The Green Bay Packers finished the 2017 season below .500 for the first time since 2008. This offseason they made a plethora of changes in an effort to get back to their winning ways.
Longtime general manager Ted Thompson has transitioned to a senior advisor, defensive coordinator Dom Capers was fired, offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett was let go and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt was relieved of his duties.
Veteran wide receiver Jordy Nelson was released by the organization and Damarious Randall who was arguably the Packers’ best corner (for whatever that’s worth) was traded to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for DeShone Kizer.
With these losses, also came additions. Brian Gutekunst was promoted as general manager. He vowed to be aggressive during free agency and certainly was. Joe Philbin has returned as the offensive coordinator and Mike Pettine was brought in as the defensive coordinator.
Green Bay added former Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. They reunited Pettine with defensive end Muhammed Wilkerson, brought Tramon Williams back to Titletown after spending two years in Cleveland and one in Arizona. They also added some insurance at tight end by signing Marcedes Lewis.
Even after all of this turnover, there are still plenty of questions to still ponder as the 2018 season quickly approaches.
5. Can Nick Perry stay healthy?
In 2016, Nick Perry had a breakout season. He recorded 35 tackles, collected 11 sacks, deflected four passes and snagged one interception. This was the firs time in his career that he compiled double-digit sacks.
Because of his performance, the Packers rewarded him. He signed a five-year, $59 million deal, which included $18.5 million guaranteed.
A year after signing the deal, Perry’s production decreased. Although, he nearly led the team in sacks (7.0), he only had 23 tackles and more importantly played in just 12 games. He battled with a wrist and shoulder injury and was eventually put on injured reserve at the end of the season. Since being drafted in 2012, this was Perry’s third time playing less than 13 games and he has never played a full season.
Perry’s health is crucial to the Packers overall success. Furthermore, the depth behind Perry is extremely thin and inexperienced. The team can not afford to lose him for a significant period of time because their linebacking core instantly becomes a liability. It also doesn’t help that Clay Matthews isn’t getting any younger and the Packers failed to add any pieces via the draft.