Green Bay Packers: 5 Young Players Who Still Need to Take the Next Step

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Green Bay Packers: 5 Young Players Who Still Need to Take the Next Step
Al Bello/Getty Images

Yes I know.  The Green Bay Packers are 12-0 and have already clinched the NFC North title.  But there still are other goals to achieve.  First, the Packers also want home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.  The Packers currently hold a two game lead over the San Francisco 49ers with four games to go in the regular season.

This is a crucial time in the season to stay focused on the job at hand.  Especially for younger players.  Players who have had to step up earlier than they might have anticipated due to injuries to key players.

Key players like S Nick Collins, who was lost for the season with a neck injury in Week 2.  Or LT Chad Clifton, who has been out with a severe hamstring injury since Week 5 in Atlanta

RB James Starks, who definitely stepped up late last season as a rookie, has been nicked up the last two games due to an ankle injury suffered in the Tampa Bay game.  The Packers will probably give Starks some time off down the stretch to get fully healed.

TE Andrew Quarless is also done for the season with a knee injury suffered in the Giants game.

All this means is that the younger players on the Packers have to step up and make a difference for the team.  Starks did that last year for the Packers, especially in the playoffs.  So did CB Sam Shields, OLB Frank Zombo and P Tim Masthay.

The young players I am listing here have not played bad so far in 2011, but there is definitely room for improvement for each of them.  For the Packers to reach their goals, the Packers are going to need these players to get better.  The ultimate goal is winning Super Bowl XLVI.  Like last year, the Packers will need some help from the younger players on the team to help hoist another Vince Lombardi Trophy.

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