Packers Stock Report: Nitpicking a 4-0 team edition

The Green Bay Packers are 4-0. Along with that perfect record comes a MVP quarterback playing at the top of his game,a defense that’s hell-bent on sacking the quarterback and a special teams unit that no longer appears to be a glaring weakness.

Life is good if you’re a Packers fan right now,isn’t it?

It sure is,but we’re Packers fans. Even if life is good,we want (and sometimes expect) it to be better.

Even though the Packers are 4-0 with an all-world quarterback,a solid defense and a non-embarrassing special teams,that’s not going to stop us from nitpicking areas where the team could improve. Before getting to this week’s stock report,let’s nitpick the Packers and point out some areas that could be a cause for concern. 

  • Beating up on bad teams. You can only play the team’s on your schedule,but the teams on the Packers schedule haven’t been very good. The combined record of the Bears,Seahawks,Chiefs and 49ers is 5-11 (and that includes Monday night’s gift-wrapped-by-the-refs win for Seattle over Detroit). Beating Jay Cutler,Alex Smith and a broken Colin Kaepernick also isn’t anything to write home about.
  • How ’bout a non-free play big play? I’m all about Aaron Rodgers using his cadence to draw the defense offside and get as many free plays as possible. But as the season wears on,team’s aren’t going to fall for that stuff as often. The Packers big-play offense hasn’t really been there unless Rodgers knows he has nothing to lose on a free play.
  • Holding…on the Packers…again. It seems like the offensive line has been very grabby this season. The Packers have been flagged eight times for holding and several of those calls have come at less-than-ideal times as the offense is just starting to roll. With three holding calls already under his belt,David Bakhtiari leads the team.
  • Shot plays,anyone? Remember when Rodgers would play-fake,roll out,and hit Jordy Nelson on a deep post for an easy 65-yard touchdown? I knew with Nelson injured,those plays would be more rare,but I thought we’d at least get a couple of shot plays through the first quarter of the season. So far,unless it’s a free play,we’re not seeing any receivers getting over the top of the defense.
  • Those damn injuries. The injury to Bryan Bulaga finally caught up with the Packers against the 49ers as Don Barclay had a rough day. Is it only a matter of time before the effects of losing Nelson,Sam Barrington,Davante Adams and Morgan Burnett are magnified as well?

All of these are legitimate concerns for the Packers. Good thing they haven’t knocked Green Bay off course yet. Let’s hope the Packers keep rolling as we roll into this week’s Packers Stock Report: 

Rising

Clay Matthews
Where would the Packers defense be without Matthews? Here’s hoping the hamstring gods lay off Matthews this season and he’s able to get through 16 games and the postseason.

James Jones
A dude cut by two teams this offseason is not supposed to make catches like this one.

Mike Daniels
The Packers defensive line seems more explosive this season and Daniels is a big reason why. In year’s past,the main objective of the Packers d-line was to hold their own and not get blown up. Now,Daniels and company are doing some blowing up of their own and it’s making this defense much more aggressive.

Steady

Sam Shields
Perhaps nobody told Shields that the Chicago game was the season opener and not a final exhibition tune-up,because ever since stinking up Soldier Field,Shields has been exactly the type of No. 1 cornerback the Packers need him to be. On Sunday,he made a great play on the ball to snag his second interception.

B.J. Raji
Setting an early tone against the run gives the Packers offense the time it needs to establish a lead. It also helps boost the defense for the remainder of the game. Raji’s play in first quarters has helped the Packers blow up several running plays and knock opponents off course early when it comes to trying to run at the Packers defense.

Falling

Don Barclay
I suppose it was only a matter of time before Rodgers was unable to fully compensate for Barclay’s weaknesses at right tackle. Full credit goes to Barclay for battling out there,but it’s time Tom Clements and Mike McCarthy get him some help with a tight end or running back on a regular basis.

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