7

February

Tim Masthay: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Tim Masthay

Tim Masthay

1) Introduction: The Packers didn’t need to use Tim Masthay that much this season, but on the rare occasions he trotted onto the field, he did what he needed to do.

2) Profile:

Timothy James Masthay

Position: P
Height: 6-1
Weight: 200 lbs.
AGE: 24

Career Stats:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Keep rolling. Masthay closed the 2010 season with a bang by punting well in the playoffs, especially against Devin Hester and the Bears in the NFC Championship.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Masthay’s net average of 38.6 yards per punt was the best net by a Packers punter in 48 years. Lowlights have to be whenever Mashtay stepped on the field because, well, that meant the Packers were punting.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: The Packers horrible defense needed all the field position help it could get. Masthay’s punts landed inside the 20 yard line almost 50 percent of the time and I can’t remember any horrible shanks.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Masthay contributed too often in the playoffs. If he remained on the sideline and didn’t contribute anything, this space would be used to preview the Packers Super Bowl matchup instead of an end-of-season report card on the team’s punter.

Season Report Card:

(B+) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B

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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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7

February

Mason Crosby: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Mason Crosby

Mason Crosby

1) Introduction: With the security of a new contract and inspiration from our own Jersey Al, Mason Crosby had an excellent season. Hopefully it’s a giant step in the right direction for Crosby and not a one-year occurrence.

2) Profile:

Mason Walker Crosby

Position: K
Height: 6-1
Weight: 207 lbs.
AGE: 27

Career Stats:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Step up. Packers fans were sick of hearing about Crosby’s powerful leg and all his untapped ability. They wanted to see that ability actually tapped. For the most part, Crosby delivered.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Field goals of 56 and 58 yards against the Falcons and Vikings, respectively, stand out. So do all of Crosby’s booming kickoffs. He faded a bit down the stretch in the field goal department, missing two of his last three attempts.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: As impressive as Crosby’s 85.7 field-goal percentage was, perhaps just as impressive was his career high 65-yard kickoff average. Kick coverage has been a sore spot for the Packers recently, but Crosby’s booming kicks deep in the end zone made sure the Packers didn’t have to worry too much about coverage breakdowns.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: It would have been nice if Crosby could have saved one of his excellent onside kicks for the playoff loss. Oh well. He did make both of his field goal attempts in the playoff game, however.

Season Report Card:

(B+) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B-) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B

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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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2

February

Ryan Pickett: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Ryan Pickett

Ryan Pickett

1) Introduction: Ryan Pickett was another Packers defensive linemen who was a non-factor as a pass rusher this season. To be fair, however, Pickett isn’t on the team to run around and chase after quarterbacks.

2) Profile:

Ryan Lamont Pickett

Position: DE
Height: 6-2
Weight: 340 lbs.
AGE: 32

Career Stats:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Run stuffer. When Pickett wasn’t on the field, the Packers run defense suffered noticably. When healthy, Pickett usually did what he was supposed to do: Plug holes, absorb double teams and make plays as a run stopper.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Pickett’s highlights usually aren’t a thing of beauty unless you consider two large men failing miserably to block another large man a thing of beauty. I also enjoy Pickett’s celebration whenever he makes a play in the backfield. Big guys celebrating are always cool. Pickett’s health problems were his main lowlight. The defense went from bad to worse when he wasn’t playing.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Pickett is one of the better 3-4 defensive lineman in the NFL at taking on and absorbing double teams that allow linebackers to roam free and make plays. He also had 4.5 tackles for loss, his career-best with the Packers.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Having Pickett healthy allowed the Packers to leave Howard Green inactive and get more of a pass rush. Unfortunately, that idea worked in theory only as the Packers rarely pressured Eli Manning. Pickett does deserve plenty of credit for limiting the Giants ground game, though.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B

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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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1

February

B.J. Raji: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

B.J. Raji

B.J. Raji

1) Introduction: This was supposed to the season where Raji established himself as a top defensive lineman. He never made that leap, and it killed the Packers down the stretch.

2) Profile:

Busari Raji Jr.

Position: NT
Height: 6-2
Weight: 337 lbs.
AGE: 25

Career Stats:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Stud. After totaling 39 tackles, 6.5 sacks and dancing his way to the Super Bowl in 2010, Raji appeared to be on the verge of greatness. Unfortunately, he only managed to achieve halfway decentness. Raji’s numbers dropped to 22 tackles and three sacks in 2011 and he never was the consistent game-changing force that the Packers so desperately needed up front.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: With four tackles and a sack against Carolina in week two, Raji got off to a hot start.   He followed that performance by getting shut out next week at Chicago, which was the story of Raji’s season. Just when you thought he was about to get going and show us a new dance move or two, Raji disappeared.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Raji played almost 80 percent of the defensive snaps, so he’s durable. But you also have to wonder if Raji’s workload from the last two seasons wore him down. Looks can be deceiving, but Raji’s doughy body doesn’t appear to conducive to carrying a heavy workload. It’ll be interesting to see what the Packers do with Raji next season. Will they give him more snaps at DE, where he generates a good rush every now and then? Or will they keep him inside, even though he tends to get pushed around more than a player with his size and skills should?

