Week 4 Packers Stock Report: Burnett and Wynn Rising, Peprah and Sherrod Falling
The Green Bay Packers showed why they are the best team in the NFL on Sunday by beating the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field and improving to 3-0. The Packers were by far the more talented team on the field Sunday, and should have won by more than 10 points.
The Packers stock continues to rise, but there are still a few things the Packers need to do in order to be considered dominant:
- Put teams away. Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers finally figured out how to win close games last season. Now they need to figure out how to not make games so close.
- Improve against the pass. I don’t know if it’s possible to be a dominant defense in today’s NFL, but the Packers need to do a better job against the pass.
- More consistency in the pass rush. I’m looking at you Clay Matthews. We can talk about containment and setting the edge all we want, but Matthews needs to get in the QB’s face and bring him down. He hasn’t done that so far.
The Packers have to be very happy with everything they’ve gotten out of Burnett so far. Essentially still a rookie, he’s been in on a couple of big run stops, picked off three passes and showed tremendous athleticism. Some people questioned his aggressiveness out of college, but he’s looked aggressive to me. With Nick Collins done for the season, Burnett needs to keep playing the way he is (and stay healthy).
Who needs Cullen Jenkins? Or Mike Neal? Not the Packers, especially with the way Jarius Wynn is playing. Wynn had two sacks on Sunday and has plugged holes up front admirably. Teams can’t run the ball on Green Bay so far and Wynn is a big reason why. He’s also providing some much needed pass rush. You could put Raji or Pickett in the rising category as well, but I went with Wynn because few people expected him to play at this level.
I told you Finley needed to kick down the door against the Bears. And he did.
It wouldn’t be a game at Soldier Field without everyone on the Packers offensive line moving before the snap and holding defenders. While the rest of the o-line kept committing head-scratching penalties, Wells just kept blocking his man, opening holes for Ryan Grant and keeping Aaron Rodgers off the turf (which was apparently booby trapped). The Packers have 327 yards rushing through three games, but you would never know it because of all the attention given to Rodgers and the passing game. Much like the running game, Wells doesn’t get much recognition. And that’s probably fine with him.
Even when he’s covered, Rodgers still throws it to Jennings and he comes down with the catch. Jennings is probably the smoothest route-runner in the NFL, and one of the league’s most consistent WRs.
Pickett could also make a good case for the rising category, but he’s been so consistently good that the steady category seems like a more logical fit. At least once per game, we’re seeing Pickett get up after stuffing a RB behind the line, pull his undersized jersey over his belly, and celebrate. It’s a sight I hope to see more and more as the season continues.
I know it’s probably unfair to label someone as falling after one start, but the Packers don’t have the luxury of being patient with Peprah. He needs to perform. Now. Peprah gave up three big plays against the Bears. That’s not going to cut it, especially when the Packers have to face the likes of Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford in the near future.
Mike McCarthy calls it “convenient criticism” to go after Sherrod, a first-round pick. McCarthy might be right, but Sherrod still belongs in the falling category. I know expectations were low for Sherrod in his first season, but inactive for the season’s first three games? I don’t think expectations were that low. Sherrod has an entire career to climb out of this dreaded category, but right now, he’s falling.
As long as the Packers win, the final slot in the falling category usually is reserved for someone or something not directed related to the Packers. This week, it’s Cutler. No further explanation needed.
I’ll be at Lambeau on Sunday to watch the Packers beat the Broncos by such a wide margin that the NFL will reverse the result of Super Bowl XXXII and give it to Green Bay. I’m hoping Packers fans bring the noise and energy so they can be included in the rising category next week.