The Green Bay Packers entered the 2023 season with the understanding that it would be a season of growth and development. Although they anticipated some challenges, the first half of the season had more ups and downs than expected. As the Packers currently stand at 3-5, they find themselves at a crossroads, with the upcoming games set to shape their playoff aspirations.
Here’s a midseason breakdown highlighting the bright spots and disappointments for the Packers.
Offensive MVP: Zach Tom
Amidst the offensive struggles, one bright spot has been Zach Tom. Versatile and effective, Tom’s performance at right tackle has stood out, providing hope for the future. With impressive grades in both run and pass blocking, Tom has been a cornerstone of consistency within the offensive line.
Defensive MVP: Rashan Gary
Rashan Gary’s journey from an ACL injury last year to becoming a force on the field is remarkable. With 4.5 sacks, Gary ranks second among edge defenders in pass-rushing productivity. His contributions led to a well-deserved contract extension, establishing him as a vital component of the Packers’ defense.
Rookie of the Year: Luke Musgrave
The rookie landscape for the Packers has been promising, with Luke Musgrave taking the spotlight. His first career touchdown and continued involvement in the offense demonstrate his potential. Musgrave’s 27 catches and high catch percentage among rookie tight ends showcase his growth and importance.
Biggest Surprise: Safety Play
Expectations for the safety position weren’t particularly high entering the season. Yet, Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford, along with their replacements Jonathan Owens and Anthony Johnson, have exceeded expectations, delivering strong defensive performances.
Biggest Disappointment: Offensive Line/Run Game
The tandem of the offensive line and the run game was anticipated to be a strength for the Packers but has struggled. Injuries, including Aaron Jones’ hamstring issues, have hampered the run game, while inconsistencies within the offensive line have disrupted its flow.
Play of the Year: Quay Walker’s Pick-Six
Quay Walker’s pick-six against the Chicago Bears in the season opener was a significant moment that exemplified the Packers’ resilience. As they led 31-14, Walker’s interception and return for a touchdown marked a statement that the Packers still have control over their rivalry with the Bears.
Best Performance: Gary’s 3 Sacks vs. Saints
Saints run a jumbo package here that somehow results in Landon Young (the jumbo TE) singled up on Rashan Gary.— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) September 25, 2023
Six linemen. Four-man rush. Immediate pressure/sack. Drive effectively dead at 2nd and 22. pic.twitter.com/PNUTrUKOZn
While the comeback against the Saints showcased Jordan Love and the offense, Rashan Gary’s three-sack performance was instrumental in turning the game around. He unleashed his disruptive abilities despite playing on a pitch count, setting the tone for future standout performances.
As the Packers prepare for a crucial matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they’ll look to build upon these positive aspects and address their challenges to make a playoff push in the second half of the season.