Stock Up, Stock Down for Key Green Bay Packers Heading into Week 2
There was quite a bit to learn about specific players during the Green Bay Packers' 34-28 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. Some players saw their stock rise in the first game of the regular season, while others struggled mightily to perform up to expectations.
For example, no player for Green Bay played worse than safety Jerron McMillian. He was terrorized all game by wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis. His stock is definitely down as we head into Week 2.
Take a look at who else saw their stock decline and whose stock is up for the Green Bay Packers heading into the second week of the season.
All statistics courtesy of NFL.com.
Stock Up: Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback
No one played as well as quarterback Aaron Rodgers did for the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. In fact, had tight end Jermichael Finley not dropped a pass that turned into an interception, it would have been a nearly perfect week for Rodgers.
He finished the game by completing 21 of 37 passes for 333 yards, three touchdowns and that lone interception. He also added 13 yards on the ground, which included a key first-down scamper late in the game.
Rodgers playing this well against an elite defense proves that he remains the premier quarterback in the league. His stock will continue to rise until the rest of the NFL figures out how to stop him.
Stock Down: James Jones, Wide Receiver
After leading the NFL with 14 touchdowns last season, James Jones' 2013 campaign didn't get off to such a hot start.
He was only targeted twice by quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. Even worse is the fact that he failed to make a reception on either of those targets. Sure, the coverage was good, but Rodgers put the ball where Jones could catch it, and both passes hit his hands.
Stock Up: Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver
No one really knew what to expect from Jordy Nelson after an injury-plagued campaign during the 2012 season. After the first game, however, it's clear we should be expecting greatness from Nelson in 2013.
Nelson was clearly the No. 1 target of quarterback Aaron Rodgers against the San Francisco 49ers. He finished the game with seven receptions, a team-leading 130 yards and a touchdown. His sideline catch in the fourth quarter was one of the most incredible plays in the league in Week 1.
Don't be surprised if Nelson continues to put up fantastic numbers as he becomes more and more comfortable in the offense.
Stock Down: Josh Sitton, Offensive Guard
The entire offensive line struggled in Week 1 for the Green Bay Packers. However, Josh Sitton was expected to be the rock for this unit, and he was anything but stable against the San Francisco 49ers.
He was graded as the sixth-worst offensive guard in Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Sitton was absolutely horrid in the ground game and gave up two quarterback hurries in pass protection.
Simply put, Sitton needs to be the anchor for this very young offensive line in Green Bay. If he continues to struggle, it'll be a long year for the Packers offensively.
Stock Up: B.J. Raji, Defensive End
Sometimes it's difficult to see the type of impact defensive end B.J. Raji can make for the Green Bay Packers. However, it wasn't hard on Sunday when Green Bay held the potent rushing attack of the San Francisco 49ers to only 90 yards on 34 carries.
That's an average of only 2.6 yards per carry thanks to the outstanding play of Raji. He graded out as the fifth-best 3-4 defensive end against the run in Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Raji also recorded a quarterback hurry, which was just an added bonus to his spectacular play. If Raji can continue to slow down rushing attacks, he should regain his status as one of the better defensive linemen in the league.
Stock Down: Nick Perry, Outside Linebacker
Injuries hindered outside linebacker Nick Perry's rookie season. While he's finally healthy, he doesn't seem ready to make an impact just yet.
When the Green Bay Packers drafted Perry, there were expectations that he'd become a great pass-rusher alongside Clay Matthews. However, Perry graded out as the worst 3-4 outside linebacker in terms of rushing the quarterback, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Perry isn't great against the run or solid in coverage, so if he can't get after the quarterback, he doesn't have much value. He'll need to prove quickly that he can get consistent pressure or the Packers may be forced to look elsewhere to find production.
Stock Up: Clay Matthews, Outside Linebacker
It'd be easy to say that Clay Matthews' stock should be down due to his poor decision to violently hit quarterback Colin Kaepernick after the play was dead. However, Matthews was absolutely fantastic all day against the San Francisco 49ers.
He was dominant against the run, making numerous tackles in the backfield against Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore. Matthews also added one sack and eight total tackles to his stat line.
Does Matthews need to be less aggressive at times? Sure, but his fire and passion make the Green Bay Packers defense a better unit.
Stock Down: Jerron McMillian, Safety
If you're wondering who on the Green Bay Packers had the worst game on Sunday, you need look no further than safety Jerron McMillian.
His minus-5.7 rating from Pro Football Focus was the worst safety rating in the NFL in Week 1 (subscription required). McMillian was at his worst in coverage, where he had nearly twice as bad of a grade as any other safety.
He was targeted six times on Sunday and gave up six receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. Simply put, he didn't make one single stop in the secondary this week.
It was clear on Sunday that McMillian simply isn't ready to start in the NFL. Here's to hoping Morgan Burnett can get healthy quickly.
Stock Up: Tim Masthay, Punter
Let's all just watch the brilliance of punter Tim Masthay.
Anyone else think we should give him a shot at safety for Week 2?