The Green Bay Packers are 4-0 and look like the best team in the NFL, but Packers fans shouldn’t make hotel reservations for Indianapolis just yet. There are still holes on this team, and the biggest might be the nonexistent pass rush.
I debated whether to include Clay Matthews in the falling category for this week’s stock report, but decided to hold off for now. I understand that teams are game-planning for Matthews, and that he’s doing a good job against the run and setting the edge, but the Packers need him to rush the passer. Period.
There are a lot of LBs in the NFL that are good against the run and setting the edge. There are only a few that are elite pass rushers. Matthews was an elite pass rusher in 2010, and the Packers need him to return to form in 2011.
I was at Lambeau on Sunday and Matthews too often appeared content engaging his blocker and trying to read which direction the QB might scramble. Matthews needs to blow up whomever tries blocking him and force the QB to scramble in one direction or the other.
Maybe he’s playing hurt, maybe he’s just playing within the system. Either way, he needs to start putting QBs on the ground. I’m betting that if Matthews gets going, so will the rest of the Packers defense.
It might be time to just give Rodgers his own category, something above rising. I hate wasting a rising slot on Rodgers because it’s obvious to anyone that has watched football for more than 5 minutes that Rodgers is really good, and getting better. When Rodgers connected with James Jones on a touchdown in the third quarter Sunday, my wife and I thought he was throwing it right to a Broncos defender. The Denver defensive back’s coverage was so good, that we couldn’t even see Jones from the angle of our seats, but Rodgers fit the throw in anyway. That about sums up how Rodgers is playing right now.
Another player that maybe deserves his own category. Where would this defense be without Woodson taking over the Carolina game and getting an early pick-six against the Broncos? Woodson’s nose for the ball, aggressiveness and football IQ have covered up the early struggles of this defense. If Dom Capers can get this defense back on track, Woodson should get more opportunities to blitz and wreak even more havoc.
Ted Thompson showed just how saavy of an investor he is by locking up Nelson to a contract extension before his inclusion in this week’s stock report. If Thompson would have waited until after Nelson made the rising category, it would’ve cost the Packers at least another $7.52 (yes, that’s 7 dollars and 52 cents. This stock report is a big deal. A very big deal). For now, Nelson is the Packers second best receiver, behind Greg Jennings and ahead of Jermichael Finley.
Despite a holding penalty, Wells had another good game against the Broncos. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Wells get a new contract soon, before Finley does.
McCarthy has this offense humming and it’s a sight to behold. The head coach also gets bonus points for his onside kick call on Sunday.
Lang has filled in for the departed Daryn Colledge admirably. His pass protection is solid and his impact on the running game is noticeable.
Hawk finished with 71 solo tackles last season. Through four games in 2011, he’s on pace for 32. I know it’s not Hawk’s job to fly around and make every play, but that’s a serious dropoff. I’m trying to remember a single time where Hawk did something memorable this season….Nothing comes to mind. Hawk and Desmond Bishop look like their feet are stuck in sand at times. Bishop (who has 31 solo tackles) at least is explosive near the ball and makes a play every now and then. Hawk stays stuck in the sand.
It was fun to watch Shields scamper out of the end zone and return an interception for 60 yards Sunday, but he was still beat on the play. A good quarterback connects on that pass more often than not and doesn’t give Shields a chance to recover. The young CB’s tackling skills have also come into question. If Shields gets back on track, it could free up Woodson to blitz more and transform the entire defense. I know that’s a lot to put on a young kid that has only played CB for two years, but he needs to make it happen.
My wife and I packed up our tailgating supplies and headed toward the Verizon Gate at Lambeau Field around 2 p.m. on Sunday. The line already stretched beyond the parking lot. It took us about 15-20 minutes to get into the stadium, but others weren’t as lucky. The new security measures at Lambeau are an NFL directive, and they are ridiculous. The NFL is punishing everyone by overreacting to a few isolated incidents. These new procedures — which include a hand-held wand screening similar to what you might be subjected to at an airport — are more for show than actual security. The NFL needs to show that it’s “doing something” to protect fans, even if all it’s doing is pissing everyone off. If someone is bound and determined to do something unruly at a football game, no hand-held wand will stop them. Enhanced security personnel inside the stadium combined with fans keeping their eyes open is a much more effective method.
