It’s victory Monday! That means we get a bonus little post to talk about all the things that went right yesterday, this time focusing on those non-flashy players who contributed to the victory in more of a support role. This week I’m going to be a little reluctant to name two working class heroes and two honorable mentions…but there is a method to my madness so bear with me. I’m also switching up the name slightly because I don’t like the irony of singing the praises of an unsung hero….it just doesn't work for me. Instead I’m going to call it the "working class hero of the week." It fits, still shining a light on a guy getting forgotten while doing a dirty job.
This week’s working class hero goes to our two tackles, Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse. These guys get to share the honor because last week they shared the infamy. After struggling mightily in the first half of last week’s game against the Seahawks, the duo followed this up by allowing only one sack the following six quarters and opening up plenty of holes for Cedric Benson to run through.
Yes, this week they were going up against a rather punch-less Saints’ pass rush, but I don’t care. In the NFL you play who you play and if an offensive lineman shuts down his opponent that’s all you can ask for. More impressively, these two were able to put their nightmarish start to the season behind them for at least a game and a half now and create a cleaner pocket for Aaron Rodgers to pass in. That deserves some praise at the very least.
One the more….let’s say interesting…lines that I have been seeing since the end of the Saints game is the "James Jones the new #1" movement. Well movement is a bit strong, but it’s definitely a one liner that is going around. Now I get that, and I get that he had a great, great game on Sunday….but what I find interesting is that in this great game of his he didn’t lead the team in receptions or yards. Jordy Nelson did (8 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown). In fact he really looked like the new number one receiver for most of the game. Mix in the fact that Jones had very similar numbers as Finley (Jones: 5 receptions for 56 yards and two touchdowns and 4 receptions for 54 yards for Finley), and someone could come to the conclusion that Finley had an pretty impressive day as well….not that he’ll get much credit for his contribution.
So while I loathe to give a working class hero mention to players who will get many an MVP nod due to their high profile position….they get the nod because they (and Randall Cobb with 7 receptions and 66 yards) did just as much work as Jones without anywhere near the praise or adulation as Jones….this week.