Green Bay Packers, B.J. Raji to have one more dance

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Sep 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji (90) after play against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Candlestick Park. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports photograph

B.J. Raji: He has to earn his money on the field this year

When B.J. Raji went down with a season-ending tear to the triceps in his right arm in 2014, Packers Nation went into panic mode. Everyone was expecting the Raji would bring a new intensity to his game and to the Packers defense that had been so bad the previous couple of seasons.

However, Raji’s misfortune turned into Letroy Guion’s fortune.

Though Guion’s performance in 2014 was pedestrian at best, his work in helping to stabilize the bleeding of the team’s defense enough to help the team to the playoffs and the championship game.

Would Raji have made even a more significant impact had he stayed healthy in 2014?

We’ll never know. However, Ted Thompson has enough faith in the big guy that he extended another $4 million on one more shot at proving himself.

Missing only four games in his first five seasons, Raji was inconsistent, but did have one good season — 2010 when he helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl championship. It was his interception and touchdown in the championship game against the Bears in Chicago that has become his signature moment.

But that was five seasons ago.

He’s got much more to prove if the Packers will even consider anything beyond 2015.

The excitement about Raji in preseason last year was justified. He had been moved from end to back to the middle of the defensive line – a position most agreed was his best.

More from Lombardi Ave

He will again man that position and should rotate in with Guion for the Packers defense in 2015.

That’s all well and good.

But if the Packers are to continue to get better, Ted Thompson will most likely have to look to the draft. Guion and Raji are stop-gap measures at best and the Packers will need younger players to develop at the position.

B.J. Raji’s career statistics …

Games Def Interceptions Fumbles Sacks & Tackles
Year Tm G GS PD FR Yds Sk Tkl Ast
2009 GNB 14 1 1 1.0 19 6
2010 GNB 16 16 3 6.5 29 10
2011* GNB 16 16 2 1 1 3.0 14 10
2012 GNB 14 14 2 16 10
2013 GNB 16 16 13 6
2014 GNB 0
Career 76 63 8 1 1 10.5 91 42

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/30/2015.

B.J. Raji’s signature moment …