Week 3 Packers Stock Report: Starks and Raji on the Rise, Walden Falling
Welcome to the Week 3 Packers stock report, an idea so popular that Bill Simmons and ESPN stole it. Everyone at AllGreenBayPackers.com is pleased to provide content ideas to ESPN as long as we are properly compensated. I’m sure the higher-ups at the Worldwide Leader are cutting a check to Jersey Al right now.
Speaking of copy cats, it’ll be interesting to see how long offensive coordinators have success copying the Saints and Panthers offensive game plans against the Packers. Drew Brees and Cam Newton racked up 851 passing yards on the Packers in the first two weeks, mainly by utilizing the TE, dumping passes to RBs that sneak away from pass protection, and mixing in bombs down the field.
That’s cause for concern, but I still think the defense will be fine for several reasons:
- The Packers have played over half of the young season without Tramon Williams, their best cover corner. If he returns and QBs continue completing passes at will, then I’ll worry.
- Yes, the Packers are giving up too many yards, but they’re getting sacks, turnovers and preventing TDs in the red zone — all things you need to do to be considered a good defense in today’s NFL.
- B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Williams are legit studs. Not many defenses have four legit studs that can cover up other weaknesses.
The injury to Nick Collins doesn’t help matters, but there’s a reason the Packers signed Charlie Peprah to an extension. He stepped up last year and needs to do it again.
This is the first stock report without Aaron Rodgers in the rising category. Rodgers played well against the Panthers, but not well enough to earn another spot in the rising category. Donald Driver gets a spot this week just because he’s Donald Driver.
The Packers stock report welcomes James Jones back to the falling category. Erik Walden also joins the ranks of the falling, along with a special appearance from Fox’s NFL coverage.
It’s time to turn the keys of the Packers running game over to James Starks and let him drive. Ryan Grant has looked decent coming back from a serious ankle injury, but Starks is by far the better RB right now. I’m not saying Mike McCarthy and Rodgers should call 35 runs every game, but both need to do a better job of sensing when Starks and the OL are hot and playcall accordingly. Rodgers seems to recognize this as well.
Raji is like a hippopotamus. Hippos weigh between 1 and 3 tonnes and look about as goofy as any animal on the planet. But hippos can run as fast as 19 mph and are quicker and faster than humans. A hippo will seriously mess you up if you give it a hard time. Raji, with his lower body that resembles two old tree trunks and a motor that doesn’t quit, has been seriously messing up interior offensive lineman and running backs this season. Remember when we thought run defense would be the Packers achilles heel? So far the run defense is excellent, and Raji is the main reason.
I know he only had one catch, but it made him the Packers all-time leader in receiving yards. Driver is a great guy and deserves to to be in the rising category for one week after breaking the record.
Nelson is becoming the type of receiver the Packers can rely on to contribute something each game. Whether it’s a big play, a consistent target, or solid blocking, Nelson will contribute something.
Investors that bought stock in Wells early have enjoyed steady returns. After another solid week of running the ball and keep Rodgers off the ground, Wells remains a solid investment.
Woodson had a few grabby moments on Sunday, but he stepped up with two key interceptions. The Packers will need the old CB to remain steady throughout the season with Collins out.
Jones managed only one catch on Sunday and has just seven catches for 60 yards in his last four regular season games. I keep telling myself Jones will come in handy sometime this season, but it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon.
With Frank Zombo out, Walden had a prime opportunity to seize the starting OLB spot opposite Clay Matthews. However, Walden hasn’t generated much of a pass rush and struggles in coverage.
Fox NFL Coverage
I hate people that constantly bitch about play-by-play guys and color commentators, so my beef with Fox isn’t with Ron Pitts or Jim Mora (even though both were bad). My beef is with how Fox covers the game. I hate how they feel the need to constantly show close-ups of player’s faces after every play instead of actually showing a replay of whatever important thing just happened. I hate how after Collins got carried off on a stretcher, we never heard another word about him the rest of the game. It wouldn’t be that difficult to send someone to ask the Packers PR staff if there was an update on Collins’ status. And did Fox even mention that Ryan Pickett got injured? Finally, what’s with all the commercials? Are the number of commercials determined by the NFL or Fox? It felt like we had more commercials than gameplay. Fox ruined how politics is covered in this country. Now they’re ruining football too.
I’ve written enough for this week’s stock report, so I’ll end with this: The Packers are once again struggling to put teams away. They have a golden opportunity to beat up on a Bears team with a weak offensive line and injury issues of their own. Beating the Bears this week is a giant step toward putting them away for the season. The Packers need to step up and make it happen.——————