Packers Stock Report: NFC North Champions Edition

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Clay Matthews
Ravishing Rick Rude would be proud of this Clay Matthews sack dance.

Watching the Packers this season can be very frustrating. You have shoddy pass blocking, dropped passes, a horrible kicker, failure to put teams away, shaky run defense, all kinds of injuries, odd playcalling and Fail Mary.

Yet here the Packers are, NFC North champs for the second season in a row.

It really is amazing what Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers have been able to do with this team. They’ve adjusted the offense once it became apparent that they weren’t the juggernaut from a season ago. They’ve also overcome all kinds of injuries.

Yes, watching this team can be maddening. But this is a group we can be proud of.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Clay Matthews
The Packers best pass rusher returned, sacked Jay Cutler twice and made several other plays on run defense. In other words, it was a typical day for Matthews against the Bears. More importantly, Matthews busted out a Ravishing Rick Rude sack dance. Seriously, it was amazing. For those of you who don’t know who Ravishing Rick Rude is, click here. I hope Matthews wears pants with a picture of his own face on the rear-end next week. Turn the music off!

Randall Cobb
Defensive coordinators must just start screaming “FIND COBB!!! FIND COBB!!!” whenever Aaron Rodgers breaks the pocket. Cobb dropped an early touchdown pass (well, the throw was a little off, but Cobb will probably tell you he should have caught it), but made up for it throughout the rest of the game. Needs to get a little more zip on those punt throwback tosses, though.

B.J. Raji
It’s good to see the big guy getting stronger as the season wears on. Raji was very good against the Lions and was strong early against the Bears. It looked like the Bears were going to have no problem moving the ball on the ground at the start of Sunday’s game, then Raji woke up and put a stop to that.

Steady

Sam Shields
Somebody got to Shields in the offseason and convinced him that he had to be more physical. I would like to buy this person a beer. Shields missed a tackle on Matt Forte early, but when the ball was in the air in pass coverage, Shields fought hard. He also overcame another bogus call against him and managed to get Alshon Jeffrey flagged for offensive pass interference a few times. There were times last season where physical contact made Shields coil up into the fetal position. Not the case any more.

James Jones
Jones has been rocking the sleeveless turtleneck look all season. He’s been quiet lately, so he added sleeves to the turtleneck against the Bears. The result? Three touchdowns. Will he keep the sleeves the rest of the way?

Casey Hayward
Another interception, another bullet point on Hayward’s defensive rookie-of-the-year resume. That’s now six picks and 19 passes defended for the second-round pick. Hayward got posterized by Brandon Marshall on the big wide receiver’s touchdown run, but like several of his teammates, he made up for his error later in the game.

Falling

Mason Crosby
I don’t even know what to write any more…….

Mike McCarthy’s Brain in the Fourth Quarter
A throwback on a punt return when you’re up by 11? You’re better than that, Mike. And I’m not even going to mention your continued “confidence” in Crosby.

Brandon Marshall
Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah!

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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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  • Lucas

    How about a “no longer falling” category? You could put Crosby there, since he’s at the bottom.

  • Dan

    How about a “Mysterious” category….why MM keeps Crosby?

  • alex parkhurst

    Mike McCarthy at yesterday’s presser on Crosby:

    “When results aren’t what you want, you have to choose which way to go. Our choice is to stick with Crosby”.

    This will be the worst decision ever made or absolutely brilliant. I want Crosby to succeed. We all do but collectively we have watched a lot of football games and Mason is in a terrible slump. When you miss 30 or so yards wide as he did against the Bears from the 30 yard line, then it is his mechanics that are 100% gone as well as his confidence.

    My two cents:

    Maybe the Pack can bring in an outside kicking coach who can tell Mason what is wrong and fix it. If we are sticking with him, he must hit those field goals. What is happening is not working. If you are 100% set on keeping Crosby, then bring in a swami, a kicking coach, a hypnotist or anybody to help.

    I am not second guessing McCarthy, just trying to figure out his and Thompson’s mindset on Mr. Crosby.

    • JimR_in_DC

      But already has his swami, Slocum. Oh wait…

  • Chad Toporski

    While I am certainly disappointed with Crosby’s performance and am making no excuses for him, I don’t really get the comparison between him and Olindo Mare. Crosby was kicking from 43+ yards, while Mare’s FGs were both 34 yards. In all fairness, that’s a significant difference, especially when Crosby’s second kick hit the upright.

  • Rick

    You realize that Crosby had similar issues all of 2009 right, We all complained about missed kicks from right hash mark and everything. He is like a golfer with a yip in his putting. He will have to kick his way out of it. Luckily he has a leg that kicks the ball out of the endzome on every kick off and that is the skill the Packers need right now. There is no kicker off the street that MM coul dbring in that can do that. So we live with Crosby and just score TDs not FGs.

  • Dan Collins

    As regards Crosby, I think the team ought to consider putting him on an alpha blocker like clonadine, because this working through it isn’t working.