Episode 16 - Are the Packers Wasting Aaron Rodgers' Prime?

Blue 58 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.

After eight straight postseason appearances and only one Super Bowl appearance, hosts Jon Meerdink and Gary Zilavy unpack whether the Packers are wasting Aaron Rodgers' prime. We cover the release of James Starks, celebrate Jordy Nelson's Comeback Player of the Year award, and break down a mock draft where Green Bay is selecting a tight end in the first round.

Here are the headlines we covered in Blue 58:

RB James Starks Released

Backup running back James Starks, who was a catalyst of the Packers' Super Bowl XLV run as a rookie, was released late Tuesday. Last offseason, he signed a two-year contract, and cutting Starks saves the Packers around $3 million in salary cap. We touched on what cutting Starks means for Green Bay shortly after the news broke.

Jordy Nelson wins Comeback Player of the Year

While Aaron Rodgers did not take home the NFL's MVP award, the Packers did not go home empty handed. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson earned the Comeback Player of the Year with 97 catches and 14 touchdowns after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. 

The Patriots Probably Helped the Packers

Because of New England's massive Super Bowl LI comeback against Atlanta, Green Bay will not be the opponent in the NFL's opening game of the season. Hosted on the Thursday before Week 1, the Patriots will most likely play host to the Falcons in a Super Bowl rematch. Atlanta still may open the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Green Bay, however, but it won't be on opening night.

Mark Murphy Won’t Pressure Ted Thompson in Free Agency

Here's a great quote from Mark Murphy about how he manages Ted Thompson: “Ted and I talk all the time, and he knows that he has all the resources he needs. But the way I manage and work with people, I would never tell Ted what to do. My philosophy is hire really good people, give them the resources they need and you support them. I think that’s worked well for us. And yeah, we haven’t been real active, but when we do go into free agency we usually get pretty good players." Print that out and put it under your pillow.

Our main topic: Are the Packers wasting Aaron Rodgers’ prime?

It's a question that's been tossed around the internet after another postseason loss – have the Packers done enough to help Aaron Rodgers? Could Green Bay be wasting the prime of one of the best quarterbacks to ever play? 

A hard question, without a doubt, and there are no easy answers. But since we asked it, and it's our podcast, we tackle it by asking the following three questions:

  1. Are the Packers doing enough in the draft? Ted Thompson's strong preference to use the NFL Draft as a primary means of player acquisition has been why the Packers have had sustained success in his 11 years at the helm. In the podcast, we examined how Thompson is investing his draft picks and what positions he values the most.
  2. Are the Packers doing enough in free agency? Because the Packers dip so infrequently into free agency, this is the easiest area to pick at the team's strategy. But, there are two sides to every story.
  3. Are we addressing our biases? Finally, we introduce a bit of psychology in our evaluation of whether the Packers are wasting the prime of Aaron Rodgers by discussing two cognitive biases that are affecting both the front office and the fanbase. 

Bad Mock Draft of the Week

In the weeks before the NFL Draft, we select a mock draft where the author may have looked past or not fully understood the needs of the Packers. Nick Klopsis of Newsday thinks the Packers will select Alabama tight end O.J. Howard.

"[The Packers] could look to upgrade that receiving corps, and in this mock, the best tight end in the class falls to them," Klopsis writes. "The Packers haven't had a game-breaking tight end since Jermichael Finley, and Howard -- who impressed throughout Senior Bowl week -- could add a new dimension to that passing attack."


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