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Filling in this category for the defensive line evaluations has been redundant. Raji didn’t contribute much in the postseason because the Packers pass rush was dismal.

Season Report Card:

(C-) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: C+

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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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29

January

Brett Goode: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Brett Goode

Brett Goode

1) Introduction: I wouldn’t mind having Brett Goode’s life. He pals around with Aaron Rodgers, gets a front row seat to watch the Packers every Sunday and does the only job he’s assigned to do very well.

2) Profile:

Brett Goode

Position: LS
Height: 6-1
Weight: 255 lbs.
AGE: 27

Career Stats:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Avoid the closeup. If the long snapper gets a closeup on TV, it’s usually because he just snapped the ball over the punter’s head. Goode managed to stay off TV this season

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Every time Goode hits the punter or the holder right in the hands, it’s a highlight. Lowlights have to be only managing one tackle. At 6-1, 255 pounds, Goode just doesn’t have the size to be an impact player once the ball is kicked.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Both Mason Crosby and Tim Masthay had good seasons and some of that credit goes to Goode. It means a lot when a long snapper has good velocity and puts the ball right where it needs to be.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Unfortunately, the Packers had to punt more often than they would have liked. At least Goode’s snaps were accurate.

Season Report Card:

(B+) Level of expectations met during the season
(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B

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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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28

January

Jarius Wynn: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Jarius Wynn

Jarius Wynn

1) Introduction: For a couple games early in the season, it looked like Jarius Wynn had a shot at becoming the next no-name player to become a name player on the Packers roster. Unfortunately, Wynn fizzled out and got stuck in no-name playerville, a city populated by several Packers defensive linemen.

2) Profile:

Jarius Jessereel Wynn

Position: DE
Height: 6-3
Weight: 285 lbs.
AGE: 22

Career Stats:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Pass rusher. Nobody expected Wynn to morph into Reggie White, but as a smallish DE, the Packers needed him to use his quickness to get after the QB. He got after it for a while, but couldn’t sustain his early-season success.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Wynn had two sacks against the Bears in week three and three sacks through the first three games. Some of us were saying, “Cullen Jenkins who?” Unfortunately, Wynn never recorded another sack and the rest of the season was mostly a low-light.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: He helped out a lot the first month of the season. But once the QB pressures dried up, he was a liability against the run.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Like the rest of the defensive line, Wynn didn’t contribute much in the playoffs.

Season Report Card:

(D) Level of expectations met during the season
(D+) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(F) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: D

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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

January

James Starks: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

James Starks

James Starks

1) Introduction: Many dubbed Starks the savior of the Packers’ backfield after injuries hit that unit hard to begin 2010. Amidst unreasonable expectations, Starks eventually came off the PUP list and rushed for a respectable 73 yards in his NFL debut against the 49ers. The Packers then relied on Starks during the postseason to give them the balance they had been missing all season, and the rookie from Buffalo responded with a postseason-high 315 rushing yards, including 123 yards in the Wild Card round against the Eagles.

2) Profile:

James Darcell Starks

Position: RB

Height: 6-2
Weight: 218 lbs.
Age: 25

Career Stats

3) Expectations coming into the season: Despite Starks’ postseason numbers and the explosiveness he showed in the 2011 preseason, the Packers were dead-set on committing to a two-back system with both Starks and a fully-healed Ryan Grant. Without the initial possibility of full-time carries, like he saw during the 2010-11 playoffs, expectations for Starks were tempered. Still, most foresaw Starks taking hold of the position at some time during the season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Through the first 11 weeks, Starks was clearly the best back on the Packers roster. He sought out contact and ran violently, but also showed an elusiveness once he got to the second level. Only a hiccup against Chicago in Week 3 could be seen as a low-light early on. But things went downhill in a hurry after Starks suffered an ankle injury against the Buccaneers in Week 11. From there, the injuries piled up and the numbers vanished. Starks’ best games, production-wise, came against Carolina (85 yards, including 40-yard run) and Minnesota (75 yards). Following the Bucs game, Starks rushed for just 80 yards over the final seven games (including playoffs).

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Starks was an improved player in 2011, both as an open-field runner and in his assignments as a receiver and pass blocker. The Packers rewarded him for that improvement with a majority of the carries over the first 11 weeks. Considering his injury-plauged finish, Starks still led the team in rushing with 621 yards in 15 games (including playoffs). He was a shell of himself when he came back from his injury, and Starks needs to show that he can stay healthy for a full season before anyone can consider him a huge factor moving forward.