Welcome to Rookie Report, our weekly recap on the latest action of the Green Bay Packers 2021 draft class.
CB Eric Stokes
Stokes allowed just 21 yards in coverage against Detroit, keeping up his impressive streak of allowing 40 yards or less, which spans all the way back to his first meeting with Justin Jefferson.
I’ve written about Stokes’ coverage ability all year in these articles but one area where the rookie doesn’t get enough credit is tackling. He’s missed just 4 tackles in the last 11 games, which is pretty good for an outside cornerback.
The difference between last year’s cornerback room and this year’s cornerback room is already absurd. But Stokes’ tackling ability is on a different stratosphere to Kevin King, who played Stokes’ role last year.
C Josh Myers
It sure is nice to be talking about Josh Myers again in these weekly articles. Myers returned to the starting lineup against the Lions, with 32 snaps to shake the rust off.
Myers was decent in this game. Per PFF, he allowed 2 pressures on 22 pass blocking snaps, which is great, but I felt like he was moving well, and that knee didn’t seem to be causing him any issues. Myers’ lingering hand injury which originated all the way back in Week 1 was also given the chance to fully heel in his time off.
WR Amari Rodgers
Amari Rodgers finally got some significant playing time when he was called upon for mop-up duty in the second half against the Lions and it was… not that good.
As Jordan Love tried to march the offense down the field for the win, a tipped, knuckling ball ricocheted off the hands of Rodgers and into the clutches of a defensive player. It technically didn’t count as a drop, but a good receiver makes that play.
Amari’s outing was made all the worse by Lions’ rookie WR Amon-Ra St. Brown — drafted 27 spots behind Amari last spring — balling out as he has continued to do for the last two months.
It’s extremely early into his career right now, but Amari has already put his chances of making next year’s roster in jeopardy. He hasn’t shown anything to generate optimism in any area of the game thus far.
Rodgers was once again placed on punt returning duties this week. However David Moore is back off the COVID list and practicing with the Packers again. It remains to be seen who will be fielding punts and kickoffs in the playoffs.
G Royce Newman
We wondered who would be the odd man out on the interior when Josh Myers returned to action — it appears that man is Royce Newman.
After starting in all 16 games leading up to Sunday in Detroit — the only offensive player to do so on the Packers — Newman was benched in favor of Lucas Patrick who looks to be taking over at Newman’s RG spot.
There have been so many moving pieces on the Packers O-line this season that it’s hard to keep track of who they view as their best five guys. Newman was arguably the biggest weakness on this offense despite steadying himself in the latter half of the season.
Newman did play on Sunday after they sat Josh Myers who was on a snap count. His inability to big up a stunting defensive end on the final drive is what led to the pressure on Jordan Love and his subsequent interception.
With Billy Turner now expected back in the coming week — a viable right guard in his own right — it’s tough to see Newman returning to the starting lineup again this season, barring an injury to somebody of course.
DT TJ Slaton
Yikes, Sunday was an ugly game for Slaton. The Packers pulled Kenny Clark out of the game pretty early on, allowing Slaton to play over 30 snaps for the second time in his career (@ Kansas City).
20 of these snaps came against the run where the gargantuan Slaton was simply manhandled by the Detroit offensive line rep after rep, and bear in mind this was without Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow.
I had high hopes for Slaton coming into his inaugural season. He flashed in camp and in preseason action, but this was the latest in a string of poor games from the 340-pounder.
Shemar Jean-Charles and Isaiah McDuffie
With a majority of the starters sitting on the sidelines, I had hoped to get a good sample of action from Day 3 picks CB Shemar Jean-Charles and LB Isaiah McDuffie. That wasn’t the case.
McDuffie played just one defensive snap — the first of his career — and SJC only played 6. Of those 6, he played 4 in pass coverage… allowing 2 catches for 43 yards. So… yeah. Maybe that’s why we don’t see these guys on the field too often.