Green Bay Packers: 4 Players That Must Step Up in 2012
The Packers clearly had the talent and scheme to win a Super Bowl in 2011-12, but they were failed by certain players.
If the Packers are going to win Super Bowl XLVII, these players need to step up.
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Jermichael Finley has the talent and size to be the preeminent tight end in the NFL. And the Green Bay Packers system is conducive to him putting up huge numbers.
However, Finley is consistently making mistakes.
He led all tight ends in dropped passes and finished fifth in the league with 11. That's unacceptable.
Finley should be catching 75 passes for 1,000 yards and 10-plus touchdowns, and opening up the outside and underneath routes for the rest of the passing game.
If the Packers are going to win the Super Bowl in 2013, Finley must step up.
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The Packers defense regressed in 2011, particularly the defensive line.
The loss of Cullen Jenkins drastically impacted the production of the unit, and it was the lack of pressure from the defensive line that ultimately doomed the Green Bay Packers' season.
For the defense to improve and for the Green Bay Packers to win another Super Bowl, B.J. Raji needs to step up.
Raji took a major step back in 2011, losing much of the explosiveness that made him an elite player in 2010.
While I understand that he was facing predominantly double-teams, he has the size, strength and ability to eviscerate opposing lineman. There is no reason why his tackles and sacks were cut nearly in half.
Raji is the best and most explosive player on the defensive line and can be one of the best nose tackles in the NFL; it's time for him to step up and dominate similar to the 2010 season.
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Charlie Peprah's abysmal play was another reason the Green Bay defense took a major step back in 2011.
The guy got burnt on a regular basis, including the first touchdown that the New York Giants scored in the playoff game. While he did intercept five passes, they don't make up for the five touchdowns that he allowed.
Peprah is a backup and has no business starting in the Green Bay Packers secondary.
Note: This slide is based on Nick Collins being forced to retire and the Green Bay Packers not drafting a replacement. If Collins returns or the Pack drafts a replacement, this slide is moot, as Peprah will be back on the bench.
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The Green Bay Packers defense continually gave up big plays in 2011, and while Charlie Peprah was a major reason, Tramon Williams also contributed.
Williams routinely made mistakes in the secondary, whether it was missing a tackle, giving up a reception or lining up incorrectly.
Williams has the ability to be a true shutdown corner; he simply needs to stop making the mental mistakes that plagued his 2011 season.
If he can return to form in 2012 and shut down the opponent's No. 1 receiver, the Packers defense will make major improvements.