With four weeks in the books, the Packers are sitting pretty record wise at 3-1. With the injuries decimating areas of the team, specifically offensive tackle, that 3-1 record looks even better with a 10 day break between the end of the first quarter of the season and the beginning of the second. So, looking back at the first four games, which three players were the best. Who stood out?
Honorable Mentions: Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Ty Montgomery, Corey Linsley, Kenny Clark, Blake Martinez, Clay Matthews, Morgan Burnett, Josh Jones, Josh Vogel
3rd Star: Lane Taylor
The left guard turned left tackle for a game has been nothing if not steady for well over a year now and his ability to hold his own despite having to work with some unproven talent to his left is more than deserving of this spot. Through 4 games, he has been solid and was especially stout at left tackle against Chicago. Out of 29 pass block snaps, he allowed one hurry, which is an exceptional total for a guy who had never played left tackle at any level. You could easily say that without him, the offensive line is in complete shambles and the offense would be in dire straits. With all respect to his linemates in Corey Linsley and Jahiri Evans who are also having fine year, Taylor’s reliability and drive get him the 3rd star.
2nd Star: Mike Daniels
Even though he has missed the better part of 3 games, Daniels has already shown why he is the most important defender on the team. He single-handedly was able to swing all the momentum to the Packers in Week 1 against Seattle with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble, while also being immovable in the run game. And after he got hurt in Atlanta, it was hard not to notice his absence in the trenches. Without him, the Packers were having to rely on young talent in Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry as well as veterans like Quinton Dial and Ricky Jean-Francois, but while they were solid at the point of attack, none of them has that dominant quality that Daniels has. If he can return against Dallas, it will make things a whole lot easier for the defense to contain Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.
1st Star: Randall Cobb
All you have to do to justify this spot is look at the offense in the first half of the Bengals game without Cobb to see the impact he makes on this team. He opens everything up from his position in the slot and his knack for getting first downs is second to none. He is slippery after the catch and is as reliable as it gets with his hands, having not dropped a pass in two seasons. With 19 receptions on 25 targets, Cobb is the driving force for this receiving corps. Without his contributions, it is significantly easier to cover guys like Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. With the work of Cobb, the middle of the field is a wasteland for Aaron Rodgers. His importance to the offense and Aaron Rodgers in particular is why Cobb is my first star through one quarter of the season.
Don’t agree? Let me know in the comments.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.