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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.