After watching the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings battle to a tie, it is really easy to point fingers at the officials (they were bad), the rules (they are bad), or the opposing team. Instead, I’m going to focus on the Green Bay locker room to see who did the most to lead them to a non-loss, and who did the least to lead them to a non-win.
Ty Montgomery/Jamaal Williams
Both ran the ball well which was nice. However, their biggest contributions came in keeping Aaron Rodgers safe in the pocket. There were several key passing plays where Montgomery or Williams slid to the free rusher and kept #12 safe from harm. Without their effort the passing game would have struggled and the Packers would never have been in position to win the game in the 4th quarter.
Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson
All three played really well. King’s injury may have been the biggest factor in the Vikings getting back into the game. Alexander and Jackson really locked down a potentially potent Minnesota passing attack. The rest of the secondary really struggled (more on that in a second), but the three young cornerbacks all showed why fans can get excited about this position for the future.
The rookie flipped field position on several punts. His hang time prevented returns on most of his kicks, and he made an impact the Packers haven’t seen out of their punter since Craig Hentrich. It is a better week to be a 5th round punter than a 5th round kicker.
I’m not saying HaHa is going to retire at halftime of a game, but it may be time to assess how he feels about the game of football. There were some absolutely brutal plays, and his willingness to come up and hit players is starting to get questioned. His angles in the passing game have become questionable, and he is brutal playing in the box. Getting Oren Burks and Josh Jones back will help, but HHCD is still going to get playing time. It is looking more and more like this is the final year in Green Bay for Clinton-Dix.
When both your starting safeties make the duds list, you know it was a rough game. Brice is a massive hitter, playing in a league that wants to get rid of players like him. I’ll give him credit for understanding what he can and can’t do, unlike cheap-shot artist Andrew Sendejo, but he needs to be able to decide when he’s playing the ball and when he is playing to hit the receiver. His decision not to play over the top on Stefon Diggs is borderline unforgivable. The Packers need to see marked improvement on the backend of the defense, and quick. One thing to consider, there’s still one really good safety sitting on the free agent market just waiting to be signed.
While a tie certainly leaves fans unsatisfied, and it really messes up the playoff picture, the Packers can take a measure of solace about how well they played against one of the best teams in the league. There are certainly some areas they will need to clean up, but with games against Washington and Buffalo they will have a chance to recover quickly.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