Packers Stock Report: Can’t Beat the Best Edition

Sitton and Lang

There was a period during the Green Bay Packers’ 2009 and 2010 seasons where they couldn’t beat the NFL’s elite. You knew the Packers were good, really good, actually, but they couldn’t get over the hump against the likes of Atlanta, New England or the 2009 Vikings with Brett Favre slinging the ball around.

That all changed during a glorious six-game stretch at the end of 2010. Suddenly, the Packers’ talent meshed, the defense toughened up and the Packers were the elite team, beating 13-3 Atlanta on the road in the playoffs and the 12-4 Steelers in the Super Bowl.

That carried over throughout the 2011 regular season before crashing to a maddening halt with a divisional round loss to the Giants.

That Giants team had a tough defense and rushing attack that feasted on the soft and slow middle of the Packers’ defense. The 49ers and Seahawks have used that same formula — mixed with offensive sets and playcalling that are above defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ pay grade — to dominate the Packers in ensuing years.

Now the 2014 Packers are back to where they were in 2009 and most of 2010: Good, but not good enough to beat the best.

They managed to come around and take the next step in 2010. Can they do it again in 2014?

We’ll see. For now, on to the first Packers Stock Report of the 2014 regular season:


Josh Sitton
I wish the Packers offensive line could transfer some of it’s nastiness and attitude over to the defensive line. The o-line, led by Sitton, plays tough and mean. Those two traits don’t matter, though, if you can’t actually block anybody. Thankfully, Sitton captains a line that, when healthy, can actually block. The veteran right guard is going to need to be as good as he ever has been to make up for a lack of depth up front, especially if Bryan Bulaga misses time with yet another knee injury.

Sam Shields
Yeah, he got caught cheating on the Seahawks’ first touchdown pass, but perhaps Shields saw Seahawks center Max Unger 8 yards downfield like everyone else (besides the officials, unfortunately) and assumed the play was going to be a run. Other than that screw-up, Shields made decisive plays on the ball and was one of the few tackling bright spots on a miserable tackling night for the Packers.

T.J. Lang
After what the Seahawks did to the Packers in week 1, it’s hard to find another player worthy of the rising category. So, I’m going to give the third slot to T.J. Lang. Like Sitton, Lang is also playing well on an aggressive offensive line. But more importantly, he tweeted the following after the extended video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiance was released on Monday:


Bravo, Mr. Lang.


James Starks
Starks has managed to stay healthy for a while now and he’s grown into one of the better backup running backs in the NFL. If Lacy’s second concussion in less than a year forces him to miss some time, I’m not too worried about the Packers’ running game because of Starks. That type of reassurance is exactly what you want out of your backup players.

Clay Matthews
Perhaps the only player on the Packers’ defense who plays like he wants to destroy every single player on the other team, Matthews looked good in his newish role as a do-everything and line up all-over-the-place linebacker. His surgically repaired thumb also remained attached to his hand. Now that he’s healthy and effective again, Matthews needs to have a chat with Mike Daniels and let the defensive lineman know that all that bravado he talked during the offseason needs to start showing up on the field if this Packers defense is going to turn things around.


Brad Jones
Enough is enough. Let’s see what Jamari Lattimore and/or Sam Barrington can do.

Derek Sherrod
I’m pulling for Sherrod to develop into a player. I really am. He suffered a terrible injury in 2011 and it’d be nice to see him come all the way back and fulfill the promise of a first-round pick. After Thursday’s matador-like performance, he’s got a long ways to go.

Dom Caopers
I’ve never been a #FireCapers guy, but it’s become painfully obvious that he’s overmatched when he has to prepare for power teams that use a lot of misdirection and non-traditional formations and sets. At this point, I wouldn’t mind if Capers stepped away to *cough* spend more time with his family *cough* like former Packers linebackers coach Kevin Greene did last offseason.


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 .


27 thoughts on “Packers Stock Report: Can’t Beat the Best Edition

  1. Pulling for Sherrod is like wanting Rodgers to be body slammed to the turf…
    No on the job training for Marshall Newhouse wannabe Sherrod. He actually escorts his man to the qb. Putting Sherrod on the field is a kick in the ballsack to Rodgers. Not cool…

  2. Under no circumstance will I be convinced that Sherrod,pre or post injury,is the guy for the Packers at Tackle..right or left.

