Rasul Douglas and Yosh Nijman Headline Unsung Green Bay Packers

Rasul Douglas

The 1996 and 2010 Green Bay Packers have a lot in common. Of course, both teams won the Super Bowl. The offenses were led by franchise quarterbacks, Brett Favre in 1996 and Aaron Rodgers in 2010. Each team was led by head coaches with offensive backgrounds in Mike Holmgren and Mike McCarthy. But each team also had role players, players that were the unsung heroes of each team. This year’s Packers team hasn’t won a Super Bowl, yet. But the current roster has several role players who can be considered unsung heroes. Cornerback Rasul Douglas and offensive tackle Yosh Nijman are leading the current group of unsung heroes for the Green Bay Packers.

Rasul Douglas and Yosh Nijman Stepping up for Green Bay Packers

Unsung Heroes of the Past

When talking about the 1996 Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers, there are several players that come to mind. Favre, Reggie White, LeRoy Butler, and Antonio Freeman are names that many Packers fans will remember. In 2010, the Packers were led by current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But along with Rodgers, the Packers offense had wide receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. On defense, the Packers had standout defensive back, Charles Woodson.

Each team possessed standout players. But along with those standout players, they both had role players who became unsung heroes. In 1996, Bruce Wilkerson, a little-known offensive tackle, was the starting left tackle for the Packers in the Super Bowl. Linebacker Wayne Simmons did the dirty work for the Packers defense. He shut down most opposing tight ends and brought an edge to the Packers defense.

Similar to 1996, the 2010 Packers had a group of unsung heroes who played a big part in the Packers winning the Super Bowl. Defensive tackle Howard Green, who was picked up during the season on waivers, made plays in the Packers playoff run. Outside linebacker Frank Zombo, a former college defensive lineman, contributed at times during the season.

The current roster Packers is made up of standouts. Players like Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Kenny Clark make up the core of the Packers roster. But similar to 1996 and 2010, the Packers have a group of unsung heroes, players doing the little things to win games. Two of those players are Rasul Douglas and Yosh Nijman.

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From Practice Squad to Key Component of Packers Defense

In early October, rumors were running wild that the Packers might be able to land cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The New England Patriots were looking to dump the standout cornerback and the Packers were reportedly interested. But the Packers, once again, missed out. Gilmore ended up with the Carolina Panthers.

While Packers fans were hoping for Gilmore, instead, they were given Rasul Douglas. A member of the Arizona Cardinals practice squad, general manager Brian Gutekunst signed Douglas to the Packers active roster. Many Packers fans felt that signing Rasul Douglas was a poor consolation prize after missing out on Gilmore.

But that is why Gutekunst is the general manager and fans are the fans. Since joining the Green Bay Packers roster, Rasul Douglas has become a major part of the Packers secondary. With injuries to star cornerback Jaire Alexander and constantly-injured Kevin King, Douglas has stepped in and the Packers defense hasn’t missed a beat. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Since arriving, Douglas has played in seven games, starting four of them. During that time, he has registered 30 tackles and forced a fumble. To go along with that, he has hauled in two interceptions. The first was a game-sealing interception against his former team the Cardinals in week eight. The most recent was this past weekend against the Los Angles Rams, an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Both games were victories for the Packers.

When the Packers needed secondary help, it was Douglas that shored up the position for the Green Bay Packers roster. The Packers have missed Alexander, but the way Douglas has played, he has made many forget about King.

From Third String to First String

Entering this season, the Packers knew they would be without the services of their standout left tackle David Bakhtiari for part of the season. However, they weren’t banking on being down to their third left tackle.

But that was what the Packers were dealt. Bakhtiari is still rehabbing from the knee injury he suffered last season. His return this season is still up in the air. Packers standout offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins stepped in but suffered several injuries. The last was a season-ending knee injury he suffered in Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings. With Bakhtiari and Jenkins both out, it was up to former undrafted free agent Yosh Nijman.

Entering this season, Nijman had never started an NFL game. In fact, except for meaningless mop-up time, Nijman hadn’t played any meaningful snaps. But offensive line coach/run game coordinator Adam Stenavich had faith in his young tackle and inserted him into the starting lineup.

Stenavich and head coach Matt LaFleur made sure not to leave Yosh Nijman out to dry. They game planned to give Nijman a lot of help. That help coming from tight end Marcedes Lewis, one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. But when asked to do it on his own, Nijman has answered the call.

In this past weekend’s victory over the Rams, Nijman was a part of a group that only allowed Rodgers to be sacked one time. Just like with Rasul Douglas, Nijman has become a part of a group on the Green Bay Packers roster who has stepped up and gotten the job done.

Bringing Character to the Green Bay Packers Roster

Not only are Rasul Douglas and Yosh Nijman bringing solid play to the Green Bay Packers roster, but they are also showing a little character. For Douglas, the sight of him waving goodbye to the Cardinals fans after making the game-clinching interception is burned in many Packers fans minds. Yosh Nijman is also bringing smiles to Packers fans, with his play and his dance moves.

For every Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre, a championship roster needs a Rasul Douglas and Yosh Nijman. Players who weren’t expected to be contributors, but turned out to be key contributors. Unsung heroes help make up a championship roster, and Douglas and Nijman are those players.

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