10 Players Who Will Lead Green Bay Packers to Playoffs in 2013
10 Players Who Will Lead the Green Bay Packers to the Playoffs in 2013
Colin Kaepernick. There, I got it out of the way. Green Bay Packer fans, are you still reading this? If you are, you'll be excited to know that your team has what it takes to get past this guy next season. How will that happen after doing little to nothing this off season aside from letting go of your defensive anchor? Well, in part and due to the same reason, the Packers have succeeded every season.
Coming up short of the ultimate goal last year is not good enough for Green Bay fans, nor the organization itself. Going into 2013, there will be a few significant changes on both sides of the ball. With the departure of Charles Woodson, whose turn is it to step up and be the leader of that secondary? After wide receiver Greg Jennings took a little trip across the state border to join the Minnesota Vikings, will that leave a giant hole in the offense? If you're worried about the answer to that question, stay tuned. You shouldn't be.
There will be a couple of guys that may surprise you on this list, but even a couple of somewhat smaller names are going to play key roles on this Packer team next year. The offense may look a little different as it will shift away from Jennings as the number one and turn to another up and coming prospect who has excited fans since coming into the NFL two years ago. The running game is still up in the air. But if one individual can stay healthy, the Packers should have no problem in the back field. Putting it all together, if the offensive line can hold its own, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have more than enough to work with.
Here are the 10 most important players to the Packers' 2013 NFL Playoff run.
10. Tramon Williams
With Charles Woodson being released early on in free agency, Tramon Williams will have to step into the role of the leader on that Packer secondary. He has a knack for always coming up with the ball in key situations, especially against the Chicago Bears. Having already been an integral part of that secondary, he will need to step up even more in 2013 and provide the Packers with consistent tackling and takeaways.
9. JerMichael Finley
The prototypical tight end in the NFL just might look like JerMichael Finley. Tall, big, strong and athletic are four words to describe this guy. Another one? Inconsistent. Another two? Mentally unprepared. Another three? Just play football. Finley has a tendency to get emotionally caught up in the game rather than focusing on playing his position and doing his job. If Finley can just simply run his routes and catch the football, he could have an enormous season for the Packers and their offense wouldn't miss a beat.
8. BJ Raji
Up front, the Packers may need to find another guy to fill in on the line. One area they should be set on, however, is at nose tackle with BJ Raji. Since being drafted by the Packers, Raji has shown great potential. He is still young and must continue his development into one of the better defensive tackles in the NFL. Taking some of the load off of Clay Matthews at getting to the quarterback will be a top priority for Raji going into 2013.
7. James Jones
No, Greg Jennings? No problem. Did we forget who led the Packers in touchdowns last year? That's right. James Jones led the Packers in touchdown receptions last season and Aaron Rodgers seems pretty content on playing with the guys he's got. Remember, in Green Bay the wide receiver does not make the quarterback. Rodgers makes his receivers. We will find out just how good Rodgers is when he uses his talents to continue to make Jones and company better wideouts next year.
6. Jordy Nelson
The Packers don't have to look very far for their replacement in the deep threat game. Jordy Nelson, when healthy, is one of the best there is at getting down field and using his length and athleticism to go up and pull down the ball. A big frame and an above average vertical leap will play out well for Nelson when replacing Jennings as the go-to guy in Green Bay. Like I said earlier, don't be worried about "replacing" Jennings. Be concerned about the next guy up in Aaron Rodgers' school of offense.
5. Marshall Newhouse
Why in the world is Marshall Newhouse so high up on this list? I'll tell you why: Because he doesn't deserve to be here. Wait, what? That doesn't make sense! No, not completely. But, he absolutely needs to be here this season. The blind side of one of the best quarterbacks to play the game depends on this guy being here. Going into 2013, Newhouse must protect Rodgers better than he did last season. There is no question about it. This season, it is his full responsibility to make sure Rodgers does not take as many hits. Newhouse's biggest problem is getting over the lack of mental toughness. If he gets his head back into the game, he will do just fine. He better, that is.
4. Clay Matthews
There is not much to say about this guy other than he is an elite pass rusher. Clay Matthews is without question the leader out there on the Packers' defense. Without Woodson, it is imperative for Matthews to make sure he has his guys lined up where they're supposed to be. Making the right calls on the field along with fellow linebacker Nick Perry will be crucial to this team's success. If Matthews and company don't force turnovers they will not win games.
3. Randall Cobb
I am one who believes Randall Cobb will have a breakout season in 2013. With no Jennings, Cobb has more opportunities to showcase his talents even more than he did last year. He has everything a great possession wide receiver needs. Being able to catch the ball, make a move and dash down the rest of the field is what is so dangerous about Cobb. Defenses will need to make sure he is one of their primary focuses going into a game with the Pack, or else Cobb will surely burn them for a score or two.
2. Alex Green
Another shockingly high ranking, right? Not so fast. If Alex Green ends up being "the man" in Green Bay, which I think he should be, he could be in for a big responsibility. What the Packers have lacked over the past couple seasons is a legitimate running game. Green won't be asked to carry the ball 20 times a game, maybe just 10-15 mixed in with a few passes thrown his way. The most important part of this offense next year could be the play of Green. If he can get going and get comfortable with his job, the Packers will be lethal on offense.
1. Aaron Rodgers
When in his zone, there is arguably no better quarterback in football than Aaron Rodgers. As the face of this franchise and the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Rodgers has this team on his shoulders and is set to make a playoff run in 2013. He has all the tools necessary, and as usual it is going to be his arm directing this team's ultimate destiny. Look for Rodgers to have another historical year en route to a playoff birth and a Super Bowl run.
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