Green Bay Packers Offensive Players Who Need to Step It Up in 2012

JD KrugerCorrespondent IIFebruary 11, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 20:  Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers races for the endzone after making a reception against Myron Lewis #23 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field on November 20, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers have had one of the most dangerous and potent offenses of the last decade.

Hall of Fame quarterbacks practically grow on trees in Titletown. The talent at the wide receiver pool is always vast and deep. The backs—while never flashy—are tough and always able to get the job done.

Regardless of the plethora of talent on the offensive side of the ball, perfection has yet to be obtained. Let's look at a couple of players on the Packers offense who need to take their game to the next level in 2012. 


Jermichael Finley

Let's start with the most obvious choice by far.

Jermichael Finley is a rare talent. His speed allows him to line up on the outside and outrun any linebacker that may be in his coverage. His length and pure size are simply too much for defensive backs to handle. 

He is a matchup nightmare for any defensive coordinator, but what he has shown on the field hasn't always translated well to the stat sheet. 

Finley is easily distracted and can be largely unfocused at times. He drops far too many passes and doesn't make the impact in games as often as he should. 

Finley has coined the phrase, "Year of the Takeover." Every season, he promises to step up his game and revolutionize the position. And every season, he disappoints everyone only further.

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27:  Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers reacts against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 20-17.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We may have not yet witnessed the "Year of the Takeover," but 2012 is as good as any to start. 


James Starks

Ryan Grant will likely walk this offseason as a free agent. He will also likely sign for a modest contract somewhere and surprise a lot of NFL executives for his toughness and determination. Grant has always been a solid and oft under-appreciated running back, and with his departure comes a sparkling opportunity for James Starks.

Like Grant, Starks is a tough runner. Sometimes he gets a little jittery in the backfield, but for the most part he is a very decisive one-cut back.

He led the league in yards per game during the 2010 postseason and was a huge spark for the Packers offense on their way to a championship.

After his great run at the Lombardi in 2010, he was praised in many circles to be the Packers future franchise running back. The 2011 season proved to be very unremarkable for Starks—he split time with Grant and dealt with injuries.

While he is far from awful, Starks is going to have to take his game to the next level if he is going fulfill his destiny of becoming the Packers primary runner.


GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:  James Starks #44 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball against the New York Giants during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Imag
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson had a phenomenal breakout season in 2011 as he claimed the title of "best" Packers wideout with 1200-plus yards, 15 touchdowns and a stellar 18.6 yards per catch.

Nelson and Rodgers had absolutely phenomenal chemistry, especially on a play-action bootleg that the Packers must have run nearly 30 times over the course of the season where Rodgers would almost always hit Nelson in stride deep down the middle of the field.

Regardless of his breakout season, Nelson still belong on this list and here's why.

Before 2011, no team in the league realized that Nelson was able to line up on the outside and consistently beat defensive backs one-on-one. Defensive coordinators constantly rolled extra coverage to, what they thought were, more potentially dangerous matchups such as Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley. 

Their reward for rolling coverage was 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns. It is highly unlikely that coordinators and corners will so vastly underrate the ability that Nelson has to expose holes in their coverage.

He will get a lot of extra attention in 2012, and for that reason he makes this list. Because if he wants to meet or even surpass his successes of 2011, he is going to have to take his game to a whole new level.