Today the Packers’ general manager Brian Gutekunst once again made moves. In the eleventh hour of the trade deadline, Gutekunst off-loaded former first rounder (2014) Ha Ha Clinton Dix for an undisclosed forth rounder and embattled running back Ty Montgomery for a seventh. The move sets up depth issues at two very important positions moving forward.
1. Running back.
The trade of Ty Montgomery was certainly welcomed by many after the running back and kick returner fumbled away the Packers’ chances at a win against the Rams. But the team has a lot of football left to play and one injury at this point, leaves the Packers with one running back and scrambling to fill the void. The whole reason Ty converted in the first place was because the Packers lost two running backs to multiple week injuries and had nowhere to turn. Ty was instrumental in the Packers’ comeback win against the 49’ers where he made the edge and got out of bounds on the first play of the last drive and changed the Packers’ outlook toward the drive as a whole.
The Packers now must also find a serviceable replacement kick returner, a position likely to be filled by Randall Cobb now that he is again healthy but many must wonder how long he will stay that way as he also would be likely to fill in in the run game if one of the current two backs on the roster go down.
The position of running back is an important one and the ramping up of Aaron Jones looks to become a full-time feature back position. But the fact remains the Packers are one hit away from having a Jamaal William (3.7 yds/carry) as its only running back.
With Ha Ha now in Washington, the Packers have lost their only play-making safety thus far…counting out Jermaine Whitehead at the linebacker position. Whitehead is an option moving forward but was absolutely abused in coverage against the Rams. Recent second round draft pick Josh Jones has not lived up to expectations but still has size, speed, and youth. Many believe Tramon Williams could step into this role alongside Kentrell Brice and there is even the possibility that cornerback Josh Jackson, known ball-hawk but better with his eyes on the quarterback, could be an option.
Regardless, the Packers lost their only viable safety and a former pro-bowler at that. There is a significant dropoff after Ha Ha and someone will have to step up. Between Jones, Whitehead, Brice, and Greene someone will have to start if someone isn’t moved or cross-trained.
So the upcoming game against the Patriots becomes even more important, especially if you are Mike McCarthy. The team brought in nothing but draft picks for their pains and look to be in a mini rebuild with ten draft choices before compensatory picks are handed out. If McCarthy doesn’t do something special, he may be looking for a new team. Regardless, Brian Gutekunst has sent a shot across the bow of every Packers player…put up or shut up. This next stretch of games just got tougher.