Green Bay Packers off to the Best and Worst Starts
Though the Packers were firing on all cylinders on Sunday night as they thoroughly dominated the Houston Texans, their performance raised more questions than it answered. Which team is going to show up next week: the one that owned Houston and Chicago, or the one that let Reggie Wayne score at will?
Regardless, the Packers got a performance they needed badly in order to possibly salvage their season.
Green Bay's inconsistency is largely due to some players performing greatly and other performing awfully.
Here are a few of the best Packers in 2012 to go along with a few of the worst.
Best: James Jones
Any one of Randall Cobb, James Jones or Jordy Nelson works here, but I decided to give it to Jones because of his touchdown numbers.
Jones is absolutely on fire, reeling in two touchdowns in each of his last three games to give him seven on the season.
Aside from an awful game against the Bears, Jones has been good all year long.
Nelson leads the team in receiving and Cobb is an absolute joy to watch with the ball in his hands.
Worst: Jermichael Finley
If Finley keeps dropping balls at this rate, he won't be back next season.
Although he has loads of talent, Finley has been held back by drops and inconsistent play.
If the former third-round pick can't get anything going in the next couple of weeks, he'll start ceding more and more snaps to his backups.
Best: Josh Sitton
Sitton has quietly had a solid season on a much-maligned offensive line.
The past couple of seasons, Sitton has been one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. He's strong as both a pass protector and a run blocker.
There's not much to say here, and that's probably the problem. Sitton is one of the most underrated linemen in the NFL.
Worst: Bryan Bulaga
Unlike the man next to him, Bulaga has been downright awful this season.
After a poor rookie campaign, Bulaga followed up with a great sophomore year, ending the season as one of the top right tackles in the league.
Unfortunately for Green Bay, he seems to have taken a step back this year.
Bulaga was a former first-round pick, so he has the talent. We'll just have to see whether he can step it up and regain last year's form.
Best: Clay Matthews
The Packers need to lock him up long-term. Now.
Matthews has posted eight sacks in six games. Even when he doesn't get a sack he still gets plenty of pressure.
But he isn't just one-dimensional. Matthews makes impact plays in run defense and in coverage.
Not only is he one of the game's best pass rushers, but also a dominant all-around linebacker.
Worst: Inside Linebackers
It's not the inside linebackers' play that's lacking, it's just that they're off to an awful start with injuries.
After Desmond Bishop was lost for the season, second-year linebacker DJ Smith stepped into his spot.
Now, Smith is out for the season with a torn ACL (via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).
The Packers will likely have to turn to reserves Brad Jones and Robert Francois.
It's a big blow to Green Bay's run defense.
Best: Casey Hayward
The rookie out of Vanderbilt continues to impress.
Despite playing only limited snaps, Hayward is first on the team in interceptions with three and second only to Tramon Williams in passes defensed with six.
Simply put, he's been great in coverage.
Hayward was billed as a ball-hawk coming out of college, but likely slid some due to his short arms.
Sam Shields left with an injury against the Texans, so we could see an increase in Hayward's playing time.
Worst: Mason Crosby
Maybe it's a little tough to put Crosby in the worst category, but he essentially cost the Packers a win by missing two field goals against the Colts.
Granted, the field goals were both beyond 50 yards, but he was in a dome and badly missed the game tying field goal.
Crosby is five for seven on the year, and should improve upon his 71.4 percent kicking percentage, but he's going to need to prove he can make clutch kicks.