16

October

Packers Stock Report: Enron to Apple Edition

Clay Matthews

Packers LB Clay Matthews is rising again this week.

If you were an investor, would you invest in the Packers right now?

They’ve been a wildly up-and-down stock so far. Before the season, they were the Apple of the NFL, a juggernaut that struck gold with the iPhone and was almost guaranteed to offer a good return on your investment despite its high buy-in price.

After losing to the 49ers, they fell a bit, but bounced back quickly by rolling over Jay Cutler and the Bears.

The market didn’t know what to think after the Seahawks loss. Was it a fluke because of the replacement refs? Or did allowing eight sacks in the first half point to serious trouble?

Projections leveled again after beating the Saints and investors started buying up as much Packers stock as they could during the first half of the Colts game.

Then there was an Enron-like collapse in the second half against the Colts and investors couldn’t dump their green and gold stock certificates fast enough.

Now the Packers are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 42-24 route over the previously undefeated Texans on the road. If you were smart and bought in when the Packers stock was low after the Colts’ loss, you’re probably set to make a whole bunch of money over the next few weeks.

If you didn’t, you could still buy in if you think the Packers are on pace to return to Apple status.

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
Before Sunday’s breakout against the Texans, there were people clamoring for me to put Rodgers in the falling category. While I acknowledged that Rodgers wasn’t playing his best, he wasn’t falling. Before Sunday, Rodgers was on pace for over 4,000 yards, 30-plus touchdowns and a QB rating around 100. That’s not falling. That’s still pretty damn good. Yes, he missed a few throws he should have made and threw a few bad interceptions, but he wasn’t falling. He was human. Any talk of Rodgers falling was put to rest on Sunday…at least until his next good-but-not-great game.

Clay Matthews
I get tired just watching Matthews. Before Sunday’s game, Bob McGinn wrote about the lack of emotion and intensity on the Packers defense. The one exception was Matthews. He goes all out, each and every play of the game. It doesn’t matter if it’s a run to the opposite side of the field or a quick drop, Matthews tries to blow the play up. He was all over the place again against the Texans, making one-armed tackles on Arian Foster early and timing Matt Schaub’s cadence to get off the ball right away and disrupt the passing game.

James Jones
Jones remains the Packers best WR through six games, even with Jordy Nelson rising from the dead and Randall Cobb turning in another solid game. Jones had two touchdown catches again on Sunday – the third game in a row he’s done that — but people remain skeptical (Sam Monson at Pro Football Focus being one of those people). I’m not saying Jones will become the next Don Hutson, but can we at least pat the guy on the back for what he’s done over the last month?

Steady

Ryan Pickett
Pickett moved to nose tackle for the injured B.J. Raji and could not be budged. Chris Meyers is a good center, but he’s a little undersized and there wasn’t much he could do to move Pickett out of the way to make room for Arian Foster. I almost like Pickett at the nose better than Raji. When Raji is at his best, he’s one of the better defensive lineman in the league. But he gets wiped out by double-teams somewhat easily and isn’t at his best often enough. I wonder how the defensive line would look if Raji played more end and Pickett played more at nose?

Casey Hayward
I keep hearing about how Hayward shows promise despite lacking size and speed. Well, from what I’ve seen so far, he looks big enough and fast enough to me. Hayward was the only DB to not get burned by Reggie Wayne a few weeks ago and after picking off two passes against the Texans, he leads all rookies with three interceptions. I love how Hayward always appears to be in control. He’s never wildly flailing at the ball with his back turned to the QB or grabbing WRs after losing his balance. If he manages to stay true to his fundamentals and technique, size and speed should be the least of his problems.

Randall Cobb
I predicted that Randall Cobb would have a big game Sunday because the Texans defense is a little on the slow side. I was right (for a change), but Cobb’s game got overshadowed by Nelson’s and Jones’ ridiculous efforts. I gave the nod to Cobb in the steady category over Nelson because, well, Cobb has been more steady throughout the season. Besides Seattle where he was barely used for some reason, Cobb has been solid all year while Nelson has been hot and cold.

Falling

Jermichael Finley
Kudos to Finley for playing through pain, but he had another drop and a silly offensive pass interference penalty. I’ve been a big Finley defender over the years — he causes defenses to freak out whenever he’s on the field — but with the offense having its biggest game while Finley was mainly on the sideline, No. 88 is getting tougher and tougher to stick up for. For whatever reason, the offense seemed more innovative with Finley out, kind of like it eventually did when Finley got hurt in 2010.

B.J. Raji
Dom Capers needs to show Raji the film from Sunday’s game to highlight how consistent effort and selling out gets results. Pickett didn’t get the glory on many (if any) plays, but he did what a nose tackle was supposed to do. Too often, I see Raji checking out of a play if his initial move fails. Interior lineman aren’t going to always break through the line and make a big play, but they can still make an impact if they hang tough and clog gaps. A few of those tackles made by A.J. Hawk would not have happened if Pickett gave up on a play and got wiped off the line.

