Thanksgiving week is here and it’s time for family, friends, food, and football this Thursday.
In preparations for the holiday feast, this writer stumbled upon an interesting comparison between Thanksgiving food and one current Packer player. Taking this rather apples-to-oranges idea further, a full dinner of players was assembled.
Here is a cornucopia of comparisons as holiday festivities soon commence.
Turkey = Aaron Rodgers
Turkey: the staple item that one would be hard-pressed to field a competitive Thanksgiving table without. The honor obviously belongs to Rodgers, the man that drives the Packers’ bus. Though sometimes the turkey can be too dry, it’s still the irreplaceable item of the feast. When it’s just right, it’s the dish that can happily fill you up and help you sleep in peace. That’s Rodgers’ arm, decision-making, and health in a nutshell.
Turkey Carver/Cook = Matt LaFleur
Someone needs to be able to cook a well-prepared turkey, slice it up, and serve it for all to enjoy. LaFleur calls the shots for the entire Green Bay team, but perhaps more importantly helps keep egos from swelling up, particularly his quarterback’s. Thus far in his Packers coaching career, LaFleur’s efforts have gotten a warm reception from his fan base despite a tough loss to swallow in San Francisco.
Cranberry Sauce = Jimmy Graham
Most Thanksgiving tables may have this item on it, but sometimes it is barely touched and rarely is it the biggest crowd-pleaser. Similarly, Graham’s time in Green Bay has been one of either the tight end not receiving enough touches or providing minimal delight when he does. Every now and then Graham, like cranberries, will surprise you. But most of the time, it is pedestrian. As a near-liquid type of food, it also goes down easily compared to other items on the menu, drawing further comparison to Graham who rarely bounces off the first tackler.
Green Bean Casserole = Mason Crosby
Steady and reliable, green bean casserole is another one of those staple dishes at a holiday meal. As a green food, this player comparison is reserved for one that carries those above traits and is a true Packer, one that has worn that green jersey a long time. Crosby has spent all 13 seasons of his career in Green Bay and rarely has ever had a game considered to be a complete disaster. How much longer he will be a Packer after this season no one can say. But he’s been that near-certain member of the final roster for almost every year of his Green Bay tenure, just like green bean casserole at a Thanksgiving dinner.
Mashed Potatoes = David Bakhtiari
Like the turkey, Thanksgiving would not be complete without mashed potatoes. Bakhtiari is the invaluable left tackle - the one that prevents Aaron Rodgers from becoming mashed potatoes himself. Bakhtiari could probably use a little bit more gravy because the Pro Bowl has often eluded him, but he does not go unnoticed by Packers fans who see his instrumental value to the team (and the meal).
Gravy = Jaire Alexander
Sometimes gravy has some bold spice. Sometimes it has some meat to it. There’s just that little extra flavor to season the potatoes, turkey, and stuffing at dinner. Alexander, who carries emotion, physicality, and colorful words and actions during and after plays, is the gravy of the Packers’ defense. He stands out for being that bold, savory player the Packers have longed for at cornerback after too many strikeouts early in the draft.
Stuffing = Za’Darius Smith
With a name like stuffing, the honor has to go to someone who is not afraid to hit someone. But there are varying recipes for stuffing from family to family and, like the gravy, can have some spice to it at times. That’s Smith, who has been a tone-setter for the Green Bay defense since his arrival and brings toughness to his pursuit of stuffing the quarterback. But Smith, like family recipes, can be lined up multiple ways across the defensive front. Another one of the more traditional complementary Thanksgiving pieces, stuffing is a great complement to the turkey like Smith’s defensive prowess is to Rodgers’ offense.
Corn = Bryan Bulaga
There’s nothing flashy about corn. It has a predictable taste, doesn’t carry too much flavor, and simply fills its role for the holiday meal. Like the green dish above, the yellow side must also be reserved for a lifelong Packer. The nine-year veteran Bulaga has spent his entire career to this point in Green Bay and is a warrior that comes to play as long as his body can hold up. There’s certainly nothing flashy about offensive linemen, particularly Bulaga from the cornfields of Iowa. He’s down to business, without an overwhelming personality, just like his Sunday Night Football introduction would suggest.
Apple Pie = Davante Adams
Far and away the Packers’ best receiver and most dynamic offensive playmaker outside of Aaron Jones, Adams can be a treat to watch. He will make some fancy catches and smooth runs after the catch, and he’s certainly the main target from the Packers’ current group of receivers. That’s what the apple pie brings. Year-in and year-out, it’s the classic dessert at Thanksgiving that can be counted on to perform and is more sweet than spicy - like Adams’ game.
Banana Cream Pie = Aaron Jones
This is a little bit of a wildcard dish with some pizzazz. It might show up at meals, but it also may not. It’s a thinner dessert and a little sweeter - just something that is smooth and able to be eaten fast. That’s Aaron Jones, the ultimate wildcard of the Packers’ offense. He might get the bulk of the carries or he might disappear altogether depending on the coach’s (or cook’s) gameplan. But when he’s utilized correctly, Jones is slippery and can bring something a little bit sweeter to the offense that is outside the norm.
Was anyone or any part of the meal missed? Be sure to draw your own comparisons in the comments below.