Packers Stock Report: Late-season Clunker Edition

Aaron Rodgers

Every season during the Mike McCarthy era, the Green Bay Packers have a post-Thanksgiving game where they take a giant dump on the field.

On Dec. 23, 2007, the Bears beat the Packers 35-7 at windy Soldier Field. Brett Favre threw zero touchdowns, two interceptions and appeared to be frozen.

In 2008, the Packers lost five straight, four coming after Thanksgiving and culminating in a rough Monday Night loss to the Bears on Dec. 22.

On Dec. 20, 2009, Ben Roethlisberger torched the Packers for 503 passing yards as the Steelers snapped Green Bay’s five-game winning streak.

Of course, you all remember Dec. 12, 2010. That’s the day the Lions beat the Packers 7-3 and knocked out Aaron Rodgers with a concussion.

I’m guessing you all also remember Dec. 18, 2011. That’s when Kyle Orton, aka the Packers-killer, and the Chiefs ruined Green Bay’s hopes for an undefeated season with a 19-14 shellacking at Arrowhead Stadium.

Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, saw the Packers lose to Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings, 37-34. The loss cost the beat-up Packers a first-round bye.

Last season’s meltdown came on Thanksgiving with the Lions stomping Green Bay 40-10.

And, of course, Rodgers decided to play one of the worst game of his career last Sunday as the Bills humbled the Packers in Buffalo, sending Green Bay tumbling all the way to the No. 6 seed if the playoffs began today.

Late-season missteps happen. They’re hard to watch and they seem to incite increased levels of panic because everyone is eyeing the playoff picture right now.

Instead, let’s try to keep an eye on the big picture. Despite Sunday’s meltdown, the Packers are still rising.

We might not ever see Rodgers play as poorly as he did on Sunday ever again. We hopefully never see Packers’ receivers drop eight passes again. The Packers’ special teams are bad, but hopefully they’ve now bottomed out and can improve in the season’s final weeks.

Despite an injury to Bryan Bulaga, the Packers remain healthy, the most healthy they’ve been in a long, long time.

I like the Packers’ chances at beating the Bucs this week and the Lions the following week. That would mean the No. 2 overall seed and at least one playoff game. We’ll see what happens from there.

For now, on to the Packers stock report:


Bryan Bulaga
Why list a player as rising when he exited the previous game early with an injury? Because both times Bulaga has left a game injured this season, his replacement has surrendered a game-altering sack. On Sunday, Mario Williams got around J.C. Tretter for the strip sack on the Packers’ final possession. Perhaps the key to the Packers entire season is making sure Bulaga never has to leave injured in the middle of a game again.

Eddie Lacy
There were several times Lacy rumbled through a gaping hole up front, picked up steam on the second level, then leveled some poor sap in the secondary to cap off a nice run. Too bad he only got 15 carries. Who knows what kind of damage he could have caused with 20-25?


Clay Matthews
It was another solid game from Matthews. We haven’t seen Matthews take over a game lately, but he’s been good all around for the last six weeks or so.

Randall Cobb
The only wide receiver who managed to get a little separation against the Bills was Cobb. He also took part in the drop party, but his miscues weren’t as egregious as a few of the others (*cough* Jordy Nelson *cough*)

Letroy Guion
Ideally, the Packers would like someone bigger and stronger than Guion to try and slow down the other team’s power running game, but with B.J. Raji out, Guion is what they have. Guion might not be the stout man in the middle this defense needs, but he’s athletic and shoots through a gap at least once or twice per game to make a play.


Davante Adams
Perhaps someone needs to sit down with young Mr. Adams and explain to him that he can’t live off his big game against New England the rest of the season.

A.J. Hawk
The Packers played a lot of base defense on Sunday, which meant more snaps for Hawk. He held up ok, until the game’s final drive where he was an obvious liability.


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 .


19 thoughts on “Packers Stock Report: Late-season Clunker Edition

  1. If there’s an upside, it’s that several elements of the team had off days on the same day. Sure it led to the loss, but it’s as if the Pack got that late season hiccup scratched off their to-do list and can move on to the other positive stuff remaining. It was unrealistic to expect them to go on an 11-0 run to get Lombardi V.

    Like a Cy Young winning pitcher that gets hit hard and gets the hook after 3 innings, AR didn’t have his best stuff Sunday. We see maybe 1 or 2 of those from him a season, and he got it out of his system.

    I’d like to see MM dig deeper into Bill Walsh’s true west-coast offense playbook. Since Walsh’s mastery was offensive design that turned a defense’s strength against itself, the heavy rush fronts of Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo all have their Achilles heel. We’re seeing more of it with Cobb, Lacy has proven his value as a receiver and it would be interesting to see him catching the ball in stride by design ala Roger Craig as opposed to just screens, check downs and squat routes. Starks could be crazy good in that role if he could just get over his case of Finleyitis.

