Setting Expectations on Offense

Managing expectations is an important part of life. Set yourself up for something huge and exciting and there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed. At the very least, you’ll have a chance for a bigger fall than if you went in with the bar appropriately lowered. 

Sports can be much the same. Most players are not evaluated in a vacuum; they’re considered in light of their playing circumstance, draft pedigree, and, in some cases, injury history. 

Last year, we evaluated every member of the 2016 Packers according to how they lived up to their expectations. Some players were dinged for not living up to lofty expectations, while others were praised for rising above their circumstances to exceed low expectations. 

This year, we’re publishing our expectations for every player going into training camp. First up: the offense. Our full list of expectations is below and we’ll talk about the players bearing high expectations on this week’s podcast.

Low Expectations

Colby Pearson - Starting with a single digit number generally means you’re not long for the team. See Gillett, Alex. 

Joe Callahan - He stuck around for most of last season, but nobody can expect all that much from a third string quarterback.

Taysom Hill - Tantalizing athleticism, sure, but at 26 he’s already the oldest quarterback on the roster not named Aaron Rodgers.

Montay Crockett - Crockett has blistering speed, but a stacked depth chart ahead of him leaves him facing low expectations this season.  

Max McCaffrey - Now the third most famous professional football player in his own family, Max is facing the same issue as most other young wide receivers: a depth chart stacked against him. 

Devante Mays - It’s not that Mays isn’t a talented player. He’s just facing an immense climb to even make the roster out of training camp.  

Kalif Phillips - Phillips faces the same problem as Mays without the added benefit of being a draft pick.

Joe Kerridge - With scores of young running backs in camp, Kerridge’s contributions will be more of a bonus than an expectation.  

William Stanback - Stanback is much like Phillips. He may be talented, but numbers work against him.

Thomas Evans - The second most notable offensive lineman named Evans, his best shot at a contribution may be on the practice squad. 

Lucas Patrick - If he contributes at right guard, expectations could rise. 

Justin McCray - See Patrick, Lucas.

Don Barclay - Barclay has been beating the odds his whole career. Now, expectations are lowered more due to age and youthful competition than any shortcomings on his end. 

Robert Leff - Another player whose best shot at contributing this year could come on the practice squad.

Richard Rodgers - Last year, Rodgers started camp looking up at just Jared Cook on the depth chart. Now, he’s behind Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.

Beau Sandland - Sandland is big and athletic, but at least three tight ends are ahead of him on the depth chart.

Aaron Peck - If he can play special teams, he might have a shot. Still, the expectations are low. 

Michael Clark - Big and raw, Clark should set his sights on the practice squad. 

Moderate Expectations

DeAngelo Yancey - Young, fast, and talented, but battling scores of other wide receivers, Yancey benefits from his status as a draft pick.

Malachi Dupre - Offseason banter would have you believe Dupre is an All-Pro in waiting, but in reality he’s a rookie seventh round pick. That brings some extra attention, but little added pressure.

Aaron Ripkowski - As fine a fullback there is, he’s still a fullback. May get some early season cameos in the running game as the young backs develop. 

Jamaal Williams - The first running back off the board, Williams could have the first shot at backing up Ty Montgomery.

Aaron Jones - Receiving skills could be a big bonus when it comes to getting on the field early. 

Kyle Murphy - Is he a tackle or a guard? The former sixth round pick may have a big role in the future, but expectations are moderate at best this year.

Geoff Gray - Normally we wouldn’t expect much from an undrafted rookie free agent lineman, but Gray’s athletic background and natural fit at guard raise the bar a bit.

Kofi Amichia - If there’s such a thing as an athletic project on the offensive line, Amichia would be it. Learning a new position could take time, but his draft status heats the spotlight a bit.

Geronimo Allison - One of the best stories of 2016, Allison’s 2017 could be all gravy with some new competition from draft picks. He’ll be expected to build on last year, but if he doesn’t we’ll still have the stretch run of 2016. 

Lance Kendricks - Kendricks finds himself in a great spot: he doesn't have to be as good as Martellus Bennett, and he only has to be different from Richard Rodgers.

High Expectations 

Brett Hundley - This is as close to a make or break season as you could get for a backup quarterback. Hundley needs to play well to get a shot at being a starter elsewhere sooner rather than later, and the Packers would like to see a return on their investment. Hundley needs to play well for both of those things to happen.

Trevor Davis - The Packers didn’t draft two wide receivers because they were satisfied with their 2016 fifth round pick. Davis had his moments, but the heat is on early for a player who made the 2016 roster mostly on draft status. 

Aaron Rodgers - Rodgers’ expectations are permanently high just because of who he is. That doesn’t change this year.

Davante Adams - Former high draft pick? Check. Promising season last year? Check. Contract year? Check. Adams hits three big points for a player facing high expectations, and he’s welcoming them with open arms.

Randall Cobb - Cobb has faced (vastly undeserved) heat for his “down” year in 2016. Expectations are high for him to bounce back, but do fans actually know what that means? 

Corey Linsley - The Packers let JC Tretter walk mostly because of Linsley’s presence. Heading into a contract year, it’s up to Linsley to show them that faith was rewarded.

Lane Taylor - Taylor was thrust into the spotlight through no fault of his own last season and performed admirably. Now he has to show that last year wasn’t a fluke.

David Bakhtiari - Challenge number one was earning recognition as the best pass blocker in the league. The next one is proving he can do it again. 

Jahri Evans - Evans has the unenviable task of replacing T.J. Lang on the offensive line. If that’s not the definition of a high expectation, what would be?

Bryan Bulaga - Bulgaga’s 2017 season calls for him to do nothing less than put together an encore for the best year of his career. No easy task. 

Jason Spriggs - The Packers have paltry tackle depth behind Bakhtiari and Bulaga. Spriggs needs to show growth lest the Packers end up having to take drastic measures in the event of an injury.

Martellus Bennett - The Packers’ biggest free agent signing since Charles Woodson, Bennett is charged with providing the Packers with a receiving weapon at tight end the likes of which they’ve not seen in half a decade. 

Jeff Janis - The ultimate put up or shut up season, it’s time for Janis to show he belongs on offense and not just on special teams. 

Jordy Nelson - As exciting as Nelson’s return to form was last year, he still faces an ongoing race with Father Time. Can he return to his pre-injury dominance?

Ty Montgomery - Montgomery is doing and saying the right things so far, but now he has to show he can actually play like a running back.