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.

16

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – B.J. Raji

1) Introduction: I remember being disappointed when the Green Bay Packers drafted B.J. Raji ninth overall in 2009. I really wanted the Packers to take OL Michael Oher. The ninth spot might have been a little high for Oher, but I hated Green Bay’s offensive line. Midway through the season, I looked like a genius. Aaron Rodgers was getting pummeled, the Packers were playing musical chairs at LT, and Raji was fighting nagging injuries while trying to figure out if he was a DE or NT. Boy how times have changed. Raji moved to NT permanently this season and became the anchor of the Packers’ 3-4 defense. Raji is difficult to move out of the way when run blocking, and also provides a pass rush up the middle — a rarity for 3-4 NT. And one more thing: Oher may have a book and movie about his life, but Raji has a nickname, “The Freezer,” and a dance that’s sweeping the nation.

2) Profile:

Busari J. Raji Jr.

Position: DT
Height: 6-2    Weight: 334 lbs.

Born: July 11, 1986 in New York, NY
College: Boston College (school history)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 1st round (9th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: High. 2010 was Raji’s time to step up. If the Packers were going to get the most out of their still new 3-4 defense, they needed a big season from Raji. Raji met those initial expectations, but then those expectations changed. Injuries to Cullen Jenkins, Mike Neal, Ryan Pickett, and Justin Harrell left the Packers thin on the defensive line at various points this season. The Packers asked Raji to do even more — to be more disruptive and to consistently get after the quarterback. Raji did not shy away from the revised expectations and turned in a breakout season.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Highlights included sacking Tom Brady twice in week 14, his pick-six in the NFC Championship, and solidifying the up-the-middle run defense (along with Howard Green) while Dom Capers figured out what to do at linebacker. Lowlights were a lackluster Super Bowl against the Steelers backup center and occasionally disappearing early in the season.