The Green Bay Packers played dominant football against a good New York Giants team for three and a half quarters, before making for an anxiety-inducing ending. Let’s take a look at who shined and who had a less-than-stellar performance:
The pass rush continued to be fierce, and was largely generated from the exterior. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry continued their excellent seasons, but Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott both made significant contributions. With Mike Daniels pushing the pocket up the middle, the outside guys have an excellent chance the make plays, and they came up huge against the Giants.
Aaron Rodgers had an eternity to throw on several occasions, and the line kept him clean for the the whole game. Lane Taylor is doing his best to make Ted Thompson’s decision to let Josh Sitton go look like a smart move. The cohesiveness and effectiveness of this unit has been stellar so far this season.
This is a grade based on expectations. When I found out both Sam Shields and Damarious Randall were inactive, I expected Odell Beckham Jr to have a monster game. Instead he was held in check, and the Giants ended with under 200 yards passing. The Safeties finally had a big game. Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter held their own on the outside, and Micah Hyde did an admirable job manning the slot. Dom Capers called a fantastic game to protect his young corners, and Joe Thomas was great as the Dime Linebacker.
Lacy finally got loose. He’s typically been a slow starter to the season, but made an impact in October. He did a great job of finding holes, and when they weren’t there, making the play himself. Now we have to wait to hear how the ankle injury affects his status for the Cowboys game.
Another stud, another injured offensive player. Cobb found ways to get open, make clutch 3rd down catches, and make the Giants look like clowns after the catch (but not the scary kind on the news). The Packers are hoping to see more of that Randall Cobb than the 2015 version of him.
Schum really needs to be replaced as soon as possible. It would have been preferable for the Packers to bring in a replacement during the bye week to get used to holding for Crosby, but there are only so many shanked punts the Packers can deal with. The defense was starting out backed up way too often, and it was a result of poor punting and bad special teams penalties. Speaking of…
When you have a Kicker who can boot it out of the end zone routinely, and your coverage team gives up one big return, it might be a good idea to start kicking it out of the end zone. The Packers Special Teams Coach Ron Zook should probably consider that strategy with the electric Lucky Whitehead coming to town next Sunday.
Drops are always frustrating. They become much more frustrating when the receivers are struggling to get open, the Quarterback is helping them by moving the pocket, and they can’t hold onto passes that should be routine catches. Jordy had some uncharacteristic drops in the game, Adams was his typical hot and cold, and Richard Rodgers dropped a should-have-been a TD.
Starks had a couple of decent runs, but on tape they looked to be mostly generated by the offensive line. He struggled in the pass game (some was due to Rodgers), and nearly fumbled the lead away. Starks seems to have lost a step, but the Packers don’t currently have any other Running Back to turn to. It will be very telling if Ted Thompson brings in any free agent RBs this week.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig