5 Players the Packers can be Thankful for in 2023

In the midst of a down year, there's still a reason for the Packers to be thankful this season.

Thanksgiving is upon us, a day when folks nationwide come together with their families and take stock of the year, reminiscing on what they have to be thankful for. For decades, Packers faithful have typically had plenty to be thankful for, whether it's an early playoff berth clinch, record-setting performance, or just a routine good old-fashioned rout of an NFC North rival. 2023 presents a little different, however, as the Packers are just hoping to get a few more first downs than they've been getting lately. It's not all bad though, as even in the darkness that currently is a losing season the Packers still have a few things to be thankful for in 2023; here are 5 players the Packers can thank their lucky stars that they have this year.

 

 

 

#1 Luke Musgrave - Tight End

Luke Musgrave has looked like a starting TE in the NFL since the early parts of the season. His contact balance needs work(which we knew when he was drafted), but I'm perfectly fine with his 10.8 yards per reception average. He has a modest 341 yards on the season, but the scary part is if you look at all the throws Jordan Love has missed him on, he'd probably have AT LEAST another 125 yards and probably an additional 3 touchdowns. The Packers can not only be thankful for what they see from Musgrave today but for what is to come in 2024 and beyond.

 

#2 Jayden Reed - Wide Receiver

I don't think there's been a game all year where Jayden Reed hasn't had some type of impact, whether it's keeping a drive going or making a huge play to get the offense within striking distance if not score on his own. I knew from the Senior Bowl that Reed was for real, and he's been a "dawg" for the Packers since the preseason, with 463 yards receiving on the year. I know many are clamoring for the Packers to go WR with what might presumably be a Top-10 pick, but honestly, Reed could be a dark horse to be the #1 WR for the offense for 2024(he currently leads the team in receiving yards); I'm not long for the Packers coaching staff as a whole, but I do believe WR Coach Jason Vrable is more than adequate. The Packers should definitely be thankful that they may have found a #1 WR in the 3rd Round; so Russ Ball better sharpen his pen sooner rather than later.

 

#3 Zach Tom - Offensive Tackle

This offensive line looks a lot worse than what the numbers show, and Zach Tom has been a reason why the analytics show that this offensive line is better than what the peanut gallery might say. Zach Tom has been plug-and-play since he was selected in 2022. I do believe there's a level of play he has yet to ascend to, so a word of thanks right there. But for 2024, the offensive line will definitely be addressed, in the Draft and possibly during Free Agency. If General Manager Brian Gutekunst and the Packers can most be thankful for, when addressing the line just "set it and forget it" with Tom, and build around him from there.

 

#4 Karl Brooks - Defensive Tackle

Brooks got his 3rd sack this season, but he also affects the game in other ways as he's currently tied for the lead in pass deflections with 4(Rasul is now a Bill with 6). I haven't seen him enough for my liking, but Brooks certainly deserves more playing time in the defensive line rotation. There are very few snaps where Brooks doesn't show up on the tape, he has decent pop out of his stance, and good power, plus I don't think I've seen a rep against the run where he's just soundly beaten. The Packers can certainly be thankful for the good but not great "base" that Brooks has presented his rookie year. With a solid NFL offseason, Brooks could have a coming-out party in 2024; not bad for a guy that many such as myself pegged a 3rd Round Pick that the Packers scooped up all the way in the 6th.

 

#5 Anthony Johnson Jr. - Safety

We haven't seen much from "AJJ", which was to be expected as he's very much still transitioning from cornerback to safety. DB Coach Ryan Downard has been very deliberate in his development which I love. He's made some mistakes here and there, but nothing downright horrid. But when he has been in there, I see a few plays here and there that he makes in the passing game. While playing in the free spot he won't do too much to aid the run defense, but I do see he is a willing tackler, and will lay the boom if he's got the angle to do so. AJJ may not ever pan out to be elite, but like the aforementioned Brooks, he's shown flashes of a very good "base" or "floor" that should cement him in the secondary for 2024 and beyond. For a team that has been desperate for solid play on the back end, the Packers should be thankful for Johnson's ever-improving talents.

