Each week, theScore will go division by division, highlighting which three players’ performances will most impact their team’s season in 2017.
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The NFL world knew how great Aaron Rodgers was prior to the 2016 season, but few realized just how dependent the Packers were on their star quarterback.
“What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?” was the type of headline that dominated the NFL landscape as the Packers stumbled out of the gate with Rodgers looking shockingly mortal. However, the two-time MVP showed how ridiculous it was to question whether he remained among the league’s elite, throwing 18 touchdowns to zero picks down the stretch.
So while Rodgers is an obvious choice, the Packers’ offense just doesn’t work when he isn’t playing at a superhuman level. Green Bay lives and dies on Rodgers’ arm.
Rodgers’ improvement last season coincided with tight end Jared Cook’s return to health in Week 11. Cook caught six passes for 105 yards and one score during that game, and while he never reached those statistical heights again, he provided a much-needed new dimension to the Packers’ passing game.
Cook left in free agency, but Green Bay found a superior replacement in Bennett, who caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns last season with the Patriots.
Bennett could be in line for a career year with the Packers, as his role should be larger than it was with New England. Green Bay’s receiving corps is solid, but it showed its limitations last season. Bennett is the offense’s X-factor.
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Only the New Orleans Saints gave up more passing yards per game than Green Bay last season, and it didn’t get much better for the Packers once they hit the postseason, as they gave up an average of nearly 30 points and 326 yards in three games.
For too long, the secondary has been the Packers’ Achilles heel, robbing the team of a chance at winning a second Lombardi Trophy during the Rodgers era.
King is a tall, physical corner who should be able to start from Day 1, albeit with some growing pains. The Packers brought back Davon House in free agency, and are likely banking on bounce-back years from Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall. So while King won’t be asked to be a star straight away, the Packers will be praying he can jump-start the secondary.
Also from this series
- 3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Bears’ season
- 3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Lions’ season
- 3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Vikings’ season
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