5 Players Who Will Shine for Green Bay Packers in Week 2
Green Bay Packers: 5 Players Who Will Shine in Week 2
The Green Bay Packers (0-1) host the Washington Redskins (0-1) at Lambeau Field on Sunday, and one player the Packers certainly can count on each week to shine on a consistent basis is quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In the season opening loss at the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, Rodgers finished 21-of-37 with 333 passing yards, threw three touchdowns and one interception.
The Redskins opened the 2013 season at home this past Monday Night, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 33-27. Quarterback Robert Griffin III, a.k.a "RG3", struggled for most of the game, as the Eagles were able to race ahead of the Redskins, leading 33-7 in the third quarter. Griffin went 30-of-49 with 329 passing yards, threw two touchdowns and two interceptions.
In San Francisco, the Packers' defense did a tremendous job of preventing the 49ers' rushing game from dominating, as the 49ers rushed for 66 yards on 28 carries (2.2 YPC). Offensively, Green Bay found balance in the second half, and the Packers should certainly carry the balanced offensive attack into the home opener on Sunday.
For the Packers to win their first game of the 2013 season on Sunday, the team has to continue nurturing a balanced offensive attack and the defense has to be able to limit the Redskins' passing game. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick went 27-of-39 with a career-high 412 passing yards and threw three touchdowns in San Francisco's win.
The Packers were able to tire the 49ers' defense out with the no-huddle offense, and the Redskins' defense on Monday Night looked gassed defending the Eagles' hurry-up offense. Fans better expect the Packers to continue to use offensive balance through the no-huddle offense on Sunday.
The real question though is who should fans expect to shine brightest for the Packers on Sunday? Besides Rodgers (Green Bay) and RG3 (Washington), click through our slideshow and see who we expect to co-star on Sunday.
RB Eddie Lacy
Eddie Lacy struggled in his first-half debut of Pro Football on Sunday, rushing for four yards on five total carries and recording one fumble. After a disastrous showing in the first half, the second-round rookie running back from Alabama turned it up in the second half, rushing for 37 yards on nine carries, and scoring his first career rushing touchdown.
Another key reason why Lacy should break out on Sunday? The Washington Redskins' defense allowed Eagles running back LeSean McCoy to rush for 184 yards on 31 carries, and quarterback Michael Vick rushed for 54 yards on nine carries.
The Eagles' offensive line is arguably in worse shape than the Packers, and fans should expect Lacy to run all over a slow and aging Redskins defense. Green Bay loves to throw the football, which will make Lacy's day even more surprising on Sunday.
S Morgan Burnett
Morgan Burnett did not play in the season opener in San Francisco, and he remains questionable for Sunday's home opener with a hamstring injury. The Packers' defense allowed 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to throw for 412 yards, and Burnett could've helped alleviate the defensive secondary troubles.
The fourth-year safety out of Georgia Tech has become the leader and voice of the Packers' defensive secondary, and his presence will be felt by the team's defense and the Redskins' offense if he is able to go on Sunday.
OLB Nick Perry
Nick Perry was quiet in Sunday's opener, recording three tackles in the loss at San Francisco. Perry's presence, though, makes a significant difference for the Packer defense. Perry, who was responsible for successfully keeping 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the pocket, opens up the Packers' defense.
All-Pro Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews recorded three tackles for loss against the 49ers, which is a sign that Perry commands enough respect and attention by opposing offensive lines to clear space for their star pass-rushing specialist. Last season, Perry's rookie season was shortened to six games after he suffered a season-ending wrist injury. In those six games, Matthews recorded eight sacks. With Perry out of the lineup, Matthews recorded five sacks in the final ten games.
The Eagles were able to mount pressure on RG3 this past Monday Night, so expect both Matthews and Perry to have a similar effect on the Redskins offense.
WR James Jones
James Jones failed to make an impact in the season opening loss at San Francisco, as he did not record one catch. The Packers nearly released Jones after winning Super Bowl XLV, and Jones lived up to his potential last season. In 2012, Jones led the NFL with 14 touchdown receptions.
The Packers felt better than okay after the team parted ways with veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings, and Jones was one of the top reasons why the team let Jennings walk in free agency.
Many NFL defenses will have so much trouble defending Packer wideouts Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb throughout the season, and teams will forget about Jones. The Redskins' defensive secondary should certainly have their hands full on Sunday.
TE Jermichael Finley
The Redskins' defense will primarily focus on stopping the Packers' wide receivers from putting up big numbers, and they may forget about dynamic tight end Jermichael Finley. In the season opener, Finley caught five passes for 56 yards and scored one touchdown.
In Packerland, fans and the media are often very critical of Finley because he has a tendency to say the worst things at the wrong time and he drops the ball...a lot. Finley had a key drop against the 49ers on Sunday, which was deflected into the air and intercepted by 49ers rookie safety Eric Reid. After the dropped pass, Finley came back in the same quarter, shook off a couple of 49ers defenders and scored his first touchdown of the 2013 season.
Finley is playing for a new contract this season, and what was most admirable about his season opening performance was his ability to fight through adversity. A sign of maturity, Finley's talent will shine bright on Sunday and the Packers will take advantage of the mismatches Finley will often present against the Redskins' defense.