The Green Bay Packers lost arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL this offseason when they traded All Pro Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. Adams has been Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target and has led the Packers in catches in each of the last five seasons. He even set a new Packers franchise record last season with 123 catches marking the third time he topped 100 receptions in a season.
With Adams gone, some fans and experts are saying the Packers offense will no longer be one of the better units in the league. But here are five reasons why Matt LaFleur’s team should still have a strong offense in 2022 even without Adams in the lineup.
- The Packers Still Have Aaron Rodgers
Let’s start with the most obvious answer. The Packers still have a future Hall of Fame quarterback under center and even though he’s now 38, A-Rod hasn’t showed too many signs of a significant drop off in his play.
In fact, the former Cal star has won the last two NFL MVP Awards which now gives him four for his career. Over the last two seasons, Rodgers has thrown for 85 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions, a total that is tough to match in the history of the league.
Rodgers can still make all the throws any NFL quarterback needs to make and he rarely turns the ball over.
With Rodgers under center, the Packers offense should continue to be an effective unit in 2022.
- The Running Game Should Be Even Better This Season
The Packers have two outstanding running backs in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon and both are capable of gaining 1,000 yards in a season. Last year, Jones finished with 799 rushing yards while Dillon added a team-leading 803.
With Adams gone, expect both running backs to be on the field together more often and both to be even more involved in the offensive game plans.
The duo compliments each other well with their contrasting styles. Dillon is a big, between-the-tackles runner who is tough to bring down one-on-one while Jones is more of a one-cut runner who can utilize his speed to turn the corner or break a long run any time he touches the football.
Both running backs are also good receivers out of the backfield which can partially make up for the absence of Adams over the course of the season.
- The Offensive Line Is Deep
The Packers still have a strong offensive line with depth that should only improve as their injured players get healthier.
Starting left tackle David Bakhtiari played only half of one game in 2021 but will hopefully be back in the lineup to start the upcoming campaign.
Versatile Elgton Jenkins is expected back at midseason as he recovers from the knee injury he suffered in November and the former Pro Bowl guard can play anywhere along the line and play there at a high level.
Center Josh Myers is back and healthy again after he missed more than half of last season with an assortment of injuries.
Young players like Jon Runyan, Jr. and Royce Newman should continue to improve as they gain experience and as they battle draft picks like Zach Tom and Sean Rhyan for playing time this year.
Rodgers was sacked 30 times last season but that number could go down especially if the offensive line isn’t decimated by injuries like it was a year ago and the young players continue their development.
- The Receivers Provide Versatility
No, the Packers don’t have any one wide receiver on their roster who can replace Adams on his own, in fact, there’s not a recent Pro Bowl selection among them. But that doesn’t mean the group is devoid of talent.
Allen Lazard has good hands and is one of the best blocking receivers in the league. Randall Cobb has experience and is a solid contributor from the slot when healthy. He is also mentoring the team’s younger receivers. Amari Rodgers has learned from his struggles in his rookie season and appears quicker and more confident in OTAs this season.
Sammy Watkins is a former first-round draft pick with experience in LaFleur’s offense and draft picks like Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs have great physical tools and the potential to become consistent contributors to the offense before the end of the season.
No, this group isn’t elite on paper, but if they stay relatively healthy and some of the younger players step up, they could be a lot better than expected before the season is over.
- The Packers Have Had Success When Adams Wasn’t Available
The Packers have played seven games without Adams since LaFleur became head coach in 2019 and they won all seven of them. In fact, last year, the Packers upset the Arizona Cardinals on the road on a Thursday night without each of their top three receivers who were out because of Covid.
When Rodgers doesn’t have his favorite receiver, he is forced to spread the ball around more and involve more players in the offense. He also has to be better at reading defenses and making smart plays.
Rodgers has consistently found the right matchup and exploited it when Adams wasn’t in the lineup. In 2020 against New Orleans, Lazard stepped up and topped 100 yards receiving as the Packers beat the Saints on the road. A week later, tight end Robert Tonyan had a favorable matchup and caught three touchdown passes against the Atlanta Falcons.
In the past, Rodgers has answered the challenge consistently and while his numbers may not be as spectacular as they were with Adams in the lineup, Rodgers has usually found a way to get the job done.
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