Allen Lazard – 40 for 513 and 8! Strong numbers for a guy who is mentioned in EVERY broadcast as a top tier run blocker and has made multiple special teams tackles. He is the answer to the question, “why exactly can this team thrive with one go-to WR”? But ya can’t just block, and this year, #13 did more than block. Did he leave some catches on the field? He did. And then you get the next several and pretty soon they are the exception not the rule.
Runyan-Patrick-Newman – There are very few talking heads that would predict that these 3 could hold down the middle of the OLine like they have. A 6th Round legacy, a UDFA and a rookie 4th Rounder. Newman takes a lot of heat and has plenty of it comin. But he’s held it together all season. Runyan can easily become your LG for a decade…likely has already has cemented that this season. Patrick is the feel good. Awesome job as a team’s 3rd option at starting C
Eric Stokes – 29th Pick. The Pack had King as an insurance policy and Stokes looked a bit haggled at first. And then he was fine…better than fine. Then he has to go across the field to an island that was manned by one of the game’s young greats. And you hear nothing from that transition. They don’t really even throw at him. He did not log any sexy numbers, he just shut down a third of the field all season. This guy and a healthy #23 means any D-Coordinator can bunch 9 dudes in the middle of the field.
Rashan Gary – If you go back and watch and listen to his reaction to getting drafted, his emotions were not about fulfilling a lifelong dream. He was crying because he just got paid. Everything he said was about taking care of his mom for the rest of her life. The stress relief at that point on a No 1 high school prospect, who underachieved but has mad skills and is a good person, had to be life changing. And now it appears that his mom is taken care of, it’s all about football. Unbelievably high ceiling.
Gutey – I don’t know what an NFL GM does day to day. Few do. I can’t imagine many better. This whole season has been about depth. About having the right type of guys and really executing at a high level. Numbers down, plays from scrimmage low, more games closer than they should be but assuming control of the game. Better to stop the big play then to rely on it. And Gutey found a coach the can run it, has a HOF QB almost perfecting it and has built a fantastic team of versatile players around it. Hands down the MVP of this season.
The Special Teams – The Special Teams are not special. Of the three phases of the game, you know where they rank. But just when it was getting close to being an issue, they kinda righted the ship. They didn’t allow it to become a huge talking point. It certainly remains a concern, but it is not currently a distraction. A lot of players that are usually logging Special Teams reps have been putting in more snaps and because of that some holes were exposed. They didn’t make excuses and went all-hands-on-deck to address it and it is much better than it was. St. Brown, Sullivan and Black may be able to add to that unit if the Pack get some bodies back off IR and playing.
That’s 6 of my shout outs. There are tons more to be given, Rodgers, Adams, Dillion, Amos….the Campbell-Douglas duo may be the great double-FA acquisition of all time…LeFleur, Clark, Yosh, Preston having a monster comeback. I thought they were the best team in the NFL last year, I think they are the best team in the NFL this year. They appear to be getting healthy…I’m fixing to enjoy it as long as it lasts.