Report Card Grades for All 22 Starters for Green Bay Packers, Midseason Edition

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIOctober 31, 2011

Report Card Grades for All 22 Starters for Green Bay Packers, Midseason Edition

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    Through eight weeks of the NFL season, the Green Bay Packers are the best team in the league by a long shot. They have the best quarterback in the world leading an extremely potent offense, and while the defense been very good, they are still undefeated.

    Here is the midseason report card for every starter for Green Bay.

Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback

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    Not only has Aaron Rodgers been the best quarterback in the NFL this season, he has easily been the best player at any position.

    It's more than just the ridiculous QB rating or touchdown-to-interception ratio for Rodgers. He makes the toughest position on the field look easy with precise throws and incredible pocket presence.

    If Rodgers keeps on the same pace for the second half of the season, an MVP award is a guarantee.

    Mid-Season Grade: A+

Ryan Grant, Running Back

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    Even though Ryan Grant and James Starks have been splitting carries all year, Grant has usually been the running back in the lineup on the team's first drive of the game.

    Since the Green Bay Packers' offense is build around Aaron Rodgers and the passing game, all they really ask from the running back is hold onto the football and move the chains every now and then.

    The problem with Grant is that he hasn't consistently done both. There have been a few games where Grant has either lost a fumble or been held to minimum gains on key downs.

    While Grant doesn't need to carry this team, or even half-carry this team because of Starks, if he were playing better, this offense would be even more dangerous.

    Mid-Season Grade: C

Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver

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    Greg Jennings is playing like one of the best wide receivers in the entire NFL. Amongst an extremely deep and talented receiving corps, Jennings is the definition of consistency.

    What makes him so spectacular is that he catches everything that is thrown his way. It doesn't matter if it is a slant, deep ball, double or triple coverage, Jennings is usually coming down with the ball.

    As long as Aaron Rodgers is his quarterback, Jennings will continue to play spectacularly and put up huge numbers.

    Mid-Season Grade: A+

Donald Driver, Wide Receiver

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    There is just no giving up for Donald Driver. After starting the season very slowly, he has seen more targets in each of the past few weeks.

    While I still ultimately believe that James Jones deserves his starting spot, you have to love what Driver brings to this team. There can be no doubt that he is the heart and soul of this offense and is an excellent player to have in the locker room.

    Mid-Season Grade: C-

Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver

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    After having a huge game in last year's Super Bowl, Jordy Nelson has picked up right where he left off.

    He may not see the most passes thrown his way, but he is the best on the team at making the most of the opportunities he does receive. Nelson is one of the best big-play threats on this offense and has the ability to make any reception turn into six points.

    The one big knock on Nelson has always been his drops, but his hands have become more reliable this season.

    Mid-Season Grade: A-

Jermichael Finley, Tight End

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    I'm not sure if any player on the Green Bay Packers has been more up-and-down this year than Finley, but it would sure be great if we could only see the "up" side of him from here on out.

    There is no doubting Finley's potential and abilities, but he hasn't played very consistently so far this season. One game he will have three touchdown receptions, and the next game he will only have two total receptions.

    It's difficult to tell if this major contrast in statistics is because of Finley's efforts, but many certainly expected more production from him in his third season in the league. Hopefully, he can finally live up to the high expectations placed upon him.

    Mid-Season Grade: B

Chad Clifton, Offensive Tackle

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    Until Chad Clifton got injured, he was having another solid season protecting Aaron Rodgers.

    Clifton isn't the strongest or fastest offensive tackle in the NFL, but he works extremely hard every single play he is on the field. He has been a major factor in Rodgers getting so much time in the pocket, which is all you can ask for from your starting left tackle.

    Mid-Season Grade: B+

Bryan Bulaga, Offensive Tackle

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    In just his second year in the NFL, Bryan Bulaga looks like he will be a starting offensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers for a very long time.

    Bulaga has been very good all year. His pass protection has been great and he is opening up holes for James Starks and Ryan Grant.

    Mid-Season Grade: A-

Marshall Newhouse, Offensive Tackle

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    Even though Marshall Newhouse isn't technically a "starter," he has started enough games for it to be worth grading his performance so far.

    After a solid start to the season, Newhouse has been a little rocky as of late. He was beaten often by Jared Allen two weeks ago and gave up two sacks in that game.

    Once Chad Clifton gets back from injury, Newhouse will be back on the bench, but he did play very well in a difficult position.

    Mid-Season Grade: B

T.J. Lang, Offensive Guard

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    It was a difficult preseason for T.J. Lang, but he has looked much better through the first half of the season.

    His play has been solid all year.

    Mid-Season Grade: A-

Josh Sitton, Offensive Guard

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    Josh Sitton is one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the NFL. He also happens to be one of the most talented young linemen in the league.

    There is no way that Sitton misses out on the Pro Bowl this year, as he is having another solid season for the Green Bay Packers.

