Mid-Season Grades for the Green Bay Packers Defense
Cullen Jenkins: Jenkins started the season on fire, with two sacks and eight tackles in the first two games, but he has been non-existent the last two games. His big mouth hasn’t helped him get anywhere, either. GRADE: B
Johnny Jolly: Look past the personal foul call on Jolly for two seconds and you will see that he has been one of our better linemen this season. Very good in the run game and has gotten the job done for the most part, despite struggling the last few weeks (like everyone). GRADE: B
Ryan Pickett: The best player on the Packers’ defense this season not named Charles Woodson. It will be interesting to see what Ted Thompson does next season with Pickett’s contract up and B.J. Raji waiting in the wings, but he might warrant another contract. GRADE: B+
Jarius Wynn: The rookie from Georgia has played better than most thought he would and seems like he could be a solid back-up for quite some time. GRADE: INC
Michael Montgomery: One of the many players on defense who are probably better suited for the 4-3 defense, Montgomery has failed to make an impact this season after posting a decent 2008. GRADE: D-
B.J. Raji: Due to the play of Pickett on the inside, Raji has not seen the field much. His ongoing ankle has had something to do with this as well, so hopefully he will come back fully healthy in 2010. GRADE: C-
Clay Matthews III: Saving the best for first, Matthews has been very good this season and seems like a keeper at the right outside linebacker. GRADE: B+
Nick Barnett: Barnett probably came back too early from his knee surgery and was not healthy at the beginning of the season, but he has picked it up as of late. GRADE: C+
A.J. Hawk: A dismal start to the season from the former fifth overall selection, but he has also picked it up lately and is second on the team in tackles. GRADE: C
Aaron Kampman: Clearly frustrated with the 3-4 defense, Kampman has done his best to keep his mouth shut and continue playing. His play has not been all that bad, especially when he is allowed to have this hand in the dirt. GRADE: B-
Brady Poppinga: Maybe it’s just that I wanted Matthews to start all along, but I never liked what Poppinga did at outside linebacker and am glad he is gone. GRADE: D
Brandon Chillar: Very close to Matthews for the award of best linebacker, Chillar saw some looks at safety in the “Big Okie” package and played very well. A broken hand will keep him out a while. GRADE: B
Desmond Bishop: The pre-season Hall of Famer has fared well on the field thus far, but makes too many mistakes to constantly be on the field as an ILB in the 3-4. GRADE: C
Brad Jones: The seventh rounder might see time on the field this week due to Kampman’s concussion, but he has done a good job on special teams thus far. GRADE: INC
Jeremy Thompson: I’ll raise my hand and say I was dead wrong on Thompson becoming a stud in the 3-4 defense. He has shown to be too slow but might also see reps this week with Kampman probably out. GRADE: D-
Charles Woodson: What more can you say about Woodson other than that he is a probable Pro Bowler and a great player stuck on a good defense. GRADE: A-
Al Harris: His stock has taken a tumble this season as he seems a bit slower than last year. Hopefully he can turn it around soon or it could be his last season in Green Bay. GRADE: B-
Tramon Williams: A personal favorite of mine, Williams plays with great tenacity and seems to have the most excitement of anyone on the field. A future starter for sure. GRADE: B
Brandon Underwood: Definitely a project this season, but if Pat Lee does not work out he might get his chance as a dime back in the future. GRADE: INC
Jarrett Bush: Nothing to say here. GRADE: F
Atari Bigby: Bigby has been injured for most of the season and he has really struggled against the pass so far. GRADE: C+
Nick Collins: The Pro Bowler continues to shine and has become more of an all-around player this year. He still finds himself out of position at times but is becoming a real playmaker. GRADE: B+
Derrick Martin: The only good part about Martin is that we lost Tony Moll because of it. GRADE: F
Matt Giordano: Strictly on the Packers for depth and special teams help, but could become something. GRADE: INC
As a whole the Packers’ defense has been just OK. Their stats would imply that they have been close to a top ten defense this season, but that is hardly the case. Their defensive line has played well and the linebackers have picked it up as of late, but their inability to get off the field and not commit penalties has really hurt them.
Special teams puts them in bad positions but it is still no excuse for why they have struggled to some extent. Hopefully Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense will pick up in the second half of the season and the Packers can rebound from their average start. GRADE: B-
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