Five Packers Who Are Quietly Having a Good Season

The Green Bay Packers are NFC North division champions and have a realistic chance to be the top seed in the NFC playoffs this year if they defeat the Bears next Sunday in Chicago. While most of the talk is about the outstanding play of stars like Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith, there are plenty of other Packers who are helping the team win without a lot of recognition or fanfare.

These are players who are having a strong season but aren’t making headlines. Still, if you watch the game film, these players have been consistent under the radar contributors to the team’s success in 2020.

Here are five Packers players who are doing their jobs well and contributing to the success of the team on a regular basis:  

5. OT Rick Wagner

The Packers signed Wagner as a free agent this offseason to replace the departed Bryan Bulaga. Injuries slowed the former Wisconsin star in training camp but he has played in all 14 games this season. 

Wagner has stepped in and played both tackle positions and even filled as the blocking tight end when Marcedes Lewis was banged up.

Wagner has been consistent and reliable and is grading out in the top 20 among NFL offensive tackles according to Pro Football Focus.

The Packers are second in the NFL in scoring this season and they wouldn’t be there without the strong play of Wagner who has filled in and done a good job of protecting Rodgers and opening holes for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.

4. DL Kingsley Keke

Keke is still learning the game but the Texas A&M alum has made important strides in his second season in the NFL.

Keke has started eight games and played in all 14 this year. He is getting more pressure on the quarterback with four sacks, eight quarterback hits, 12 quarterback pressures and three tackles for loss while playing in 43 percent of the defensive snaps.

Like many young players, Keke’s big plays tend to come in bunches with lulls in between.  He has a pair of two-sack games this season. Keke is steadily improving his technique at getting to the quarterback and has been integrating new pass rush moves into his arsenal of moves.

Keke has held up well against the run as well and quietly has graded out in the top 25 among defensive linemen according to Pro Football Focus.

3. OL Billy Turner

Turner was considered the weakest link along the Packers offensive line in 2019 after an inconsistent start, but he has come up big for the team in 2020.

Turner has started games at right tackle, left tackle and right guard for the Pack this season and has played well at all three positions as injuries struck along the Green Bay offensive line.

The North Dakota State alum has provided strong pass protection for Rodgers and has helped open holes for the Green Bay running attack.

Turner remains a positive influence in the Green Bay locker room and in the community. He’s not a star, but he’s a valuable piece of the offense’s success in 2020.

2. Edge Rashan Gary

Injuries have slowed Gary at times this season, but when he’s been in the lineup, he’s been one of the Packers most consistent pass rushers. He is second on the team with five sacks and has 11 quarterback hits, eight hurries and five knockdowns.

In addition, Gary has gotten pressure from the edge that has helped create sack opportunities for his teammates.

Gary has also played well against the run and has four tackles for loss this year.

In his second season, the former Michigan star has taken his game up a notch and is learning how to best utilize his speed and athletic ability to make plays.

1. S Adrian Amos

Adrian Amos has provided the Packers with steady play at safety since signing with the team as a free agent prior to the 2019 season.

The former Penn State star is a smart football player who is rarely out of position. He’s also capable of playing both strong safety and free safety and that versatility allows the Packers defense to disguise some of its coverages.

Amos is grading out very well in pass coverage this season, behind only Pro Bowler Jaire Alexander according to Pro Football Focus.

This year, Amos is making more splash plays. He has two sacks, an interception, seven passes defensed, a fumble recovery and four tackles for loss. He is also second on the Packers with 69 total tackles.

Amos may not make many headlines, but he is a valuable part of the Green Bay defense and any NFL head coach would love to have him in their lineup.

 

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (28)

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PhantomII's picture

December 26, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Thanks again for reminding me why Keke should be starting over Lowery. I think quietly because most of the players mentioned have improved their play over the last 3-5 games, including Savage and P. Smith. Even Lowery did well last game. Yea, we have some players playing better ball than earlier this year and the new ROOK ILB's are playing better also.Being healthy and playing better are both plusses at playoff time. Let's hope they continue their progress and hope Pettine Blitzes more.

