This week at Acme Packing Company, our Walkthroughs go to an interesting place of discussion. The question seems a straightforward one: who is the MVP of the Green Bay Packers for the 2017 season so far? However, each of five different writers went in different directions.
Here are our picks:
Matub: Aaron Rodgers
After the Packers expectantly laid a whooping on the Vikings, they went on to nearly set NFL records in touchdowns, completions, and yardage against a fairly strong Saints team. All of this was done on the back of a healthy and COMPLETELY UNINJURED Aaron Rodgers. How could he not be the midseason MVP?
The sky is the limit with Aaron at the helm and the defense showing they can play with the best of them.
Paul Noonan - Blake Martinez
Look, I don’t care much for inside linebackers and I’m as surprised as you are, but Martinez has been excellent in the first half of the season as a sure tackler and run-stopper. He’s even chipped in a sack and a fumble recovery. Linebackers sometimes get overrated based on number of tackles (Note: Tackles alone are a bad stat), and Martinez does have a lot of them, but it’s worth noting that in 2016 the two leading Packers in solo tackles were the safeties (68 for Burnett, 61 for Clinton-Dix) with Jake Ryan leading the linebackers at 56. Martinez already has 46 this season, and the vast majority are solo. He’s preventing offensive players from getting to the next level, and preventing big plays, not just letting guys come to him.
Aaron Rodgers could get the nod and Aaron Jones or Davante Adams would be worthy as well, as would Kenny Clark (probably my #2) or Clay Matthews, but Martinez has an unrivaled level of consistency and most importantly this season, availability. In the first half, he was the standout player of an underrated and improving defense.
Evan ”Tex” Western: Kenny Clark
How can a defensive lineman with no sacks be the MVP for a team whose defense ranks 21st in rushing DVOA?
Because Kenny Clark is beasting offensive linemen on every snap and Aaron Rodgers is hurt.The Rodgers injury shows that he's the most essential player on team, but in terms of value added, one must take his unavailability into account. Clark, meanwhile, has been one of the few Packers to suit up for every game, playing over ⅔ of the snaps with regularity.
And a cursory glance at the tape shows just how impressive those snaps are. His play has allowed Dom Capers to keep using his preferred two-man lines against the run (a decision which can be debated on its own merits separately) and has kept Blake Martinez mostly clean to flow to the ball carrier and rack up all of his tackles.
Shawn Wagner: Lane Taylor
If Aaron Rodgers was still healthy, he would be the pick here without any doubt. I also think Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark’s value to the defense is immense and has helped players like Martinez make impact plays this season by occupying blockers. It’s also becoming noticeable how valuable Morgan Burnett is to the middle of the defense after his two-week absence.
But, as Tex alluded to with Clark, availability is meaningful to a team as banged up as Green Bay. That’s why I’m picking Lane Taylor, who has started six of seven games this season on an offensive line that lost two tackles to injured reserve (three if you count Don Barclay) and has made do without Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari for substantial snaps as well. Taylor earned an extension in early September and has become invaluable with his consistency at the guard position and even when having to make an unforeseen emergency start at left tackle. His play in that lone start was arguably the best performance from any fill-in backup option this season.
Taylor, along with the durable 34-year old Jahri Evans, helped keep Rodgers upright for the first five games and will be critical the rest of the way in protecting Brett Hundley. My pick for the team’s MVP by the end of the season is Aaron Jones and Taylor’s blocking and dependability will be a major reason why the rookie running back will continue to have a successful 2017 campaign.
Jon Meerdink: Morgan Burnett
Burnett’s value to the Packers is just as often felt as seen, but in their most recent game, the Packers allowed us to see Burnett’s value to the team very clearly.
In their second game without Burnett calling plays for the defense, the Packers looked disorganized and disjointed trying to keep up with the Saints. Though the defense hasn’t been without its issues even with Burnett on the field, at least everyone seemed to know where they were supposed to stand. Without their most valuable player, the Packers couldn’t even manage to get lined up right against New Orleans.
Who is the Packers’ MVP through eight weeks of the 2017 season?
This poll is closed