As the Green Bay Packers scurry around, picking up the pieces from yet another loss, we see a team with their proverbial backs against the wall.
Who can help the team rediscover their potential and get the team back on the winning track this week against the Washington Redskins?
Everyone needs to perform well for the Packers to leave the FedExField with a .500 record. Let’s narrow it down to a few contributors.
We’ll start with a seemingly unlikely name: P Jacob Schum. Why you ask? The Packers need to win the field position battle this week. Too many times this year the Packers have had their backs too close to their own end zone. Nothing kills momentum like having to make a 90-yard drive.
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Schum is having an erratic season. His punting averages have been as high as 54.3 yards but as low as 36.5 yards. For the Packers defense to be able to excel, the Redskins can’t be handed a short field.
Green Bay’s linebackers must come to play. The Packers need a healthy Clay Matthews back and at his best. Rushing. Lurking. Scheming. Causing havoc.
After starting the season on fire, Nick Perry has had a stretch of quiet games. Perry came out of the blocks looking like the first-round pick that he was. He was leading the team with sacks while the Packers made it to a 4-2 record. Over their three-loss span, Perry has managed just half a sack and a pedestrian 11 tackles. The Packers need the Nick Perry from their opening six games.
Where has Julius Peppers been this year? Granted, he is not a spring chicken anymore and we should not expect him to be. He is freak of nature but even he has to slow a little. But not this much.
During the Packers’ three-game losing streak Peppers mustered one sack and two tackles. After 15 years of amazing play, he is whimpering into retirement. Peppers must find the drive that made him great for all those years. He may not be able to play every down and I don’t think the Packers need him to, but he needs to make the most of his opportunities.
Joe Thomas and Blake Martinez have played pretty well this year but now is the time to throw the rookie hat out the door and take their games to the next level. Thomas had a great camp and earned his spot on the team. He seemed to be in the right place at the right time a lot. Granted, Thomas has been expected to do more of late with Jake Ryan being hurt, but he needs to become a more well-rounded linebacker.
Too many times Thomas is a few too many steps away from making the critical play. He gets caught out in coverage and is a little late to the tackling party. Thomas is a great tackler when he gets there, but consistency remains the issue.
Martinez has been asked to do a lot and he has delivered for the most part. Again, he is a rookie and is still learning the game. He, too, gets caught out of position at times. Not having Ryan in there has led to an adjustment period. Martinez will get there in time, but we all hope he can contribute to the Packers’ playoff dreams in a positive way.
James Starks needs to see the ball 15-20 time this week. His NFL life might depend on it. Starks must use his downhill running to gain valuable yardage, freeing up the Packers receivers to make plays downfield. Bringing the Redskins defensive backs closer to the line of scrimmage is a key factor for Aaron Rodgers and company to fully utilize their passing attack. Starks doesn’t even need a 100-yard game, but he has to get those tough yards and make Washington defend the run and the pass.
The whole team needs to play well for the Green Bay Packers to get off their three-game skid. It can be done. The components are there.
The Packers went into Washington last year on the back of two defeats and pulled out a victory. It can happen again.