  2. I might want to add Julius Peppers to the falling category. I din’t think that I have seen him make a play since the Patriots game. He needs to have a bigger impact on games, especially these next 2. As for the big picture, let’s get the #2 seed, a bye and a home playoff game. Who knows what may happen to the #1 seed between now and then. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. I think we all agreed that when they signed Peppers they needed to cut down his snaps to keep him fresh and effective for 18+ weeks. Last I’d heard, his snap count this season isn’t much different than that of a year ago when the Bears used him up. Admittedly, he’s playing more in space and not getting sat on by 350-lb OTs, but they’ve got to get him some air. Maybe a rout of TB to come back fresh against Detroit to earn a first-round bye is just what the doctor ordered in that regard.

    2. Julius has had some truly spectacular plays this year but I didn’t honestly see him turn on the gas. Is he out of fuel and might he be let go come 2015?

  3. I might add Sam Barrington to the rising category. Did he make mistakes? Sure. Is he going to make more mistakes? Yep. But the guy plays with heart and fire, and isn’t afraid to get dirty.

    While we might point to CMIII playing more consistently (coinciding with his getting more snaps inside where his “go get the football at 100 mph” mentality leads to fewer defensive gaffes), that improvement doesn’t seem to be too far out of sync with Barrington getting drastically increased snaps.

    1. I generally agree but Barrington had two HUGE penalties this game. Still not sure what happened for the 15 yarder…

  4. Just a thought that has bothered me since TT has been here. And it roared it’s ugly head again. Keeping just 7 offensive lineman at times and having as many as 6 TE on the roster when most teams barely keep 3. So we a few weeks ago we cut Meredith a pure T with starting experinces so we can put Perillo TE to active roster leaving only 2 pure Tackles on the roster. So when a tackle goes down we have to put a center out at Tackle we gives up a critical strip sack. What happens if both Tackles went out?

    1. Lang, Sitton and Tretter were all college LTs before being drafted by the Packers. They could slide outside (and Tretter did) as needed, but you make a valid point. If you have to move your best players out of position to cover an injury, aren’t you actually creating two holes rather than one on your OL?

      1. Exactly right, Dobber. Question might be whether Meredith was better than Tretter at OT. That said, I was a bit surprised though when GB cut Meredith.

    2. It has to do with the limits of the 53 man roster and what’s needed for ST. TEs (and LBs) make excellent ST players, OTs not so much. If you keep an extra OT, someone else has to go.

    3. Our TE issue is unresolved, to say the least. With all due respect to Aaron’s cousin, R. Rodgers, he needs more speed as a TE.

    1. Here’s the skinny on Slocum’s unit. Hold on to yours seats, gentlemen. Kickoff return average, 31st in NFL. Net punting, 28th. Gross punting, 29th. Opponent average drive start after kickoff, 31st in NFL. In about three categories, they’re middle of the pack (no pun intended). So, I can see every coach wanting to make a long term professional career at Green Bay. And with what they get paid, for God’s sake. Ah, but MM doesn’t believe in the stats, right. Statistics are for losers?

  5. The loss hurts, hopefully we come back stronger. Not to start peeking into next year because I do believe the teem has a future this year, but I can see how the starters play on Sundays but what do we have in reserve? Will Janis play this year? Who is doing well on the practice squad?

  6. Agree with most of your players Adam. Nice job. I also like this article every week and look forward to it.
    I’d like to add some of my own.


    1. Sam Barrington: I agree with Dobber. He f’d up big time on that one play but he’s at least a physical presence in the run game and we needed that badly. We have to deal with the growing pains but has a huge upside the more he plays.
    2. Shawn Slocum: The more his units regress the more popular he becomes. At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a raise and a promotion. He’s rising so quickly none of us can keep up.
    3. Aaron Rodger’s libido: With his girlfriends public airing of their private sex life I have a feeling Rodgers will purposely withhold “that” to send a message to his squeeze to never publicly discuss “that” again. Rodgers was clearly distraught over the incident and it showed in his poor play. Big T was right about this and was first here to break this story.


    `1. The Packers consistent poor play against a certain type of defense. They did it again. Teams like Sea, Det, and Buffalo all have a similar style defense and the Packers continue to struggle to move the ball against it. The one promising thing I saw is what they did with Cobb. They might have found a solution that will help the next time they face them and they will starting next week against the Lions at Lambeau.


    1. Davante Adams: Agree with Adam. He’s a rookie but either hit the wall or is just lost. Rodgers simply can’t trust him. I wouldn’t bother throwing to him at this point.
    2. MM’s adaptation to reality: MM seems to think he can do pretty much anything on offense despite what’s actually happening on the field. Everyone knew he should have run the ball more in the second half but he continued to pass. No, it didn’t work. He had the ability to adjust his mindset in the game and refused to accept reality and we lost. With John Kuhn at fullback running ahead of Lacy, that seemed to be the winning formula but MM stubbornly got away from that formula and went back to passing.

    1. Maybe they decide to keep Lacy on the side because the hip injury. We do not know that, but I will agree that it looks logical to keep running game on with Starks and Harris!

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