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Biggest Early Surprises and Disappointments for the Green Bay Packers

Matt SteinCorrespondent IISeptember 20, 2013

Biggest Early Surprises and Disappointments for the Green Bay Packers

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    Even though the season is only two weeks young, the Green Bay Packers have had their fair share of early disappointments and surprises.

    Some players have lived up to expectations, some players have surpassed expectations, and others have failed to even come close. The good news is that it's only the second week of the season, and players can still improve.

    Let's take a look at the biggest surprises and disappointments through Week 2.

Surprise: James Starks, Running Back

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    Yes, it was only one game, but when you become the first 100-yard rusher in 45 games, you are certainly an early surprise.

    With Eddie Lacy suffering a concussion on his first run in Week 2, Starks came in and performed beautifully. He was decisive in his running and ran with power and speed that we haven't seen from him in a long time.

    While Starks isn't likely to remain the No. 1 back once Lacy returns, he definitely deserves an opportunity to see more carries.

Disappointment: Johnathan Franklin, Running Back

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    Speaking of running backs, has anyone been as disappointing as Johnathan Franklin? Even when Lacy went down, Franklin couldn't see the field.

    Sure, Franklin struggled in the preseason, but who could have guessed that he wouldn't get a single touch with Lacy sidelined? And it's not just that Franklin didn't get a touch; he didn't even see the field in the Packers' blowout victory.

    Franklin's stock has steadily dropped since training camp began. Unfortunately, it appears it isn't going up anytime soon.

Surprise: Jermichael Finley, Tight End

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    Jermichael Finley has lived and died by the word "potential" over the past few seasons. Well, he's mostly died by it.

    However, Finley has been fantastic in the first two games. Yes, he had that dropped pass that resulted in an interception in Week 1, but other than that, he's been great. Through two games he has 11 receptions, 121 yards and two touchdowns.

    With Finley playing at the level he has been this season, the Packers offense is nearly unstoppable.

Disappointment: Josh Sitton, Offensive Guard

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    Josh Sitton has always been considered one of the most underrated guards in the NFL. He's been simply dominant in recent seasons, but has never gotten the recognition he's needed.

    Unfortunately, Sitton hasn't looked nearly as good through the first two weeks of this season. His overall grade from Pro Football Focus is only good enough for 37th-best in the league. 

    Sitton's struggles have affected the entire Green Bay offensive line. Simply put, he needs to play better if the offensive line wants to have success this year.

Surprise: B.J. Raji, Defensive End

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    There is no doubt that B.J. Raji has the talent to be an All-Pro player. However, he hasn't lived up to that billing in recent seasons.

    So far through the first two weeks of this season, Raji has done everything to live up to his reputation as an elite talent. He's been especially dominant against the run where he's graded out as the seventh-best 3-4 defensive end according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

    The result of Raji's play has been a rather impressive run defense though the first two games for Green Bay. If he can continue his strong play, the Packers have a chance to be very successful on the defensive side of the football.

Disappointment: Datone Jones, Defensive End

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    Everyone expected rookie Datone Jones to step in right away and add a huge boost to the play of the defense. Well, that hasn't exactly happened through the first two games.

    For starters, Jones has only played 40 total snaps through Week 2. His overall grade is the seventh-worst for a 3-4 defensive end according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He's failed to make an impact in the run game or at getting pressure on the quarterback.

    The season is certainly young, and Jones has a chance to live up to his high expectations. However, he simply isn't doing that as we head into Week 3. 

Surprise: Brad Jones, Inside Linebacker

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    The award for the best defensive player for the Green Bay Packers through two weeks might have to go to inside linebacker Brad Jones. 

    Pro Football Focus currently has him graded as the 11th-best inside linebacker in the NFL and the second-best against the run (subscription required). His 15 total tackles are currently the second most on the roster.

    All in all, Jones has proven extremely worthy of the starting position he won in the offseason. He certainly has the talent to be a star in the making for Green Bay.

Disappointment: Clay Matthews, Outside Linebacker

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    It's hard to imagine Clay Matthews, the Green Bay Packers' best overall defensive player, being a disappointment through two weeks. Unfortunately, that is absolutely the case for one of the premier outside linebackers in the league.

    While Matthews has been good against the run in the first two games, he's struggled to get any pressure on the quarterback. He only has one sack and one quarterback hurry heading into Week 3. Getting pressure is where Matthews has made his living in recent seasons, but that just isn't happening this year.

    The result has been the entire Green Bay defense struggling through the first two games. Matthews absolutely needs to begin playing better, or it could be a long season defensively for the Packers.

Surprise: Mason Crosby, Kicker

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    Considering the fact that everyone expected Mason Crosby to miss every single field goal this year, his play has certainly been surprising. 

    All joking aside, Crosby's struggles last year left his career with the Green Bay Packers a little up in the air. However, he hasn't missed a single field goal this year. Of course, he's only attempted one field goal in two games, but who's counting?

    As long as Crosby can improve from his terrible field-goal percentage from last year, he should be able to get back into the hearts of Packers fans everywhere.

Disappointment: Jerron McMillian, Safety

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    The award for the biggest disappointment and worst player through two weeks goes to Jerron McMillian.

    He's been absolutely manhandled by both the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins. His overall grade from Pro Football Focus is the negative 7.4, the second-worst grade for any safety in the league (subscription required).

    While McMillian won't be starting once Morgan Burnett returns, the fact he's played so poorly has to make the Green Bay Packers wonder if he has any value at all. If he can't turn things around quickly, he could be without a team come next season.

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