Bob McGinn grades the offense
WIDE RECEIVERS (7)
Davante Adams: Fluid, smart and competitive. Zipped past injured Jarrett Boykin as No. 3 in Game 4 and never looked back. Dropped four of 79 passes for drop rate of 5.06%, lowest at the position, and averaged a solid 5.41 yards after the catch. Doesn’t have tremendous size or burner speed. Plays with strength, can work outside or inside and doesn’t scare from traffic jams. Has starter’s capability. Grade: C-plus. Jared Abbrederis: Looked like a natural returning punts in the off-season and had a shot at the kickoff-return job, too. Then he blew out his knee July 30 in the fourth practice of training camp. Possession-type receiver fared surprisingly well against the jam. Grade: Incomplete.
Jarrett Boykin: Fell off the map after playing so well as a No. 3 in 2013 that coach Mike McCarthy deemed James Jones expendable. Played 119 snaps in Games 1-3, sat out Games 4-6 with a groin injury and played just 119 more snaps as a No. 4 in Games 7-18. Dropped three of 12 passes thrown to him. Played faster than he timed a year ago but didn’t show it this year. Declined interviews all season, and Sunday in the Seattle locker room was heard seeking to persuade Andrew Quarless to stop speaking to reporters. His good plays on special teams were offset by just as many bad ones. Restricted free agent for whom the minimum tender of $1.574 million might be too rich for the Packers’ blood. Grade: D-minus.
Randall Cobb: Sluggish in training camp and Games 1-3, he then emerged as one of the NFL’s brightest young stars. Made play after play from the slot. Quick-twitch athlete could gain instant separation against almost every nickel back. Led the team in yards after catch with an average of 5.98 yards and in 20-plus plays with 26, nine more than his previous high of 17 in 2012. Developed into a fearless, effective blocker. Actually appeared to like drawing assignments cracking back on strong safeties, even linebackers. Also played 46 snaps stationed in the backfield, including 33 in the last five games after Mike McCarthy saw how dynamic he was in that role. Re-signing Cobb is priority No. 1 in the off-season. Dropped nine of 145 passes after not having a drop in 46 targets last year. Grade: A-minus.
Kevin Dorsey: Similar to Boykin, just not as seasoned. Like Boykin, he’s a wide receiver with the toughness to tackle and block on special teams. Unlike Boykin, he’s fast and athletic. Beat out by Boykin and Jeff Janis in training camp before being brought back from the practice squad. Broke his foot on 12th snap from scrimmage and was lost for season. Grade: Incomplete. Jeff Janis: Sat inactive for final 12 games behind Boykin, an inferior talent. McCarthy, however, insisted the difference between them from scrimmage and on special teams was clear-cut. Drafted in the seventh round out of Division II Saginaw Valley State, he made a remarkably rapid two-week recovery from shingles to capture the No. 5 berth. Demonstrated breathtaking speed in exhibition season on receptions (34, 33) and KO return
(62). Size, speed and poise offer immense promise. Grade: Incomplete.
Jordy Nelson: Dominant force until late in the season. Signed to a four-year, $39.8 million extension July 26, the morning of the first practice. Epitomizes professionalism, consistency, work ethic and discipline. Always the same. Seems to play faster every year. Grooved route runner. Caught eight passes for more than 35 yards, two fewer than his career-best of 10 in 2010. Encountered some problems separating against physical press-man cornerbacks down the stretch. Also dropped nine of 163 passes, including six in the last five games. Was the Sports Illustrated cover
boy Dec. 1. Did the SI jinx strike again? Grade: B-plus.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
Brandon Bostick: On paper, he’s the fastest of the team’s three tight ends, the best downfield receiver, the best blocker and the best on special teams. So why did Bostick play just 33 snaps from scrimmage (he also played 244 on special teams, most of any offensive player)? The leg fracture that he suffered Aug. 16 sidelined him a month and disrupted his momentum. More to the point, the coaches simply didn’t consider Bostick as dependable as the others. They kept Bostick over Ryan Taylor when a roster berth was needed but still never played him. His inability to follow orders and then failure to catch the decisive onside kick in Seattle probably ended his career, at least in Green Bay. Grade: F.
