Week 15 is in the books … and what a week it was for the Green Bay Packers.
These past two weeks have brought a feeling to the Packers that has been missing since October – success. I had forgotten what it felt like to come out and perform on a Sunday and get the job done. It is what prompted me to fire two defensive duds instead of praising the studs.
Last week changed all that; and with the spectacular comeback win on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys and the prospect of controlling our own destiny into the playoffs — the Green Bay Packers Citizen GM is feeling QUITE generous this week.
LIST OF STUDS:
1. Sam Shields
LIST OF DUDS:
So, with Christmas right around the corner and in the spirit of giving …
Dear James Jones,
Hey, what’s up 89 – it’s a week before Christmas and I was just sitting here thinking about what a GIFT you are to this Green Bay Packers organization. You’ve been a quiet mainstay in this offense, a weapon week-in and week-out. There isn’t anything more that we can ask of you.
Well, there is one more thing we could ask: What is with all the turtlenecks? I’m not 100 percent certain that you HAVE a neck under there. But, I digress. Whatever the reason, you are always so tightly bundled, I know it is never going to slow you down.
Let’s get right to the point here – you are set to become a free agent at the end of this season. Rumors swirled a couple of years ago that we were going to let you walk – that didn’t happen. You rewarded the Packers’ faithfulness with an amazing showing in 2012. With another strong outing so far this season, a big pay day is coming to you in 2014. Or at least … should be coming.
I can see the Packers organization having some hesitations, so let’s put them to rest, shall we?
1. You’ll be turning 30 next season. While this is true, I feel like you are truly enjoying your PEAK as an offensive weapon. Letting you go would be detrimental, especially if another NFC North rival were to snatch away your talents (and we know that possibility is MORE than likely, those buzzards). In your 7 previous seasons with the Green Bay Packers (dating back to 2007), your production has been steadily on the incline. You are less than 100 yards from a career high in receiving yards, you are enjoying your highest average yards-per-game to date, and only a yard shy of your highest average per catch. You are getting better with age.
2. Many offensive weapons are emerging around you. In 2011, you fell to the back burner a little bit. With Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson as premier targets for Aaron Rodgers, you were often the third or fourt receiver on the field. With the emergence of Randall Cobb as a greater threat in 2012, you were underappreciated. You led the league in touchdown receptions (14) and were still not talked about. We never heard you complain about the number of touches, we never heard you utter an individualistic word. You just go out and go to work. Now, kids like Jarrett Boykin, Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick are coming on strong. You are still in the wings, waiting to contribute. You are one of the most consistent hands on the field. With veteran leadership and unwavering talents, we cannot afford to let you go.
3. Injuries mount with age. I get this concept, it isn’t foreign in the NFL, in any camp. However, you have been a bionic man thus far. In 2008, you missed 6 games. Since then, you have been suiting up each week. In this season’s matchup against the Ravens, we lost you and Randall Cobb in a span of minutes. You sprained your PCL and missed three games. The minute you hit the field, you were back to producing. You knocked the rust off and have been solid ever since. Until injuries become a problem for you, I’d love to give you the benefit of the doubt on this. You’re a special man, James. You have the most incredible YAC of any receiver I’ve seen. Your body can’t get beat down if people can’t bring you down.
James, James, James … what more can I say? You are at your best with Aaron Rodgers under center. With Rodgers, you have had 10 plays of 20-plus yards and four plays of 40-plus yards. You’re a downfield threat and opposing defenses are forced to account for you. Trouble is: they also have to account for Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Randall Cobb and now Andrew Quarless. There is not one receiver on the field that defenses can sleep on. Why would we want to give them one less threat to account for? If the only problem is that we have TOO MANY offensive juggernauts, then that is a problem that I will gladly accept and … well, I’ll just have to find a way to deal with it.
Hey, do you like where your locker is right now because? … I can put it closer to the buffet table if you want. I just want to make you comfortable, James. I want us to have many more Christmases together, so take this extension to the bank and go buy yourself a nice regular collared shirt. You’re going to love it.