17

September

Packers’ Raji Close to Dancing Again

BJ Raji

B.J. is close to dancing again in 2012.

It was nice to see Packers receiver Donald Driver show off some of those Dancing With the Stars moves after catching a touchdown Thursday against the Bears.

Driver is a legit good dancer. His form is flawless. His timing is impeccable. His rhythm makes the ladies melt.

But I think I speak for a large (literally and figuratively) segment of the Packers fanbase when I say that it’s time for B.J. Raji to reclaim his crown as the Dancing King of the Green Bay Packers.

It’s been fun watching you bust a move or two, Donald, but you’re too good. You’re the guy at weddings that every other guy hates. You know, the one who dances so well that every lady in the place is inspired to drag their husbands on the dance floor, then storm off angry 30 seconds later when they realize their slobby husbands can’t do half of the stuff you can do on the dance floor.

Yes, it’s time for Raji to stand up for all the fatsos and guys with two left feet in Packer nation and start dancing again. If he keeps playing like he is, it might not be long before “The Raji” returns.

No Dancing in 2011
Even though he made the pro bowl, Raji had a season to forget in 2011.

According to Pro Football Focus, Raji was the worst 3-4 defensive tackle in the NFL. His -19.1 overall rating was the worst in football.

Raji especially struggled against double teams, getting completely wiped out of plays and not clogging up gaps like a good 3-4 defensive lineman should.

The Packers were desperate for a defensive lineman to generate some pass rush last season as well, and Raji never stepped up. Yes, it’s rare for 3-4 lineman to get after the QB, but Raji was expected to provide some pressure and rarely came through.

Looking Good in 2012
So far things are looking up for the 337-pounder in 2012.

Pro Football Focus gave Raji a 2.7 overall and a 2.0 against the run against the Bears. He had three solo stops leading to an offensive failure and a batted pass against the Bears. He also has a quarterback hurry in each of the first two games.

Raji has also busted through a few times on pass rushes and is getting closer and closer to making a dance-worthy play.

Getting There
If Raji builds on what he did Thursday, a big play will come. Maybe it’ll be a sack, maybe he’ll force a fumble, maybe he’ll blow up a double team and stop a RB in the backfield on 4th and 1.

When the Packers drafted Nick Perry, everyone talked about how he’s going to help Clay Matthews. We kind of forgot what newcomers like Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels might do to help Raji.

Guys like Raji don’t get many opportunities to dance. D-linemen in the 3-4 work in the muck and don’t get the glory. But talents like Raji can work in the muck and make plays, especially if they have a little help up front.

The Raji’s of the world can get their name called by the television announcersoccasionally and we’ve heard Raji’s name a few times through the first two weeks. There were too many stretches last season where Raji’s name went for weeks without being called.

I think it’s coming folks:

Show me what you got, what you got, Raji…

Sorry Donald Driver, the Cha-Cha has nothing on The Raji.

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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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24 Responses to “Packers’ Raji Close to Dancing Again”

  1. NYPACKER says:

    Less snaps may equal better play in Raji’s case.

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    • Mark says:

      Good point. I don’t remember the % of snaps he played last year, but it was north of 75% which is way too many for a guy his size. Hopefully Worthy will allow him to take more breaks.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Mike says:

        More like north of 85%. If I recall correctly, Raji’s percentage was somewhere around the 88-92% range…

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  2. Mark says:

    Make or break year for Raji. He is one of those guys we need to lock up or move on. I like him, but considering the money he will demand at that position, he needs to show more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  3. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

    • Adam Czech says:

      Taryn:

      A couple of things:

      1. The first step to enjoying the dance floor is to drink a lot of beer. I mean a lot of beer. And if that doesn’t work, mix in some Crown Royal and a few Jag bombs.

      2. Slow dances are fine. They’re easy. You go out there, embrace your partner, waddle back and forth a little, and everyone is happy. Men who don’t at least slow dance w/ their ladies are useless. I’ll give you that.

      3. Once that slow dance ends, and a Ricky Martin or whatever else song starts up, you ladies expect us to stay out there and perform. That’s when problems arise.

      4. I’ve heard the “it’s not about how good of a dancer you are” line a million times. It’s a trick every girl uses to con their man onto the dance floor. Personally, I fall for it every time, and every time my feelings end up being crushed.

      5. I go out there, I start raising the roof, maybe I mix in the lawn mower or sprinkler move. If I’m feeling really good, I might even try to shuffle my feet a little. This lasts about 14 seconds before whatever female I happen to be dancing with begins to mock and ridicule me and run away as fast as she can. These types of moments explain my low self-esteem and why I’m a blogger.

      5. If air guitar moves are ever officially considered dancing, male dancing will improve by 500%. I have some sweet air guitar moves that I bust out for appropriate songs. The world would be a better place if the air guitar was more universally accepted.

      6. This needs to be said one more time: Beer fixes most dancing issues.

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      • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

        You’re #1 appears to be the protcol for all your dates or at least why they respond as in your first #5…RUNNING AWAY!!

        You’re in luck as to your second #5..there’s one thing that this world will never run out off..AIR…which allows you to fantasy strum yourself for as long as you both shall live.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      • Nostrodomus says:

        Lawn mower? Sprinkler? Once again, even I didn’t that coming.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. @GBPlitz says:

    The entire defense had a down year last year. With the start that Matthews is having, that will absolutely open up more opportunites for everyone, including Raji. Throw in what NYPACKER said regarding less snaps (or more meaningful snaps) and, if he takes advantage of it, he will be back in the Pro Bowl… this time just more deserving.

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  5. Nostrodomus says:

    Meant to say “see that coming”.

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  6. Chad Lundberg says:

    I guess for B.J., he’s can ONLY BE quality over quantity, and never the other way around.

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  7. Adam says:

    Less snaps on defense = a few on offense?

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  8. Adam says:

    As far as new dances…Maybe he can learn the “Grave-Digger”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. BrianD says:

    I’m astounded you cited numbers from PFF without also adding in the numbers from the first week (50% of the info from this young season!) Sure Raji showed improvement last Thursday, but who didn’t?

    Raji had a -2.0 grade in Week 1, which was among the worst of all DTs during opening week. Here’s to hoping he continues to step up!

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  10. Jay says:

    Anybody know what % he played against the Bears? McGinn noted the snaps for others, but not Raji…

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  11. [...] « Packers’ Raji Close to Dancing Again [...]

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  12. A_Lerxst_in_Packerland says:

    I think “The Raji” should be reserved for TDs, since that was its founding precedent. And yes, I would very much like to see it performed again this year – especially in the post-season!

    (I think Gilbert Brown probably trademarked the “Grave-Digger” celebration. Although he might not object to Raji using it in homage after flattening an opposing QB.)

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    • Oppy says:

      Gilbert Brown has seemingly not spoken well of BJ Raji on the radio. Some of his passing comments lead me to believe he might think Raji is a poser or some kind of powder puff.

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  13. Dan says:

    Raji needs to redeem himself this year. He was a stud in 2010 and a dud in 11. I watched him get creamed on double teams all last year and in pre-season this year, and very little in terms of pass rush. Now he has more help around him and has a new contract to work for. Come BJ, kick some @ss this year.

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  14. Tom Manske says:

    With the new players in the line and at Linebacker it will help all of these defensive players, taking on double teams should free up someone else.
    It was to easy last year to just double team Clay always.

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