he also has dealt with injuries. Even when healthy, he isn’t guaranteed to play at a consistent level.
If Green Bay’s health at this position takes a hit, there will be some major issues. The Packers will struggle to replace either Bakhtiari or Wagner if they go down. If both go down at the same time, well, the Packers will be in full out panic mode. As of right now, the top backups to Bakhtiari and Wagner are Alex Light and Yosh Nijman. Light played sparingly last season and when he did, he struggled. Nijman has never played a down in the NFL.
Gutekunst might still pick up somebody to provide depth at offensive tackle before the season starts. That is what he did when he grabbed Jared Veldheer off waivers during last season. A move that paid off when Bulaga went down for a couple of games last season. If he stands pat, he might be playing with fire, with having to depend on Light or Nijman to step in and play well.
The Packers cornerback position is similar to the situation with their offensive tackles. Jaire Alexander and Kevin King are solid starters. However, if one or even both were to be injured, the drop in talent is quite a bit for their possible replacements. While King was able to stay healthy last season, his history has shown he is vulnerable to injuries.
The Packers third cornerback position is up for grabs. Chandon Sullivan and Josh Jackson appear to be fighting it out for that position. It is a question if either are talented enough to play the third cornerback spot. To expect either of them to replace one of the starters might be a pipe dream.
If the Packers health at cornerback takes a hit, and neither Sullivan or Jackson are up for the task, Gutekunst could be forced to turn to outside for help. The first call would most likely go to Tramon Williams. Williams is an unsigned free agent and has spent many seasons with the Packers. But at 37 years old, there are questions how much he has left in the tank.
Gutekunst is taking a real gamble hoping that Alexander and King can stay healthy. The depth behind them are unproven and honestly, paper thin.
There hasn’t been a position more scrutinized on the Packers roster than wide receiver. The Packers wide receiver group faced a lot of questions before the draft. But when Gutekunst decided to turn his back on the position altogether during the draft, even more questions surfaced.
The Packers health at this position will be something to watch this season. Or more fitting, the health of Davante Adams will be something to keep an eye on. Adams is the Packers number one wide receiver. Something that can’t be debated. He will need to stay healthy, if not, the Packers will be forced to go to the ground and pound offense that LaFleur has been dreaming about implementing. Adams injured a toe last season and it forced him to miss good chunk of last season.
Allen Lazard and recently signed Devin Funchess appear to be the second and third options behind Adams. Funchess is coming off a season where he only played in one game because of injury. So there are questions if he will be at 100% going into this season.
From all the moves, or lack thereof, that Gutekunst made this off-season, it appears that the Packers will employ a run-oriented offense this season. But the Packers will still need to have options in the passing game. If their top wide receivers go down, especially Adams, their offense will struggle.
Chris Gizzi, strength and conditioning coordinator, will have his work cut out for him. With so many questions regarding the Packers depth, he might be the most important coordinator on LaFleur’s staff. He will be responsible for Green Bay’s health. If the Packers health falters this season, the Packers play on the field will falter as well.
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