The Green Bay Packers have nearly reached the halfway mark of the 2023 season. Through eight games, the team is 3-5 with the toughest part of their schedule approaching. Entering this season, the team knew they would have growing pains with so many young players on the roster. The key for the second half of the season will be showing improvement and overall progress. Here is a look at the Packers midseason awards for 2023:
Packers Midseason Award, Offensive MVP: Zach Tom
There aren’t many players in the running for this one. Most of the offensive players have suffered from inconsistency through the first eight games.
The big exception to that is offensive tackle Zach Tom. The former Wake Forest won the starting right tackle job in preseason and has performed consistently in all eight games. Tom has blocked well in pass protection and has helped keep pass rushers away from Jordan Love.
He is also one of the few offensive linemen who has blocked well for the run.
Tom is the only Packers offensive player who has stayed healthy and played consistently well.
Midseason Award, Offensive Disappointment: Run Blocking
Scouts expected the offensive line to be a strength of this team but that hasn’t worked out as expected. Injuries haven’t helped. David Bakhtiari was lost for the season after a strong performance in Week 1. Elgton Jenkins has missed time while Josh Myers and Jon Runyan, Jr. have played through injuries. Rasheed Walker took over for Bakhtiari and started out strong but struggled more the more he played.
The run blocking has been poor across the board except for Tom. The result has often been defenders getting penetration across the line of scrimmage to blow up running plays before they had a chance to get started.
A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones have struggled as a result. The encouraging thing is the run blocking looked significantly better against the Rams. This improvement needs to continue for the offense to make progress in the second half.
Packers Midseason Award, Defensive MVP: Rashan Gary
Like the offense, the defense has struggled with injuries and inconsistency. But the biggest bright spot has been the play of edge rusher Rashan Gary.
Gary saw only limited action early in the season as he returned from last year’s season-ending knee injury. Still, the former Michigan star has delivered consistent pressure off the edge.
Gary recorded 4.5 sacks despite being on a play count. When he’s not recording sacks, Gary still makes an impact. He has 10 quarterback hits and 15 pressures despite playing only 42 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
The Packers are hoping Gary will have an even better second half as he gets more playing time and is further removed from the knee injury.
Midseason Award, Defensive Disappointment: Jaire Alexander
The Packers defense has been statistically solid but hasn’t made enough big plays. There are several candidates for most disappointing player on D, but the winner for the first half of the season is cornerback Jaire Alexander.
The two-time Pro Bowler has had his worst start to a season statistically. One big reason for it has been a lingering back injury that has slowed him down. The result has been poor tackling and less than stellar pass coverage.
Opponents have completed 68 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Alexander and have a quarterback rating of 119.2. That’s nearly double the 63.7 quarterback rating they had a year ago.
Alexander has also yet to intercept a pass this season after picking off five in 2022.
The good news is the Louisville alum’s back is healing and he played his best game of the season against the Rams.
Packers Midseason Award, Rookie of the Year: Luke Musgrave
The rookie class has shown promise but there is no clear-cut winner in this category. Right now, second round pick Luke Musgrave is the winner.
The former Oregon State star has made some big plays but hasn’t consistently demonstrated his ability to stretch the field.
Thus far, Musgrave has 27 catches for 249 yards and one touchdown. His catch percentage is an impressive 77.1.
Musgrave has proven to be a willing blocker although he still needs to improve his technique in this area.
His potential is unmistakable, and he should be even more productive once he and Love develop more chemistry.
Midseason Award, Best Game: Week 1 vs Chicago
The best overall game the team played remains the Week 1 win in Chicago. The offense put up 31 points (one touchdown came on a pick six) and had its most consistent performance. Jones was a major force before suffering a hamstring injury that prevented him from playing at full strength until the win over the Rams.
Love also had his best game, confidently throwing the ball to six different receivers.
Defensively, the Packers caused two turnovers and recorded four sacks. Quay Walker scored a touchdown on a 37-yard interception return and the outcome never seemed to be in doubt.
The key to the second half is for the team’s younger players to show progress and play more consistently. The Packers are also hoping to get a clear evaluation of Love in his first season as the starter.
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