Cardinals vs. Packers: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Green Bay

Michael DulkaContributor INovember 4, 2012

Cardinals vs. Packers: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Green Bay

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    The Green Bay Packers beat the Arizona Cardinals 31-17 to improve to 6-3 on the season. The Packers now head into their bye week before playing the Detroit Lions and New York Giants on the road. 

    Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes and the Packers found a running game to take an early lead on the Cardinals. They held on for their fourth straight win as Alex Green and James Starks combined for 114 yards on the afternoon. 

    Let's take a look at the final postgame grades and evaluations for Green Bay. 

    Final Score

    Packers–31

    Cardinals–17

Quarterbacks

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    Aaron Rodgers–B

    Aaron Rodgers' stat line won't do his game justice. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes, but he did plenty to put the Packers in position to win the game. In addition to his four touchdown tosses, he also ran the ball for 33 yards. 

Running Backs

2 of 10

    Alex Green–B+

    Green had a strong game with 53 yards on 11 carries and two catches for 25 receiving yards. It was one of the best performances of the season for Green, who looked especially dangerous on his 21-yard run. He offers an extra threat out of the backfield.

    James Starks–B

    Starks also had a very good game and got plenty of carries down the stretch. He finished with 61 yards on 17 carries. Starks looked the better of the two down the stretch, but his first-half fumble is inexcusable. If Starks can stay healthy and avoid fumbling, the Packers' offense could be even more dangerous. 

Wide Receivers

3 of 10

    Jordy Nelson–INC

    Nelson was injured in the first quarter and did not return. More information on his injury will be available in the next few days. 

    Randall Cobb–A

    With two touchdowns on the afternoon, Cobb had another huge game and looks ready for full-time stardom. Not only did his catches come at big moments in the game, but they also were great catches. In addition to being a receiving threat, Cobb also carried the ball three times for 29 yards. 

    James Jones–B+

    Jones continued to build on his success this season with another touchdown and 61 yards on the afternoon. Just like Cobb, Jones' touchdown catch was incredibly pretty. He continues to be one of the most consistent players on the team. 

    Donald Driver–D

    With Greg Jennings out and Jordy Nelson playing barely half a quarter, Driver had a chance to get some playing time and make some plays. Driver failed to capitalize, though, and had a big dropped pass. In fact, on Driver's only catch, he bobbled it and narrowly avoided another drop. 

    Jarrett Boykin–C

    Boykin got some time in the second half as Driver proved largely ineffective. He wasn't a huge threat, but caught two passes for seven yards. If the injury bug continues to bite at wide receiver, Boykin might be called on to have a bigger role. 

Tight Ends

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    Jermichael Finley–F

    Finley continues to disappoint, as his disappearance act was in full effect against the Cardinals. He caught just one pass for six yards. That's not good enough for a player of Finley's caliber. 

    Tom Crabtree–A

    Crabtree continues to be a huge surprise threat this season. He has three touchdowns on the year and defenders haven't been close on any of them. He was at it again for a 72-yard touchdown pass against the Cardinals. A large part of why Crabtree was so open is because he does such a consistently good job blocking that teams expect him in that role. 

Offensive Line

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    Marshall Newhouse–B

    Newhouse had a strong game both in pass protection and in run blocking. At times he has been a liability, but he wasn't this afternoon. He was a big reason why the Packers only gave up one sack during the game. 

    T.J. Lang–A

    Lang had a huge game and proved his versatility after Bryan Bulaga went down with his hip injury. Lang moved over to right tackle as Evan Dietrich-Smith filled Lang's spot. After moving to tackle, Lang didn't miss a beat and the offensive line played at a very high level. 

    Jeff Saturday–C

    Saturday was responsible for the Packers' first and only sack given up on the day. It kept points off the board as the Packers had to settle for a field-goal attempt. Saturday has struggled in his transition, but did look good on a screen pass to Alex Green. 

    Josh Sitton–B+

    Sitton has played very well recently and that continued against the Cardinals. He was extremely quiet as Rodgers had plenty of time to throw and the running backs had big holes to run through.

    Bryan Bulaga–INC

    Bulaga was hurt in the first half (hip) and didn't return in the second half. He was doing a decent job before going out with the injury.

    Evan Dietrich-Smith–B

    Dietrich-Smith did a great job off the bench filling in after the injury to Bulaga. Instead of the line play going down, the line had a very good day. Dietrich-Smith fits very nicely at the guard position, which is a relief for Packers fans in case a serious injury occurs on the line.  

Defensive Line

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    B.J. Raji–C+

    Raji had a relatively quiet game but got a decent enough push up front. The Packers didn't get a ton of pressure on John Skelton, but they rattled him enough to force mistakes. 

