The Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and there will be no more meaningful football games for the next six months. That’s six months to reflect on how a team that lost twice to the Redskins during the regular season could go on to knock off the mighty Packers in the playoffs and keep rolling all the way to the Lombardi Trophy.
It’s hard to find a silver lining, but if you’re searching for one, take a few minutes and look over the Packers roster. It’s pretty good. Go ahead and cross off some of the players you think won’t be around next season, and it’s still pretty good. This team is going to contend again next season, and probably for the next couple of seasons after that. At least Packers fans have something to look forward to.
We’ve spent the last couple of weeks at AllGBP.com evaluating and grading every player on the Packers roster. Those report cards are done now, and it’s time to put this season in the rearview mirror.
To get started, I put together a full roster stock report based on each player’s status heading into next season. To categorize each player, I used my own opinion mixed with how I think the Packers view that player.
For example, Donald Driver played well in the playoff loss. If the Packers beat the Giants and hosted the NFC Championship, I’d probably list Driver as rising in that week’s stock report. But since the Packers season is over, and I don’t think Ted Thompson brings Driver back, I put Driver in the falling category.
You get the idea, so without further delay, here we go:
QB Aaron Rodgers
Finding motivation is never a problem for Rodgers, but the Packers early playoff exit should give the MVP even more incentive to come out fired up in 2012.
LB Desmond Bishop
Watching Bishop motor his way through games was one of the few enjoyable aspects of this season’s defense.
T Bryan Bulaga
Bulaga took a step forward in 2011 and might take a giant step sideways to play left tackle next season.
WR/KR Randall Cobb
Thanks to Cobb, kick and punt returns became fun again.
K Mason Crosby
A few of Crosby’s kickoffs came close to injuring fans sitting in the front row behind the end zone.
TE Jermichael Finley
Yes, the drops need to be fixed, but a 24 year old with Finley’s skills belongs in the rising category.
QB Matt Flynn
LS Brett Goode
Everyone who thought I was too harsh on Goode in my season-ending evaluation can relax a little.
QB Graham Harrell
This is wishful thinking on my part. But with Flynn likely gone, Harrell better be rising.
WR Greg Jennings
A disappointing finish to an otherwise excellent season for the Packers best route runner.
P Tim Masthay
Watching Masthay’s punts die deep inside an oppontent’s territory made it a little more tolerable whenever the Packers were forced to punt.
LB Clay Matthews
His numbers were down, but his impact wasn’t. Find him a pass-rushing partner and Matthews will get even better.
WR Jordy Nelson
Someone needs to make a poster of Nelson stiff-arming fools on his way to the end zone.
G Josh Sitton
Injuries slowed Sitton down, but he’s still rising in my book.
LB D.J. Smith
Did he do enough to warrant rising status? Probably not. But I bet the Packers like what they saw and consider him an up and comer.
C Scott Wells
Dear Scott: If your inclusion in the rising category earns you a couple extra million on the free agency market, I get a 5% cut.
TE Ryan Taylor
I liked what I saw from Taylor, but didn’t know how to categorize him because I didn’t see all that much of him. I made him a riser because I just have a gut feeling that we’re going to hear his name often next season.
S Morgan Burnett
If Nick Collins is forced to retire, the Packers need Burnett to enter the rising category quickly.
CB/S Jarrett Bush
Who could have predicted that in addition to becoming a special teams ace, Bush would be the Packers most improved defensive back?
C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith
Versatile offensive linemen that can fill in at multiple positions are always nice to have around.
LB Robert Francois
Ditto for versatile linebackers.
WR James Jones
Very few forehead-slapping drops or fumbles from Jones this season.
FB John Kuhn
I still can’t figure out why Packers fans boo every time Kuhn touches the ball.
G T.J. Lang
Lang replaced Daryn Colledge admirably.
T Marshall Newhouse
I don’t know if he’s the answer at left tackle, but he proved he belongs somewhere in the offensive line mix.
DE Ryan Pickett
The Packers run defense really struggled when Pickett got hurt.
NT B.J. Raji
Raji needs to play his way out of this category ASAP. He’s too talented to not be a riser.
