The Green Bay Packers season ended with their disappointing playoff loss to the 49ers last month. This was not the way a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations wanted their season to conclude.
But as time passes, it is possible to look back at the 2021 campaign with more objective eyes and with that, to hand out our unofficial team awards. These awards are based on the entire season’s performance.
Feel free to comment with your own opinion as to who should have won these awards and why.
So, here are the Packers Post 2021 Green Bay Packers Season Awards:
Team MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers is likely the league MVP as well so it’s tough not to say he was the most valuable player on his own team.
The Packers quarterback couldn’t match his 2020 statistics which by quarterback ranking were the second best season ever by an NFL signal caller. But Rodgers still managed to put up impressive numbers under less than ideal circumstances.
He finished the season with 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions with two of those coming in the season opener. He led the league in quarterback rating for the second consecutive year, finishing with a 111.9 and earned Pro Bowl and All Pro honors.
Despite a myriad of off the field distractions mostly created by Rodgers himself, he was able to play at a high level throughout the season and remains one of the best players in the league at the age of 38.
He will soon decide whether he wants to return to Green Bay next season and that will be the key to how the franchise approaches the coming offseason.
Offensive Player of the Year: Davante Adams
Adams set Packers franchise records with 123 catches and 1,553 yards while scoring 11 touchdowns while earning Pro Bowl honors for the fifth straight year and All Pro honors for the second. He doesn’t have blazing speed but uses outstanding body control and film study to gain an advantage on defensive backs trying to cover him.
Few receivers can match Adams’ consistency and productivity. He has outstanding chemistry with Rodgers and the two can improvise when a play breaks down but still stay on the same page.
Opposing defenses know Adams is going to get the ball early and often in a game but they still can’t stop him. He finished the season with eight 100-plus year games including one with 206 receiving yards.
Adams is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and wants to be the highest paid receiver in the league. The Packers may use the franchise tag on him but there would be a huge drop in talent and productivity at receiver if the former Fresno State star were to go elsewhere.
Defensive Player of the Year: De’Vondre Campbell
Campbell was signed as a free agent in June on a one-year, prove-it deal worth $2.5 million. It was money well spent by the Packers as Campbell became the first Packers ILB to earn All Pro honors since Ray Nitschke in 1966.
Campbell led the team with 145 tackles. He added two sacks, two interceptions, broke up five passes, forced two fumbles and recovered another.
The former University of Minnesota star also called the signals for the defense and provided leadership on the field and in the locker room.
Campbell has enough speed to stop the run effectively and to cover receivers and tight ends. He uses his intelligence to anticipate where plays will go and to place himself in the right place to make tackles.
Campbell is also an unrestricted free agent this offseason and the Packers may not be able to afford to bring him back.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Corey Bojorquez
OK, somebody has to win this award although it’s tough to say anybody deserved to. Special teams was a mess for the Packers all season and ultimately played a big role in their playoff defeat.
Punter Corey Bojorquez wins the award largely by default and on the strength of his strong start to the season. He stumbled in the last five or six games when the weather got colder and then had the blocked punt that turned the game around in the playoffs.
Still, Bojorquez was an upgrade over JK Scott and finished the season with a 46.5-yard average per punt. He placed 18 kicks inside the opponent’s 20 and had only four touchbacks all season. His 82-yard kick was the second longest in franchise history.
Bojorquez will be a free agent this offseason and the Packers need to determine whether they should bring him back.
Most Valuable Free Agent: De’Vondre Campbell
Campbell didn’t make headlines and wasn’t greeted by much fanfare, but he turned out to be an outstanding value and solidified the middle of the Green Bay defense.
Campbell gave the Packers consistently good play at inside linebacker and helped make the players around him better. He was the best free agent signing the Packers made during last offseason.
Comeback Player of the Year: Preston Smith
Preston Smith had to take a pay cut to stay in Green Bay last offseason and he was coming off a disappointing 2020 season that saw him get only four and 16 pressures all year.
He lost weight during the offseason and came in like a player who knew he had to bounce back to save and prolong his NFL career.
Smith did just that. When Za’Darius Smith was placed on IR, Preston and Rashan Gary became the full-time starters at edge. Preston came through with a nine sack season and had 28 pressures after registering only 16 the previous season. His tackling also improved this season over last.
Preston will have to be re-signed as his renegotiated deal makes him too expensive without signing an extension or a new contract. He enjoyed a solid comeback campaign in 2021.
Most Improved Player: Rasul Douglas
At the beginning of the 2021 season, Rasul Douglas was in danger of losing his job in the NFL. After playing for the Panthers in 2020, he started in the Raiders training camp but was let go. He quickly signed with the Texans but they also cut him. Then he was on the Cardinals practice squad when the Packers signed him on October 2.
Douglas played in 12 games for the Packers and started nine of them. He intercepted five passes and returned two of them for touchdowns. He also had the game-saving interception against the Cardinals in the final minute that preserved a 24-21 road win for the Packers.
Throughout the season, Douglas allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 50 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers he covered (according to pro-football-reference.com) and they had a quarterback rating of just 44.5.
Douglas resurrected his career and became a quality starter for the Packers who deserved Pro Bowl consideration.
Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Mason Crosby
Crosby was coming off a perfect season on field goals in 2020 and always seemed to come through in the clutch. While there were many contributing factors to Crosby’s fall off this season, it was dramatic and damaging to the team.
The Packers all-time leading scorer missed nine field goals including making just 9-of-13 from 30-39 yards out and just 4-of-8 from 40-49 yards out. He also missed two extra points and never seemed comfortable with his long snapper, his new holder and the blocking in front of him.
This may be Crosby’s final NFL season but if he decides to return, he will have competition in training camp from J.J. Molson.
Rookie of the Year: Eric Stokes
The Packers had high hopes for Stokes after drafting him in the first round of the draft but brought back Kevin King as insurance with the hope that Stokes would eventually win the starting job. But when Jaire Alexander and King were both injured early in the season, Stokes was pressed into starting duty and he came through with flying colors.
Stokes started 14 games and had his first NFL interception. He also broke up 14 passes and was in on 55 total tackles.
Most impressively, opposing quarterbacks completed just 49.5 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by the former Georgia star and had a quarterback rating of just 71.3.
Stokes has outstanding speed, a good attitude and work ethic. His biggest issue remains tracking the ball when it’s in the air but that is something he is willing and able to work to improve.
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