Packers Stock Report: The Bye Week is Finally Here Edition

Tom Crabtree

Packers TE Tom Crabtree hauls in a 72-yard touchdown against the Cardinals

The NFL season never unfolds how we think it will. The same can be said about the Packers 2012 season.Who could have predicted the following?

  • Tom Crabtree having more long touchdown catches than any wide receiver.
  • 10 starters missing time with injuries.
  • Special teams being a bright spot despite Mason Crosby going into a funk.
  • James Jones being the team’s best wide receiver.
  • Erik Walden having a solid season (Jersey Al actually nailed this one).
It feels like a season’s worth of stuff has already happened to the Packers, but it’s only week nine.
With all the injuries, the bye week is much needed. The stock report does not rest, however.
Here we go.
New Feature: A few of the writers here on AllGreenBayPackers.com have put together a podcast based on Adam’s Stock Report. Want more discussion and other writer’s views on who’s rising and who’s falling? You got it! You can download the podcast from itunes or use the player below. Give a listen:

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James Jones
Is James Jones the runner-up for Packers first-half MVP (behind Aaron Rodgers)? I’d probably put him behind Clay Matthews, but a case could be made that Jones has been the second most valuable player through nine games. Jones has not only made the routine catches, he’s now developed a knack for catching spectacular touchdowns like his grab before halftime on Sunday.

Randall Cobb
I think Ted Thompson hired a mad cheesehead scientist who went into a lab before the 2011 draft, took bits and pieces from Darren Sproles, Wes Welker and Percy Harvin, and created Randall Cobb. Those players do a bit of everything, and do it well. That’s been Cobb all season.

Erik Walden
I originally put Walden in the steady category because he doesn’t do anything flashy. But the rising category isn’t just for flashy players, so I bumped Walden up. Walden’s run defense is much improved and he even holds his own in coverage when asked to do so. He was just a split-second late getting to John Skelton on Sunday, but managed to get an interception and make a key tackle for a loss on an important late third down play.




Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 31, Cardinals 17

Packers WR Randall Cobb

Packers WR Randall Cobb had another big game on Sunday against the Cardinals.

As Packers players kept limping off the field Sunday, Aaron Rodgers kept his team moving forward. Well, for the most part, anyway.

There were some frustrating moments, and more failed opportunities to bury a team before the fourth quarter, but given all the injuries, Sunday’s win over the Cardinals was a good one.

As the Packers added Clay Matthews and Bryan Bulaga to their multi-page list of injured players, they also added another notch in the win column. The Packers are now 6-3 heading into the bye and need the week off to heal and come back as strong as possible for the stretch run.

Will the injuries keep mounting and derail the season? Or will players heal and be well-rested come December and January?

Here’s hoping for the latter.

I’m filling in for Kris Burke on this week’s Game Balls and Lame Calls. Kris has a combination of SARS, the bird flu and mad cow disease (actually I think it’s the regular flu and a sinus infection), so he’s also on the injury report, too.

Here’s who stood out and who didn’t in the Packers win over the Cardinals.

Game Balls

WR/RB/KR/PR Randall Cobb
Cobb was a man among boys on Sunday. When a spark was needed on special teams, Cobb ripped off a nice return. When a big catch was needed, Cobb came through. When a burst out of the backfield was needed, Cobb provided it. If Mason Crosby keeps missing field goals, maybe Cobb can take over. If Sam Shields can’t return from his knee injury, perhaps Cobb could play in the nickel. If Clay Matthews misses time with a hamstring, I bet Cobb could get a few sacks filling in. I’m only half kidding about this. The kid seems like he can do it all.

TE Tom Crabtree
Who’s that guy dashing down the field for another long touchdown? Why, it’s Tom Crabtree! Who needs a healthy Greg Jennings or Jordy Nelson catching 50-yard bombs when you can just pull out a secret weapon called Crabtree and open fire on opposing defenses? I’m glad Crabtree caught that 72-yard touchdown and, given the Packers injury curse, I’m glad he didn’t hurt his neck looking behind him to make sure nobody was catching up as he galloped to the end zone.



Packers Injury Update: Nelson to Test Hamstring Friday

Jordy Nelson

Packers WR Jordy Nelson will test his injured hamstring on Friday. He remains questionable for Sunday.

Here’s a quick update on the Packers injury situation before you sit down for dinner:

The following players did not practice today: WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring); FB John Kuhn (hamstring); LB Nick Perry (knee); CB Sam Shields (shin/knee); DE Jerel Worthy (concussion); DE Mike Neal (ankle); WR Greg Jennings (groin); CB Charles Woodson (shoulder).

Coach Mike McCarthy said that Nelson will test his hamstring on Friday and that Jennings re-scheduled his surgery, but might not be in Philadelphia yet because of the storm.

Obviously, Jennings and Woodson will not play Sunday against Arizona.

My gut tells me all the other guys will be out as well. We’ll see.

All the injured players won’t matter if the Packers offensive line doesn’t come to play against the Cardinals. Arizona has an active front four and can make life miserable for Aaron Rodgers if the offensive line struggles early.


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.




Did Sunday’s Victory Save the Packers’ Season?

Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb played a big role in the Packers’ emotional win over the Saints on Sunday.

I laughed when the headline to Kevin Seifert’s game story popped up on my Twitter account Sunday night: “Emotional Packers save their season.”

“Really, Kevin?” I thought. “A season cannot be saved in week four. Calm down.”

I thought Kevin was reaching for a story angle to try and be different, get people riled up and generate web traffic.

But Seifert is an excellent reporter, one that isn’t prone to hyperbole and weird narratives that attempt to push reader’s buttons just for the hell of it. So I clicked on the story, read it, and decided that Seifert might be on to something.

This passage in particular stood out:

At 1-2, the Packers were facing some long odds if they lost Sunday’s game. Since the NFL moved to its current playoff format, 85.3 percent of teams that started 1-3 missed the playoffs. In a league in which most teams have relatively equal talent, the so-called “snowball effect” is very real.

I won’t summarize Seifert’s entire post — read it for yourself — but he makes some excellent points about emotion and the toll it would have taken on the Packers to lose another emotionally-charged game, this time at home to a team that was just as desperate as they were.

Instead let’s focus on the immediate future. If the Packers lost Sunday, not only would they be facing long playoff odds at 1-3, they’d be facing them with their next three games on the road; a tough situation in any case, let alone coming off two straight heartbreaking losses.

It’s silly to project more than three games into the future during the NFL season (even three games might be too far), but there’s a common theme among the Packers next three road opponents: Hope. The next three teams the Packers face all have reasons to be hopeful, and likely view the Packers games as a chance to go from hopeful to confident.

  • The Colts are coming off a bye week armed with a phenom quarterback and Dwight Freeney returning. Their coach was also just admitted to the hospital for treatable leukemia, which means emotions will be running high in that stadium. There’s hope for a promising future in Indianapolis, and what better way to take a step forward than by beating the Packers.