13

December

Week 15 Packers Stock Report: Smith and Nelson Rising, Newhouse and Finley Falling

Remember when blowout wins were fun? The Packers destroyed the Raiders on Sunday, but a lot of the fun was ruined by various Packers hobbling off the field and the star QB taking too many hits.

This is where we’re at as Packers fans these days. Instead of basking in the glory of a 46-16 win, we’re worrying about the health of the team.

It’s kind of a weird feeling. Whenever I see Aaron Rodgers running around or another player trying to fight off tacklers for a couple extra yards, I start yelling at the TV: “Yeah! Go! Go! Go…..wait a minute! Don’t get hurt! Just go down!”

Don’t get me wrong. I want the Packers to go for 19-0 and I think they will, but damn, it sure makes for some nerve-wrecking moments in these final regular season games. Thankfully, it appears that Greg Jennings will be back for the playoffs.

Time for the stock report. I left Rodgers off this week, mostly because I was sick of always trying to come up with something new to say about how good he is.

Rising

D.J. Smith
Mike McCarthy gave game balls to Smith and fellow backup ILB Robert Francois after Sunday’s win. Smith’s 10 tackles and one interception also earned him a spot in the rising category. Smith has 24 tackles since replacing the injured Desmond Bishop on Thanksgiving.

Jordy Nelson
I’m curious to see how Nelson plays with Jennings on the sideline. With Jennings on the field, Nelson has been on fire, totaling 80 yards or more in three of his last four games. He also has three touchdowns over that span.

Donald Driver
I went to the week four game against the Broncos. Driver got carted to the locker room after getting drilled in the knee in the first half. He could barely walk and he had the towel over his head. It didn’t look good. At halftime, Vic Ketchman appeared on the Lambeau big screen and told us that Driver would not return. Literally 10 seconds later, Driver trotted onto the field and started warming up. He returned, and even caught a TD later in the game. Now Driver is heating up again and it couldn’t come at a better time.

Steady

Scott Wells
Look, I’m not an X’s and O’s expert. I try to do more than just watch the ball during a game, but I can’t sit here and say I know everything there is to know about offensive line schemes, blocking assignments and other stuff that goes on away from the ball. But I do know this: The interior of the Packers line has played well since Josh Sitton got hurt and somebody deserves credit. The running game has improved and it appears that most of the QB pressures are coming from the edges. I’m putting Wells in the steady category, but I’ll gladly listen if you want to make a case for someone else on the offensive line.

Mike McCarthy
Missing his LT, RG, RB, S, and both ILBs (am I missing anyone?), McCarthy has the Packers 13-0. For more on how great McCarthy has been, check out this piece from Bob McGinn.

Falling

Jermichael Finley
I think Finley is a great player. I also think the Packers should bring him back next season, using either the franchise tag or a multi-year contract. Finley scares the you know what out of other defenses. But even the loudest YOTTO shouters have to shake their heads at Finley’s play over the last couple of weeks. Finley needs to hang onto the ball when it’s thrown to him and he needs to catch jump balls in the end zone against smaller defenders, not let them turn into interceptions.

Marshall Newhouse
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Newhouse and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Instead of patching up the defense for the stretch run, the coaching staff now has to worry about Rodgers’ blind side and whether Newhouse can hold up during the most important part of the season. I’m not counting Newhouse out yet, but getting Clifton back would be huge.

Carson Palmer
Palmer has 13 interceptions in seven games. He only has two games with a QB rating higher than 100. He’s only thrown for nine touchdowns. If Tim Tebow was playing this bad, people would get their torches and pitchforks and run him out of the league. But for some reason, people want to make excuses for Palmer.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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26 Responses to “Week 15 Packers Stock Report: Smith and Nelson Rising, Newhouse and Finley Falling”

  1. Bubbaloo says:

    1.) It will be hard to keep Smith and Francois on the bench. 2.) It’s time to see the ‘Old’ Driver and the ‘New’ Cobb, Jones will shine, and rumors of Tori Gurley. Losing Jennings hurts but we’ll be fine! 3.) What the hell does YOTTO mean anyway? Finley needs to step it up! 4.) YES, McPuffy deserves tons of credit for all this.
    And 5.) Where do you stop, I could go on and on!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • BubbaOne says:

      Finley tweeted that upon his return it would be YOTTO-Year Of The TakeOver.

