Packers Stock Report: Win and the Packers are in Edition
The Packers win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday was their best victory since winning Super Bowl XLV.
Sure, the Packers won 15 games and lit up scoreboards all over the NFL in 2011, but none of the 15 triumphs was as fulfilling as Sunday’s comeback over America’s (Most Annoying) Team.
Yes, the Packers persevered through a bunch of injuries and won a playoff game in 2012, but even the postseason win wasn’t as awesome as what happened in the Jerry Dome on Sunday.
Now that Justin “Robo Leg” Tucker connected on a 61-yard field goal that put the Packers back in control of their own destiny, the Frozen Tundra is buzzing about a possible repeat of 2010′s late-season magic. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before that happens, though.
Can the defense get it together for a full game? As the Packers offense goes, so goes the defense. If the offense sputters for more than a half, can the defense pick up the slack?
Will Dr. Pat McKenzie clear Aaron Rodgers? C’mon, Doc. Rub some dirt on the QB’s collarbone and let him play.
What’s wrong with Clay Matthews? The team’s second highest paid player can’t win a one-on-one matchup to save his life right now. He showed some burst when he rushed from the middle linebacker slot on Sunday. Perhaps that will get him going.
Who made this week’s Packers Stock report? That’s the most important question of them all. Let’s find out:
I was convinced that it was Tolzien Time at halftime on Sunday. Flynn’s release is so slow and everything he does seems to be a half-second behind where it needs to be. I thought McCarthy might give Tolzien and his stronger arm with a quicker trigger another shot after the first half debacle, but he stuck with Flynn, changed the gameplan around, and pulled out a victory.
Lacy might not be able to run away from defenders, but he makes defenders want to run away from him with how hard and physical he runs.
Week in and week out, with Rodgers, Flynn, Tolzein or whomever at QB, Boykin contributes. Over the course of a year, he’s gone from a slow-footed longshot to a dependable receiver. And he’s tough to bring down. Once he gets a head of steam, would-be tacklers are flying backwards after contact.
He never did become the shutdown corner we thought he would, but there’s nothing wrong with “only” being a dependable corner. What has impressed me most about Williams over the last six weeks is his sudden desire to play physical. He’s still not a great tackler, but he at least brings it now. No more half-assing it by diving at the feet of running backs or retreating in fear when a strong back comes barreling around the edge.
Kind of a younger and faster version of what Williams has become. Shields won’t shut down anyone for a whole game, but he makes plays and has developed a physical streak to him that wasn’t there earlier in his career.
Whenever I see Lang pulling and heading upfield at a linebacker or a frightened defensive back, I know something good is about to happen. On Sunday, Lang showed his speed by getting to the second level on the Starks’ screen that went for a TD. He also held Jason Hatcher (nine sacks) without a pressure all game.
I am completely baffled by Raji’s disappearance over the last six weeks. He was a little bit better against the Cowboys, but still got outplayed by the more active and energetic Josh Boyd, in my opinion. If the Packers run defense is going to turn things around, Raji will need to awaken from his slumber.
You could easily put M.D. Jennings in this slot, but Burnett just got paid, so he gets the honors. Burnett isn’t fast enough to close on balls that hang in the air and he’s not physical enough to tackle or scare anybody crossing over the middle. Ted Thompson should demand a refund.
For as much grief as we give McCarthy for his playcalling, imagine if Garrett coached in Green Bay? The Packers often put eight defenders in the box to stop the run in the first half and DeMarco Murray still rattled off long gains. For some inexplicable reason, Garrett decided to ditch the ground game with a big lead in the second half and it cost his team a victory.