Episode 31 - Will Aaron Rodgers Decline?

Blue 58, powered by WTMJ Mobile, goes beyond the headlines to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers.

This week on Blue 58, we talk about a possible late free agent signing by the Packers and why we'll be seeing more two tight end sets in 2017. Plus, the guys take up one big question: will Aaron Rodgers decline with age?

Here's the headlines we covered on this week's episode:

Vince Biegel is hurt, and Elvis Dumervil is still around

The Packers drafted a pass rusher and apparently have some mysteriously placed confidence in Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott, but free agent pass rusher Elvis Dumervil is still out there. Green Bay's fourth round draft pick, linebacker Vince Biegel, may miss the start of training camp after foot surgery.

Jon: Is Elvis Dumervil worth a shot right now?

Gary: It’s hard to say either yes or no to this, because we don’t know what the Packers think of the undrafted free agents they brought in at outside linebacker this year. What I do think is interesting is that the Packers signed players who have college experience standing up in and rushing the passer, where in previous seasons they’ve tried to convert college defensive ends to outside linebackers -- think Vic So’oto, Jayrone Elliott, Dezmon Moses. I’m not that overwhelmed by the crop of undrafted free agents at linebacker, and I think Dumervil has a little gas left in the tank. If it were my money, and my roster, I’d sign him.

How the Packers could use multiple tight ends next season

The Packers rarely lined up in a two tight end set last year. They were 31st in the league in their use of two tight end formations. You may remember they signed Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks this offseason.

Jon: Would using multiple TE sets be beneficial to the Packers offense? 

Gary: It comes down to something we talk about a lot, Jon, and that’s getting the best players on the field. During the Packers injury ravaged 2016 campaign, losing players like Eddie Lacy and James Starks forced them to move Ty Montgomery to running back in order to keep their best personnel on the field, and it paid off.

At the tight end position, I’m fascinated to see how the Packers deploy both Kendricks and Bennett. Bennett’s a guy who really thrives in the red zone, so I would expect to see him on the field then. Kendricks, a bit more athletic, could be a nice target when they start on offense deep on their own side of the field. 

If you’re going to put both Bennett and Kendricks on the field together, you’re saying that those two are more dangerous options than guys like Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, DeAngelo Yancey, Trevor Davis, Geronimo Allison and Jeff Janis. 

The 2017 Draft Class is more important than you may believe

This year’s draft class is important not just this year, but for 3-4 years down the road. By that time, Aaron Rodgers is going to be a lot closer to the end of his career. Could the 2017 draft class be the class that sets up the “last ride” of Aaron Rodgers?

Jon: Do you see this as a patch-up draft class or one that could have a big impact down the road? 

Gary: It’s a bit of both, and that’s why I think so many people are so enamored with the Packers haul in the draft. Not only did they address the secondary with Josh Jones and Kevin King, who both logically fit in really well defined positions, but they also added some body types and skillsets on offense they haven’t had in quite some time. 

Main Topic: Will Aaron Rodgers Decline?

There will be a day when the Packers are no longer quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers. It’s going to happen, it happens to everyone. And it's going to happen sooner than you think.

Brett Favre was 35 when the Packers drafted Rodgers. He turned 36 during Rodgers’ first season, played pretty well until he was 39 and came back for another season at 40.

Figuring out when it’ll happen is impossible. Quarterbacks who play until their late 30s or early 40s are a self-selecting group. You only get to keep playing if you’re playing well. If you decline, you’re going to be replaced.

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