1

February

Cory’s Corner: Helping Rodgers should be Packers’ priority

Aaron Rodgers needs to be surrounded with weapons and protection.

Aaron Rodgers needs to be surrounded with weapons and protection.

Super Bowl XLVIII is a collision course of two different team-building philosophies.

In 2012, the Broncos paid 36-year-old Peyton Manning, the owner of four neck surgeries, a five-year $96 million contract to take them back to the promised land. Many saw it as a surprise because nobody knew how Manning would respond to contact and if his arm strength would return.

The Seahawks, on the other hand, decided to spread out most of its resources. Sidney Rice ($8.5M), Russell Okung ($7.06M) and Marshawn Lynch ($7M) are the three highest-paid players on the team. But that doesn’t mean Seattle doesn’t spend money. The Seahawks were the second-highest payroll in the NFL this year with over $103M in salaries.

But the difference is at the quarterback position. Russell Wilson is the 44th-highest paid player on the Seahawks, making just $526,217 this year. Obviously that number is going to skyrocket when he’s a free agent in 2016, but until then Seattle is going to ride the wave of an efficient and cheap quarterback while they fill holes on the rest of their team.

Which is exactly how the 49ers have approached their quarterback position. Colin Kaepernick is the 26th-highest paid player on the roster with a salary of $740,844. San Francisco will have some difficult choices to make when he’s a free agent in 2015.

But it speaks to an interesting philosophy. The quarterback is and always be the most important player on a football team. However, if a team can strike oil in the draft with a rookie that doesn’t make a flurry of mistakes while adjusting quickly to the faster NFL game, it definitely behooves them to go with the unproven rookie.

The 49ers and Seahawks have been playing with house money ever since Wilson and Kaepernick became household names.

The Broncos meanwhile are going all-in for a potential Super Bowl streak with Manning. But in order to do so, they have left gaping holes in the secondary and on the offensive line but Manning has been able to overcome those.

After showing Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews the money last April, the Packers have to decide where their priorities lie. Jordy Nelson becomes a free agent in 2015, which will limit money spent on expiring contracts this spring.

And as long as the Packers continue to employ a 3-4 scheme, dynamic play-making linebackers with excellent closing speed are always necessary.

Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league. What he does on a game-by-game basis cannot be equaled by anyone else in the league. Which is why the biggest priority should be more weapons to keep that offense humming.

The Packers were fortunate to have Rodgers waiting on deck while Brett Favre was in a starring role. And until Rodgers begins to show signs of age or if the wear and tear begins to catch up with him, then the Packers will need to hit the reset button and change their priority.

But until then, they have a Pro Bowl running back in Eddie Lacy on the cheap. Which means, the Packers need a stable of receiving targets and capable offensive linemen to keep Rodgers upright.

Because you don’t want to waste the rocket arm, escapability and intelligence of one of the best talents in the game.

——————

Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

——————

57 Responses to “Cory’s Corner: Helping Rodgers should be Packers’ priority”

  1. Dobber says:

    Ron Wolf has said repeatedly that one of his regrets as a GM was that he didn’t surround #4 with enough weapons. While the Packers clearly need to find playmaking help on the defense, TT still needs to be able to fill the TE position and make sure there’s continuity and ability at the WR position for ARod–and the Packers–to be at their best.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. QOTSA1 says:

    In my opinion the Packers offensive off season priorities should be as follows.

    1. Re-sign Dietrich-Smith. They need some stability at center. A line consisting of Bakhtari, Sitton, Dietrich-Smith, Lang, Bulaga, with Sherrod, Tretter, and Barclay as back ups, would be pretty good.

    2. Draft a tight end early in the draft. They could use big target in the red zone.

    3. Find a developmental wide receiver in the middle rounds of the draft. This draft seems to be loaded with talent at wide receiver, and with the possible departure of Jones this year, and Cobb and Nelson becoming free agents in 2015, potential replacements need to be found.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  3. KurtMc says:

    Saddly, Lynch was available and recently Seattle’s Avril (2 year; 13 mil) & Bennett (1 year; 5 mil)were available to bolster the D line which was a concern from the 2012 season.

