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McCarthy: B.J. Raji coming off best game with Packers


When the Green Bay Packers re-signed B.J. Raji to a one-year contract back in March, they couldn't have expected him to re-emerge as their most disruptive defensive lineman.

Moved from defensive end back to nose tackle after missing the 2014 season with a torn biceps tendon, Raji has already posted his first sack since 2011 and was a key force in shutting Marshawn Lynch down in Week 2.

"It's one of his best or was his best football game as a Green Bay Packer, in my opinion," coach Mike McCarthy said of Raji's performance versus the Seahawks.

Every game, all season

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers was equally as encouraged if not quite as hyperbolic in his assessment of Raji's impact.

"He was active. He got off blocks. He controlled his gap. I thought he did a nice job of being physical on the center, on their guards," Capers said. "... He was a big part of that, and that enabled us to limit Lynch."

If the Packers are going to remain the team to beat in the NFC, they need Raji to stay healthy and productive as a complement to playmakers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.

After watching Raji's Week 1 performance versus the Bears, NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth suggested during Sunday night's broadcast that the former first-round pick has regained early-career form.

"I barely recognized B.J. Raji when I was watching him on tape," Collinsworth exclaimed, via "This looked like the guy that first came into the league, the guy that got six sacks ... He got a lot of pressure (in Week 1). He's lighter. He's motivated because he sat out last year. If he's back to form, he will be a huge asset."

Next Gen Stats bolster the anecdotal evidence that Raji is coming off one of his best NFL games.

Lynch reached max speed at or behind the line of scrimmage on 11 of his 15 carries. On the other four rushes, Lynch's max speed occurred within three yards of the line of scrimmage.

In other words, the penetration by Raji and the Packers' defensive front left Lynch with no room to run.