Time to face the facts: Green Bay Packers fans have been spoiled for an awfully long time.
It started with Don Majkowski’s injury in 1992, which led to Brett Favre. Heard of him? Then came Aaron Rodgers, the cool dude from Chico, Calif., who took over in 2008.
Add it up and you’ve got 24 years with of football with as many Super Bowl titles (two) as losing seasons, and 17 postseason appearances to boot.
Two-and-a-half decades of washing down filet mignon with fine cabernet.
Not this year. By comparison, the 2015-16 menu has graciously offered a choice between room temp Chef Boyardee out of the can or crackers and ketchup packets.
Yes, the Packers are back in the postseason, but they’ve struggled mightily on offense and sport a 4-6 mark over the last 10 weeks. What was once incredulity on the part of Cheesehead Nation a few months back has been replaced with sheer misery. The two-game skid to end the season — with all of 26 offensive points mustered in those contests — didn’t help the cause.
Some are calling for Coach Mike McCarthy’s head. Others are crying themselves to sleep next to the nightlight situated under their Jordy Nelson fathead. Some are sad; others filled with rage. Most seem to forget the Pack have a playoff game against a very beatable team on Sunday.
As for me? I have no feelings left, but that’s been the case since the Packers blew the NFC Championship game last year against Russell Wilson (IMO the NFL’s most punchable face.)
The wandering point here is Packer fans, myself included, have been spoiled. But rather than wallow in self-pity — a scheme championed by Minnesota Vikings fans — I’d rather put my energies into something positive: The future.
I look forward to the day when Rodgers’ pulchritudinous downfield spirals and consequent Discount Double Checks send me into a cheese-filled frenzy.
Nay, I don’t just hope for that day. I expect it.
Below are some fellas that could become part of the solution when the NFL Draft rolls around again in late April.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss — I’m a firm believer in names having a mystical effect on quality of play. Joe Montana was born to play quarterback. The same for Herb Adderley at cornerback, and Dick Butkus at linebacker. Laquon Treadwell strikes me as the name of the next big thing at wide receiver. More importantly, his freaky physical ability would be welcome in a receiving corps currently led by 31-year-old James Jones and a sack of old cell-phone chargers. Also, there’s almost no chance he slides to Green Bay’s pick, but a guy can dream.
Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State — Like Treadwell, Thomas is a big-bodied receiver (6-foot-3, 212 pounds) with adequate-but-not-blazing speed. He won’t blow the roof off of defenses but he’s a tough matchup and a well-rounded receiver. He could very well be there on the board when Green Bay picks. Built like Jordy Nelson, and roughly as fast in a straight line, the underutilized Buckeye could be an intriguing addition. Still waiting for him to declare for the draft, though signs point in that direction.
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor — At 5-10, 190 pounds, Coleman projects as a first- or second-round talent on the basis of his blinding sub-4.4 second speed. This would be my perfect marriage of value and need, and Green Bay needs someone who can stretch the field. It’s a bit terrifying to think about how much better the Packer offense would be with a legitimate deep threat (opposite of Jordy Nelson, who will come back after an ACL tear). But Coleman is more than just fast. He had a 45-inch vertical at Baylor’s pro day in 2015, and was a touchdown machine for the high-scoring Bears. My favorite thing about him is his ability to beat press coverage despite being below-average in size.
Josh Dochtson, WR, TCU — Dochtson sports a lanky build (6-3, 190) and won’t overwhelm defensive backs despite his long frame. But when it comes to high-pointing and boxing out for a catch, he’s probably the best the draft has to offer. He’s got 4.5 speed but hasn’t shown to be a consistent deep threat. Neither has Davante Adams, who runs slower to begin with, and the second-year Packer regressed heavily this season. Adams also jumps out of the building, but the Pack haven’t found a use for it yet. Picking Dochtson would seem like a tacit admission that Adams isn’t the guy.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt — Haven’t seen him on many first-round mock drafts, but Boyd is the real deal. He accounted for a huge proportion of Pittsburg’s offense. Boyd is pretty polished where it counts — he runs well, catches well, has great body control and is explosive after the catch. Speed-wise he won’t dominate at the next level, but he definitely fits into a vertical offense. Notice a trend here? Green Bay needs to generate downfield plays beyond catching the defense offside/with 12 men on the field — or winning on a last-second, miracle Hail-Mary.
Any of the above would make for worthy additions to an offense crying out for playmaking ability. If Jordy makes a full recovery, another top target could have a dramatic effect on the offense — to say nothing of making life easier for Randall Cobb, who has struggled with the extra attention given to him in Nelson’s absence.
A year ago Green Bay was the highest-scoring offense and averaged the highest yield per play. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, Packer fans — the whole thing isn’t broken. You’ve simply been spoiled for too long.