GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The additions, from Martellus Bennett to Lance Kendricks to Ricky Jean-Francois to Davon House, were all there. The departures, from Eddie Lacy to T.J. Lang to Micah Hyde to Julius Peppers and others, were missed.
So the first day of the Green Bay Packers’ offseason workouts was the perfect time to ask Aaron Rodgers whether the statement he made following the NFC Championship Game loss came to fruition.
Rodgers said in January, "I don’t think we need to rebuild. We need to reload. ... We've just got to make sure we're going all-in every year to win. And I think we can take a big step this offseason."
On Tuesday, following the team's first workout, Rodgers said, "I mean it’s Day 1. We’re going to wait and see how everybody looks moving forward, but I like the pieces we’ve put in."
In Bennett and Kendricks, the Packers replaced tight end Jared Cook and then some. Rodgers spoke excitedly about relying on a two-tight end, two-receiver, one-back set that coach Mike McCarthy had gone away from in recent years.
“I think the exciting thing is, we haven’t had a lot of '12' personnel around here in a while where we can really go to it, meaning two tight ends, two wide receivers and one back,” Rodgers said. “I think we’re going to have a lot more flexibility in that package. '12' personnel is more of a run-pass balance personnel, and it has been throughout the league and for us the past few years. The opportunity to put two guys on the line of scrimmage and have an opportunity to run right, run left and then run all of our vertical passing game is going to be something that could definitely change and be more difficult to stop.”
In Jean Francois and House, the Packers added two role players to a defense that was in need of more playmakers.
“Obviously Davon’s played a lot of football in the league and played at a high level,” Rodgers said. “I got to see Ricky in [the workouts]; I’ve been playing against him for a number of years now and have a lot of respect for him and his game, and obviously, the two tight ends are good additions.”
The biggest financial move the Packers made this offseason was re-signing outside linebacker Nick Perry to a five-year, $60 million deal. But they also lost another pass-rusher when Peppers signed with the Panthers.
“Bringing the guys back from last year that we needed to, signing Nick Perry back after his production last year and giving him an opportunity to be more of a leader in the void that Julius leaves is going to be great for him,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers, 33, never clarified or expanded on his "all-in" remark, but earlier this offseason general manager Ted Thompson said he did not take it as a plea from Rodgers to be more active in free agency.
“I like our squad," Rodgers said. "It’s just going to be about building that cohesion and chemistry in the locker room and on the field. We’ve got to make some leaps and bounds this offseason and obviously into training camp. I said it a while back, but I feel like we’re going to be really tough to stop on offense.”