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Better, worse or the same? Packers’ answer at QB same with or without Aaron Rodgers

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Better, worse or the same? Where do the Green Bay Packers fall on that subjective scale given that they return 20 of 22 starters from last year’s 13-3 team that reached the NFC title game?

Of course, that 20 includes Aaron Rodgers.

Rather than picking one of those three options for the entire roster, a more telling answer comes from a position-by-position breakdown.

So here’s a look at each group on offense with an answer to that question, starting, of course, with quarterback where there remains angst and uncertainty:


Additions: Blake Bortles, Kurt Benkert, Jake Dolegala

Losses: Tim Boyle

Returners: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love

Better, worse or the same? Worse

Even if Rodgers returns and makes nice, there’s irreparable damage done. For one, he’s missed an entire offseason of meetings, practices and workouts. He doesn’t need the practice reps but the meeting time is invaluable. Last year, they spent hours meeting (via Zoom) to refine coach Matt LaFleur’s offense, adding what worked and removing what did not. Rodgers wasn’t part of those conversations this year. They’re also worse without Boyle, who signed with the Detroit Lions. He and Rodgers developed a close relationship. And if Rodgers doesn’t return, they’re much, much worse.


Additions: Amari Rodgers, Devin Funchess, DeAndre Thompkins, Chris Blair, Bailey Gaither

Losses: None

Returners: Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor, Reggie Begelton, Juwann Winfree

Better, worse or the same? Better

Amari Rodgers, a third-round pick, gives the Packers a true slot receiver which they haven’t had since Randall Cobb. Funchess took the COVID-19 opt-out last year and hasn’t played since Week 1 of the 2019 season, but he gives the Packers another big target (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) if he can stay healthy. Adams and Valdes-Scantling are both in contract years. While Adams has nothing to prove, MVS does and the Packers could benefit from him knowing he needs a big year.

Running backs

Additions: Kylin Hill

Losses: Jamaal Williams, Tyler Ervin

Returners: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor

Better, worse or the same? The same

Dillon will replace Williams, who signed with the Lions in free agency. He’s a more dynamic runner than Williams but has a ways to go in the passing game, including protection. The Packers might have gotten a steal in Hill, who has catch-and-run ability out of the backfield. He might have been a much higher pick than round 7 had he come out a year earlier.

Tight ends

Additions: Bronson Kaufusi

Losses: John Lovett

Returners: Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Jace Sternberger, Dominique Dafney, Isaac Nauta,

Better, worse or the same? The same

Sternberger is suspended the first two games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and Deguara is coming back from a Week 4 torn ACL last year. But Dafney came on late in the year as a surprise. Lewis is back for his 16th NFL season, and Tonyan is a budding star who caught 11 touchdown passes last season and is in a contract year.



Stephen A. Smith explains why Aaron Rodgers doesn’t owe his teammates anything if he had already made them aware of his desire to leave Green Bay.

Offensive linemen

Additions: Josh Myers, Royce Newman, Cole Van Lanen, Coy Cronk, Jon Dietzen, Jacob Capra

Losses: Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor

Returners: David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner, Jon Runyan, Simon Stepaniak, Jake Hanson, Yosh Nijman

Better, worse or the same? Worse

You don’t lose an All-Pro center (Linsley) and get better. But at least general manager Brian Gutekunst addressed it by drafting Myers in the second round. Gutekunst has picked six offensive linemen in the last two drafts combined, so he’s stockpiled depth. There’s also a decent chance they’ll start the season without their other All-Pro lineman Bakhtiari, who will be only nine months removed from ACL surgery when the regular season begins.


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