As a way of wrapping up the 2013 season, the Packers Talk Radio Network writers want to hand out some individual awards to the top performers on this team.
Most Valuable Player
Cory Jennerjohn: This is going to sound strange, but I the best player from an up-and-down season is kicker Mason Crosby. He hit on 89 percent of his field goal attempts this year and only had one game where he missed more than one. He had over a 25 percent turnaround from last year, which deserves to be recognized.
John Rehor: David Bakhtiari deserves a ton of credit for stepping in for an injured Bryan Bulaga as a rookie. He admirably protected the blind sides of four different quarterbacks this season, allowing the passing game to continue to exist. He also opened up running lanes for Eddie Lacy and company. This season could have been much, MUCH worse if he had not played like a veteran as a rookie, forced into action.
Ross Uglem: Never has Aaron Rodgers value been more clear to this team. The team was a very impressive 6-2 with Rodgers starting and finishing games, with their only losses coming to playoff teams on the road. It was an abysmal 2-5-1 without him.
Rookie of the Year
CJ: This should be obvious. When the Offensive Rookie of the Year resides on your team, this is automatic. Eddie Lacy wowed everyone by not just playing hard like most rookies out of Alabama, but he did it with a chip on his shoulder as the fourth running back selected.
JR: 1,178 rushing yards. 4.1 average. 11 rushing touchdowns. Eddie Lacy not only gave the Packers a running game again, he did it with a vengeance. He was a gift in the second round of the draft, and added another dimension to the Packers offense that was desperately needed.
RU: David Bakhtiari and Micah Hyde certainly deserve honorable mention, but Eddie Lacy gave the Packers something that they haven’t had since Ahman Green, a truly elite NFL running back. Eddie Lacy is making his first (of many) trips to the Pro Bowl and is the favorite to win the NFL’s Offensive rookie of the year.
Offensive Player of the Year
CJ: I am not sure why or how Jordy Nelson got overlooked for things like the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team this year. Adversity is where you prove your worth and Nelson had a minefield of adversity this year. He not only had his starting quarterback go down in Week 9, but he also had to accustom himself with three other starting quarterbacks. Along the way, he led the team in targets, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, yards per game and yards after the catch.
JR: Jordy Nelson continues to fly under the radar as one of the best wide receivers in the league. How he did not make the Pro Bowl is a joke. 1,314 receiving yards, a 15.5 YPC average, 8 TDs, all while catching passes from four different QBs this season. He can continue to be one of the most underrated WRs in the league by the other 31 teams-he is more than appreciated in Green Bay.
RU: Not only did Josh Sitton switch positions in the off season, but before the season even started he lost his running mate on the left side, Bryan Bulaga before the season even started. Playing alongside a rookie LT and delivering a 2nd team All Pro performance at a new position is good enough for me.
Defensive Player of the Year
CJ: Even though the defense looked dazed and confused most times, A.J. Hawk churned out his most impressive season. The middle linebacker and quarterback of the defense, led the team in solo and total tackles while also racking up five sacks and an interception and fumble recovery. He is still succeptible in coverage, but he played with a high motor this year. Which was much-needed from a linebacking corps that was decimated with injuries.
JR: Someone had to step up in the absence of Clay Matthews and provide a pass rush. Mike Daniels was that player. Displaying a non stop motor, Daniels led the team in sacks (7 1/2), hurries (31), pressures per snap (one every 17.4 snaps), and was second in knockdowns (3 1/2). Much like Bakhtiari stepped up in the absence of Bulaga, the defense could have been much worse if Daniels had not performed at the level he did.
RU: This was a hard one for me. The Packers defensive player that performed the best for the longest stretch of time was definitely Mike Daniels. 6.5 sacks and 31 pressures from an inside rusher is very, very impressive.
Most Disappointing Player
CJ: Without a doubt, this one was B.J. Raji. In a contract year, he became the invisible man on defense by taking plays off or not turning and hustling to get the ballcarrier. If a contract year doesn’t motivate players these days, I’m not sure what does.
JR: How did Morgan Burnett respond after signing a 4 year/$24.75 million extension? Horribly. Sure, he finished second on the team with 113 tackles (solo and assists). He also led the team in missed tackles with 11. His stat line also included zero interceptions, zero forced fumbles, zero sacks, and zero tackles for loss. To say he did not live up to the expectations placed on him after signing the extension would be an understatement.
RU: His counterpart MD Jennings was certainly more disastrous, but Jennings didn’t sign a fat contract extension before the season. Burnett did. He needs to have a big season next year and would really benefit from having a better player than Jennings playing alongside him.
Editor’s note: Jacob Westendorf did not participate in this due to other commitments.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.