Before the season, beat reporter Bob McGinn ranked the Green Bay Packers roster in order of importance to the Packers success for the upcoming season. Now that we’re five games into the season, let’s do something similar.
If the Packers are going to build off their recent success after a shaky start, which five players are going to have to remain healthy and productive? No, it’s not a full roster ranking like McGinn’s, but it gives a good overview of which players the Packers will need in order to have a shot at succeeding in January.
- Aaron Rodgers. An obvious No. 1.
- Mike Daniels. He was No. 2 on McGinn’s list and he’s No. 2 on mine. The defensive line needs all the production it can get.
- Jordy Nelson. One of the best in the game.
- Randall Cobb. Might seem high for Cobb, but if either he or Nelson gets hurt, this offense will sputter.
- Tramon Williams. The Packers secondary is legit and Williams is a big reason why.
A couple of notes on my rankings:
- Clay Matthews didn’t make the list because the Packers have more depth at OLB now with Julius Peppers. Mike Neal is also holding his own and Nick Perry is even showing signs of life.
- Williams made it because 1) he’s playing so well, 2) the secondary has been a strength of this team and needs to keep it up and 3) Williams has developed a nasty attitude, the type of attitude the defense needs.
- No Eddie Lacy, not because Lacy isn’t important, but because the Packers can win without a running game and often do.
- No offensive linemen, for many of the same reasons I didn’t include Lacy.
Now that we have our top 5 out of the way, on to the Packers Stock Report:
One of the Packers beat writers needs to go in-depth with Williams and do a story about the veteran’s transformation into one of the toughest players on the team. After the Packers Super Bowl season, Williams seemed to openly run away from contact and was a feeble tackler, at best. Starting at about the halfway point of last season, he started sticking his nose into the middle of everything and became totally fearless. Now he’s a capable tackler and his pass coverage has also been elevated a notch. Perhaps Williams’ shoulder from 2011 is finally fully healed. Or maybe the light went on one day and he realized he needed to play tougher. Either way, I love it and the Packers defense is better because of it.
Anyone else have flashbacks to 2011 when Aaron Rodgers rolled out off of play action and hit Nelson deep on Thursday against the Vikings? That play was a staple in the Packers’ offense during that glorious season. If it makes a comeback, may God have mercy on the rest of the NFC.
Peppers, 6-foot-7, 285 pounds, and in his mid-30s, was outrunning Vikings backs and receivers on his way to the end zone after picking off a pass on Thursday. A guy I know who covered Peppers when he was in college at North Carolina said Peppers was the best athlete he’s ever seen. No kidding.
I think the center position is Linsley’s job to keep once J.C. Tretter is healthy. Looking ahead, the Packers will have a solid stable of players inside with Linsley, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang and Tretter.
What else is there to say about Sitton at this point? He’s been good when the Packers offensive line was bad. Now that the line is showing some promise, Sitton is still good. Actually, he’s the best player the Packers have up front.
Another week where the steady category is occupied by offensive linemen. If this keeps up, the Packers offense will be tough to stop.
It was garbage time, but you don’t want your backup QB to come in and throw a pick.
After chipping Peppers and sending the Packers to the playoffs last season, Kuhn probably as a Packers roster spot for life. That’s fine, but he’s really not doing much with it at the moment.
The NFC North
Cutler is still Cutler. The Lions are really beat up. Half the Vikings roster is in prison. Now is the time for the Packers to make a run and build a lead in the division.
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 .