The Green Bay Packers are in an unusual place heading into the 2022 season. They no longer have to deal with the headlines of Aaron Rodgers openly wondering what he wants to do, and their defense seems to be the best it has been in a decade. This year’s team will be a run-first offense, and Rodgers will take a back seat.
That feels pretty weird given the contract Rodgers signed earlier this offseason, which made him the highest-paid player in the NFL. Most people in the Packers’ organization consider his price tag warranted because he’s won back-to-back MVP trophies.
People will be surprised by how much of a game-managing role Rodgers will take in this upcoming NFL season. With a handful of new receivers coming in, a lot of them face a steep learning curve, and Rodgers usually takes a while to trust his receivers.
Even Davante Adams took a while to gain Rodgers’ trust. Once he did, though, he became a No. 1 option. Fans will remember years of Rodgers failing to target Adams because he trusted Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson more.
Adams had 900 yards and four touchdowns, combined, in 2014 and 2015. It’s not like Adams didn’t have a track record of success, either. He’s had a historic run with Derek Carr at Fresno State, racking up 1,719 yards and 24 touchdowns in his last college season.
We can expect Rodgers to be hesitant to throw to his new receivers this year. With Rodgers relying mostly on returning players, including Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, and Amari Rodgers, you’re not going to see him go off for 5,000 passing yards.
Additionally, the Packers are going to have an easy time running the football. They have rookie Sean Rhyan joining David Bakhtiari, Josh Meyers, and Elton Jenkins on the offensive line. With Aaron Jones returning to full health after a season where he had a few underlying injuries with his ankle, you can reasonably expect him to improve from last season. Combine that with A.J. Dillon coming back after a season where he surprised the doubters who saw him exclusively as an RB2. These two backs could become the best running-back duo in the NFL between Dillon’s power-running style and Jones’s elusive play.
Kylin Hill has also quietly emerged as an impact player. Green Bay’s seventh-round pick in 2021 could have a decent amount of playing time, given that he is playing as the RB3. Although we haven’t seen a lot of actual game time, we have seen flashes of play in preseason games on screens and quick handoffs. His incredible agility is something to look out for. We may see Hill in a role similar to Dillon’s in 2020 when the Packers had Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.
We have seen the Packers go all-in on the defense this offseason, which makes me believe that the team will be defense-first. They spent big money on players, including Jaire Alexander, De’Vondre Campbell, and Rasul Douglas.
The Packers are going to have one of the best defenses in football. They have all of their stars returning, except for Za’Darius Smith, who didn’t see the field until the playoffs last year. Green Bay also added two defensive players in the first round, another sign they are prioritizing Joe Barry’s unit. They fixed the biggest holes on the defense by adding Quay Walker as a solid replacement for Za’Darius Smith and Devonte Wyatt to help Kenny Clark on the D-line.
With such a good defense, the Packers will spend most games running the ball to drain the clock and keep it out of the opposing team’s hands. I doubt they give up many points, and Aaron Rodgers will have to sit back and be a game manager.