 

 

 

 

Joseph has been an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers since 1997, citing an affinity for dairy products during his childhood and his favorite color, green. Born in Jacksonville, FL, Joseph currently is an Active Duty servicemember in the U.S. Armed Forces. Joseph considers himself a lifelong fan of the game of football, competing since his youth well into adulthood. When it comes to the Pack, Joseph is particularly impassioned about the NFL Draft and collegiate scouting process, and will contribute regularly on CHTV.com leading to that year's upcoming Draft. You can follow him on Twitter at @joeyreyallday.

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Comments (23)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PeteK's picture

November 20, 2023 at 06:59 pm

Include Valentine on that list as he is making some good plays and leads the team with 6 PDs. He's getting picked on by offenses, but is holding his own.

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SinceLombardi's picture

November 20, 2023 at 09:38 pm

Yeah, I think by seasons end he will be on the list

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13TimeChamps's picture

November 20, 2023 at 07:38 pm

Jennings
Jordy
Cobb
Davante

Receivers all picked in the 2nd round. Jayden Reed looks like the latest 2nd round receiver gem for the Pack. This kid looks like he's going to have a helluva career.

Weird how we've been able to find all these great players in the 2nd round while totally flaming out in the 3rd round picks over the years. Hopefully, Tucker Kraft reverses that trend.

Edit: Hopefully Musgrave will join that list as well. Maybe Watson?

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stockholder's picture

November 20, 2023 at 10:32 pm

The best thing about them.
You're not paying someone 10 mil to drop the ball.

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Minniman's picture

November 20, 2023 at 11:35 pm

To the downvoter - I've just watched MVS drop a dime from Mahomes on a game winning post route.

Until you can reliably catch those, you aren't worth $10M.

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TKWorldWide's picture

November 21, 2023 at 09:19 am

In that case,I guess I’ll settle for $9M. I used to kill em on the ol’ backside post.

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Minniman's picture

November 21, 2023 at 01:10 pm

:) - perfect, you're on the team.......we just need to work on the > 10 second 40 time now.

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splitpea1's picture

November 20, 2023 at 08:00 pm

I would include Doubs on the list with his 7 receiving TDs, which is tied for third-best in the league with multiple players. I believe he is also second on the team with 26 first downs, only one behind A.J. Dillon.

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Starrbrite's picture

November 20, 2023 at 09:49 pm

I’m digging deep here, but I’m going with Musgrave. I believe he has a big upside and should have a couple more TD’s if the ball had been delivered a little better.
Go Packers!!!

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 21, 2023 at 10:51 am

Kraft would be better on some of those routes.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

November 20, 2023 at 11:40 pm

I think this roster is LOADED with talent!

Literally everyone in the WR room, including the PS. WR coach Vrable is nowhere near close to competent. Running wrong routes? You fix that in preseason. 2+ hours just catching every day since the first OTA and you wouldn't have this many drops.

That's on the position room coach.

Musgrave is a big bodied receiver, trying to learn to play like a TE. Just as a receiver, he can win games. JL has to be able to connect on short throws.

Tucker Kraft could prove to be even better, a YAC machine and serious blocker. Both should be taught by Mercedes Lewis this season. TE coach never played TE, and it shows.

Tom JRJ and EJ haven't had their injuries end their season. Would love to get Mt Caleb in there, Rhyan and Nijman too. We've got depth at OT behind them.

Talent at every level on defense. Even our worst player is at least pretty good. Valentine and Ballentine might hold down the fort ok, and Nixon left the game but is apparently ok.

We can also be thankful nobody expects a W in Detroit.

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NickPerry's picture

November 21, 2023 at 06:03 am

I guess I'm like you Sic... I completely and totally disagree with the writer here and agree with you...Jason Vrable is no where near a competent WR Coach.

