This Thanksgiving, APC’s contributors have come together to discuss what we are thankful for about the 2016 Green Bay Packers. Although the team currently holds a record of 4-6, there are still reasons to be thankful to be a Packers fan, and we discuss our personal football-related feelings here as we prepare to join friends and family for a day of food, fun, and football.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Aaron Rodgers. He is on pace this season to throw for 4,400 yards and 40 touchdowns, and has led the team in rushing over the last four weeks. Even a porous defense can’t temper my excitement to watch an all-time great. Last week, he threw a touchdown seconds after almost having his face ripped off. We shrugged, because we’ve seen it before in Jacksonville this season. And two years ago, he got crunched in half and still tossed a touchdown. I can’t wait for Aaron Rodgers’ Hall of Fame induction highlight reel.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for health. Yes, that means health in general; not just my health, not the health of my family and friends, but also the health of the Green Bay Packers. I know that you’re thinking, and you’re right - the Packers aren’t a healthy team right now. It’s hard to watch your fifth-string cornerback get beat for a TD and not think “if only Sam Shields was out there”.
When you take a step back from the circus that is the NFL with its constant branding by teams, players, and corporations alike, a bit of perspective sets in. You begin to realize that the NFL game is played at such a fast pace by some of the absolute best athletes in the world who constantly push their bodies to their limits. It’s an absolute marvel that more players don’t get injured. I woke up five days ago with a sore back because I slept weird. T.J. Lang pushes around 300 lb. people for a living. Ty Montgomery gets smacked by men with 60+ pounds on him. This year, I’m thankful that I gave up on my dream as a 7 year old of one day playing in the NFL because I, along with most normal humans, would get absolutely destroyed by these cyborgs.
Evan “Tex” Western
What Packers-related things do we have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving? Well, we’re not the Cleveland Browns. *rimshot*
Seriously though, there are a couple of things that have happened this season that are worthy of thanks. First, as always, is Aaron Rodgers. He has bounced back pretty well from his early struggles and despite slow starts in the last few games, he has been looking more like his old self by mid-game. A couple of throws from last Sunday’s game alone stand out - like his touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson with his chinstrap up around his eyeballs.
Next is the emergence of Davante Adams. The Packers look like they really do have something with the third-year receiver, just months after speculation abounded that he could actually be the odd man out if the Packers chose to keep fewer than seven wide receivers. Instead, he and Jordy Nelson have nearly identical stat lines - 53 receptions for 663 yards apiece, with Adams trailing Nelson 9-to-6 in touchdowns.
Finally, I am thankful for Mike Daniels still being a monster inside. He still is a bit of a loose cannon at times and has a penchant for penalties that result from over-aggressiveness (see the roughing the passer call this past Sunday), but the havoc that he wreaks on opposing offensive lines is well worth a goofy penalty once in a while.
Ha Ha Clinton Dix deserves all the accolades, and we should all be thankful for him. As the only competent part of a secondary that is on fire and crashing into a dynamite factory, he has been extremely impressive. When no one else around you is where they are supposed to be, it’s easy for safeties to get themselves out of position, but Clinton-Dix has remained disciplined the entire time, leads the team in picks, has forced a fumble, and while it would be overstating things to call him a stabilizing presence, at least someone has shown they belong.
I am also thankful that the punting hasn’t been as terrible lately.
I am thankful for Ty Montgomery, the Packers’ wonderful unicorn of a player who is somehow both useful and interesting, a combination that seems incredibly rare on this year’s team.
He runs, he catches, he returns kicks, he exploits obscure rules, and he appears to be a generally fun, likable dude. He’s amusing because his 88 jersey looks so out of place in the backfield. He seems like someone you’d put together in Create-A-Player on Madden and wreck shop with.
I don’t know what the future may be for players similar to Montgomery. Building an offense around one guy who does everything pretty well but does nothing outstanding seems foolish, and the Packers seem so afraid to take him out of mothballs that he may never become more than a bit player anyway. But man, is he fun to watch when they do use him.
I’m going to give thanks to you the readers of APC and all the fans of the Packers. We have a unique set of fans with undying loyalty that is rarely seen for any other teams. If one of us throw a wild idea into a story or be overly critical, you are there to defend (or occasionally rip apart) the Packers and generate fun conversations between each other that get people thinking. It won’t matter if we finish 4-12 this year or have a magical turn around and finish 10-6, but you are always there in support. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and I have lived in several different spots in our great country since then, and it’s always refreshing to come home to the Packers fans who stick by their team through everything. So, thanks for reading and being apart of the greatest fanbase in sports.
To add to what everyone else has said, and avoid repeating, I am thankful for the Packers offensive line. They lost a Pro Bowl starter and have ticked right along. I am thankful for all the times I can watch Aaron Rodgers survey the field for what seems like an eternity because his line makes it possible. On a team that is second in the NFL in pass attempts and playing without a dedicated running back, this team has handled the pressure.
Further, I am thankful the Packers do not have a strongman owner walking around making grand pronouncements about this team. I am thankful for the steady hand and professional demeanor of a leadership that evaluates and handles business without needing to find a television camera into which he can scream and vent. Packers owners scream and vent, but from the safety of couches and message boards.