To answer that question, let’s first define the heart of the team.
It is the one or two players, or one position group that takes care of business. It involves standing up to be accountable, and is the protector and ‘enforcer’ on the team. They take care of the locker room, if need be.
So with that in mind …
Could it be the offensive line? They certainly are handling their business, playing well and have withstood a major injury (Bryan Bulaga). They are physical in the run game, and bring toughness into every contest.
Is it Eddie Lacy, the hot trending rookie running back coming off three consecutive solid games? He, too, brings a physical toughness to a team in desperate need of it this offseason.
Is it everyone’s team MVP, Aaron Rodgers? He is using not only his amazing physical quarterbacking skills breaking in new faces constantly, but the leadership on the field is a sight to see. His knowledge and preparedness is Payton Manning-esque, and his decision-making is as good as Joe Montana’s.
We truly are seeing another Hall of Fame quarterback at work. We lose him, we’re toast.
As you recall, the first part of the season at running back there was a revolving door due to injuries, and now that that has been settled, he is doing the same to the wide receivers and tight ends. He is bringing them along, helping them and demanding them to up their game.
So, though Rodgers is a top three player in this league, is he the heart and soul of the team?
I think all of those mentioned above have done an outstanding job this season, righting the ship and heading to sea.
However, I believe it is the defensive line that gets the nod here. These six players - Johnny Jolly, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Mike Daniels, Datone Jones and C.J. Wilson - have literally beat the snot out of every offensive line they have played. And they’re getting better each and every week.
They (like the O-line) have sacrificed themselves for the good of the team. There are no sack leaders, or highlights the casual observer would catch, or numbers that jump off the page.
However, these men, every one of them, get beat up every single Sunday, standing in the middle of a boxing ring, getting punched by a bunch of mammoths, holding the line so the guys behind them can run free. They do all of this while stopping the run.
Make no mistake, they are also punching back. Most times they swing first, and at the end of the game they walk away, heads held high knowing that them doing the dirty work left their mark on the other team, literally and figuratively. They are football mean and nasty, and solely focused on stopping that run.
So … take a vote in the poll and tell us who you think is the Heart and Soul of “Team 93.”