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Recent posts by Dan Arkush
PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush identifies three players or position groups on the rise as well as three players or position groups going in the opposite direction.
RB Ryan Grant: On an off-kilter afternoon for most of the offense, Grant was respectable for the second consecutive week, gaining 101 total yards (66 rushing, 35 receiving) and averaging an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. He had a long run of 18 yards and a long catch of 22 yards. With two regular-season games remaining, it looks like he could be back in the driver's seat as the Packers' primary rusher. It's worth noting that in the last game against the Bears (Green Bay's next opponent on Christmas night), Grant ripped off a season-high 92 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Red-zone defense: While Dom Capers' unit gave up more than 400 total yards for the ninth time in 14 games, it did a commendable job of keeping the Chiefs from reaching the endzone, which they managed to do only once late in the game. Making the Chiefs settle for four Ryan Succop field goals at least allowed the Packers an opportunity to stay in the game to the end. CB Charles Woodson was especially impressive in run support.
P Tim Masthay: As was the case around this time last season, Masthay appears to have his act together at just the right time. He boomed five punts for a 53.4-yard average (46.2 net), with three punts inside the 20-yard line.
Offensive line: Already missing veteran OLT Chad Clifton, injuries to OTs Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod should be cause for concern. Sherrod is out for the season after breaking a bone in his leg in the fourth quarter, and Aaron Rodgers was running for his life the rest of the game. Rodgers was under heavy pressure the entire game, getting sacked four times and knocked down at least five other times.
Receivers: Maybe the loss of No. 1 WR Greg Jennings for 2-3 games with a knee injury is a bigger blow than initially expected. Without Jennings providing a downfield threat, the Packers' four wideouts (Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver and Randall Cobb) managed only a combined 10 catches for 106 yards. There were six dropped passes in the first half, four by TE Jermichael Finley, who caught only three of the 10 passes thrown in his direction. Nelson had a day he'd like to forget with a pair of pass-interference calls further diminishing his 2-29 output.
Right outside linebacker: Erik Walden, who had been playing pretty well despite recent off-field issues, was pulled from the starting lineup late in the game for what he said was "a coach's decision." Walden continually got burned on screen plays and end-arounds to his side, when he committed too far inside. Unfortunately, replacement Frank Zombo wasn't any better, as he was primarily responsible for back-breaking outside runs to the left edge by Thomas Jones and Jackie Battle that allowed the Chiefs to kill the clock with time winding down.