Packers Stock Report: Breathing a Sigh of Relief Edition

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Jeff Triplette
Jeff Triplette proves he’s worse than a replacement ref by signaling Saints ball after an obvious Darren Sproles fumble on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter.

Whew. Glad the Packers escaped that one a winner.

Normally if a Packers’ opponent is flagged for holding on the go-ahead fourth-quarter field goal minutes after a star running back drops an easy third-down catch, the Packers should consider themselves lucky for winning.

Not the case this week. The real refs blew a couple more calls on Sunday, and the Saints late misfortune was actually some long overdue breaks for the green and gold.

Also, one more note about that holding call: Don’t forget that the refs had called holding on two previous extra points, one against the Packers and one against the Saints. For some reason, they were looking for holding on kicks on Sunday and actually calling it.

I don’t buy the make-up call argument at all, so if someone tells you that was a makeup call just go Cutler on them and walk away.

Rising

James Jones
What a day for Jones. He intercepts a touchdown pass intended for Jermichael Finley (more receivers should try this given Finley’s inability to catch the ball) catches another touchdown that was actually intended for him, and ices the game with an amazing catch while getting taken to the ground by the defender. Jordy Nelson is showing signs of life, but Jones has been the Packers best receiver through four games.

(One more note on Jones: I was at the game on Sunday and I don’t think people appreciate how great that final catch was. Fans were too busy yelling at the refs to make sure the interference got called that they didn’t notice Jones actually catching the ball. Take the time to watch that catch again on replay if you can.)

Randall Cobb
I couldn’t figure out why Cobb didn’t play more against the Seahawks. I think McCarthy said something about matchups, but that’s nonsense. Cobb is good enough to play regardless of matchups. If Cobb continues improving, he might end up looking a lot like Darren Sproles, the Saints RB/WR/KR that is impossible to stop if given a little room to operate.

Tramon Williams
Yeah, he got burned deep against Seattle and got beat a few times on Sunday, but Williams has still been solid since week two. I’m putting him in the rising category because if he doesn’t break up that pass to Jimmy Graham in the end zone during the third quarter, which forced the Saints to kick a field goal, who knows how that game turns out.  

Steady

Morgan Burnett
Burnett was in on 14 tackles on Sunday and is second on the team with 29 tackles (13 solo, 16 assists). It’s not necessarily a good thing to have your safety making a bunch of tackles, but if he’s not bringing the ballcarrier down, the Packers are probably back to square one in the tackling department. The Packers have tackled better this season, and Burnett deserves some credit for that.

Cedric Benson
It’s nice to have a running back that consistently falls forward and shows a little elusiveness. I still think people are acting a little too excited over Benson — he’s not that great — but he’s been a nice acquisition so far.

Tim Masthay
With the Packers down by six early in the fourth quarter, Masthay pinned the Saints at their own 9-yard line. New Orleans went three-and-out, the Packers scored on their next posession, and never gave up the lead. We’ve seen a lot more of Masthay than we would like this season, but he’s been an excellent weapon so far.

Falling

Graham Harrell
You’ve worked your whole life to make it to the NFL. You finally get your shot. Your team has the ball at the 1-yard line. All you have to do is hand it off. You take the snap. You fall over. You fumble. The other team recovers. They score. You potentially cost your team seven points, and gave seven to the other guys. Welcome to Harrell’s world. As a Packers fan, I’m very angry at him. As a human being, I’m pulling for him. That’s a very rough way to start a career.

B.J. Raji
The Saints didn’t do much on the ground, but I still saw Raji getting pushed around too much on double teams. He’s big enough to stand his ground on double teams, but doesn’t quite seem strong enough. It’s weird. His personal foul was also silly. Can’t have those.

