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Unknown, But Important Contributors – Green Bay Packers Edition

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Some of the most recognizable faces and uniform numbers in the NFL play in Green Bay. Those guys won’t be talked about too much here.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

UBIC - Offense

Richard Rodgers (TE - #82) Since the days of Bret Favre and continuing on into the Aaron Rodgers era, the Packers have had capable, but not elite Tight Ends.  For a West Coast offense, the tight end is an important position that is relied upon to do many things, so the consistent appearance of Packer TE's around the league average for TE receiving is somewhat surprising.  Of course, Green Bay has also been blessed with quite capable receivers and backs since the early 90's, too.  There are only so many balls to go around in the course of a season.

Randall Cobb gets the most targets in the Green Bay offense (and rightly so), but Rodgers gets thrown to 5 times a game and those 25 targets are second on the team. Like Aaron, Richard played his college ball at Cal.  A lot more people passed on Richard than they did Aaron, as Richard was taken 98th overall in the 2014 draft.  The 6'4", 255 pound Tight End is an inch or two shorter than the NFL looks for in a Joker or "Move" TE.  His size and not a high level of college production explain his drop to round 3.

When Cal hired Sonny Dykes as their coach, he split Rodgers wide from the in-line position and his production increased rapidly.  Rodgers does not do his best work playing in-line TE; he works best when he has some space to work with.  He has excellent hands and body control.  While he does not have top-end speed or quickness for an NFL TE, he can make sharper cuts in the open field to get separation and make plays.  So far, he has proved to be a reliable outlet for Aaron Rodgers and that is what the Packers need him to do.

Honorable Mention

Ty Montgomery (WR - #88) Where do the Packers keep coming up with these guys?  Montgomery was taken in the 3rd round out Stanford this season.  Davante Adams was taken into the 2nd round of last years draft.  Randall Cobb was taken in the 2nd round of the 2011.  Jordy Nelson, 2nd round in 2008.  James Jones, 3rd round 2007.  Montgomery joins the long line of WR's picked by Green Bay that either have emerged as  standout playmakers for the Packers or look like they can be.

Montgomery may have a featured role in the game Sunday.  Both Adams and Jones are banged up and at this point, we can't predict how much they will play.  In limited service so far this year, Montgomery has caught most everything thrown his way.  He will not take the top off of a defense; he has less than 10 yards per reception.  He is pretty solid for an outside receiver though, weighing 215 pounds at 6' even.  If Jones and Adams are limited, Rodgers will be counting on Montgomery to provide an option to the constantly double covered Cobb.

UBIC - Defense

Micah Hyde (S - #33) While Morgan Burnett is listed as the starting safety alongside Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Hyde has been the other safety seeing the most action so far this season.  Burnett has not been helped by sitting out with an injury for the last two weeks.  Hyde has taken advantage of his opportunity by making 22 solo tackles (2nd on the team).  He has also recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, and defended two passes.

Hyde is in his 3rd year, having been taken out of Iowa in the 5th round of the 2013 draft.  He is a little bit of a tweener type of DB.  At 6'0 and 197 pounds, he is a little lighter than most safeties, but a little bit heavier than most corners.  This does not mean he doesn't have a role in a defense though.  He can be useful in covering backs (such as Woodhead) and providing deep help on receivers like Malcom Floyd.

Look for Hyde to be active in the middle of the field.  After seeing what Gates did in the middle of the field against the Steelers last Monday, the Packers will probably try to shut that down.  I suspect that Hyde will not be involved in that effort, but I do suspect that he will be active in trying to limit Woodhead and Allen in the intermediate middle.

Honorable Mention

Nate Palmer (LB - #51) The Packers Left ILB is the 3rd leading tackler on the team (Clinton-Dix is the leading tackler so far).  At 6'2, 250 pounds, he is the prototypical physical size for an ILB.  Taken in the 6th round out of Illinois State in the 2013 draft, he replaces long-time Packer LB AJ Hawk.  Playing next to Clay Matthews, the steady Palmer allows Matthews to create and freelance without leaving the middle exposed.  The Pack does not ask either him or Matthews to do much pass coverage, but do expect both of their ILB's to plug the middle, take good angles on outside runs, and rally quickly to the ball in the short passing game.  Palmer may not be the first guy on the scene, but he will not be too far away from a tackle during the game.