Which Team in this Year’s Playoffs Will Have a Terrible 2016?
The Green Bay Packers are making sweeping changes on offense with playing calling, the team announced this week.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Packers plan to elevate offensive coordinator Tom Clements to associate head coach and have him assume play-calling duties, a task previously handled by coach Mike McCarthy. Wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett will be tabbed to replace Clements as offensive coordinator.
The Packers fell short in the NFC Championship Game to Seattle in overtime, which called into question McCarthy’s ability to win under pressure. Is this a sign that there is unrest within the organization or just a move to improve the offensive output that failed three times in the red zone last month?
The Packers were first in the NFL in scoring this season and quarterback Aaron Rodgers took NFL MVP honors. The offense was so deadly prior to Rodgers' calf injury that many games saw the Packers opting to take the foot off the pedal in the second half after an early scoring barrage.
The coming free agency period will be an important one for the Packers, as it might impact the offense even before the new playbook is learned. Both right tackle Bryan Baluga and wide receiver Randall Cobb could test the market. Should they both leave, the effect on the play of Aaron Rodgers could immense. Cobb proved to be every bit as important to the game plan and Jordy Nelson has been. Despite injuries, Baluga is a major force on the offensive line.
With change comes acceptance, but these Packers are used to repetition. The loss to Seattle could be a sticking point, which leads to a hangover from the 2014 season. Changing the guard and roster could be another.
The Packers are not alone in terms of the 2015 season potentially being a ticking time bomb.
The Dallas Cowboys had a season no one expected and even won a playoff game. But if you look at the team and the roster moves that might be made this summer, there could be many questions to be answered.
The Cowboys may place the franchise on running back DeMarco Murray, thus keeping him on the roster at least one more season so they can offer a long-term deal to wide receiver Dez Bryant. There is little wiggle room with the ‘Boys, who really need both players back in 2015 to maintain continuity.
The Cowboys may also be interested in Adrian Peterson, which could also create a cap situation. It has even been suggested that Jerry Jones sign both Murray and Peterson to form a powerhouse backfield like Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker.
"Our goal here more than anything, more than the obvious of Dez and DeMarco, is to improve our defense," Jones said. "That’s where our focus will be. It won’t just be defensive front, although that’s first and foremost."
"We’ll certainly look at corner," Stephen Jones said. "We’ve got a high cap number with Carr that we’ve got to look at. I think Brandon has played well for us. I think he played better toward the back half of the year."
"Certainly we’ve got a situation, obviously, there with Mo and his injuries. We’ve got to look at that. We’re still believers that if Mo had a fully healthy offseason and a fully healthy season, that he would play up to our expectations. But you know, that’s just something we have to manage in terms of the money."
"Sure, [linebacker is] another area that we have to address and get our hands around," Jones said. "There’s a lot of moving parts on all those guys."
If the Cowboys cannot maintain continuity or solve its contract issues, the trip to the playoffs could be short-lived once more.