Jeff Triplette
My father-in-law was very happy about having real refs officiate Sunday’s game, but I had to educate him about Triplette. Most NFL insiders don’t consider Triplette a real ref. Sure enough, Triplette and his crew of misfits managed to look just as bad as the scabs and were serenaded by fans at a Lambeau with a special cheer after missing an obvious fumble late in the fourth quarter (hint: the cheer rhymes with “mosh pit”).

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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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  • http://allpackers.com nick perry

    Burnett? Really?? It seems to me he’s never in position when a corner turns his receiver over while playing zone. Every time the Packers get beat deep he’s pointing at someone else. I’m no coach and maybe I’m way off but for one I’d like to see him say “my bad”, and point to himself. I the Packers are in a world of hurt with there LB. Other than Matthews none of them can cover. Perry is totally lost out there and seems to be on the bench in crunch time. He seems very simple to block. All this kills me to say and I hope it improves but I think week 6 will tell Packers fans a lot. Playing the Texans in Houston. OK, let me have it.

    • Adam Czech

      Don’t be so hard on yourself, Nick Perry. Spend more time working on your game and less time ripping yourself on this site and you will improve.

      • Adam Czech

        On Burnett:

        Yes, he’s had some iffy moments in coverage, but he’s been a decent tackler. He deserves credit in that area.

    • aaronqb

      Scouts say Burnett is having a very good year. I’ll go with their opinion. I like Burnett (and the rest of the secondary) despite the letdown against the Saints.

  • Mr. Bacon

    Well being the eyes man I am, and not on stats. There was something with Grant that at times made you wonder, how did he even break 100 yard games. It would be just one big run, and once in a while a home run break for a TD.

    Benson may get 80, but it’s looks damn sexy the way he does it. Just his body language when he is running. He doesn’t try to make 1000 cuts for any hole, and he keeps pumping his legs like Adrian Peterson.

    I wish he broke a big run, but simply I love watching the Packers with Benson. As this will sound very odd, but I am starting to get this Charles Woodson feeling from Benson.

    I mean I know the ages are different, but Benson is at that point in his career where he will be bypassed by alot of teams and now the Packers not only give him the starting job but they are one of the predicted teams to make the Superbowl.

    In Benson’s mind, all he has to do is be Benson. He doesn’t have to lead the team on the field, but maybe teach the younger RB’s some tips, he gets to play on a winning team, and he gets to be with passionate fans.

    I could see 3-4 years with Benson as a starter and then a productive co-starting role with maybe Green/Saine/??? in the future if this turns out well.

    • Adam Czech

      At this point in their careers, Benson is much better than Grant. That’s obvious.

      But let’s not put modern-day Benson over Grant in his prime just yet. Those 1,200 yards Grant gained in consecutive seasons came from somewhere. They didn’t just magically appear. If he gained a good chunk of them on only a few runs, so what? The Packers are always looking for the big play and Grant gave it to them every now and then. Benson hasn’t and likely won’t.

      • Mr. Bacon

        I get the stats and stuff, but it was like Grant kept on running into offensive lineman after offensive lineman. Benson for me has been fluid, like water seeping through the offensive line with no problem. Watching Benson gives me a sort of confidence in a decent running game.

      • CSS

        Grant gained 1,200 in his prime, and managed to leave 200-400 yards on the field during each of those years as well. Kid ran hard, played hard. His vision and instincts were pedestrian.

      • D4L

        I would say it matters quite a bit that Grant’s yards came from a few big ones. With Roger, I don’t really need an 80-yard run. I need someone to take the pressure of my QB in pressure situations. If its 3rd and short, I feel much better with Benson than I ever did with Grant. With Rodgers for the major point production, I’d much rather have a dependable 3-5 yards every time than 0-2 yards after running into the OL most of the time with an occasional 60-80 yard run. Besides which, I think the play action is much more believable with Benson, though still not too convincing.

        • Adam Czech

          I like home run hitters, so I’d still take Grant in his prime over Benson today. My opinion is changing, though….