    1. Give Sherrod a chance, he truly is a rookie out there. No off season practices after being drafted because of a stike, breaks leg and is out for two full seasons without being able to train.
      Everyone gave Bulaga and Bak a chance when they initially struggled their rookie season. Why not Sherrod? Seattle is a very good team with a tremendous dline, they were home, the hipe of the SB banner going up and we became one dimensional and used only half the field. What did you expect?

      1. Sherrod was a #1 pick,though I thought he was a reach,yet many jumped on his bandwagon the second his drafted and that is fine and dandy.
        But lets not forget how bad he was in his first camp where he lost out to Marshall ‘Outhouse’ Newhouse…regardless of the holdout.
        He was easily beaten then and his play now is of no encouragement.
        Are we stuck with him,maybe as a backup only if Bulaga is able to return and play a full season,though he seems to have some glass in his structure.
        I hope as always that any and every player can get it done at a high level and succeed but Sherrod needs to do it fast and now. 🙂

  3. No – GB is not elite right now. But they could be by the end of the season (when it matters). They have to find an answer at ILB, whether that’s by scheme or (more likely) a backup player, and they have to find an answer in the middle of the DL. If they can’t stop the run they’ll never make it further than one and done – even with a great offense.

    But let’s not be all doom and gloom here either folks. The Lions and Vikings showed something this week, but look at their level of competition. Now look at ours. We are a better team than both of them, and it’s not close. We’re still going to win the division; and once you’re in the playoffs anything can happen. Only 2 #1 seeds (SEA and NO) have won it all (or even gotten to the big game) in the past 10 years.

    1. “We are a better team than both of them, and it’s not close. ”

      You’re correct in that it isn’t all doom and gloom after one week but,this sentence I copied above might ring a tad more true had we played a closer game vs Seattle.

      The Giants looked like us vs Det and the Vikes simply rolled over and looked too fast for a very high rated defense of the Rams which we aren’t.

      It is only one game into the season but ratings are done weekly and right now based on what has been witnessed..this sentence is not true on many levels.

      1. I say that with a look at the rosters in the NFCN. Sure the Lions underachieved last year, but as good as their offense could be, ours is better. Better personnel. Better coaching. And the defenses? As good as their run D is their pass D = eurgh.

        Minnesota has holes all over their roster. If it’s possible to be a paper tiger right after week 1 – they are that. Their OL is over-rated. Their WRs are too. Their QBs are awful. Their DL is meh and their LBs are meh.

        Our DL is meh. (right now). Our LB’s are meh outside of CM3. And…where else are we bad? NOWHERE.

        GB is not an elite team right now – and they won’t be until they figure out how to play gap sound defense and fix ILB. But they’re a HELLUVA lot better than the schlock in the rest of the division.

        1. “GB is not an elite team right now”…..

          Just like QBs..if your not in the elite, then you’re just another in the pickle barrel.If the Packers aren’t elite at this moment,then anyone in the barrel is an equal and thus subject to losing as any other weekly.

          I’m not nor did I intend to put a damper on your season ending expectations.I responded to the implied thinking that neither Det or Minn aren’t even close to the Packers.

          This may prove true as the season moves forward,but as of now,it’s much,much closer then many a Packer fan wants to admit.

          Don’t be surprised if it gets/looks worse/closer before it gets better or separated. 🙂

          P.S. We are also witnessing the fact that even an ‘Elite’ QB can only carry a team so far and he begins to look…different.

          1. “P.S. We are also witnessing the fact that even an ‘Elite’ QB can only carry a team so far and he begins to look…different.”

            So true. A MVP QB can rack up a lot of wins against ordinary teams when his own team is ordinary at best. Put that same QB against elite teams and suddenly it becomes too much to overcome. That is what we are witnessing in GB. TT/MM/DC get all teh raises and contract extensions because of their W/l record against ordinarty teams but it’s all due to AROD. W/o AROD, this crew would have been shown the door long ago. Current scenario is cruel to fan base. We get our hopes up because we can get to 10-6 every year but then we get humiliated in R1 of the playoffs. This defines the TT/MM era. Yet so many fans defend it. Fans should be furious at TT and MM.

