Week 17 Packers Stock Report: Rodgers and Nelson Rising, Hawk and Green Falling

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Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson return to the rising category this week.

I’m still recovering from my Christmas food hangover, so no witty banter from me this week. We’re going straight to the stock report:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
Welcome back to the rising category, Mr. Rodgers. We missed you last week and I hope you never leave us again. You will likely get to take a breather in week 17 and you’ve earned it. Even though you often make it look so easy, I’m sure it’s a lot of work to throw for 4,643 yards, 45 TDs and only 6 INTs in 15 games. Throwing for five TDs against the Bears is a great way to cap an MVP season.

Jordy Nelson
The Jordy Nelson stiff-arm returned on Sunday night. So did the play where Rodgers fakes a handoff, bootlegs right, and hits Nelson for a long TD after No. 87 runs by two defensive backs. That’s the kind of game Nelson needs to have if Jennings is less than 100 percent for the playoffs.

Scott Wells
No sacks. No penalties. Very few Bears defenders getting close to Aaron Rodgers. It was a statement game for the Packers offensive line and Wells deserves a lot of the credit. Early this season, it looked like the offensive line might be a strength for the Packers (for a change). Then injuries hit and the unit has been up and down. Through it all, though, Wells has been great, so great that Ted Thompson might have to step outside of his comfort zone and pay a guy who’s on the wrong side of 30 years old.

Steady

T.J. Lang
While Marshall Newhouse has been up and down at left tackle, Lang has been steady at left guard. Lang moved to right tackle on Sunday and never missed a beat. He’s had his share of pre-snap penalties, but otherwise the Packers have to view Lang’s first season as a starter as a success.

James Campen
If we’re going to give the offensive line all this love, why not throw some recognition Campen’s way? The offensive line coach has taken his share of heat in recent years, so it’s only fair that we recognize him when the unit he coaches plays well despite injuries and position shuffles.

Falling

A.J. Hawk
The Packers tackling has gone from bad to obscenely bad. I feel like every time an opposing RB take a handoff, the chances are high that we’re going to see a repeat of Marshawn Lynch’s playoff run against the Saints from last season.

Howard Green
Green has failed to embrace the Packers next-man-up mantra. Ryan Pickett is on the sideline with a concussion and Green has done nothing to fill the void in the run defense. Really, you could list the entire defensive line in the falling category, but I like to be a little more specific in my criticism so Green gets the (dis)honor this week.

Erik Walden
That’s two weeks straight where Walden has failed to keep containment. I thought Walden was coming on, but he’s taken a terrible turn for the worst. Maybe getting Pickett back will help Walden, but wow, he’s been a complete disaster the last couple of weeks. I’m guessing we might see more of Brad Jones than we’re used to.

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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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  • FireMMNow

    agree with all of your comments. begrudingly in regards to campen. lang was the game changer this week. it could have been ugly. as pissed as i was at MM last week, i was just as happy this week. he did exactly what i hoped he would do, move the pocket, quick passes. established a rhythm early.

    TT has been really smart with his contracts, but he has missed on some LBs. Chillar and Poppinga most notably. Hawk may have been another miss. He just simply has not produced this year. He had an awful game from what i saw.

    I really really hope that So’oto flashed enough to atleast get in the rotation with walden. Walden is just a complete non factor. He has been terrible against the run and just horrendous from a pass rush stand point. on a defense that has had a lot of weak links this year, he has been the weakest.

    Howard Green needs to be replaced. He did some nice things last year, but this year he has reminded everyone why he has been on 9 different teams in his career. The packers need to find another big body and let green go. Just completely ineffective.

    • Ron LC

      The time has come for Walden to sit. His play, especially on the run, has been pathetic.

      A new fat guy is in order.

      • Bearmeat

        Ron LC – Who are they going to replace him with? They have no one outside of note after CM3 on the roster. No. One.

