Top 5: Impact Players of 2003

PackerReport.com's series of 2003's Top 5 continues with a look at impact players. Some we've come to take for granted, others left us pleasantly surprised. Here are five who made a major difference.<p>

5. K Ryan Longwell

Even though he's the Packers' new all-time leading scorer, Longwell's best contributions are not the points we count, but the player we count on. Green Bay can now count itself among the fortunate teams with a dependable veteran kicker. A quick look around the league reveals that Longwell could be the Packers' kicker into the next decade.

2003 STATS:

FG 23-of-26 (88.5 percent accuracy including 1-1 from 50 yards). PAT 51-of-51. Total points: 120.

4. WR Robert Ferguson

Last year, Ferguson made the transition from a useless rookie on the brink of a bust into a dependable receiver. This season, all eyes were on Fergie as he had to prove which one of those roads he was going to travel. As a member of Green Bay's extremely young receiving corps, Ferguson left no doubt that he wants to be "the man" in Green Bay. He made clutch catches, he played hurt, and he was a mad man on special teams.

STATS: 15 games, 12 starts, 38 catches for 520 yards (13.7-yard average, 47 long) and four touchdowns.

3. Offensive Line

Pick your own "poster boy" for the Packers' effective and cohesive offensive line. Stats can't tell the story here, but here's one anyway: QB Brett Favre was sacked just 19 times for 138 yards. That's the lowest sack total for the Pack in Favre's 12 seasons in Green Bay. Here's another stat that can be attributed in part to the O-line: Guard Marco Rivera and center Mike Flanagan are Pro-Bowl bound, tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tausher came back from injuries in top form. 2. RB Ahman Green.

In his fourth season with the Packers, Ahman Green assured that he will never be forgotten. Green broke the NFL's oldest single-season rushing record, smashing Jim Taylor's 1962 mark by 400 yards. Green gave the Packers' offensive a dimension that could not be ignored. STATS: Rushing: 1,883 yards on 355 carries (5.3-yard average, 98 long), 15 touchdowns, 96 first downs. Receiving: 50 catches for 367 yards (7.3 average, 27 long) 5 touchdowns, 19 first downs.

1. QB Brett Favre. An obvious, even pedestrian, choice? Whatever. Favre added more chapters to his legendary story: A career-best completion percentage. An ironman streak forged despite a broken thumb. Records for consecutive games with TD passes and consecutive seasons with 30-plus TDs. The list could go on and on, but would not be complete without a mention of something he did this year that exceeded all expectations. Favre played through intense personal tragedy, making his leadership and commitment the Packers' single biggest contribution of 2003.

STATS: 308-for-471 (65.4 percent) for 3,361 yards (7.14-yard average, 66 long) with 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. QB rating: 90.4, Favre's 6th season with a QB rating above 90.


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