OLB Frank Zombo laying down the hurt on QB Brett Favre
The Packers suffered an immense amount of injuries this season and due to that fact many inexperienced players had to step in and contribute. Some of these players did a more than adequate job filling in. It is because of these players that the Packers survived 2010 and are heading to Philly next week for the playoffs. Here's who I think are the top 5, feel free to comment and discuss!
John Kuhn didn't come out of no where, but he certainly had a larger impact than most expected. The main reason for the that was the loss of Ryan Grant in Week 1. The 5th year un-drafted FB out Shippensburg put up over 300 total yards and 6 TDs and was almost automatic in short yardage 3rd down situations. His incredible 2nd and even 3rd efforts kept plays and drives alive for the Packers this season. He became a fan favorite this season, as you can here "KUUUUUUUUUUHN" every single time he touched the ball.
Losing the leader of your defense is a tough task to overcome, but when Nick Barnett went down it was time for Desmond Bishop to finally reach the potential he has shown in the pre-season. Bishop is the teams 2nd leading tackler and would likely be number 1 on the team had he been starting from week 1 like AJ Hawk has, who is the teams leading tackler this season. Bishop helped propel this defense to the top of the league in points allowed. His best moment this season may have been when he picked off Brett Favre and returned it for a TD to seal a win over the rival Vikings and more importantly, over Brett Favre.
The Saftey position was in question right off the bat. With Atari Bigby on the PUP list the Packers started a rookie Morgan Burnett at SS. Burnett played very solid and showed real promise, but like too many others, ended the season early with a torn ACL. Derrick Martin was the player that stepped in next. Unfortunately he was lost for the season shortly after as well. So steps in Charlie Peprah. A player the Packers had gotten rid of the year before but brought back because of the injuries. He ended up being a stud against the run. He at times showed why he isn't a starter, but his solid play helped the Packers to lead the league in opposing QB Rating. His interception in the endzone against Jay Cutler was a key play inn the Packers win today over the Bears to put them in the playoffs for the 2nd straight year.
Sam Shields strong pre-seaon play earned him a spot on the Packers 53 man roster. Right off the bat he was elevated to the Nickleback spot, where he has been for most of the season. He even has been playing against teams starting WR's when Charles Woodson goes in the slot to make plays and blitz. Shields has done a very good job covering down field this season and has matured as a player immensely. He helped to sure up a secondary that was thought to be the teams weak link coming into the season.
Frank Zombo hasn't played the last few weeks due to injury, but his 4 sacks this season and couple starts at OLB are a huge suprise coming from a player not many thought would make the team. His strong camp and pre-season earned him a spot on the team and he made his presence felt with a sack in the first game of the season. He finally got his chance to sart due to Brad Jones, Brady Poppinga, and Brandon Chillar all being lost for the season. Zombo impressed many this year and helped this defense keep the season alive and make it to the post-season.