        Ditto that for the DL. Pickett and Raji and a bag of balls.

        This is on TT – not the coaches.

        • Bubbaloo

          RonLC, I second that!!! TT might need to change his program a bit and try a free agent or two, you can’t fill all of our defensive holes in one draft.

        • Ron LC

          Actually Bear, I think I’d give Francois a try. Walden cannot play the run AT ALL!

          • Bearmeat

            No. Francois is the lightest of the bunch. He needs a few years in the weightroom before he can handle NFL tackles.

            There’s no one there. Walden is the best answer – and he plays well, when he recognizes the blocking schemes. He has the physical tools. So’Oto does not yet. Read McGinn’s analysis of the game. Zombo has lost the year to injury. Francois isn’t ready.

            You just have to hope Walden wakes up. He’s played well in a number of games this year.

            It’s not a good answer – but there isn’t one available… kinda like the whole defense right now. We’ve got Woodson, CM3, Bishop when healthy, Raji, Pickett when healthy and a bag of balls. (no not Tramon nor Shields has played well this year)

            Let’s hope we can outscore people. It’s all we’ve got…

            I would not be surprised if we go down in the the playoffs… not at all.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      Chillar was unable to play at the beginning of the season because of an injury incurred during the lock-out. If TT had signed him, he would have immediately gone on IR. So I can’t count that as a miss by TT.

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        That said, I do think TT will need to get some players in FA for the D-line and LBs. They need a complement to Matthews, an eventual replacement for Pickett, and at least one more steady player each on the line and inside LB. As successful as TT has been, I really don’t think they can find all 4 of those on the waiver wire or the day after the draft.

  • Ron LC

    Neal not rising? He was finally credited with a solo tackle. He even got two assists. That must have been when he fell on the pile.

    Yes Virginia, this is sarcasm.

    Campen should be going up. His abiliity to coach up EDS and Newhouse to handle Peppers and Brigs is nothing short of miraculous. Great job, James.

  • Dan

    The whole defence should be on the falling list, they seem to be playing worse as the season moves into week 17

  • Bearmeat

    AJ Hawk can’t fall anymore. He sucks. Let’s leave it at that. #5 overall my butt. Give me DJ Smith!

  • Mojo

    {in a chanting tone}:WE-WANT-SMITH! WE-WANT-SMITH!

    • Bubbaloo

      Mojo, I’m a little hoarse from the holiday but here goes, “Way Wand Smit! Way Wand Smit!

      • Adam Czech

        Smith gets lost in pass coverage. Hawk doesn’t get lost, but he’s just not fast enough to cover anyone. If Dom really wants another LB on the field in pass situations, he should try Francois.

        That said, I doubt it’d be much of an improvement. AJ Hawk, and the entire defense, is what it is at this point.

        • Mojo

          Let’s see Adam, we have a guy in Hawk who recognizes passing plays well, but just isn’t athletic enough to do anything about it and a guy in Smith who gets confused at times but when not confused is productive. So in Hawk we have someone like the protagonist in “Rear Window”; a person who witnesses events but is powerless to do anything to stop it. At least with Smith, if he guesses right something good happens. With Hawk, even when he knows what’s about to happen he can’t react in time – nothing happens.

          Also, Smith is the better run stuffer.

          I’ll take my chances with Smith. I don’t see why replacing a stiff with someone who actually gives you a chance to make a play wouldn’t improve the D.

          • http://none glblank

            Problem is, Hawk is signed for 5 years, ouch! Smith flows well, his problem is seeing plays develop and all the hustle in the world won’t make up for that missed first step.

  • http://grizzlymitch@bresnan.net montanacheezhead

    So’to will replace Walden. This has been in the works for awhile. He’ll bring some needed energy from that side. If you don’t beleive, watch him against the Lions this week.

    • Adam Czech

      So’to seems slow, but at this point, it’s worth a shot.

