this Sept. 28, 2015, file photo, Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb
dives into the end zone for a touchdown catch during the second
half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, in
Green Bay, Wis. Randall Cobb bulked up. Eddie Lacy slimmed down.
And now that Jordy Nelson is back from a knee injury,
quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have the pieces to
make another Super Bowl run.
GREEN BAY Randall
Cobb bulked up. Eddie Lacy slimmed down.
And now that Jordy
Nelson is back from a knee injury, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a
full supporting cast again in Green Bay. The Packers have the pieces
to make another Super Bowl run.
"You look at our
offense and we're built in a way to have a great year," Cobb
said. "It's just going out there and proving it. Going out there
and executing to expectations."
That didn't happen
last season, when the Packers uncharacteristically struggled with the
ball. Their four-year reign as NFC North champions came to an end.
Green Bay still won a
wild-card game and took Arizona to overtime on the road before losing
in the NFC divisional round.
this June 6, 2016, file photo, Green Bay Packers wide receiver
Jordy Nelson stretches during NFL football practice in Green
Bay, Wis. Now that Nelson is back from a knee injury,
quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a full supporting cast again in
Green Bay. The Packers have the pieces to make another Super
After the season,
Rodgers had minor knee surgery. Rodgers, who turns 33 in December,
also altered his diet as he tweaked his offseason conditioning
Nelson only returned
with a couple of weeks left in camp after what was described as a
minor issue with his left knee; he tore the ACL in his right knee in
preseason a year ago.
giving him a lot of opportunities to work on a couple things, but he
looks good," Rodgers said.
So has tight end
Jared Cook, an offseason free-agent signee from the Rams. The 6-foot-5
Cook has shown the potential to give the offense the big, athletic
playmaking target that the Packers haven't had since Jermichael Finley
If things go as
planned, Nelson would give Rodgers the missing deep threat, while Cook
and tight end Richard Rodgers would offer big targets over the middle.
Also, one or more the Packers' corps of young receivers behind Nelson
and Cobb would take steps forward in their developments.
The always tough
Cobb, who added bulk but didn't appear to lose any quickness, would
make catches in traffic. Lacy and James Starks would provide a one-two
punch at running back, while the offensive line would stay healthy and
keeps Rodgers upright.
this July 31, 2016, file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback
Aaron Rodgers shares a high five with a fan as he enters Lambeau
Field during NFL football training camp, in Green Bay, Wis.
"I don't think
there's a cap or a limit you can put on it," Cook said about the
possibilities for the offense. "Endless, it really is."
Here are some other
things to watch with the Packers:
SACK HAPPY: Clay
Matthews is eager to move on now that the NFL has cleared him and
fellow pass-rusher Julius Peppers in a performance-enhancing drug
probe. The long-haired linebacker is headed back to the outside to
rush the quarterback after spending much of the previous two seasons
shoring up the run defense in the middle.
happy with the entire situation and how it played out, but ultimately
it's in the rear-view mirror now," Matthews said about the PED
probe after the Packers' 17-7 loss to Kansas City in their final
preseason game. "We can focus on football."
MIDDLE MEN: Matthews'
move means a new look again at inside linebacker, a position that has
been a trouble spot in recent seasons without Matthews. Coach Mike
McCarthy looks like he'll start second-year player Jake Ryan and
rookie Blake Martinez in the middle of the base 3-4 scheme. Martinez,
a fourth-round pick out of Stanford, has been studying up on the
ON THE LINE: Veteran
starters Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion figure to see a lot of snaps at
the physically demanding position to start the season. Depth on the
defensive front will be thinned out because of the NFL's four-game
suspension of emerging third-year player Mike Pennel for violating the
league's substance abuse policy. First-round draft pick Kenny Clark's
practice time in camp has been limited because of a back injury.
ON THE LINE, PART 2:
J.C. Tretter is the new center on offense with two-year starter Corey
Linsley maligned by a hamstring injury. Tretter has been a versatile
backup for the Packers the past three seasons, so there is little
concern about how he'll mesh with Rodgers and the rest of the line.
But the Packers made a surprise move on roster cut-down day when they
released longtime starter Josh Sitton. There were a few nervous
moments in the backfield for Rodgers last year behind a banged-up
offensive line. Now, the line will start the year with new starters at
two interior positions.
The defensive backfield has turned into a strength with the drafting
of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and defensive backs Damarious Randall and
Quentin Rollins the past few years. Sam Shields is one the NFC's top
cornerbacks, and Micah Hyde is a jack-of-all-trades. Safety Morgan
Burnett had a back injury in camp, though coaches think be ready for
the Sept. 11 opener against Jacksonville.
GREEN BAY The
Green Bay Packers' offensive line is stuck between a state of shock
and the need to move forward.
release of three-time Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton over the weekend
has been tough on the close-knit unit.
"He's going to
be a tough presence to fill there, a tough void there," right
guard T.J. Lang said on Monday.
Coach Mike McCarthy
announced the Packers are going to fill Sitton's spot with Lane Taylor
when the season begins on Sept. 11 at Jacksonville.
The timing of
Sitton's release so close to the start of the regular season doesn't
help either, Lang said.
"We've got to
get ready to play a game in six days," the veteran added.
"We've got to move on quick, because Jacksonville's right around
A fourth-year pro,
Taylor has started two games in his career. He is coming off a
preseason finale against Kansas City in which he was penalized twice
for holding and once for a false start, and appeared to be late in
picking up a blitz that resulted in a sack.
"I've put in a
lot of hours, a lot of time, taken a lot of reps. I'm going to look
forward to the opportunity," Taylor said.
Sitton, who signed
with the NFC North-rival Chicago Bears on Sunday, was a second-team
All-Pro last season and a durable starter who missed only two games
over the previous seven seasons.
"I have all the
confidence in the world in Lane," McCarthy said. "He's
earned this opportunity."
While McCarthy said
that he likes what Taylor has done in run blocking, "The pass
protection and some of the things particularly how we do it and
what we do is something he just needs some game experience at.
That's part of the leap when you make changes."
Sitton, 30, was
entering the last year of a five-year, $33.75 million extension signed
after the 2011 season. The contracts of three other offensive line
starters left tackle David Bakhtiairi, center JC Tretter and right
guard T.J. Lang are also due to expire after this season.
Sitton's release Saturday, general manager Ted Thompson said the move
was made "with a focus on what is best for the team and the
growth of the offensive line."
Sitton was known to
play through injuries. He also caused a minor stir at midseason last
year when, during a midweek football show for the Green Bay
Press-Gazette newspaper, he said that the Packers' offense had
"become too predictable. Teams know exactly what we're going to
do every week."
Asked if the Packers
were better with Taylor, McCarthy said, "I don't think it's fair
to say that about anybody ... Every decision we make is in the best
interest of improving all aspects of our program. This is not about
one player. This about our football team."
Lang thought the
offensive line would be fine with Taylor, but Sitton had seen just
about every look imaginable and could provide tips or wrinkles to
combat those schemes.
"That'll come in
time with Lane," Lang said. "But I have no doubt he's going
to be a guy who can go out there and be the guy and do a good job of
NOTES: McCarthy said
WR Jordy Nelson, who is coming back from a knee injury is a "full
go" for practice this week and is expected to play against the
Jaguars. ... The Packers have re-signed LS Brett Goode, who was the
starting long snapper for most of the previous eight seasons before
getting hurt in December.