The Packers have started 5-1 for the third straight season for Matt LeFleur. After the dud to start the season against the Saints, the Packers have won five straight. That’s including two games that came down to the wire versus the Bengals and 49ers. With a quarter of the season complete, let’s look at the Packers Grades individually through the season.
Aaron Rodgers: A
After an awful start of the season versus the Saints, Rodgers has been lights out. While only throwing one interception to 12 touchdowns the last 5 games, he has also led two game-winning drives: one against the 49ers, and one against the Bengals.
Rodgers has been great. No one expected anything less. That’s not why he’s getting an A.
He’s getting an A because of how little the impending departure has affected this season. Whether you are on the front office’s side or Aaron’s, it’s clear he isn’t phoning it in. He is just as dominant as ever, and not taking jabs at the front office during the season.
I have to tip my cap to him, not sure I could’ve done the same. Wherever Rodgers plays next season, I hope Packer fans can root for him.
Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon: B
I put these two thunder and lighting backs together because they are blending together now to lead the Packer’s running attack. They are switching drives the past few games, playing almost 50/50 snaps. Dillon has had at least 60 yards the last three games, including two touchdowns. But after the Saints game, Jones has had at least 100 yards every game, including a four-touchdown performance against the Lions.
The only reason they drop a whole letter grade is simply their utilization in fourth. Jones only has 12 touches in the fourth quarter all season, and Dillon seems to be tired at the end of games, only averaging 3.1 YPC. Figuring out how to use these two backs going into the ladder half of the season will be crucial.
But it is certainly seeming like spending a second-round pick on Dillon has been worth it. Also, where is the “Don’t pay Aaron Jones” crowd now?
Davante Adams: A++
Does everyone remember the catchphrase from last year for Davante? “Top 2 and not 2”. Well, his performance really did prove he is the best receiver in football. But this year, he’s taking it a step further.
Davante Adams is in the conversation for MVP this year.
“A wide receiver in the MVP race? That’s impossible!”
Well, before even looking at the tape, look at the stats. He leads the league in yards and receptions, he has had four games of at least nine targets, and he doesn’t have a drop all season. But the main stat that pops out is from the other receivers. Only once this season has another Packers receiver had more than three receptions in a game (Cobb vs the Steelers with four). Davante has caught at least four balls every game.
Where would the Packers be without Adams? It’s honestly scary to think about, as Rodgers hyper-targets Adams every game. That’s even while Adams is getting double-teamed with the defense’s best corner on him.
It doesn’t matter. Adams gets his. He won’t win MVP because he’s a wide receiver, but he deserves to be in the conversation.
Kenny Clark: C+
In the first five games, I forgot Clark was on the field. The Packers were the third-worst rush defense in the league, and Clark had only one sack with 12 solo tackles. It seemed like that contract extension was a waste.
But then he showed who he truly was in the last drive against the Bears. With Chicago trying to mount a comeback, Clark just bullied his way to Fields for a sack… twice. That’s the Kenny Clark that has been missing the first five games. Not the sacks, but winning in the interior, and pushing lineman back into the quarterback.
Now the rush defense was still poor, almost allowing 100 yards to third-string running back Khalil Herbert. The rush defense is led by Clark. If they were to get a grade it would easily be a D. But Clark is showing signs of a great second half to the season.
De’Vondre Campbell: A
After the first two games of the season, I texted my friend “Campbell is going to lead the league in tackles, isn’t he?”. He is ninth currently through 6 games, and all credit doesn’t go to him. When your defensive line can’t get penetration and can’t stop the run, you’re going to get a lot of tackle opportunities. But Campbell has done well so far.
But it’s his pass coverage that puts him at an A. Not only has he allowed only 126 passing yards against him, but his longest completion was only 11 yards. He even has two picks to start the young season.
There is a reason that he is the highest-ranked PFF linebacker so far. I know that PFF isn’t the perfect metric of what makes a player good, but it’s only a confirmation of what we have seen.
De’Vondre Campbell is the steal of the 2021 free agency.
Eric Stokes: A-
What a start of a career of Eric Stokes. There were questions to start the year if Stokes would be on the field right away. But with injuries to Jaire and Kevin King, Stokes has been forced to be the primary lockdown corner on this team.
He’s been on the field for 82 percent of snaps this season, which is insane. That alone as a rookie gives him a high grade. But what has impressed everyone has been his closing speed. Yes, he gets beat every once in a while. He’s a rookie. However, he catches up to receivers better than any Packer since Sam Shields.
For someone in his rookie season, he has been incredibly aggressive.
He even got his first interception in a game sealer versus the Steelers. He has shown serious potential and has the chance to be part of the best defensive back duo in football with Jaire for years to come.
Other Packer Grades
Packer Wide Receivers outside Davante: D-
Well, at least they’re blocking pretty well
Robert Tonyan: D+
Can’t say the same for Tonyan.
Packers Offensive Line: B+
After a rough start, and serious injuries, the young guys have stepped up.
Preston Smith: B-
He’s been the most consistent defender for the Packers, perfect mediocrity.
Rashan Gary: C-
Wait, Gary hasn’t been out with an injury?
Darnell Savage: B+
Savage has been good at not allowing the deep ball to anyone not named Ja’Marr Chase
Mason Crosby: A-
He’s hit two game-winning kicks, and only has four misses on the year. They just happened to be in the same game.
Corey Bojorquez: B
Some punts prove why it was good to move on from JK Scott, others give opponents amazing field positions. So just like every punter in football.
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I think these are good takes. But in all
Honesty. Will Davante even get one vote for mvp? Great wide recievers don’t get the love they deserve.