    My issue is that TT did nothing. My two cents is that you need both FA & draft/develop to win in todays NFL. TT seems frozen in this regard. Sure, he brought in Woodson (great FA signing), but really has done little since. Again, 2014 D-Line and Secondary are concerns. I doubt that TT will move making, once again our D a 15-22nd racked unit in the NFL.

    That isn’t going to cut it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11

    • Dobber says:

      “recently Seattle’s Avril (2 year; 13 mil) & Bennett (1 year; 5 mil)were available to bolster the D line which was a concern from the 2012 season.”

      We’re already unhappy (as a group) with the Packers desire to take college DE and try to convert them to OLBs. Why would they sign these two guys, both of whom are poorer fits as 3-4 DE than several DL already on the Packer roster?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

      • Nick Perry says:

        I don’t think that’s what he meant Dobber, at least that’s not how I understood it. Seattle had concerns for the D-Line after 2012 and wanted more depth and pass rushers on the D-Line. They went and got them is all he’s saying. On the Packers for example, Safety has been a issue since Collins went down in 2011. Obviously they knew they still had issues before week one of the 2013 season yet TT rolled with what he had and was burned. His Safeties accounted for zero INT. Hell Jennings didn’t even have a pass defensed in 2013. Burnett and Jennings finished 2013 with a passer rating given up of 148.1 between them. Burnett had 2 INT in a against Ponder in 2012 and his last INT before that? Week 3 in 2011. Safety and ILB should be addressed in Green Bay BEFORE the 2014 draft even starts. That way the Packers could draft a NT, TE, WR, or even a OLB because Matthews and Perry can’t seem to make it for 16 games. Lots of holes and not enough picks. TT has always been good about looking head. He might want to think about WR no later than day 2 this year with Cobb AND Nelson hitting Free Agency in 2015.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

        • Dobber says:

          I’ll buy that, but after starting with the Lynch comment, it set a context.

          I would agree: there’s any number of ways to address the Packers needs in the upcoming off-season, and that there are too many to do by draft alone. You’re right: to give themselves the best opportunity to be an elite team, the Packers need to fix some holes by FA. Some positions are better suited for rookies to step in and play well right away. I think ILB is one of them, but that’s just me.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

          • Nick Perry says:

            Vinny Rey of the Bengals. He filled in for several games this year and did well. He’d come on the cheaper side and improve the Packers defense. He can play all 3 downs and actually cover. The other is Chris Clemons, the S from the Dolphins. Again I don’t think he’d cost a much and would be a huge upgrade over everybody the Packers have. Just a few I’ll be watching to see where they go.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      Denver finished the season ranked, what, 19th? Didn’t turn out too badly for them…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

    • Stroh says:

      The Defense in ’12 was ranked 11th in both yards and scoring! I expect the D to be better than that in ’14. Unless you don’t believe that young players will improve it won’t be worse than it is now! Getting Hayward back certainly helps the secondary. Perry Worthy Datone and others will get better and hopefully we’ll be healthier than in ’13.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

      • joe-z says:

        also,has everybody forgotten how dismal Collins was in his 2nd 3rd and 4th years? he flashed as a rookie then disappeared.sound familiar?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Scheny Schen says:

      Kurt,
      Lynch was available in 2010. We won the Super Bowl that season, without him. If we had signed him then, we wouldn’t have been able to keep him because of contracts for Rodgers and CM3. Mike Spofford from Packers.com, had an excellent breakdown of it. — I understand some of the lamenting that goes on about TT not diving into free-agency. It is frustrating, but at the same time, lets move on from the Marshawn Lynch issue. If the Packers had encountered half the injuries they faced this year, the outcome could/would be completely different. I’m ok with draft/develop but I want TT to hit those picks. GoPack!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  4. Wagszilla says:

    Help him by getting a good offensive line.

