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).
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.
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.
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.