Green Bay Packers True or False: June Editionby Christopher Gallagher June 8, 2021 0 comments
Beginning to see a divide across the fan base as mandatory minicamp opens today, the Green Bay Packers remain without a solution for resolving their ongoing conflicts with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Disgruntled with the team due to ongoing personnel and philosophical differences, the 37-year-old quarterback remained a no-show at the team’s organized team activities last week. Furthermore, Green Bay was also without many of their wide receiver room members, with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Allen Lazard all missing. With roster workout bonuses tied to their participation in mandatory minicamp, all of their pass catchers will look to be in pads today. Keeping all eyes on Jordan Love and the younger players on the roster, the team remains at the forefront of the news cycle across the NFL.
Will AJ Dillon handle most of the early-down carries to keep Aaron Jones fresh during the regular season?
True. With longtime running back Jamaal Williams departing for the Detroit Lions in free agency, look for Dillon to see an elevated amount of carries. Destined to handle the ball on early rushing downs, the Boston College alumn offers a physical rushing style at 247 lbs with the ability to punish defenders. On full display a year ago in Week 16 at Lambeau Field, the 23-year-old rushed for a career-high 124 yards on 21 carries while adding two touchdowns.
Fresh off seeing Aaron Jones get up over 200 rushing attempts during the past two seasons, the four-year veteran has also remained among the highest snap count leaders for running backs across the league. An important piece to Matt Lafleur’s offense with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and make defenders miss while finding the end zone, keeping Jones fresh will benefit the Packers for important games late in the year.
Can Ben Braden hold down the left tackle spot until David Bakhtiari returns from his ACL injury?
True. A story that has made headlines during the Packers OTA sessions, Braden has begun to take first-team reps. He posses the ability to slide in for the injured Bakhtiari at the vacant left tackle spot. Along with this, the former undrafted free agent has gotten the seal of approval from offensive line coach Adam Stenavich. Spending time on the Packers practice squad briefly in 2019 after being released by the New York Jets, the 27-year-old has both the size and length at 6’6″ to play tackle in the NFL.
After being active for four games a season ago, he offers the team the versatility to play guard and tackle. In tough times without their longtime, all-pro left tackle to begin 2021, sliding Braden in at the vacated spot would allow Elgton Jenkins to remain at his primary left guard position.
Should Kevin King start as Green Bay’s number two cornerback in week one over rookie Eric Stokes?
False. Brought back by Green Bay on a one-year, $5 million contract, King struggled mightily to close out his 2020 campaign. Allowing over 63 percent of his passes to be completed when targeted in coverage, the former second-round pick also allowed nearly 14 yards per completion. Furthermore, the 26-year-old also became routinely picked on by Tom Brady in the NFC Championship Game, with touchdowns allowed to Mike Evans and Scotty Miller.
Drafted by general manager Brian Gutekunst with the 29th selection in this year’s draft, Stokes offers game-breaking speed. Clocking a 4.25 40-yard dash, the Georgia alumn provides the ability to excel in both man and zone coverage. He earned the highest man coverage grade in college at 89.3, according to Pro Football Focus. Stokes was able to be a shutdown corner against talented SEC receivers. A better athlete to slot in across Jaire Alexander, the 22-year-old could help make the Packers one of the best young up-and-coming secondaries in the league.
Is Rashan Gary the member of the Packers most poised for a breakout 2021 campaign?
True. Gary made strides in 2020 behind Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith on the Green Bay depth chart. Starting in four games, the former 12th overall pick recorded 35 tackles, 11 quarterback hits, and five sacks. Along with this, the Michigan alumn also finished inside the top-10 in disruption rate according to Next Gen Stats. He has the bend, quickness, and hands to be an every-down impact pass rusher, offering elite athletic ability off the edge.
Choosing to restructure Preston instead of cutting the 28-year-old in the offseason, he remains in the third year of his four-year deal. With both Smith brothers set to hit free agency in two years, look for Gary to have a more significant role as a building block for Joe Barry’s defense. Elevating to being on the field for 44 percent of the Packers defensive snaps a year ago, after just 24 percent during his rookie year, a breakout year is likely in 2021.
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