I don’t think it’s a matter of semantics. The Packers have legit needs. I’ll grant that the “needs” of each team are relative and right now, because the Packers had a great season last year, they may not be as glaring as say the Bears or Bengals for example. But they are needs still the same. When I gave each position a grade, I wasn’t just thinking about their performance last year. If I was doing that, I would have definitely given higher marks for most categories. Instead, I was grading based on present/future need, so I was not just looking at 2007 performance, but also considering this year and beyond.
Also, Steve’s argument is based mostly on the how our starting line-up looks. I’ll admit, when you look at the starters, it wouldn’t appear as though too much is needed. But in the NFL, with injuries and the increasing role non-starters play in a game, there are needs within and outside our starting line-up. Take tight end. Yes, Donald Lee is quality. But he can’t play all of the plays and if we had another quality tight end in there, I’m sure McCarthy would be able to implement a bunch more effective plays he has drawn up for 2 tight end sets. And, Lee could be rested here and there without a big drop-off. Can’t help but think of ’96 and Keith Jackson and Chmura – that was an incredibly effective tandem.
Also, when I gave the corners a C+, I was saying that they are above average because of the veteran skills of Harris and Woodson (who are very good, but not the best tandem in the NFL), but there are question marks surrounding the back-ups and definite concerns for after these two retire. So, corner is a need position because we need viable players to be on the field for the various defensive packages this year as well as corners for the future.
Again, QB is a need position because Rodgers might get injured on the first play of the year and while I’d want a veteran as the #2 QB, having a young talent from the draft wouldn’t be a bad idea anyway in case Rodgers doesn’t cut it and the veteran doesn’t help much either.
And while Grant is solid, we need someone else to get some yards when he’s out of the game. Lots of teams are going to the 1-2 punch RB scheme and I think it’s sensible. It keeps each back fresher and also makes the defense have to prepare for 2 different kinds of back. We need the #2 part of this punch and I’m just not sold on the options we presently have. So this is a need.
Poppinga is mediocre – poor overall and we NEED someone else to fill his role. Average teams can probably get by with someone like Poppinga, but great teams consider this a need position and find someone who can contribute more.
And again, the O-line: both tackle and guard. We need a better selection of players to develop here. Consistency on the line will dictate whether or not Grant develops into as good a back as we all think he can be.
I guess my overall point is that if we make zero changes, sure, we probably would not be too bad as a team this year, but I guess I don’t think we could get to the Super Bowl with this present group. So, I consider the above to be draft and free agency needs.