The Green Bay Packers won a dramatic game on Sunday Night Football. In such a game as this, there are many heroes. In this week’s Studs and Duds, we have plenty of studs to choose from. With such a variety to choose from, there are certainly going to be players we do not mention. Of course, there are obvious studs: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Mason Crosby. Therefore, here we will highlight three studs that may not get the recognition they deserve.
The Green Bay Packers came into Sunday Night’s game concerningly lacking depth at the tackle position. David Bakhtiari is still recovering from a torn ACL. Elgton Jenkins was listed as Out with an ankle injury. These situations led Matt LaFleur to give young Yosh Nijman his first ever NFL start. To say fans were ready to mail this game in as a result was an understatement. Nijman did not play very well in the Packers’ first preseason game, and he has been subject to criticism by the fans ever since.
However, Yosh Nijman had himself a night! He got off to a shaky start with a couple of penalties in the first quarter. However, the Packers were still able to put 10 on the board in the first. As the night went on, Nijman grew more comfortable. He ended the night with zero sacks allowed. He handled his own against Nick Bosa and kept Rodgers relatively clean. At the end of the game, his teammates sung his praises to the media, including this story from Davante Adams:
— Hunter Baumgardt (@hunterbonair) September 27, 2021
How many Packers’ fans wanted Preston Smith cut before the season began? They argued that his down season in 2020 made him useless to the team and the Packers would save precious cap space by getting rid of him. Oh, how wrong they were!
Preston Smith just made Jimmy G forget his own name. That's a big three and out forced by the Packers after the 49ers had seized all momentum.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 27, 2021
Ever since the season began, Preston Smith has been, arguably, the Packers’ best and most consistent pass rusher. Last night, Preston disrupted everything. He stuffed run lanes and he made plays in the backfield. Smith ended the night with four tackles, one of them for a loss, a sack, and three quarterback hits.
Another player that has been criticized by fans is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Last season, especially, the criticism became the subject of national attention as he received death threats from so-called “fans.” Coming into this season, the goal was for MVS to cut down on his drops, which were concerning.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 27, 2021
Over the first two weeks of the season, MVS was a relative non-factor. In Week Two against the Lions, he was targeted four times but had no catches. Aaron Rodgers blamed himself for the poor throws. Last night, however, MVS showed what an incredible weapon he is in this offense. He had three receptions for 59 yards, including a 47-yard bomb from Rodgers. He also had a touchdown. What didn’t he have? A drop. Not one. He has not dropped a pass yet all season.
There were not very many “poor” performances from the Packers last night, which is why they won. Therefore, here we will just hit some quick notes for improvement:
- Amari Rodgers and punt returns do not seem to be a good combination thus far.
- Special teams continues to be the Packers’ most glaring weakness.
- The officials made many bad calls on both teams, but that missed hit on a defenseless wide receiver (Adams) was inexcusably bad.