Early Green Bay Packers Awards for 2012
The Green Bay Packers have severely underachieved their way to a 2-3 record, but certain players have played well within the chaos. While a number of players haven't lived up to expectations, those that have played well are deserving and present in this award list.
With how inconsistent the Packers have been as a team, these players have held together the most consistent performances through five games.
The Packers have gotten some big contributions from their defensive rookies, but McMillian has been the best of the bunch. Though he's still adapting to the speed of the NFL, he looks like the answer going forward.
McMillian recorded an interception against the Bears and has five total tackles on the season. Among the other rookies, Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy are still struggling to adjust at the pro level while Casey Hayward has shown great potential despite a lack of quality opportunities.
With Greg Jennings struggling to stay on the field and Jordy Nelson disappearing from games, James Jones has proved his worth among the Packers receivers. Jones is fourth in receptions, third in yards and leads the team in touchdowns (five) and first downs (14).
Jones didn't play well in the Week 2 win against Chicago, but has since scored four touchdowns in the last two outings. While other players on the team have struggled with drops, Jones has been relatively sure-handed.
This one isn't even close. Matthews has gotten off to a brilliant start with eight sacks in five games this season. In addition to being the Packers' best player, Matthews has been one of the best defensive players in the league, possibly even second behind J.J. Watt.
Matthews has been everywhere for the Packers. When he's not getting pressure on the quarterback, he's been solid in the run game. Most teams have tried to run away from him, but his back-side pursuit is incredibly strong.
Matthews hasn't gotten much help from the rest of the Packers' pass-rushers, which makes his success that much more impressive. The development of rookies and getting Mike Neal back into playing shape should help Matthews down the stretch.
While you could make a case that Slocum would win the award by default, he is deserving of the recognition. His unit has been extremely consistent for much of the season and had big impacts with two fakes that changed two different games.
Most Valuable Player
It's no coincidence that Benson's best two games of the season were the two games the Packers won. When Green Bay gets Benson going on the ground, their offense becomes twice as efficient. The offensive line improves and Aaron Rodgers has more time to sling the ball.
The Packers will really miss Benson's presence within the offense. James Starks, Brandon Saine and Alex Green will need to step up and figure out how to fill the void left by Benson during his absence.