Packers Stock Report: Wide Receivers can also be Tough Guys Edition

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Randall Cobb showed toughness by fighting for this touchdown.

When you think of tough football players — whether they play for the Packers or not — you probably think of Mike Singletary and his stare, Ray Nitschske and his scowl or Ronnie Lott lopping off part of his finger so he could keep playing.

You probably don’t think of too many wide receivers, especially modern-day receivers with their diva-like tendencies. There’s a couple of Packers wide receivers that are the exception to that rule, though, and should be on any list of tough guys in today’s NFL.

Read this week’s stock report to learn more:

Rising

Jordy Nelson
Randall Cobb
When we talk about the Packers being a tougher, more physical team, I think most of us probably mean that the defense needs to hit harder and the offensive line needs to start pushing people around to get the run game going. We probably don’t put wide receivers into the toughness equation, but we should. Both Nelson and Cobb are coming off injuries and absorbed some wicked hits on Sunday. The kept getting up for more. They completely sold out on every single play and did whatever they could possibly do to punch back at the 49ers defense — the big bully on the block. Cobb and Nelson might not play a position defined by toughness, but they both proved on Sunday that they’re two of the toughest players on the Packers roster.

Ryan Pickett
According to Pro Football Focus, Pickett has three stops on Sunday — solo tackles that resulted in an offensive failure. Frank Gore didn’t have the space he’s used to against the Packers and Big Grease is one of the reasons why. The soon-to-be 34 year old looked as good as he ever has, absorbing double teams, winning the battle when single-blocked, and causing chaos inside.

Steady

Tim Masthay
Ging matched all-world punter Andy Lee punt for punt and even took over kickoff duties. More importantly, Masthay is fearless! He made one tackle on a kick return and nearly had another. I wonder if he can play safety?

Mike Neal
I thought the Neal-as-outside linebacker experiment would be a massive failure, but so far, so good. He’s an anchor on the edge against the run and even got after Colin Kaepernick a few times in the pass rush. He’s nowhere near an adequate complement to Matthews yet, but if he keeps making progress, who knows…

Davon House
It wasn’t Jarrett Bush who shined on special teams Sunday, it was House. Splitting double teams, making three tackles, drawing a penalty. House was everywhere on the special teams unit. We’ll see if that earns him any more playing time on defense. Sam Shields looked shaky on Sunday.

Falling

Jerron McMillian
M.D. Jennings
Besides the final score, the most frustrating thing about Sunday’s loss was watching the Packers’ receivers get drilled after they made a catch while the 49ers’ receivers never had to fear at all about taking a shot. There were a few passes that floated over the middle where it looked like the stage was set for a safety to deliver a shot, but it never happened. McMillian and Jennings looked too slow to the ball and too tentative to be starting safeties in the NFL.

Clay Matthews late hit on Kaepernick
Dumb. Just plain dumb. If you want to be a tough guy and spark your team, lay the wood on somebody when they’re actually in bounds. Then flex your muscles and chest bump your teammates. A late hit in that situation does nothing but negate a big stop from your defense.

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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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  • Razer

    I never saw the game but, based on the commentary to date, your review sounds about right. I am glad to see Pickett’s name in this article. The man is a true pro and has worked hard in the trenches for many years. Kudos to the big man.

    I was hoping the Finley might take this stage to show his elite “potential”. A monster performance by our TE would have forced a good 49er defense to account for too many weapons. Everything opens up if Finley can get to the next level. I think that Steelers Wheel sang “stuck in the middle with you”.

    • palmercot

      Finley was open for the most part but he missed a critical ball that ended up being a interception. It went in and out of his hands. It was a hot ball about waist high but a ball he should have caught. He continues to flup catches he should catch.

      • Razer

        It disturbs me to hear that Finley was open for the most part. Perhaps it is time for MM to let go of play calling. With all our weapons, this offense should have defenses guessing and one step behind the offense. Maybe we don’t have a run game because play calling is so predictable that a high school DC could defend us. As much as any one play hurt us, the 3 and outs killed this victory. Defense was on the field too long and giving back the ball with 5 minutes left was the game. Get a play caller

        • somedude

          Says the guy that didn’t watch the game.

          • Razer

            Apparently you don’t agree. I take it that most of you think that MM’s play-calling is getting the most out of this offense.

  • palmercot

    What happed to Perry I haven’t heard his name called. Didn’t he play last Sunday? Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings, these two have to go. If they continue to play the packers will need to find a pass rush like no other to stop the big plays. Your analyses is dead on. They are out of position and slow to the catch, sometimes 2 or 3 yards out of position. If you watch the defensive line during the last game you will see that not only did they not get to the QB for rushes they for the most part did not even move off their blocks? That needs to change also. If the pack can get that done they will be the team to beat in the NFL. I don’t think they have the personnel to get it done as of today.

    • Dobber

      The DL was playing far more contain on Kaepernick than they were rushing the passer. They didn’t want a repeat of the playoff loss where Kaepernick gouged them for big runs. Unfortunately, they couldn’t cover Boldin and Davis so Kaepernick gouged them through the air.

      I would be prepared for a similar game plan vs. Washington, but their OL isn’t as good.

  • the real russ letlow

    I disagree on the Matthews hit.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      I disagree with your disagreement, but truly admire your screen name.
      :-)

      • JimR_in_DC

        I agree with your disagreement with his disagreement.

        • Adam Czech

          I agree w/ Ed and Jim’s disagreement and disagree w/ the real russ letlow’s disagreement.

          • mudduckcheesehead

            I agree with Russ’ disagreement and disagree with all subsequent disagreements and agreements with said disagreements.

            • JimR_in_DC

              I’m hungry.

      • the real russ letlow

        thanks, the name was strictly for the history. The first, first rounder in 1936. woo hoo.

  • James David

    Defense line play was very good. You do not blitz a good QB as they will beat it. What was missing was a defense back like Burnett calling out the correct coverage! Cb House needs to play against physical wide receivers. As the defense gains experience, they will play much better.

  • Chad Toporski

    Masthay FTW.

  • GBPDAN

    TT gets a F so far at the safety position behind Burnett. We all knew if something happened to Burnett we would be screwed, and now we lost a huge game because of it. The niners are now 2 games up on us for playoff seeding.

  • funcrusher

    I’d take Matthew’s play out of the falling category. Although it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, it’s probably the first dumb penalty he’s gotten since becoming a Packer. Replace it with Jeremy Ross! Someone needs to tell him that there’s no shame in taking a knee. When you’re up against the best defense in the league, it’s best not to be starting at your own ten yard line over and over again!

  • Shavager

    Third game in a row that Capers’ defense couldn’t stop Niners, Harbaugh and company have Capers number and his adjustments haven’t worked, with two starters out Kaepernick has another field day. McCarthy lost several opportunities to score with 3 and outs, it didn’t help that Ross ignored Kuhn’s instruction to down the ball in endzone and cost Packers field position. Defense needs to be able to protect leads and seal wins, Capers’ defense is not able to do it, at least not at this point.