          • Ed

            Benson has been an inch (or a defender’s finger around his ankle) away for popping a big one about twice a game. They will happen eventually.

            The bigger difference between him and Grant is that Benson needs 20 carries a game to work into top form for the day, and Grant could do it with 15. But the other side of that is that Benson falls forward and almost always finds the best hole. Grant didn’t, even in his prime. Benson has a higher baseline and a higher ceiling than Grant, he is just a better back. Thats not complaining about Grant 3 or 4 years ago, I tended to support him then and I am happy I did . But in 2012, I have to compare Benson now with Grant now, and Grant then with Benson then — comparing Benson now with Grant then isn’t a choice the Packers realistically have.

    • FireMMNow

      I agree. I enjoy watching our run game with Benson. Benson punishes defenders, he gets tough yards. I used to love watching Ahman Green and the OL impose their will late in games (taylor and hornung were well before my time). there is just something about demoralizing a team with the run game. grant never had the ability to do that. benson atleast has the style that is capable of grinding out 4.5 yards every play in a 4th quarter. him and the OL are not there yet, but atleast the potential is there.

    • Ron LC

      Astute observation Bacon. A 4.7 yard average with the longest run at 9 yards equals time off the clock. That’s a good thing.

  • Big T

    was Triplette ever fined for cold cocking Matthews along side the head?

  • Big T

    As long as Benson continues not fumbling, we have a running back… How is Starks and his turf testicle doing?

  • Ron LC

    Falling – Dom Capers. Reverting to his soft 2011 defense was just plain inexcusable.

    • Adam Czech

      Yeah, Capers had his tail between his legs on Sunday.

      • Ed

        Becauase you know, its not like the defense on Sunday held the Saints to fewer points than they scored on us in 2011.

        Oh, wait . . .

        • Chad Lundberg

          The Saints also didn’t Payton, Meachem or Nicks. Also, Mark Ingram isn’t having the impact he’s suppose to have.

  • Chad Lundberg

    Mike Neal’s coming back next week. I can’t wait to see how that will affect the defensive line. Hopefully he’s completely healthy and brings an effective pass rush.

    • Two Bears, One Cup

      Who gets cut when Mike Neal comes back?

      • Ed

        My guess would be one of the 10 linebackers. Maybe Francois or Lattimore.

      • Chad Lundberg

        Probably someone not as good as him, lol.

  • Mojo

    Regarding what many see as a “make-up call” on the Saints field-goal attempt here is an excerpt from the JS describing that play: Referee Jeff Triplette, the head of an established seven-man officiating crew back on the job for the first game after a long labor dispute, threw his penalty flag. He nailed tight end David Thomas for holding Sam Shields as he tried to rush Hartley off the right side.

    “It was a critical point in the game and their outside rusher came by me so I grabbed him and held him,” Thomas said. “It was so disappointing because I let the team down and took the field goal off the board.”

    I hope Thomas’ mea culpa puts the make-up call debate to rest.

    On another topic, I wonder if ARod ever saw JJ on the first TD toss. Remember, he was going to Finley. Not a big deal, but if JJ had been a DB instead….

    Finally, on the Harrell fumble. It didn’t cost the Pack 14 points. Three or seven points I would agree with, but keep in mind if the Pack had scored they would have kicked it back anyway to the Saints who, most likely, would have had it in better field position (I think they started the drive around the GB 5). The second-half of the 14 point equation is on the D.

  • Michael

    i sighed relief, don’t wanna watch wins by missed fg’s unless i have too!

  • gavinwca

    I can not believe you are blameing Harrell for getting triped up. The guard took a large step backward just as Harrell turning to hand off the ball hooking Harrell’s foot as he was turning. I remember the first few games last year the same thing happened to Rodgers, he was tripped a number of times the same way before he corrected it.Harrell I am sure will find how Rodgers corrected the problem and make audjustments.

    • Adam Czech

      If you’re tripped, fall on the ball and try again next down. Problem solved.