Green Bay’s running game will improve The Packers have been without their top two backs since Eddie Lacy was traded to Seattle last offseason. In his place, they’ve had to rely on rookie Jamaal Williams and second-year player Aaron Jones. Both players have shown flashes of brilliance, but neither has been able to consistently stay healthy enough to make a significant contribution. That changes in 2020. Williams missed the entire 2019 season after tearing his ACL in training camp, while Jones tore his Achilles tendon in Week 2 of the regular season. Both players were expected to miss at least half of the 2020 campaign, but both should return to full strength in time for the start of the 2021 season. It’s
not just about the depth, either. The Packers’ offensive line has struggled mightily over the past few seasons, and the team’s rushing attack hasn’t been able to get much push behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If the Packers can find ways to protect Rodgers and open holes for those guys, they’ll finally be able to take advantage of their talent.
Green Bay’s defense will be improved Green Bay ranked 30th in total defense last year, and the unit didn’t show any improvement in the postseason. While the offense was awful, the Packers’ defense actually got worse in the playoffs. They allowed the Saints to score 28 points in the Super Bowl, and they gave up 31 points to the Eagles in the NFC championship. That won’t happen again in 2020. General manager Brian Gutekunst spent big money in free agency to bring in edge defender Za’Darius Smith and defensive tackle Mike Daniels. He also signed cornerback Kevin King to play opposite Tramon Williams. Those moves alone should help Green Bay’s pass rush, and the addition of safety Adrian Amos could mean fewer chances for opposing quarterbacks to pick apart the secondary.
Green Bay will be healthier The Packers lost three starters to injury in 2019 — right guard Lane Taylor (Achilles), tight end Jimmy Graham (knee) and linebacker Blake Martinez (ankle). All three players should be ready for the start of the 2020 season. Taylor was arguably the best lineman on the roster before he went down, and the Packers need him back if they want to keep Aaron Rodgers upright. Graham was a major contributor in the passing game, and losing him would hurt the offense. And Martinez was a leader who helped turn around the Packers’ run defense.
Green Bay will be younger With the departures of Lacy, Williams and Jones, the Packers will enter the 2020 season with a young backfield. Rookie Justin Jackson and fourth-round draft pick Dexter Williams will compete for playing time, and undrafted rookies Don Jackson Jr. and Devante Mays will try to carve out roles. Jackson showed promise in limited action last season, and he could be the guy to step forward in 2020. Williams is coming off a strong showing in the preseason, and he’s likely to win the job. But Jackson and Williams aren’t going to be the only youngsters in the mix.