Packers Superlatives at the Bye Week

The Packers limped into their Week 14 bye week with an uninspiring win against the depleted Bears. Certainly not the situation we all expected, where instead of preparing for a playoff push Green Bay has their eyes towards next year. The front office clearly was too confident in the personnel on this roster, and that oversight has reared it’s ugly head time and time again this season. At this point in the season the Packers are who they are – a passive, underachieving team. And no matter what happens over the last four games, it likely won’t change the disappointment of this season. But with that said, there have still been some bright spots, so let’s look at some Packers Superlatives as they head into the bye week.

Offensive MVP:

Aaron Jones

There’s no denying his value to the offense at this point of his career. Jones has been far and away the Packers most consistent playmaker this season. And in games when they’ve failed to get him involved, the offense is completely stagnant. Yet despite the inexplicable lapses in touches, Jones is on pace to set a career high in rushing yardage. He’s averaging over 5 yards a carry. And for an offense that has lacked explosive plays – he’s one of the best in the NFL at generating runs over 10 yards. He also gains a first down on over 26% of his rushes, one of of the highest among NFL RB. With the turnover at the receiver position, and Aaron Rodgers in not quite his MVP form, Jones has been to rock for this Packers offense.

Defensive MVP

Rashan Gary

This one has become a lot more evident since he was lost for the season in the Week 9 defeat to the Detroit Lions. Even though he’s missed the last 4 games, Gary still leads the team in total pressures, and is only one sack behind Preston Smith for the team lead. The defense is also surrendering almost 8 more points per game without him (28.5 vs 20.8). In the 9 games Gary played, the Packers did not give up over 400 total yards once: they’ve given up 400+ yards every single game since his injury. Gary finally established himself as one of the premier pass rushers this season. He was 4th among edge rushers with >50 snaps in pressure rate. The defense came into this season with a lot of hype, and Gary was one of the few who lived up to it.

Unsung Hero:

Zach Tom

H0-hum, just the Packers hitting on another mid round offensive lineman. Coming out of college Tom offered the versatility that Green Bay covets. And he has continued to show that through his rookie campaign. 152 snaps at tackle, another 109 at guard. His future seems brightest as a tackle though. And with plenty of uncertainty surrounding David Bakhtiari’s health, and Yosh Nijman hitting free agency following this year, Tom will have opportunity. He has the highest pass blocking efficiency rating per PFF in the rookie class at 98.0. But what’s more impressive is that only 1 of his 5 total pressures came at tackle. He has been an ideal 6th offensive lineman for the Packers, but will undoubtedly become a full time starter sooner rather than later.

Biggest Disappointment

Darnell Savage

Savage has seemed to be on every Packers writer’s list for potential breakout players each of the last two seasons. But he has continued to fail to live up to his physical traits. After a very promising end to the 2020 season where he finished with 4 INT and a passer rating allowed of just 63.0, it’s been all downhill for Savage. His tackling has regressed, and he’s consistently looked lost in coverage. After having his fifth year option picked up prior to this season, he’s allowed a passer rating of 125.1. And despite a last ditch effort to move him into the slot and away from his deep safety role, his play still hasn’t been reliable enough. A change of scenery would probably be the best thing for him this offseason.

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Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.

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