Green Bay Packers’ No-Namers Will Be Known Soon
5 Packers Players You Never Heard Of Who Will Make An Impact Late In 2013
The Green Bay Packers have forever been known as an organization that shines late in the season and makes a push for the playoffs. The weather in Wisconsin starts to shift and the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field turns into a home-field advantage that benefits the Packers greatly. This season they will need a big push if they look to play football in January and February.
If the Packers are going to try and go after their fifth Super Bowl Title they will need players that even Packers fans may not know of to help their cause. It won’t be easy, but in order to become great you must overcome adversity. This is something that every Packers player should be used to and is something that they will need to overcome in 2013.
Currently, the Packers are playing without arguably their three best players on offense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sidelined the past two weeks with a small fracture to his collarbone and will likely miss a third straight game this week against the Minnesota Vikings. Along with Rodgers, Randall Cobb won’t be able to return to the team until the postseason with a knee injury. And to add the icing on the cake, Jermichael Finley was placed on Injured Reserve a few weeks ago with a neck/back injury that required surgery.
These are three key injuries to the Packers offense and are guys who can make plays all over the field. What does this mean for the offense and the rest of the team now? Next man up!
Here are 5 players you may have never heard that I believe will become known to many Packer fans as they make a late season run to the NFC playoffs.
5. DE/NT Josh Boyd
One of the main struggles for the Packers this season has been the lack of a pass rush and currently a lack of tackling. The linemen haven’t done a good job wrapping up runners and linebackers haven’t been able to get a rush on the quarterback. One guy who may be able to provide a spark to solve these issues is rookie Josh Boyd.
Boyd, a fifth round selection this year, is a big, physical kid that came into this season listed as a defensive end. Currently he is listed as a backup to nose tackle Ryan Pickett, and he could see his playing time increase if Pickett continues to have issues with his knee.
While at Mississippi State, Boyd was a leader on the defensive side of the ball. In his senior season he was named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy (best collegiate interior lineman), and in his career as a Bulldog he recorded 125 tackles and 8.5 sacks. These are the kind of numbers that Packers scouts saw and knew he could do the same for this team.
This season, Boyd has not gotten a lot of playing time and has not recorded a tackle yet. However, with such strange things happening across the roster, I wouldn’t be surprised if Boyd stepped into a game and made an impact.
4. QB Scott Tolzien
Now let me explain myself on this one. I’m sure that all of you reading this are saying you know exactly who Scott Tolzien is right now. This is all very true. Since Rodgers’ injury Tolzien has taken over and started the last game for the Packers and has thrown five interceptions to only one touchdown pass. He has struggled and has received a lot of press, but in my opinion he is still a no name player.
Before Rodgers went down Tolzien was on the practice squad, and aside from his family no one knew who he was. In my opinion, for him to be known he needs to start playing better. His name may be heard a lot on the field since he is currently the starting quarterback, but he must start to play better. Regardless of anything, he is going to be a key for this team if they want to make the playoffs.
Many fans have doubts about Tolzien and are calling for Matt Flynn to start. Head coach Mike McCarthy has come out and said that Tolzien will start this week against the Vikings, and this is a chance for him to step up, play well and get the Packers a much needed victory.
The team is currently a game behind the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North. Following the Vikings game, the Packers square off against the Lions on Thanksgiving (Rodgers may be ready for the game).
With only six games remaining, the Packers must find some magic and get back on track with a few wins. If this is going to happen it will all start with Tolzien.
3. LB Jamari Lattimore
One of my favorite “no-name” players on this Packers roster is linebacker Jamari Lattimore. Lattimore plays with such a passion and seems to have the mentality that whoever has the ball he will go hit. It is the same way that former Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop played before he turned into a stud on the defense and led the team to a Super Bowl title in 2010.
I don’t believe that Lattimore will lead this team to the Super Bowl, but he is still a very exciting player on defense. He has played in all 10 games this season and has a total of 27 total tackles and two sacks to his name. His biggest performance was Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns where he recorded 12 tackles, one sack and a pass deflection. This is the kind of performance I can see from Lattimore every single game.
Lattimore did not see a lot of action in the last two weeks, and I think he needs to start getting more looks on defense. When he has been on the field he has been productive. With tackling issues throughout the entire defense, Lattimore brings a spark and an intensity that is comparable to Clay Matthews.
The Packers defense must start to step up, and I believe Lattimore can help a lot if he is given the opportunity.
2. TE Brandon Bostick
Ever since Jermichael Finley went down with a serious neck/back injury, the tight end group for the Packers has been questionable. Andrew Quarless is the closest the team has to a veteran and has played fairly well in Finley’s absence. However, there is another player who has stepped up and may continue to play well in a two tight end set with Quarless. This player is Brandon Bostick.
Bostick signed with the Packers as a undrafted free agent on May 30, 2012 and has recently gotten more playing time as a pass protector and sure handed tight end. He has played in all eight games this season but only has had receptions in the last two. In Week 10 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Bostick finished with three catches, 42 yards and a touchdown. It was his best output of the season, and he has shown in the last two games that he can be very productive.
As the Packers' offense tries to get back on track and starts getting into the end zone more often, look for Bostick to be a viable option in the red zone and become a favorite target for McCarthy and Tolzien.
1. S Chris Banjo
The top “no-name” player for the Packers that will definitely make a splash is safety Chris Banjo. Banjo has made a splash on special teams for the Packers this season, but with the recent struggles in the secondary and the poor safety play that has been seen, I expect Banjo may see some more time on the defensive side of the ball.
Banjo, a rookie from Southern Methodist, has played sparingly in all 10 games this season for the Packers, but most of the time it’s been on special teams. However, last game against the New York Giants, Banjo saw much more playing time and recorded four solo tackles while showing a lot of quickness to the ball. These are the kind of plays Banjo is capable of making and will make him very effective for this defense.
From watching Banjo and seeing him on tape, it is pretty clear to me that he is an explosive player who can be a playmaker on defense. I believe his playing time should be increased, and with a struggling secondary he may go from a guy that many people don’t know to someone who is one of the best at his position on the roster.
All of these players are guys who many may not know. But in a season that has been so strange for the Packers, why wouldn’t you expect “no-name” players to lead this team on a playoff run? It’s only fitting.