    Mike Daniels–B+

    Daniels had a big game, getting his second sack on the season. He also came up big on a 3rd-and-1 inside the Packers' 10-yard line to force a field-goal attempt. He got great initial pressure and had some help from A.J. Hawk and Jarrett Bush.

    Ryan Pickett–B

    Pickett had a solid game as the Packers' defense did a nice job against the Cardinals' rushing attack, giving up just three yards per carry and a total of 54 yards. Pickett finished the game with two assisted tackles.

    Mike Neal–B+

    Neal had a productive day and also come up with a sack. He got some good push on the Cardinals' weak offensive line to help control the Cardinals' offense.

    C.J. Wilson–C

    Wilson was fairly quiet on the afternoon but came up with three total tackles. He didn't make any big plays, but didn't make any big mistakes either.

Linebackers

7 of 10

    Clay Matthews–D

    Matthews was unusually quiet this afternoon, struggling with a hamstring injury for a large portion before finally taking himself out of the game. When he was in the game, Matthews came up with one hit on the quarterback with no tackles or sacks. 

    Erik Walden–A

    Walden was all over the place for the Packers' defense. He played the best game out of anybody in the front seven, coming up with three quarterback hits, an interception and a huge tackle for a loss on a screen pass. He has been very good this season and will make it very tough for Nick Perry to get solid playing time when he gets healthy. 

    Dezman Moses–B

    Moses played very well when he filled in for the injured Clay Matthews. He was strong with a quarterback hit and a pass defended. He has been an excellent pickup for the Packers and looks very deserving of his roster spot. 

    A.J. Hawk–B-

    Hawk was solid, but pretty quiet on the afternoon. He came up with four total tackles. His biggest contribution was the stop on 3rd-and-1 inside the Packers' 10-yard line. After Daniels got good initial pressure, Hawk cleaned up and finished the tackle. 

    Brad Jones–B+

    Jones was very good with another game at a new position under his belt. He was all over the place and led the Packers with nine total tackles, including one for a loss. Without Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith, the Packers haven't felt a huge dropoff because of Jones.

Defensive Backs

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    Tramon Williams–B

    Williams was strong against Larry Fitzgerald for most of the afternoon. Most of Fitzgerald's production came against zone looks. Williams has been a huge piece of the Packers' success this season and was at it again against the Cardinals. 

    Casey Hayward–C

    Hayward had an up-and-down game, which is to expected from a rookie cornerback. He was badly beaten by Andre Roberts in the second quarter to set up the Cardinals' first touchdown, but came up with some deflections later in the game. His deflection was the reason Erik Walden came up with an interception in the third quarter. 

    Davon House–C-

    House is still trying to get his feet under him this season and struggled at times this afternoon. He was beaten by Andre Roberts late in the game, after playing solid coverage but failing to get his head turned around to locate the ball.

    Jarrett Bush–D

    It was a familiar story for Bush. He played a great game on special teams but struggled on defense. If the Packers can get Sam Shields healthy after the bye week, they won't have to rely on Bush as much on defense.

    Morgan Burnett–B+

    Burnett was physical and incredibly active against the Cardinals. He finished second on the team with seven tackles as he was always around the ball. He did a very nice job wrapping up on his tackles and limiting extra yardage.  

    Jerron McMillian–C+

    McMillian did a nice job battling through a back injury to play and play well. He registered five total tackles and had a nice pass breakup on a physical hit. He fulfilled his special teams role well and continues to develop nicely.

    M.D. Jennings–B-

    Jennings didn't make many mistakes, but didn't take many chances either. He struggled to help out in zone deep down the field, but all in all he played a solid game. 

Special Teams

9 of 10

    Mason Crosby–D

    Crosby has hit quite the slump, missing five of his last 10 attempts. He missed a 44-yarder today that he should have made. It didn't end up hurting the Packers much, but it leaves quite an uneasy feeling going forward. Confidence can't be very high in Mason Crosby right now. 

    Tim Masthay–B

    After not punting in the first half, Masthay kicked well in the second half for an average of 42.5 yards per punt. He helped the Packers close out the game by dropping his last three punts (all in the fourth quarter) inside the 20-yard line. 

    Randall Cobb–B+

    Cobb finished the game 136 return yards and throughout the afternoon set the Packers up with great field position. While the Packers' failed to capitalize on his great returns, Cobb continued to look strong and is a huge threat going forward.  

Coaching

10 of 10

    Mike McCarthy–B

    McCarthy did a nice job sticking with the running game and getting his backs carries. Some of the play-calling wasn't ideal, but overall it was solid effort from the head coach. The team was ready to go and didn't let injuries become an excuse. 

    Dom Capers–B

    Capers did a nice job against the Cardinals' lackluster offense. While they gave up 300 yards, those yards came rather inefficiently as Skelton threw the ball 46 times. Capers was able to get the most of his players despite the numerous injuries impacting his squad.