One must credit the Matt Flynn-led Packers for the fight they put forth in snowy conditions against a desperate Steelers team in Week 16. Mike McCarthy’s play calling and game plan in general set the team up for victory; but an injury to Clay Matthews and miscue-turned-pick-six left the Packers with a seventh loss on the season. Nonetheless, Green Bay will travel to Chicago next week with a shot at the NFC North title and home playoff game.
Just as fans had begun to write off Hyde as a kick returner, the rookie defensive back turned his best game on the special teams unit, nearly tying the game up on a kickoff late in the fourth quarter. Hyde was also solid in coverage, which could cause the coaching staff to pump the brakes on his move to safety. Hyde will become especially valuable to a Packers secondary that could undergo some major transformation over the next couple of seasons.
Not being known as much of a play maker since being drafted fifth overall by the Packers in 2006, Hawk made a nearly game-changing interception in the third quarter of Green Bay’s Week 16 loss to the Steelers. To go along with the pick, the former Buckeye recorded four tackles and finally felt like more of a leader on defense. While Hawk will never live up to his draft pick, fans have to appreciate how he’s slowly gotten better over time.
Just as we thought Jermichael Finley 2.0 had arrived in Green Bay, Quarless came back to earth, inadvertently causing a pick-six and offering next to nothing as a receiver against Pittsburgh. The realization amongst the front office and fan base alike should be that the go-forward starter at tight end should be dependable in cold-weather games. There is high doubt that Quarless is that player despite the success he’s had with Matt Flynn prior to Week 16.
Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell ran wild against a suspect Packers run defense “led” by B.J. Raji. The five-year lineman has gotten worse every year since the Super Bowl run and simply does not deserve a new contract from Ted Thompson after this season. With other linemen like Mike Daniels playing well, would Thompson consider finding a stopgap nose tackle in free agency while developing a mid-to-late draft pick? Alternatively, the Packers may try to get one last season out of Ryan Pickett.