Justin Perillo: Rookie free agent from Maine hung around because of a knack for finding windows in zone coverage and his persistent blocking. He needs considerable strength development. Can run a little. Worth another look. Grade: Incomplete.
Andrew Quarless: Had his best season since missing all 2012 following reconstructive knee surgery. As confidence in his knee grew, so did his reliability as a blocker. Trimmed his total of “bad” runs from 15 to 4½. Too tall and upright to be more than a position-and-shield blocker but he usually stayed on his man. Had a career-high 58.1% playing time. Most of his 33 receptions were check-downs, flats or stick routes. Coaches weren’t confident letting him run the seam. Anything but smooth in the open field but still averaged a career-best 5.46 after the catch. Too-high drop rate of 11.5% (six of 54). Grade: C.
Richard Rodgers: Finished with 44.5% playing time. Thirdround draft choice with soft, sure hands. Dropped just two of 34 (5.9%). All but ignored by many defenses. Became a respectable fourth option by reading the blitz and presenting his numbers to the quarterback. Shows pedestrian speed off the line and into his routes. Woeful (1.9 average) after the catch as more of a catchand-stumble guy. His total of 13 “bad” runs was second-worst on the team. Grade: C-minus.
OFFENSIVE LINE (10)
Aaron Adams: The Packers kept the “street” tackle around on injured reserve all year after he suffered a season-ending knee injury Aug. 28. Not expected back. Grade: Incomplete.
David Bakhtiari: Added much-needed strength and weight (to 312) in the off-season and improved as a second-year starter. Played 96.3% of the snaps at left tackle, where he and Detroit’s Riley Reiff shared the top spot on the All-NFC North team. With new-found strength came confidence and a more physical approach. Won’t be 24 until September so he still can improve by leaps and bounds. Allowed more sacks (5½), pressures (33) and “bad” runs (19½) than any lineman. Drew more penalties (eight), too. Despite the numbers, he was never close to being a liability. Anchored much better against bull rushers and cut off better on the back side in the run game. Now he needs to become more consistent blocking edge speed for pass
and sustain longer at the point of attack for run. Grade: B-minus.
Don Barclay: Ticketed as the top backup at both tackle and guard spots before tearing an ACL Aug. 5. Missed two games in 2013 with what a source said was a torn MCL in the same right knee. Played 86.7% of the snaps at RT in 2013, allowing 39 pressures but only 11½ “bad” runs. The Packers will tender him as a restricted free agent in March. Tenacious, proud and resourceful. No, most teams wouldn’t want Barclay starting, but there are far worse swingmen playing
than him. Grade: Incomplete.
Bryan Bulaga: All-NFC North RT in 2011, ’12 and ’14. Bounced back from ACL surgery in August 2013 and played more forcefully as the season went on. Only starter on offense to miss a start (Game 2, sprained knee). Began really punishing defenders from about midseason on. More of a RT or guard than a LT based on body type and athletic ability. Slightly more consistent blocking for run than pass. Had fewest “bad” runs on O-line with 10. Can be walked back in pass protection when his hands get too wide. Generally able to settle in and halt bull rushers before they get home. Four of his 22½ pressures were sacks. Expected to be the top tackle on the unrestricted market if he’s still available March 10. Grade: B-plus.
Garth Gerhart: Squatty third-year free agent realized lifelong dream of making a team after being promoted from practice squad on the day before the opener. Height (6-1½) makes center his best position but can play guard in a pinch. Played 25 snaps, didn’t look overmatched. Grade: Incomplete.
T.J. Lang: Made his second season at RG the best of his career and was unanimous pick on the All-NFC North team. Tied his career-low for “bad” runs with 11½, which was tied for second on the O-line. Also served as the primary puller on 32 runs for 93 yards (2.9). Generally makes sound decisions on combo blocks, able to adjust easily on pre-snap checks and relishes the roughand-tumble aspect of the job. Views himself as an enforcer ready to protect teammates at all costs. Made significant strides as one-on-one pass blocker and against stunts. Allowed one sack in both 2013 and ’14 after yielding 5½ in ’12. Can be a step slow getting to the second level. Always hustling and looking for somebody to hit. Played on a bad ankle for about six games.
Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson gets a grade of B-plus for his work ethic and discipline.