Can this wide receiver group get the job done?
Last season, Green Bay and new head coach Matt LeFleur made the much-reviled decision to continue forward with their current group of receivers for yet another year; believing in the younger talent of players further down on the depth chart, LeFleur thought that their current pieces, Rodgers’ excellence, and their new offensive system would be enough to bring them back to the precipice of a Super Bowl title.
And… it never quite worked out that way. While the Packers did enjoy the spoils of a 13-3 record in the regular season, the potential of their outside targets simply never emerged. The offense failed to produce a 1,000 yard receiver for the second time in three years (Davante Adams fell just three yards short), and even Adams tied his lowest mark for yards per reception (12.0) in the past five seasons.
No other receiver on the roster averaged over 30 yards per game, and while sizable expectations were placed upon the likes of Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the season progressed, the two were never able to become the complement to Adams in the way the team hoped. While Scantling did average 17.4 yards per catch, he also caught fewer than 50% of targets and could not become the redzone target Rodgers needs, despite a lanky 6’4″ frame.
The whispers have begun to filter in that the bigger issue may actually be Rodgers rather than the receiving corps. Finally shedding the “weight” of the Mike McCarthy offense that was blamed for so long, the mercurial quarterback walked across the finish line with an average season by his standard, finishing 21st in ESPN’s QBR; his refusal to throw interceptions has turned from his greatest strength into a legitimate weakness, finishing with his second lowest yardage total in any 16-game season and one of his lowest yards per attempt averages.
While the Packers opted to sign longtime Panther and former Colt Devin Funchess to a one-year deal, his production and health have been wildly inconsistent for several years; he hasn’t played a full season since 2017 when he finished with 840 yards and eight touchdowns, numbers Green Bay would be thrilled to see. After losing essentially all of last season with a collarbone injury, Funchess will see some pressure as the team’s only addition to the receiver group. It remains to be seen if this group is capable of being anything more than another instance of “Aaron doesn’t have enough help”.