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Clay Matthews

My high school track coach, the great Greg Lechleitner, used to say that what you needed to really be great at a team — or in our case, to beat Peshtigo, which had about five times as many kids — was to have your great performers perform up to their capabilities and a few of your younger, unproven performers to reach a higher level.

And you can see that going on with the Green Bay Packers this season, perhaps more than ever.

Aaron Rodgers is being Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb is being Randall Cobb, Julius Peppers is being Julius Peppers and so forth. At the same time, a lot of other guys are on pace for career seasons. Guys you maybe wouldn’t expect.

That’s the natural progression for a lot of guys. What’s surprising with the Packers is they’re not all youngsters.

I’m looking at you James Jones and you, B.J. Raji.

We’ve already singled out a couple guys — defensive end Mike Daniels and linebacker Nick Perry. Today, we’re going to break them all down.

Mike Daniels*
Career Highs
Tackles: 41 (2014)
Sacks: 6.5 (2013)

On Pace For
Tackles: 57
Sacks: 8

B.J. Raji*
Career Highs
Tackles: 39 (2010)

On Pace For
Tackles: 41

Mike Pennel
Career Highs
Tackles: 8 (2014)

On Pace For
Tackles: 25

Nate Palmer
Career Highs
Tackles: 17 (2013)

On Pace For
Tackles: 80

Nick Perry*
Career Highs
Tackles: 28 (2013)
Sacks: 4 (2013)

On Pace For
Tackles: 35
Sacks: 11

Clay Matthews
Career Highs
Sacks: 13.5 (2010)

On Pace For
Sacks: 14

Jayrone Elliott
Career Highs
Tackles: 14 (2014)
Sacks: 0 (2014)

On Pace For
Tackles: 38
Sacks: 6

Sam Shields
Career Highs
Interceptions: 4 (2011, 2013)

On Pace For
Interceptions: 6

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Career Highs
Tackles: 92 (2014)
Interceptions: 1 (2014)

On Pace For
Tackles: 112
Interceptions: 3

Micah Hyde
Career Highs
Tackles: 59 (2014)
Interceptions: 2 (2014)

On Pace For
Tackles: 76
Interceptions: 3

James Jones*
Career Highs
Yards: 817 (2013)
TDs: 14 (2012)

On Pace For
Yards: 1,260
TDs: 16

Richard Rodgers
Career Highs
Receptions: 20 (2014)
Yards: 225 (2014)
TDs: 2 (2014)

On Pace For
Receptions: 60
Yards: 496
TDs: 6

A lot of things going on here.

Some guys’ stats were going to improve just because they’ve been given a larger role on the team. Guys like Richard Rodgers, Jayrone Elliott and Mike Pennel.

Other guys are in contract seasons. They’re denoted with the asterisk. So, of course they’re going to be motivated to play well.

A couple guys have seen their playing time and thus, their stats, balloon because of injuries to other players. Micah Hyde and Nate Palmer fall into that category.

Then there are just guys who are playing better than they ever have in certain areas. Clay Matthews, Sam Shields and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fall into that category.

You probably also noticed something else.

Most of these guys play defense.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Deepsky October 15, 2015

    If Daniels and Perry reach those number, they’re gone for sure. It will take $8-10 million a year to sign them.

    However, I won’t care if they leave if the Packers win a Super Bowl.

    1. Chad Lundberg October 15, 2015

      Daniels maybe. Perry? The guy who has done nothing his first three years? 5 mil a year at most.

  2. Skinny October 15, 2015

    Looks like Super Bowl or bust type numbers. Deepsky no way Daniels is going anywhere, best dlineman, probably will be anointed captain of defense here shortly by the way he has been playing, they will pay him and im okay with that. Perry is gone, im 100 percent sure that a 4-3 defense will wave a blank check out to him and he looks like the type of guy who will sign it and be out of the league shortly after.

  3. Dan October 15, 2015

    Watching San Diego’s offensive line on MNF I seriously think the Packers will get 10 sacks on Sunday. Several guys are in line for a career day for GB on defense. I almost feel bad for Philip Rivers. Even Marshall Newhouse thinks their OL sucks. Fun fact: Newhouse is the Giants starting RT and he is still hot garbage, and the Giants beat SF in spite of his blown protection.