      …And stop giving Bubbas’ everywhere a bad name. It’s time to put the McPuffy, McFatty, etc. crap to bed once and for all. If you lived through the 70′s and 80′s you should be thanking MM (66-34 record) for continuing the two decade long renaissance in Packer history.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • Adam Czech says:

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Francois in for Hawk in passing situations.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • Savage57 says:

      YOTTO is the kind of year that Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and our own Jordy Nelson are having and that Finley talks about.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. BubbaOne says:

    Newhouse was at LT on 4 scoring drives Sunday. Any LT is having trouble vs Pierre-Paul. MM said Newhouse was the #1 backup at any position except C. Being in essence a rookie he’s held up reasonably well.
    BTW-It was a great move to get Sherrod some reps at LT, Newhouse at RG, and EDS at C. If there’s an injury during the playoffs these guys will have had some reps at those positions. Next year, using MM’s mantra of having the 5 best OL I could see Sherrod/Newhouse at LT, Newhouse/Bulaga/Lang at LG, Wells/Lang at C, Sitton at RG, and Bulaga/Newhouse at RT. I think Lang’s played well this year but he may end up being a super sub.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • JimR_in_DC says:

      I like the line you foresee, BubbaOne. And I think Bubbaloo is right about Smith and Francois needing to be active contributors on defense. What surprises me the most is that I find that I’m agreeing with so many Bubbas. :D

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      according to pro football focus bulaga has rated out as the top RT in all of football this year. moving him from RT would be insane. He is playing great this year, and he has played well even though his linemate has been out. The only position that is up for grabs next year is LT. Lang has been plenty good enough to keep his job.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

        i am assuming we re-sign wells when i say that only one position is up for grabs. but i read an article that wells wants top five center money. i would not pay him that much. he is a good player, but not the big mauler type that will get top five money. and he is on the wrong side of 30.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • BubbaOne says:

          So if Wells leaves and maybe Lang moves to C, then what? That’s why I’m entertaining the thought of moving Bulaga to LG. He may make pro bowls at RT but maybe he makes the HOF as a guard. Someone wrote Newhouse was just serviceable at G so he may have to play T where he’s performed decently.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Oppy says:

            Since they originally acquired him, the Packers have hoped that EDS could be the center of the future.

            I don’t know that he is, but that is clearly the intention for the man.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Mike says:

    Prior to the Quarless injury, I thought TT would let Finley go. I would have agreed with that. Finley’s raw athleticism demands notice and some team will be willing to invest big bucks. I would have said that Green Bay cannot afford to give Finley that kind of money. Not for the production they have gotten from him.

    Now, with Quarless out this year and potentially next as well, I don’t know. Green Bay may have no choice but to keep Finley.

    We’ll have to watch the development of the rest of the TEs to see what TT will do.

    @mcseiltz

    I still don’t think Finley is worthe the price he will demand. Drawing coverage is not enough to justify big money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Adam Czech says:

      You can franchise players for year after year now, so I’m guessing that’s what TT does with Finley next season. And maybe even the year after that….and the year after…..and the year after that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Ron LC says:

    There is a book out on Newhouse. The one player that cannot be replaced is AR. The blindside hits are inexcusible and Newhouse is simply not doing his job. Maybe Kuhn could have helped on the one vicious hit but he was not looking in that direction. Why do you think MM sat his butt down? Sherrod demonstrated he is not ready yet. With help from Wells EDS is servicable. TJ is performing at a very high level this year and, to me, is a long-term answer at LG. The weak link is LT. Either Campen coaches up Newhouse to get him back on track or they should move Bulaga to LT. At least, if the rush comes from the right AR can see it coming.