RB Brandon Saine
Ryan Grant is likely gone, James Starks is unreliable, and Alex Green is coming off major surgery. Saine should get a shot at some serious playing time in training camp.
CB Charles Woodson
Woodson slipped this season, but he made enough plays to avoid the falling category. We’ll probably hear some whispers that Woodson could be released this offseason. I don’t see it. The Packers need Woodson.
DE Jarius Wynn
His strong play early counts for something, right?
T Chad Clifton
It’s been a nice run, but I think we’ve seen the last of Chad Clifton on the left side of the Packers’ line.
Cross your fingers that Collins checks out OK. He deserves a chance to play again and, more importantly, to live a healthy life. If he’s healthy, Collins immediately moves to the rising category because anyone who overcomes a serious neck injury is rising.
TE Tom Crabtree
Crabtree is a replacement-level player that will have to claw and scratch his way back on the team. He’s madea career out of clawing and scratching so don’t be surprised if he makes the team again.
WR Donald Driver
Sadly, Driver’s days in Green Bay are probably over.
RB Ryan Grant
Grant’s return hinges on whether the Packers draft a running back and his willingness to sign a short deal at a Packers-friendly price. I’m thinking he’s gone.
RB Alex Green
It’s never easy the year after major knee surgery.
NT Howard Green
A non-factor this season, I doubt Green returns.
LB A.J. Hawk
If Hawk improves his tackling somewhat, he’ll at least return to being an average linebacker.
CB Pat Lee
The safety against the Lions probably sealed Lee’s fate.
DE Mike Neal
Another season of hope derailed by injuries.
S Charlie Peprah
I’d like to see Peprah off the team regardless of Collins’s status, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Ted Thompson brings him back.
TE Andrew Quarless
Quarless was quietly having a nice season before his knee injury.
T Derek Sherrod
It was a rocky rookie season before Sherrod’s gruesome broken leg.
CB Sam Shields
Hopefully a full offseason brings back some of the promise shown by Shields during his rookie season.
RB James Starks
So much for the Packers having a sneaky-good running game. Injuries to Starks and on the offensive line prevented that from happening.
LB Erik Walden
Walden’s production disappeared after he was arrested during a domestic incident.
I wonder if the Packers will consider moving Williams to fullback?
CB Tramon Williams
Ugh. It’s painful to put Williams in this category, but there’s no sugar coating how bad his 2011 season was.
Just another guy on the defensive line who can’t get after the quarterback.
LB Frank Zombo
Injuries never allowed Zombo to compete for playing time early, then when healthy, he didn’t make much of an impact.
He showed some promise late, but not enough to get out of the falling category.
The PSREC (Packers Stock Rating and Exchange Commission) did not have a sufficient sample size to categorize the following players: WR Diondre Borel, T Chris Campbell, G/T Ray Dominguez, C Sampson Genus, WR Tori Gurley, DE Lawrence Guy, QB Nick Hill, FB Jon Hoese, CB Davon House, DL Johnny Jones, WR Shaky Smithson, S M.D. Jennings, LB Jamari Lattimore, S Anthony Levine, CB Bradian Ross, LB Vic So’oto, and T Herb Taylor.
Of these players, the PSREC thinks that So’oto, Gurlety and House have the best chance of making an impact next season.
- There are 17 players in the rising category, 13 in steady and 21 in falling. That’s 30 players either rising or steady. I don’t think there are many other teams that can look at their rosters and point at 30 names they feel good about.
- Of course, the rising number drops if Finley and Wells leave. That number also includes Flynn (likely gone), Goode (a longsnapper), Harrell, Smith and Taylor (perhaps wishful thinking on my part) and the kicker and punter.
- The falling list contains talented players like Williams, Shields, Sherrod and Collins. Williams and Shields have the talent to play themselves into risers quickly and Sherrod and Collins will move up the report if healthy.
- Can Rodgers’s stock go up any further after his 45 TDs, 6 INT season?
- Two names you could add to the rising list: Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson. Those of you selling Thompson now because he didn’t resign Cullen Jenkins, give me a call because I’d like to buy all the shares of Thompson stock you have for sale.