    He hasn’t had one his entire career.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • Sven says:

      Which of the starters would you replace?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • 1stngoal says:

      I agree, but I believe the organization is making the right moves to rebuild the O-line now. Bakhtiari and Barclay will grow into their roles on this team, and we haven’t even seen what Tretter will bring to the table, yet. The emergence of Bakhtiari at left tackle this year was huge, as it means the right side is now solidified with Bulaga moving back to RT with Barclay as the backup.
      I think in the years ahead, Bakhtiari will prove to be another great pick by Ted Thompson. Imagine this starting front 5 next season:

      LT Bakhtiari
      LG Sitton
      C Dietrich-Smith
      RG Lang
      RT Bulaga

      Lacy will be lickin’ his chops!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

      • Nick Perry says:

        I think they keep Bakhtiari at LT too, Bulaga back to his old RT spot. If they can keep EDS they’d have a decent O-line. Unless Sherrod is so awesome next year and takes a spot, he’s in Newhouse’s old spot most likely as top tackle coming off bench.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Nopainnogain says:

      the oline is fine. not the best in the nfl, but still a top 10 line. the middle of the line (LG,C,RG) cumulatively graded second-highest in the league this year on PFF. if it weren’t for bulaga’s injury, they might’ve had one of the best units.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. palmda says:

    If they want to help Rodgers they can field a defense that doesn’t let the opposition score in 4 plays on every series.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  6. James David says:

    Draft 1-21 DL L. Nix/ ILB C. Mosley; 2-53 TE Seferan-Jenkins; 3-85 TE C.J. Fiedorowicz; and 4-117 CB/S K. Mc Gill. Sign Shields and Dietrick-Smith.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • 1stngoal says:

      I think Nix would be a great pick, with Pickett getting near the end, but boy, would I love to see Mosley in Green and Gold! He would bring some thump to that LB corp thats for sure!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  7. Stroh says:

    Not sure I get the point of this article? Rodgers got as much help as you can possibly give a Franchise QB. He got a great RB to pair him with! He also has Cobb and Nelson, which IMO are going nowhere for the next couple years. James Jones might leave in FA, but Boykin will step right into his role and do as well. Packers have the best set of OG in the NFL, a decent (or better) Center and 2 1st and a 4th were used on OT. Everything is in place on offense for a few years, except possibly a TE.

    You really wanna help Rodgers, improve the Defense and get it in the top 10 (which I think it will be in ’14). Just need to improve ILB and Safety play, and its not like its going to get worse.

    Thompson won’t make the same mistake Wolf did. Rodgers will and does have plenty of weapons for a Top 5 offense right now!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

    • Nopainnogain says:

      exactly. the offense was like top-2 or top-3 before rodgers got hurt. on the other hand, I expected more from them in the playoffs

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Kevin says:

    I agree completely with this article. I, as much as any Packers fan, would love a top ranked defense and I expect to see improvement there. The major problems at inside linebacker and at safety are obvious and have to be addressed. Shouldn’t be too difficult to improve on what they put out there this year. However, with the new rules in the NFL it is more all about the QB than ever before. Just a few years ago the Super Bowl went most often to the team with the best defense. Not anymore. I expect a fairly comfortable win for Denver because their offense features Manning, a deep group of elite receivers, and a very good running attack. Had the Packers held on to just one of the three interceptions they dropped against SF we’d likely be watching them take on the Broncos tomorrow. Get Rodgers all the help you can, and improve the defense if possible, in that order.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

    • Dobber says:

      “I expect a fairly comfortable win for Denver because their offense features Manning, a deep group of elite receivers, and a very good running attack.”

      While I would agree that it’s much more likely that Denver would win a lopsided game than Seattle, I don’t see Denver winning by more than 10 unless Seattle gets the yips and turns the ball over. Denver hasn’t blown anyone out in the playoffs thus far…teams with far lesser defenses than Seattle.

      When was the last time a team with a truly dominant defense played in the SB? Tampa? Baltimore with Dilfer? Seattle has the kind of defense that will wreak havoc with a timing QB like Manning.

      I hope I’m wrong because I despise Pete Carroll, but I think Seattle wins.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  9. Sven says:

    Keep Kuhn and EDS. Get a couple quality TEs. Recievers do not seem as hard to find now days, I expect Jones comes back at reasonable price. Depth is great on the O-line.