        2. Why does everyone keep saying the Packers are a better coached team? Capers is plain pathetic and McCarthy who doesn’t coach scared is scared to death! So much so he basically told his team none of you are good enough to go against Sherman, not even the guy we’re paying $10 million a year or the QB we’re paying $20 million. They still can’t tackle even though it’s been something McCarthy keeps talking about. How many times in the last 3 years have we heard McCarthy talk about Fundamentals? That would be tackling, blocking, holding onto interceptions that hit you in the hands or gut. You know, that really difficult stuff.

  4. The Packers will not beat the best until they can stop the run and run the ball effectively against the best. I have hope for the OL and Lacy but I have little confidence about the middle of our defense to step up and stop the run against Seattle, SF etc…. Even this weeks game against the Jets will be somewhat of a test. Their front 7 on defense plays physical football and they have a decent ground game on offense. They’re not Seattle but the Packers still need to come to play. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. I’m also concerned about our coaching vs. the better coaches in the NFL. We know how we stack up against the 49ers and Seahawks. The Vikings picked up a good coach in Mike Zimmer.

      This is going to be a make or break season for McCarthy & Capers.

      1. Except any day now TT is going to announce that he has extended MM another 5 years and given him another big fat raise. TT/MM will walk away from GB very rich men.

    2. And now we play another team with a great front 7 and a good run game. This one is weak at CB. What if we can’t beat them?

      1. Archie – I don’t know if I would say that the Jets have a great front 7. They do play physical up front and Wilkerson is a very good player. The Packers are a better team than the Jets. The Jets did not play well against the Raiders at home, but they managed to come away with a win. If the Packers cannot beat the Jets at home, then you are correct and the Packers have serious problems for this season. IMO there is no excuse for the Packers to lose at Lambeau this week. 10 days between games, home opener, Aaron Rodgers, show some pride that we are better than we played in Seattle, Jets a potentially weak opponent. With or without Lacy and Bulaga, put the game in Rodgers hands and go out and win the game. I don’t want to hear about communication problems and getting players into the flow of the game. Just win baby. Thanks, Since ’61

  5. This is not that bad idea (the one with *cough*ing). Promote Dom to the Chief Defensive Consultant (CDC), just to use his knowledge and promote or (re)hire new coach for DC job. It will be, my opinion, win win situation for Dom, Packers & new DC…

  6. I watch Cardinals: wow, inspiring defense.
    I watched Atlanta, wow they played tough defense.
    I watched Dolphins game. That’s how a defensive attitude should be. 9ers, and Sawks, even the Bills.
    GB is way outclassed on defense.

    This team isn’t going anywhere this year. Lions take division and Vikes second, and Cutler will manage to keep Chigo at bottom of division..

    Capers and McCarthy hold this team back. TT failed too, not getting Ogletree, or Arthur Brown ILB talent.

    I see I’ll have to watch other games to enjoy good football, and watch GB for sentimental reasons.

    Long year ahead. Ugh. But no, I’m not panicking…

    1. Atlanta gave up 34 points dude. At home.

      You are delusional. GB will be in the playoffs again. As the NFCN champ. Again. Don’t over-react to week 1.

  7. Tj Lang rising??? Everyone wants to rip Sherrod for two bad plays (the fourth down play never should have been run) but Lang gave up several pressures and a bad hold when he was beat bad. Maybe Sherrod just should have tackled the defender like Lang and oh yea Bak did too. In my opinion the oline did about as good as they could against the best dline in the NFL. Did anyone really expect the oline to stonewall Seattle? Maybe if the play calling was better and Rodgers didn’t play scared it would have looked better to all of you “sky is falling” fans.

    1. Sherrod has a tough assignment this week – Wilkerson or Richardson. However, at home on natural turf. If he can’t produce under these conditions he may be finished. OTOH, if he can stand up to two of the best 3-4 DEs then we have something to work with. Big week for him. Doubt Pack will be able to control ball on the ground in this one. AROD will need time to beat their weak CBs on the outside. Last chance for Pack. 0-2 heading to a back-to-back-to-back showdown in own Division would be a recipe for a disaster. Will be difficult for this Packers team to ever see north of .500.

      1. I agree Archie. If Sherrod can’t get his job done in this game it could possibly be over for him. The pressure is definitely on Derrick Sherrod this week.

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