    • http://yardbarker.com D. Hofstedt

      Ive said Hawk is the worst LB in NFL for years! I for the life of me can’t figure what T.T was doing signing this guy to 5 years. I really hope that if we’re stuck with him you bring in enough good players to cover up his slow no tackling butt.I’m sure Ted had a reason to draft no defense this year. If you look at this draft we got no one that could step in. Yes, smith after injuries but no one else. EVERYBODY knew Walden or Zombo was not the answer. EVERYBODY knew there was a reason that Howard Green was available in week 8 on the STREET last year. All other teams will at least sprinkle in a free agent here and there. We got away with it last year. This year, with this offense if we don’t win because T.T did not address the same things that were concerns last year, well that’s a shame.

  • BTF

    Thing with Walden he has the physical ability to set the edge-the fact he keeps getting sucked inside I feel is due to mental errors. I would speculate that his mind is all over the place at the moment and that being the case a Brad Jones/So’oto rotation may be a better bet.

    Green was playing hurt I believe but has not shown a massive amount this year. I suspect he’ll be replaced by someone younger next year..

  • zenydragon

    As far as LB’s go I would like to see Bishop and Smith on the inside and CM3 and So’oto on the outside instead of trying to draft more like all of the analysts believe, we have bigger needs we need to attend to, like DL and RB. Face it, NO and Brees are proving with his stats how essential a great running game is for a superior passing game. We have balance but little production to show for it. We will not bring back Grant next season and I’m not sold on Starks quite yet. We need to go for a franchise RB in the draft, and the person I have my eye on is Oregon’s L. James. He can give us the same results that Sproles gave NO just on offense alone (since we already have Cobb). Group him with Starks and A. Green and we have ourselves a pretty good three headed monster. With Starks as the main back, Green as the draw play back between the tackles, and James as that 3rd down back. As far as DL goes I would try to keep as many as we can, including H. Green since I believe he can still bounce back as a reserve for Raji. Plus with a 3-4 defense we need to keep as many as we can in case of injury. What we need though is a replacement for C. Jenkins at DE, that has effected Raji, Pickett, and CM3 this year even though Mathews is still showing results. If we can get a good DE and keep Neal healthy enough to see his potential realized we won’t need one till Pickett leaves or retires. This is all my opinion at least.

    • BTF

      You don’t think we have a superior passing game ?

      Our running game is ok not great but it does enough for our purposes…

      • zenydragon

        Yes I do think we have a superior passing game, as I believe that NO has a superior passing. This is why I made a reference to their running game, it gives them a much more effective passing then their overall talent in the passing game would have been, nothing against Brees and his receiving core. With a better running game ARod’s passing yards could be through the roof (more so than it is right now). And if we pick a L. James type running back in the draft we can have an even more effective passing game since we can use him like D. Sproles. We have the best receiving core but it should show in the stat book and while we are in the top 3 NO beats us because they have both a dangerous receiving core and a dangerous running core and a great QB to boot. We don’t need the best running game but we do need a good/great running game to keep defenses humble.

        • Steve Cheez

          How many “franchise RB”s are available at #32?

  • http://none glblank

    Brad Jones, oh the humanity. Might as well put out a helmet and empty jersey.

  • aaronqb

    I agree this is the last year for Green. He will be a free agent and the Packers will not offer him another contract.

    The Packers will probably have between 10 and 12 draft picks in the 2012 draft – with probably 6 in the first 4 rounds. I think they grab a center and a backup QB and then load up on defensive players. TT will have plenty of ammo to restock the defense for next year.

    Imagine what this team looks like with a good defense supporting the overpowering offense.

    • zenydragon

      I would wait and see for Howard Green. Maybe he can rebound Sunday and establish himself as Raji’s back up. If he doesn’t do well in the next couple of months then I will probably agree with you, I would just rather not have TT worry about drafting both DTs and DEs for a 3-4 system at least until Pickett reaches his final years.