    LBs and Safeties are the best ways to help Rodgers.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  10. Stroh says:

    Eddie Lacy wins Offensive Rookie of the Year! Just as I predicted when the Packers drafted him. Worst kept secret in the NFL but at least they got it right.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  11. bottom line is jf either SB teams lost their starting QB FOR 9 GAMES they would not be there. let alone all the other games missed by starters on the packers snakebitten azz……I agree with helping rodgers

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      If anyone thinks Denver would do any better than the Packers did sans ARod if Peyton got hurt, they’re delusional.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. I am not sure what the article is driving at specifically. It might be somewhere between “don’t forget the offense (reasonably early)” and “don’t forget the offense completely.” GB doesn’t have to do anything (other than re-sign EDS) to be very good offensively next year, but I think TT needs to look ahead at least a bit.

    So much depends on who is re-signed, whether anyone is signed in FA, the combine and pro days. That said, TT should consider a Tackle and/or a WR, especially if someone he likes falls into the 3rd or 4th round. I see drafting defense in rounds 1 and 2, as well as 3, either GB’s regular 3rd or (fingers crossed) the compensatory 3rd round pick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Nick Perry says:

      TT has always been good about looking ahead, that’s why his cap is always healthy. With Nelson and Cobb becoming FA in 2015 there’s a possibility they could lose one of them. Obviously we all hope that doesn’t happen, but it is a possibility. Thompson has been great at drafting WR on day two of the draft, and I think he does this year too unless a WR that he loves drops in Round 1 and he can’t pass him up. Especially with all the QB starved teams drafting ahead of them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • Archie says:

        >>TT has always been good about looking >>ahead….

        That is such a joke man. It is laughable. Let me remind you of the back-up QB position, Scott Wells to Jeff Saturday, Cullen Jenkins, Nick Collins, back-up interior OL this year, having to start a R4 rookie LT this year, the list goes on and on for cripes sake. You can drink the TT kool-aid all you want but it won’t change reality. reality is our defense sucks and always will under TT. Why? Because he’s an ass clown!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

        • Nick Perry says:

          You need to look at the contract Wells received. No way was he worth that money to the Packers. To bring up Collins name I’m failing to see your point other than not replacing him but you didn’t say that. He blew it big time with a back-up QB this year, I’ll give you that. I’m not a huge TT fan myself but he does do some things well. BTW, what was he supposed to do at LT this year? Play Newhouse again you ass clown!

          I saw another comment you made on another website. Isn’t your real name Clarence or Simon or something like that? The only reason I’m sure it’s you is you called EVERYBODY a ass-clown. I sure wish you’d tell us what that is.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. KurtMc says:

    Great news for Lacy. As for the O-Line, I’m really not sure. We have not had a healthly unit in what….3 years? However, somekind of real depth other than Newhouse would be welcome.

    Greg Hardy, DE is available, J. Graham, TE and I see a few OT/OG that I have not read about yet.

    My only point is that we need some FA help to fill the many areas of need. It all can’t be draft/develop & wait.

    Not sure TT is willing to go there.

    Go Denver, Go Pack in 2014!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      I think you’re right about needing to make some moves through FA. When motivated he has pulled the trigger on key guys in the past (CWood, Pickett). If there’s any one position he should consider opening the pocket book for, it should be a S. Otherwise, he’ll look at speculative guys, I think. No Marquand Manuel’s please.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers pursue a FA TE. Several experienced multi-purpose guys on the market this year that could bridge until they find their next TE.

      Greg Hardy? He’s going to command huge salary, and Hardy will be an RFA, right? If he’s tendered the Packers would have to surrender picks AND he’d cost a fortune.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Nick Perry says:

      Chris Clemons the S of the Dolphins and Vinny Rey, the ILB of the Bengals or Donald Butler of the Chargers. Rey is a RFA and Butler and Clemons are both URFA. Rey and Clemons would be huge upgrades over anyone the Packers have and affordable. As long as tender isn’t to high on Rey, he’d be worth a look.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Dobber says:

        Vinny Rey is an intriguing possibility…could transition to the inside in the 3-4, and has shown ability in defending the pass and rushing the passer.