WRs will run the wrong routes and I think that's gotten a little better as the season's gone on. I don't think it's quite that easy with as many rookies as they have. But IMO Vrable is just another of the who in the hell are you assistant coaches MLF has hired.

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PeteK's picture

November 21, 2023 at 07:46 am

I guess both coaches of last season's SB should be fired after all the misplays in last night's game.

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Houndog's picture

November 21, 2023 at 08:44 am

PeteK,
I don't think anyone is even suggesting that here but, you have to remember, MLF was hired as some kind of Offensive Guru, and what's he done? Can you honestly say he'd have had those 13-3 seasons without Rodgers?
As a Packer fan in 49er territory I can tell you with NO doubt whatsoever that Kyle Shanahan could have these guys playing much better than what we've been seeing. MLF couldn't carry his jock!
To me, it seems like there's a little bit of McCarthy in MLF, too much loyalty to too many lousy assistants, see "Joe Barry" if you have any questions on that. This team has more talent than they're exhibiting, and that's on coaching.

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Minniman's picture

November 21, 2023 at 01:21 pm

This is a real rabbit-hole, isn't it!

Unfortunately, as HC, he doesn't get the luxury of just playing on the Offensive side of the ball.

I agree, I do see more innovation and better execution from the consistent league leading teams this year (49ers, Philly, Miami) ......... perhaps I'm being overly generous, but I'm still trying to temper my responses until the end of the season - there's so much youth on that team that it's unfair to make full calls yet.

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Via.Lombardi's picture

November 20, 2023 at 11:45 pm

I'm not thankful for the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce PR stunt that's still trying to sell ERAS Tour movie tickets. Watch them "break up" right after the holiday movie season -- LOL.

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Houndog's picture

November 21, 2023 at 08:48 am

LOL, who really gives a shit, which of the Kennedy's hasn't she done?

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Via.Lombardi's picture

November 21, 2023 at 01:36 pm

The Kennedy's were Democrats, so they would've been a fit. Kelce is a Tr*mper, so there's no way she would get involved with him, which is why this PR stunt is so obvious.

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Turophile's picture

November 21, 2023 at 08:56 am

Joseph,
One thing that is slowly becoming clear is that the last two years of drafting seem like very successful ones, for Gutekunst.

Earlier problems on this team were laid at the door of Murphy (I've no idea why), Gutekunst (same here, he seems to be drafting just fine) and the players themselves, which is a part of the problem as they are so young,

However, it seems to me that LaFleur needs better coaches around him and that is the major flaw of this team. I assume he gets his own choice of coaches, so improvement is up to him, but if he is unwilling to change things up on the coaching side, he needs to be pushed to churn his coaches/coordinators and shoot for the steady improvement of his staff.

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13TimeChamps's picture

November 21, 2023 at 09:26 am

Somebody posted above that our TE coach never played the position. Considering how multi-faceted the position is and how difficult it is for a young TE to pick it all up, one would think you would have a former TE as the position coach. Now it might be very common in the NFL to not have a former TE as the TE coach...I really have no idea. Maybe Mercedes can be coaxed to finally retire and come back to GB next year to coach our TE's.

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UdderApocowlipse's picture

November 21, 2023 at 11:42 am

vroom....vroom.... It's Marcedes not Mercedes.
Sport utility vehicles can't catch.

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13TimeChamps's picture

November 21, 2023 at 12:28 pm

Whew! Thank goodness someone caught that huge spelling error. I know I feel a lot better already.

Now maybe you can go after all the folks who continuously spell Dillon's name Dillion.

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brenner's picture

November 21, 2023 at 10:07 pm

Maybe Reed as #1? Other than that I'd agree. I still got hope for watson... maybe Gute deserves a little credit, he seems to have hit on the majority of this draft so far... I'd much rather see T, RB and T for their first 3 picks in the draft. I like all our pass catchers... hopefully Johnson and savage at safties when he's healthy... get Rhyan some starts we know what Runyan is at this point... and make decision on LT for the year and revisit in the draft.

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