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Archie's picture

December 26, 2020 at 02:44 pm

We all have to agree Gutey has not drafted the best player on the board (in retrospect) at his pick very often. Two who were: J Alexander & E Jenkins.
Blowing a 2nd & 3rd & 4th pick in his first draft was not good either. Giving up two 4th rd picks in his 2nd draft to move up a few slots to pick D Savage was a waste of two 4th rd picks. So there's 5 wasted picks in the top 4 rounds of his first two drafts keeps Gutey's grade at about a C+ in my estimation. Maybe he hit a bunch of home runs in his 3rd draft - too early to tell.

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Stroh's picture

December 27, 2020 at 12:07 am

Not all of us agree with your remarkably inane takes!

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GilMartin's picture

December 27, 2020 at 01:55 pm

Thanks for the comment, Archie. No doubt there have been some misses in the draft or decisions that have not worked out ideally. But remember, a good GM hits on roughly 50 percent of his draft picks. Finding Pro Bowl players and starters in each draft is the key to long term success.

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Guam's picture

December 26, 2020 at 10:52 pm

Keke replaced Lancaster, not Lowery as a starter. Lancaster is better suited as an NT than a DE and his recent availability as a backup NT has helped rest Clarke during games. Now if we could find someone to replace Lowery, that would be another improvement........

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PhantomII's picture

December 27, 2020 at 01:20 pm

MY BAD, The intent was KEKE stats were better than Lowery. Better than Clark I think also. Better stats= Keke should play more, not less.

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GilMartin's picture

December 27, 2020 at 11:42 am

Thanks for the comment, PhantomII. I also hope the improvement continues. I wonder if Pettine will blitz more. We are getting fairly good pressure most of the time in recent games.

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PhantomII's picture

December 27, 2020 at 01:21 pm

They are getting pressure but not getting off the field. Blitzing, when successful tends to help in getting 3 and outs.

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jhtobias's picture

December 26, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Great Article unfortuntaley we will have the same five people come on this site and remind us that we didnt draft T.J. Watt and how Brian Burns is much better than Gary so let the floodgates begin

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

December 26, 2020 at 05:16 pm

Perhaps we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss those who lament about not drafting T.J. Watt. Last year he finished in third place for the Defensive Players of the Year Award. This year Watt’s nine sacks are tied for the third-most in the NFL, and he is tied for second with 14 tackles-for-loss. He also has 32 total tackles, an interception and a league-leading 30 hits on the quarterback. He is currently projected to finish in second place for the Defensive Player of the year. I can sympathize with those lamenting about passing on him and wouldn't mind seeing T.J. Watt in Green and Gold myself. Of course I would like to have Aaron Donald in Green and Gold as well, but we didn't have a chance to draft Donald.

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Swisch's picture

December 26, 2020 at 06:26 pm

That's the thing, T. J. Watt was there for the drafting. The Packers just passed on him. That's what's so frustrating.
However, how many of us projected him to be a superstar in the NFL at that time? Were people lamenting that night, or the next day, not taking Watt.
I can't say I was, and as a big Badgers fan, I had watched T. J. Watt play a fair amount in college.
Of course, the front office of the Packers is supposed to know better than us, and make these calls. So that seems real reason for criticism.
As a matter of perspective is the general idea of taking the last few drafts as a whole in evaluating the Packers front office. Every team has its hits and misses, but how did the Packers do overall in the last three of four drafts?
Then there's undrafted free agents and trades and signing free agents.
However our front office did it, we've had an amazing turnaround for the better over the past two seasons.
Without ignoring missed opportunities in the draft, and without overlooking our weaknesses as a team right now, it seems good for all of us to realize and remember that the Packers are nowadays one of the best teams in professional football.

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croatpackfan's picture

December 27, 2020 at 09:58 am

And how many misses, you, T. J. Watt's experts had through past 10 drafts? When you have one score out of ten (or 20+) it is hard to claim that you are better experts than those who are paid for. This is that simple...

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TXBadger's picture

December 27, 2020 at 09:33 pm

I really liked TJ Watt coming out, but he already had 4 knee surgeries, so I wasn't sold on drafting him in the 1st round. He has been quite durable so far in his career, but it was not a given that his knees were going to hold up.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

December 26, 2020 at 09:33 pm

Armchair GMs never make mistakes, just like armchair QBs always make the right reads.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 27, 2020 at 06:50 am

Not necessarily and not a comment like to prove productive, either. I wonder how many times I've written that I thought Carl Bradford was a tremendous value in the fourth round? Many times is the answer. I am an unabashed armchair GM.

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GilMartin's picture

December 27, 2020 at 11:43 am

They are remarkably consistent. Thanks for the comment, SpikeHyzer.

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GilMartin's picture

December 27, 2020 at 11:42 am

Glad you enjoyed the article jhtobias. Thanks for the comment.

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Swisch's picture

December 26, 2020 at 01:04 pm

I really like this idea for an article here at CheeseheadTV to recognize players who aren't getting all that much attention but are performing at a high level for the Packers.
I'm really interested to read about what other fans are thinking as far as which players deserve more recognition.
One of the guys I've been really liking and encouraging this season is MVS. As has been noted by at least one other fan previously, it may be good to get him a touch early in the game to help him get into the flow of things. That's probably true for most wide receivers.
A little off topic, a guy who doesn't play much but intrigues me is Ty Summers, I think he had three tackles on special teams last week. Do others see him as ready to get more snaps at linebacker. Perhaps if we're already trying to get more snaps for Barnes and Martin, it's unrealistic to fit in Summers this season. Perhaps he isn't ready. Does he look promising for the future, though?
I'll also mention the newest Packer, Tavon Austin, who may have a big play or two in him down the stretch and into the playoffs. What do other think based on early impressions of him?
Again, outside of our pro bowlers, I'm really excited to hear who other fans like as far as their performance this season. Really.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 26, 2020 at 03:20 pm

Jamaal Williams is having a quietly fine year. Maybe he is too high profile, but I think he doesn't get enough praise.

Perhaps Savage, who is noticeably better, though again he does get attention. Marcedes Lewis quietly goes about his business. His blocking is again very good (everyone misses a block now and again since the other team gets paid, too).

I don't think Summers will get the opportunity. Truth to tell, I don't think he has shown during this (his third) season that he is good enough to start and probably not good enough to backup ILB.

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murf7777's picture

December 26, 2020 at 05:24 pm

I would agree about savage but I would say he is quietly becoming a very fine safety and a good first round draft pick.

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Swisch's picture

December 27, 2020 at 04:48 pm

It seems Jamaal Williams almost always does something important to help the Packers to win and almost never makes big mistakes. He's always worth a word of recognition.
In these last two games of the regular season, it will be fun to see who steps up to play well.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 26, 2020 at 01:45 pm

All of these are great options. I'd add Corey Linsley, Jamaal Williams, and MVS to that list. We need another DL to continue to play well. And the rooks at ILB. And Preston to get back to where he was last year. Doubtful it all happens, but we'll see.

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dobber's picture

December 26, 2020 at 06:33 pm

Maybe even add Marcedes Lewis.

It's the key to winning SBs: you've got to be getting production out of your stars and a lot of your players playing above their pay grade.

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Guam's picture

December 26, 2020 at 10:54 pm

Agree Bearmeat, Linsley is having his best year as a Packer and should be on that list.

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stockholder's picture

December 26, 2020 at 02:32 pm

I'd call them Over achievers. Their play has been a surprise. Their accomplishments deserve praise. Nice job Gil.

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GregC's picture

December 26, 2020 at 03:58 pm

Good list. Lucas Patrick had a rough game last week, but overall I think he's done a very good job for a fourth-year player who looked like a career backup before moving into the starting lineup this year. Also, I think he was scapegoated a bit after last week's game. He struggled the most in pass protection, but he was not the only one who struggled.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 27, 2020 at 06:55 am

Agree that Patrick has played overall pretty well, and much better than I thought he would. He was not scapegoated last week, imo: he gave up three of the five sacks, and he gave a couple of them up fast.

I found that surprising. I've been criticizing Patrick for his run blocking; his pass blocking has generally been starter level. Depending on what GB does with Linsley and Jenkins, perhaps we shall see if this was an aberration.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 26, 2020 at 05:24 pm

Love the title. Love that there are that many, and it's not something like '"5 players that could ...."
.

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