        Can someone clarify the tender rules on FA? If you have a player who was an UDFA, like Rey, how is he tendered since he doesn’t have a draft status to refer to? This might actually be a nice column for the future: FA signing/compensation/etc.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  14. Archie says:

    You people just don’t get it. TT can’t draft defense. So here’s the conundrum – if he ignores defense we are screwed and if he takes defense we are even more screwed. It is TT’s fatal flaw. This is his 10th year as Packer GM and 5 years before that as SEA GM. It has always been the case. It will not change because there is something in him that steers him away from good defensive players. Till we replace the ass clown, the GBP are stuck in the mud because as we saw yesterday, the best offense in the NFL can’t beat the best defense.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  15. Big T says:

    Word on the street is that TT is looking for 4 more O-lineman just like Newhouse…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Big T says:

    Word on the street is that TT is looking for 4 more O-lineman just like Newhouse…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. JimR_in_DC says:

    I still think we need more than players. We need better coaching for the personnel we have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Archie says:

    GBP DRAFT RUMORS……

    1/24: The Packers are interested in Stanford outside linebacker Trent Murphy. Green Bay has some edge rushers in Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, but both players have dealt with injuries. Murphy (6-5, 252) fits the mold as an edge rusher in their defense as he led the nation with 15 sacks last season. If Murphy falls to their second-round pick, that would be ideal for Green Bay.

    1/24: “The Green Bay Packers have their defense as the priority of their offseason. It sounds as though Green Bay is more inclined to draft for defense early rather than offensive players like a new tight end or offensive line help. Sources with the Packers say they want to improve the speed and playmaking ability on their defense. Getting their defense more dynamic and faster is a top priority of their offseason according to sources.” – Charlie Campbell

    1/24: A Packers scout called Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd “not draftable” after watching him at the Senior Bowl.

    1/24: “#Packers GM Ted Thompson was watching North Carolina S Tre Boston closely this morning and spoke with Boston after practice. Boston fits GB.” – Charlie Campbell

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Archie says:

      DE/DT Hageman and DE/OLB Ealy figure at 21. So does S Pryor.

      I’m thinking TT&Co. should figure out who is the best pick in this draft for their defense, target him and go get him. If that means moving up to #10 or whatever, do it. That could be DE/OLB Mack, ILB Mosely or DT Jernigan.

      One thing we can be sure of if TT takes a defensive player – he will be a bust. So maybe he fools us and grabs a 6’5″ WR. There’s a couple of good ones in the first round, including Evans from TEX A&M. I like our WRs but AROD needs a stud that can take the top off a defense for his prime years so the time is right to get one. Either way, target the guy you really want and go get him! At least go down swinging. Rumor is spreading that TT is calling it quits after 2015 season so he only two years to get back to the SB or he will be judged an utter failure – one fluke championship in 12 years.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  19. tim says:

    Super Bowl final score 43 to 8. #1 defense – Seattle vs. #1 offense – Denver (record-setting office at that!). So what wins Super Bowl championships? Quit all the talk about Rodgers and the offense! Build a “knock-out” defense. Also take note of Seattle’s new DBA philosophy – big strong corners who lay the “boom!” Not like GB’s skrawny bunch of mis-tackling wusses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. tim says:

    Super Bowl final score 43 to 8. #1 defense – Seattle vs. #1 offense – Denver (record-setting office at that!). So what wins Super Bowl championships? Quit all the talk about Rodgers and the offense! Build a “knock-out” defense. Also take note of Seattle’s new DBA philosophy – big strong corners who lay the “boom!” Not like GB’s skrawny bunch of mis-tackling wusses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  21. tim says:

    Super Bowl final score 43 to 8. #1 defense – Seattle vs. #1 offense – Denver (record-setting office at that!). So what wins Super Bowl championships? Quit all the talk about Rodgers and the offense! Build a “knock-out” defense. Also take note of Seattle’s new DBA philosophy – big strong corners who lay the “boom!” Not like GB’s skrawny bunch of mis-tackling wusses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  22. Archie says:

    Big CBs – easier said than done. SEA has one hellacious secondary. Ask Peyton. Of course, the pass rush was great too. Too bad we kept TT and let Schneider go. Let’s hope Schneider comes back when TT finally figures out that he’s clueless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  23. Martha Hess says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Martha Hess says:

    Gentlemen:

    Aaron is surrounded by plenty of talent. If our offensive line injuries heal [and they should]we will be fine.

    High draft picks for offensive tackles or tight ends simply play into the blue print on how to beat Green Bay. (Keep us off the field by running the ball down our throats.)

    We will not be an elite team until we seriously rebuild our defense.

    All my love from Green Bay

    Martha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply