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Nick Perry

Back in mid-October, when the Green Bay Packers were riding high on their Mike McCarthy-prescribed fast start, we took a look at the great number of players on the team who were on pace for career seasons.

There were 12 guys on that list, when the Packers were 5-0, and most of them were on the defense.

Well, the wheels have since fallen off. The Packers managed to win one more game — barely, over a beat-up and overmatched San Diego Chargers team — before losing their next two.

Badly.

With eight games in the books, it’s now the official midpoint of the Packers’ season, so we thought we’d revisit that list and see who’s still playing better than they ever have and who’s dropped off.

It’s a much different picture now.

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

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 57
Sacks: 8

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 50
Sacks: 6

B.J. Raji
Career High
Tackles: 39 (2010)

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 41

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 30

Mike Pennel
Career High
Tackles: 8 (2014)

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 25

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 26

Nate Palmer
Career High
Tackles: 17 (2013)

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 80

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 92

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

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 35
Sacks: 11

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 40
Sacks: 7

Clay Matthews
Career Highs
Tackles: 61
Sacks: 13.5 (2010)

On Pace For Then
Sacks: 14

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 74
Sacks: 9

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

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 38
Sacks: 6

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 30
Sacks: 4

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

On Pace For Then
Interceptions: 6

On Pace For Now
Interceptions: 4

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

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 112
Interceptions: 3

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 106
Interceptions: 2

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

On Pace For Then
Tackles: 76
Interceptions: 3

On Pace For Now
Tackles: 82
Interceptions: 2

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

On Pace For Then
Yards: 1,260
TDs: 16

On Pace For Now
Yards: 966
TDs: 12

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

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

On Pace For Now
Receptions: 56
Yards: 448
TDs: 8

What we’ve done is highlighted the statistics in blue which are still on pace to be career bests. As you can see, a lot of guys may still turn in their best season in one statistical category or another.

However, only six guys remain on pace to post their best seasons in each of the categories we looked at. Four of those are first-time regulars (Mike Pennel, Nate Palmer, Jayrone Elliott and Richard Rodgers).

Their statistics will be better just based on an increase in playing time.

The remaining two are safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and linebacker Nick Perry. Clinton-Dix has had a pretty uneven year thus far, but everyone expected him to improve from year one to year two.

In fact, when you consider he didn’t start until the seventh game of his rookie year, you could easily make an argument that Clinton-Dix performed better in year one.

That leaves us with Nick Perry.

Perry is playing out the final season of his rookie deal and he’s playing it pretty damn well.

While his sack pace has fallen off, Perry should still easily set a new career high in that category. He’s also picked up his tackling pace.

That clearly makes Perry the standout in terms of unexpected performance improvement.

Some other notes…

The new and improved Clay Matthews
We didn’t even note the number of tackles Clay Matthews had earlier in the season because it wasn’t a career-best pace. It is now. So while his sack pace has fallen off, at least he’s still contributing. If the sacks start to come back, which they usually do late in the season and/or against inferior competition, Matthews may end up turning in his best pro season.

Sorry, Nate
On the other end of the spectrum is Nate Palmer. He already has a career year after being thrust into the lineup when Sam Barrington went down. He’s currently on pace for almost 100 tackles. However, we doubt he’ll come close to that number. It looks like rookie Jake Ryan is going to take over for Palmer on the inside.

Obviously, stats don’t tell the whole story
There are some guys on this list who, despite their career-best pace, most everyone would agree aren’t having very good seasons. Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde and Richard Rodgers all come to mind. Too many blown assignments and missed tackles for the two defensive backs and too few plays made for Rodgers.

The biggest disappointment
Big in two ways. We’re talking about nose tackle B.J. Raji. When things were going well for the Packers defense, Raji was borderline dominant and most certainly wreaking havoc on a regular basis. That guy seems like a distant memory now. In fact, the Raji we’ve seen lately is very much reminiscent of the Raji of 2012 and 2013. That is to say nonexistent. Making no impact whatsoever.

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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.

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3 Comments

  1. Skinny November 13, 2015

    That has to be coaching right? Really disappointing. This whole team basically shut it down after the Seattle game if you think about it.

  2. Deepsky November 13, 2015

    Perry hates the 3-4 and knows that a 4-3 team will pay him $7-8 million a year for the 6-10 sacks he’ll get at that position.

  3. rebelgb November 13, 2015

    Raji has really fallen off. Ive noticed watching tape that he now usually only commands a single blocker, even on running plays up the A and B gap.