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Dominique Dafney Is a Part of Green Bay Packers Unsung Hero Group

One member of the unsung hero group who shined on Sunday and helped the Packers into the playoffs was h-back Dominique Dafney. 
Dominique Dafney

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 35-16. The victory helped the Packers finish the season with a 13-3 record. It also helped the Packers clinch the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. The superstars of the Packers roster had a lot to do with their success. Without the play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams, running back Aaron Jones, cornerback Jaire Alexander, and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith who knows where the Packers would be. However, it wasn’t just superstars that helped the Packers achieve their success. There is a group of little known unsung players that helped the Packers get to where they are. One member of that unsung hero group who shined on Sunday was h-back Dominique Dafney.

Dominique Dafney Is a Part of Green Bay Packers Unsung Hero Group in 2020

The 2020 Packers are hoping they can replicate what the 1996 and 2010 Packers achieved. That being winning the Super Bowl.

There were a lot of stars on those 1996 and 2010 Packers roster. In fact, Rodgers was a star on that 2010 roster and continues to be a star for the current roster. But with all the stars those teams had, it was the lesser-known players that also played key roles for those Packers teams.

In 1996, players like guard Adam Timmerman, fullback William Henderson, and linebacker Wayne Simmons were a big part of why that team was so dominant. You can’t forget about tackle Bruce Wilkerson either. Wilkerson took over as the starting left tackle late that season and shored up the blindside of quarterback Brett Favre.

The 201o Packers roster had quite a few stars. Players like Rodgers, wide receiver Greg Jennings, outside linebacker Clay Matthews, and cornerback Charles Woodson were standouts. Still, they had a group of unsung players who helped lead them to a Super Bowl victory. Players like outside linebacker Frank Zombo, safety Charlie Peprah, and defensive tackle Howard Green played a big part in their success.

The tradition of unsung heroes continues with this year’s Packers roster. Players like tight end Marcedes Lewis, defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster, and linebacker Khrys Barnes have played an integral part in the success this season. Then on Sunday, with his performance, Dominique Dafney joined that group.

Always on the Search for Help

Before diving into Dominique Dafney’s performance from Sunday, you have to understand where and how he was acquired.

Since Brian Gutekunst took over from Ted Thompson as the general manager, he has said he will always look at ways to improve the Packers roster. He has lived up to the statement, especially this season.

This season, the NFL changed its rules for teams practice squads.  Teams could carry up to 16 players, an increase of six from previous years. The NFL also allowed teams to promote two players to the active roster on game day.

Dominique Dafney was a benefactor of these new rules. On October 10th, Gutekunst and the Packers signed Dafney to their practice squad. A rookie out of Indiana State, the same school that produced starting tight end Robert Tonyan, Dafney spent training camp with the Indianapolis Colts before being cut. While at Indiana State, he was a second-team All Missouri Valley player. He played both fullback and tight end for Sycamores.

When injuries hit the h-back/tight end position, Dafney received his call up. On December 12th, he was signed to the Packers active roster. Giving Dafney an opportunity to contribute to the Packers.

Injuries Open up a Spot

This season, head coach Matt LaFleur moved away from the fullback position. Instead, he moved to more of an h-back style of position.

The Packers spent a third-round pick on Josiah Deguara, believing he would be a perfect fit for that position. Unfortunately for the Packers, he tore an ACL in week four and was lost for the season. Next up to fill the position was John Lovett. Lovett, a former college quarterback, held that position down until he too tore an ACL in early November.

Next up was former third-round pick Jace Sternberger. Sternberger filled in as a fullback in 2019, giving him experience at the position. But he too suffered an injury, a concussion, and has been out since mid-December.  With those three out, Dominique Dafney got his chance.

Playing the h-back in the Packers offense isn’t going to grab many headlines. It is a position that requires the player to do the dirty work. Contribute on special teams, line up as the fullback in the backfield, line up at tight end as a blocker, and run the occasional pass route and take advantage of the opportunity if Rodgers throws you the ball. All of these things Dafney did on Sunday against the Bears.

Contributing To a Packers Victory

Dafney was targeted just one time on Sunday and he made the most of the opportunity. In the second quarter, on a broken assignment by the Bears defense, Rodgers found Dafney for a 13-yard touchdown pass. It was Dafney’s second career reception and his first touchdown catch in the NFL.

But Dafney didn’t have much time to celebrate his first touchdown catch. As all of the Packers h-backs have done, he was on the Packers kickoff unit. He then proceeded to make an impressive tackle to stop the Bears explosive kickoff returner, Cordarrelle Patterson, preventing him from busting a kickoff.

Dafney also earned his money as a blocker as well. He blocked well as a lead blocker out of the backfield, as well as lining up in the slot. On several occasions, he threw key blocks to open up receivers on pass plays. His blocks allowed the Packers receivers to gain valuable yards.

It might have been just one game, but Dafney’s play earned him a spot on the Packers unsung hero roster. They don’t get much notoriety, but what they do helps makes the Packers a team that has a chance at a Super Bowl appearance.

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