    Mid-Season Grade: A

Scott Wells, Center

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    You may notice that my grades for offensive linemen have been relatively short and simple.

    Well, all I want an offensive lineman to do is keep Aaron Rodgers alive, which Scott Wells has done so far this year. Good job.

    Mid-Season Grade: A

Jarius Wynn, Defensive End

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    I don't think there is a soul in the world that expected Jarius Wynn to perform as well as he has this year.

    When C.J. Wilson and Mike Neal went down with injuries before the regular season started, it looked like the Green Bay Packers' pass rush would take a major hit. While it hasn't been as good as it was last year, it certainly isn't Wynn's fault.

    In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Wynn kept the starting job for the rest of the season. He has been that good.

    Mid-Season Grade: A-

Ryan Pickett, Defensive End

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    It has been a rather disappointing year for Ryan Pickett. His statistics haven't been that good, and he hasn't been able to put very much pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

    Even against the run, Pickett has been under-performing. If the Green Bay Packers want to get back to their old dominant defensive ways, Pickett needs to play better.

    Mid-Season Grade: C-

B.J. Raji, Defensive Tackle

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    After a fantastic performance in the 2010 playoffs, B.J. Raji was expected to be one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL this year.

    While he has been good, he hasn't had any truly great performances. In the past few weeks, teams have had a field day running against the Green Bay Packers, and a good part of that success is due to Raji's less-than-stellar play.

    There is still plenty of time for Raji to turn the season around, and hopefully he will.

    Mid-Season Grade: C

Clay Matthews, Outside Linebacker

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    At first glance, it appears as if Clay Matthews is having a poor season. However, anyone who has watched him play this year has seen that he is just as dominant, if not more dominant, than he was last year.

    He may not be getting the sacks that we are used to seeing, but he is putting constant pressure on the quarterback. Matthews has also improved greatly against the run and in pass coverage.

    Matthews is turning into a complete linebacker, which should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL.

    Mid-Season Grade: A

Erik Walden, Outside Linebacker

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    The biggest area of concern for the Green Bay Packers has been the lack of their pass rush and a big part of that is due to Erik Walden and his inability to successfully get after the quarterback.

    Walden has been starting this year because of an injury to Frank Zombo, but once Zombo is back to full strength, I can't see Walden get much playing time. He simply hasn't been good enough to warrant it.

    Mid-Season Grade: D

A.J. Hawk, Inside Linebacker

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    There have been few players on defense who have been as consistent as A.J. Hawk has been for the Green Bay Packers. He hasn't become the player everyone expected coming out of college, but he has been just as solid as any other player on this defense.

    His play so far this year has actually been some of the best in his career. He looks good in coverage and has been able to put pressure on the quarterback.

    Hawk is one of the leaders on this defense, and his play will continue to set the pace for the rest of the defensive unit.

    Mid-Season Grade: B+

Desmond Bishop, Inside Linebacker

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    When the Green Bay Packers chose to not re-sign Nick Barnett, Green Bay really needed Desmond Bishop to step up.

    Well, no one could have expected how good Bishop was going to be this year. He has arguably been the best defensive player on the team and looks well on his way to a Pro Bowl berth.

    If he keeps his current pace up, he could also land on the All-Pro Team.

    Mid-Season Grade: A+

Charles Woodson, Cornerback

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    How is it possible that Charles Woodson gets better every single year? Seriously, it is ridiculous how good Woodson is at his current age.

    Woodson has been making plays all over the field. While we haven't seen him get as many sacks as we are used to seeing, he is still the best cornerback against the run and is putting pressure on opposing offenses.

    As of right now, Woodson has to be in conversation for Defensive Player of the Year.

    Mid-Season Grade: A

Tramon Williams, Cornerback

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    After a rough start to the season, including a shoulder injury, Tramon Williams finally appears to be finding his groove in the secondary.

    Williams is still the Green Bay Packers' best cover cornerback. One thing he does need to do is stop taking so many risks on defense. There have been numerous times when Williams has gone for an interception instead of simply playing sound defense, and it has resulted in a big gain.

    For Green Bay's defense to get back to where it was last year, Williams is going to need to keep improving.

    Mid-Season Grade: B-

Morgan Burnett, Strong Safety

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    After missing the majority of the 2010 season because of injury, no one was really sure how good Morgan Burnett was going to be this year.

    Well, through seven games, Burnett hasn't disappointed. In fact, he has exceeded nearly every expectation that anyone had. He has been able to make plays all over the field and has added another weapon to this defense.

    He looks like one of the best young safeties in the game and will likely be heading to his first Pro Bowl this year.

    Mid-Season Grade: A-

Charlie Peprah, Free Safety

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    After Nick Collins went down with a season-ending neck injury, there was a ton of pressure put on Charlie Peprah. Coming into that type of situation is never easy, so we need to cut Peprah some slack.

    However, if he doesn't start picking up his level of play in the next few weeks, it may be time to let rookie M.D. Jennings get some more playing time.

    Mid-Season Grade: C+