    The deficiency at LT puts AR at risk unneccarily. If it can be coached up, great. If not a dramtic move is required.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

    Finley falling but,wait a second now…isn’t he the guy that ALLOWS the WRs to catch balls because he is so overwhelmingly doubled up as proven by the end zone drop(miss,bad throw by AR,shoe was loose,arms went numb) which by chance if he had YOTTO-ized that(ahem)ogre-sized DB,would have some demanding he be garnered the contract of a lifetime and be forgiven again until…
    Gronkowski film,Gronkowski film,Gronkowski film
    get some “Yotto”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. JimR_in_DC says:

    For Finley to be an effective decoy, he has to regularly catch the ball.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Mr. Bacon Mr. Bacon says:

    While Finley is tanking, I think he will do better in the playoffs else Thompson WILL find someone else for a TE position

    How dare D.J. Smith for doing good! Not trying to start a fire, but why did the defense suddenly become better when Hawk was out. The knack on Hawk through his time in Green Bay was that he was a serviceable starter but never a 1st round pick. He was a great tackler, but never really had game changing plays. So what does D.J. do, he tip drills Carson’s pass into his hand.

    Does this mean D.J. is better than Hawk; No. I bet next year though one of the questions will be during the summer will be the likes “Barnett vs. Bishop”. Especially if D.J. starts causing havok with Forced Fumbles.

    Marshall Newhouse is excluded on my list personally. In fact, until the Packers lose. Newhouse is AWESOME. Does he let Aaron get sacked, yeah. Still Aaron is able to win every single game, so he does some things right. This is a Rookie Tackle, and not a 1st rounder… has tons of stuff to improve and tossing him into the fire like this is not really going to end right on the first year.

    On a finishing note. This game changed, when Zombo was on the active list. Just because the name Zombo is awesome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Mojo says:

    Let me see; rookie D.J. Smith has 22 solos tackles as the starter for approximately 2&1/2 games(I threw out the two solos prior to the Detroit game) while A.J. Hawk as the starter has 38 solo tackles for 10&1/2 games. For Smith that averages to nearly 9 solo tackles a game as the starter compared to approximately 3&1/3rd for Hawk. And we want Hawk as our starter, why?

    D.J.> A.J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Adam Czech says:

      Where do you get 22 tackles for Smith? I have 18 since he came in during the Lions game.

      I’m asking because I’m doing a post on Smith vs. Hawk for later this week and want to make sure my numbers are accurate.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      To be completely fair, you would really need to gauge Smith’s solo tackles vs. Hawk’s solo tackles:

      1) Over a similar span of time

      2) While playing next to Desmond Bishop

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Mojo says:

    Hawk is approximately 3&2/3 per game.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Wagszilla says:

    As I said elsewhere – if DJ Smith learns how to blitz, AJ’s time in Green Bay is over.

    Also comparing tackles in numbers is incredibly misleading. DJ is a impact player with great intuition and nose for the ball.
    AJ, like Barnett most of his career – has always been a step behind.

    And the most disturbing thing about Finley’s performance isn’t dropped balls. It’s pre snap issues (penalties, never being in position) and lazy route running. For a guy who wants WR money he sure is a mediocre WR. I’m a huge supporter, a YOTTO-ite, but his performance has been inexcusable the last few weeks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. [...] so much so that many are calling for Hawk’s role to be reduced (see the comments sections here and [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Shavager says:

    DJ Smith REPLACED Bishop in LB core, not Hawk though he’s giving the defensive signals. Robert Francois has been playing in Hawk’s position and doing well. Newhouse as a rookie against some of the name pass rushers has held up for the most part. Sherrod came in after Packers got a big lead, look for more substitutions this week against Chiefs unless Orton plays QB and some miracle production by Chiefs defense keeps game close–Orton has better chance of playing for Bears again than KC has shot at winning this game against GB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0