The AFC
Only two teams in the AFC have a winning record, and the Packers just shellacked one of them by 18 points in their home stadium. The NFC is stacked at the moment. Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Green Bay, Minnesota and Atlanta could all make legitimate claims that they are upper-tier teams. Meanwhile, Philadelphia, Detroit, Arizona and New Orleans have enough talent to make them difficult matchups regardless of their record. If we’re talking stocks, the AFC is down and the NFC is definitely up.

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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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20 Responses to “Packers Stock Report: Enron to Apple Edition”

  1. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    J-Mike = Average TE

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • Lucas says:

      J-Mike = Coach killer. Superb athlete killing us with lack of focus. I love that we won w/o Finley getting much attention. How long before he gets the message that this team can win w/o him? As thick as I believe him to be, two teams from now.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Chad Lundberg says:

      Finley is a talented tight end, one of the most talented. His 2009 highlights speak for themselves.

      But like I’ve said before, he doesn’t want to play like that tight end because he wants to be a wide receiver. There’s only one reason for that – money.

      It’s just a total shame because he’s such a difference maker, but he’s clearly not a wide receiver, and he has no intention of changing back to the 2009 version of himself.

      He just wants that big fat fantasy contract of his.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. hotpockets says:

    I think Picket did play nose with Raji at end last year…that did not seem to work all that well. I really liked have the big man clogging the middle while the two smaller more athlectic ends (whoever they were: Neal, Worthy, Wilson, Daniels) penetrated and provided an interior passrush or blew up running plays. It reminds me of the days with Cullen Jenkins in the line-up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Adam Czech says:

      I know Pickett played nose sporadically. Did he ever do it on a consistent basis?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • hotpockets says:

        I think that Picket (Nose) Raji (end) was the starting base D line-up. I could be wrong. Plus we don’t really play our base all that often…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    Falling-Finley???

    He’s only 3 feet from hitting the….splat..never mind.

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

    • Adam Czech says:

      A new category: The Splat category!

      Thanks Taryn.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • aaronqb says:

      Finley played injured. Cut him some slack. Sitton and Williams had sub-standard years last year. Turns out they were injured. It affects your play.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

        The only thing that stinks faster than Finley..a newborns diaper.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Charlie B says:

        I could actually buy into some slack for him as far as getting open, which he isn’t doing nearly as much, but the drops and apparently lack of confidence aren’t a result of the injury.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    Riser – Jerel Worthy. They guy was solid against the best running team in the NFL. He still has a ways to go, but he is rising in my mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. Wagszilla says:

    I wonder if Quarless will see much time this season. I really think he could be “the” Tight End.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. aaronqb says:

    Hayward steady? Sure seems on a steep rise to me. Three picks in two games makes him a riser.

    I really like the Packer depth at CB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. gpu says:

    Pickett played nose in 2009. The Packers had an excellent rush defense. For some reason they felt compelled to switch Pickett and Ragi positions and the run defense has never been as good. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the Packers played the run as well as they have in the last couple years against the Texans with Pickett back at the nose. I would never pay Raji the big contract he’s looking for. This is another guy like Finley who is a big tease. The potential and talent are there but the production for Raji with the exception of 2010 has never been. I don’t see him working very hard once he gets the big paycheck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  8. RON says:

    PLAY PICKETT ON FIRST AND SECOND DOWNS USE RAJI ON THIRD KEEPING BOTH FRESH.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. [...] All Green Bay Packers with their Packers Stock Report: Enron to Apple Edition. [...]

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  10. Barutan Seijin says:

    Raji’s been a disappointment. You don’t expect reels and reels of highlight film material from a nose, but still, you expect a little more than what he’s shown. Sunday’s game sealed it for me: the defense played better without him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Dan says:

    I agree 100% at playing Pickett at nose. He’s much harder to move and takes on double teams way better then Raji. I’m sick of watching Raji get blown 5 yards off the LOS by the double team. Didn’t the pack play Pickett more at NT in the bear game this year? That was another good defensive showing

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. JohnBlood27 says:

    does anyone else find the words “Nose” and “Pickett” being used together humorous?

    AS far as scheme and players go, Dont you think that a DL of Pickett at DT and Raji at DT-Eagle with Perry and Worthy as DE would look pretty good?

    Hawk at MLB with Matthews at Will and Walden at Sam along with Williams, Hayward, Burnett and Woodson looks pretty good for a 4-3 lineup.

    replacing Walden with Shields gives a pretty good nickle look and running House, MD Jennings, McMillian out there for a dime look is pretty strong.

    Maybe the 3-4 needs to be mixed in with more 4-3 looks.

    Look at all the different formations and schematic approaches that get used on Offense. Defense should be proactive and attacking with just as much diversity to be successful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0