The Packers return to the sight of last year’s NFC divisional round massacre. Despite its flaws on defense, I like the Packers chances on Sunday. I also like their chances of heading into the bye undefeated.
The Thanksgiving game against the Lions is looking like it will be a big one. Now I just need to convince the mother-in-law that Thanksgiving dinner should be postponed until after the game.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .
14 thoughts on “Week 5 Packers Stock Report: Nelson and Rodgers Rising, Hawk and NFL Security Falling”
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That’s a really good point about stadium security. Rather than a top-down approach of using (ultimately ineffective) security gatekeepers, make it easier for fans to report bad and dangerous behavior. You don’t see the police stationing cars at the many entrances of bad neighborhoods to check everyone who enters. Rather you see police institute neighborhood watch programs with special hotlines for citizens – who have a stake in their security – to report suspicious activity. Have a stadium hotline fans can text or call with their location and a short description of the incident. Make sure that hotline is constantly monitored and that there are adequate resources for quick investigations by on-the-ground officers. Advertise it nationally, in-stadium, and locally outside of the stadium to make fans aware of the process.
An excellent idea but unless there are monetary fines in place for all the owners of the devices being used by them or others to off set the cost of the jokers who will think it funny to watch security run amok via the text/twitter morons who find joy in ruining eveyones day.
There is a number you can text to report unruly activity. It’s visible throughout the stadium, and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t get abused.
I’d be all for additional screening at the gate if I felt it kept me safer. I just don’t think it does.
If you can’t convince your mother-in-law of that, maybe you need a new mother-in-law.
Careful, she reads this site. You might want to change your locks and lay low for a while.
Wondered then and wonder now. Why did the Pack give Hawk such a big contract? So he could QB our defense? If it’s based on production, he owes the Pack a considerable rebate.
Packers value consistency and availability. More than the super-talented guy who is up and down and gets hurt.
I commented over at CHTV about Woodson frequently getting beat in coverage. Per Bob McGinn’s “Rating the Packers” vs. the Broncos:
“Otherwise, Woodson struggled. One of the three plays he lined up at safety in the base defense was the first play of the game. Fells ran right by him, but Orton’s 25-yard pass was overthrown. Lloyd beat Woodson deep in the third quarter, but Orton overthrew him in the end zone. The 28-yard run by McGahee was Woodson’s tackle to make at the line but, as often happens, he slipped to the ground and fanned.”
Wood was lucky passes were dropped or overthrown, or he’d have given up two TD’s. But Woodson makes a pick, and it’s all okay.
Meanwhile, over on Shields’ side of town:
“It was fun to watch Shields scamper out of the end zone and return an interception for 60 yards Sunday, but he was still beat on the play.”
Okay, so Woodson gets beat three times but gets lucky they aren’t TDs (Drops, overthrows), but he makes a INT and it’s all good. Shields gets beat, recovers, and intercepts the pass IN THE END ZONE, returns it to midfield, and it’s ‘but he still got beat’.
Look, I get it, Charles Woodson is a beast, and has been great for years. Sam Shields had one great rookie season and has been lack-luster this year thus far. But let’s at least try to weigh their individual performances from week-to-week on some sort of level playing field.
The stock report factors in more than just the latest game. Shields has been blah all year. Sure, Woodson has been beat a few times, but he keeps making plays.
Fair enough, then, looking at the whole breadth of the season thus far.. I agree about Shields play this season; I have been critical of his play since camp. That said, I can’t see his “stock falling” after this week- it was a certain improvement over everything else this season.
The pass rush cannot live and die with Clay.The Packers have played against questionable O-lines and Matthews; who is playing hurt is the focus of their protection. Problem is tghat nobody else4 has stepped up. The Broncos questionable secondary shut out Finley giving aqll the wide-outs oipportunities that they all cashed in on, save for Cobb, only because he fell. Doies that mean Finley merits a falling grade? there has to bea viable threat opposite Matthews to prevent teams from sliding passpro his way. Maybe drop Woody to Safety in a two safety shell and put Bush in the slot opposite Matthews.
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