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Dom Capers Must Have Skipped Blitzing 101

Last week I moaned about the failure of the Green Bay Packers’ defense to use the blitz against the Falcon’s Matt Ryan.

Against the Colts the Packers did a complete reversal, blitzing Andrew Luck on almost half of the likely passing plays. I should be happy, right?

Not at all. My plea was for the Packers to “frequently and creatively use a variety of blitzes to prevent Andrew Luck from feeling comfortable, and getting in a rhythm.” It’s the creative part that was lacking.

How can defensive coordinator Dom Capers, with all his experience, order up so many blitzes of the Colts’ quarterback that were telegraphed and predictable?

I actually wrote my title prior to looking for some corroboration. What I coincidentally found was an article by Matt Bowen: “NFL 101: Breaking Down the Basics of the Zone Blitz.”

While the article is long and filled with diagrammed plays — for football scholars only — there’s an entire section called “Pre-snap Disguise,” which leads off this way:

With the defense only sending five in base zone blitz schemes, the disguise (or pre-snap look) is crucial to causing some confusion in the opposition’s protection schemes.

So, did the Packers abide by this basic blitzing concept against the Colts? Most often when not blitzing, they also didn’t threaten to blitz. Most often when blitzing, they put five players on the line early and rushed all five, giving Luck time to change the play or spot the part of the field that would be undermanned. The Packers’ blitzes simply were seldom disguised. The Packers also tried at least three delayed blitzes, but Luck was getting rid of the ball too quickly for these to have much chance of working.

Even so, in what might have been the game’s key defensive play, Capers finally got it right. With 3:19 left to go and the Colts facing a 3rd and 2, Capers dialed up a textbook disguised blitz. He parked five players on the line and rushed them all. But he also had safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix pop up to the line at the last moment.

Clinton-Dix went unblocked to the quarterback, but whiffed on the tackle. Great disguised blitz, lousy execution, 20-yard completion, ball game.

Here’s the end to Bowen’s lengthy article:

Remember, zone pressure isn’t guaranteed to produce results. And with only a five-man rush, the secondary can be exposed if they show the blitz too early. But regardless of how basic or complex a zone blitz looks on the chalkboard, the disguise and execution remain the keys to getting home or forcing the quarterback to unload the ball.

Coach Capers needs to go back and do some remedial classwork on the basics of blitzing.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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13 Comments

  1. Howard November 9, 2016

    Not sure Martinez has the feel to blitz. In the blitz scheme I would think one or two of the defensive lineman should sacrifice their self and take out one or two O- lineman by driving the o-lineman away from the blitz lanes. In addition running some stunts by the defensive lineman will allow the D to get angles on the O lineman this can cause the D to disrupt two o-linemen thus helping create blitz lanes. The keys to me to a successful blitz is surprise, speed, and the defensive lineman taking out O-lineman and not worrying about getting a sack. Most of the blitzs had defensive linemen going straight up against the o-lineman directly in front of them. That makes blitz lanes easy to establish for the QB and running back. I know in 2014 everyone was down on Datone Jones because he was getting no sacks. One thing he did well was he would drive into O-linemen at an angle and take out one or two opening blitz lanes for others, AND IT WORKED.

    1. Skinny November 9, 2016

      Yea, we just run into the pile, theres no like chaos or violent feel when we blitz. Maybe “active” is the word. When you blitz, you gotta turn it loose. We just go with the block and get pushed out to the outside or get stoned at the line.

  2. PF4L November 9, 2016

    I thought we’d get home rushing 4 against a team that was on pace to give up 62 sacks before the game.

    Be careful questioning Capers about this subject. He will remind you he’s been doing this for 30 years.

    1. Savage57 November 10, 2016

      Packers blitz like young people screw. Hurry up and get in there.

      Need to do a much better job staggering the timing of hitting the unblocked gaps the initial pressure creates as OL’s are forced to make ‘how do you want to die’ decisions.

      As it stands now, the Packers hit it all at once, basically turning each other into blockers. For a time or two, when I saw #50 blitz, I thought it said “HAWK” on his jersey.

  3. Nick November 9, 2016

    A play or two here or there seems to always be the difference between winning and losing,while we can sit here and fault the players not executing it seems like we are always on the losing side of these situations the last few years I think the underlying problem is the coaching staff

    1. PF4L November 9, 2016

      The game was actually a lot uglier than it seemed, if it wasn’t for gaining 155 yards, 2 tds in the 4th quarter on 2 drives in under 4 minutes. this would have looked really sad, all the way around. Take those 2 drives away and Rodgers throws for about 200 give or take. We would have been 1 of 9 on 3rd down conversions. 0 for 2 in the red zone.

      For the 2nd and 3rd quarter, we had one 65 yard drive for a field goal and i think the rest were 3 n outs. It was uglier than the final score indicated. Where was the energy that we saw in 2 scoring drives in the 4th quarter, in the 2nd and 3rd quarter?

      We can score 2 td’s in 3:55 in the 4th Quarter, but we can only get a field goal in the 2nd and 3rd quarters?

      I blame that on both, players and coaches. That was bullshit. But it’s what we have. Is this something new that we need to play for 4 quarters?

      On the other side, i’m hoping someone can remind Peppers he’s making a 1/2 million dollars a game. ( for 1 assisted tackle)? Seriously?

      Somebody make it stop.

      1. Zwoeger November 9, 2016

        Holy moly are we not gonna play 17 games this year? Did’nt see that one coming.

        1. PF4L November 9, 2016

          Last i checked we play 16 games. But hey, what do i know.

          1. MJ November 9, 2016

            Yeah, 17 would assume one and done in the playoffs, and it’s anything but certain that we even reach them.

          2. Zwoeger November 9, 2016

            Exactly what I meant. Thought everyone would understand. Should have written this season though.

  4. PF4L November 9, 2016

    Can we get some other form of levity in a article, to alleviate all our bitching?

    No Mordecai, i’m not talking about another Munn photograph with a ring pondering if she got engaged, or another classic Mordi article wondering if they broke up. No stupid shit like that.

    This is tough, but hey….The vikings just lost their 3rd game in a row…Bring it on!!!! Lets lighten the fuck up and make fun of these chili dippers. This should have been done already.

    You can even put in a video of Golden Tate’s OT winning td catch, and i can make fun of Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith, alumni of the Tramon Williams school of tackling.

    1. Kato November 10, 2016

      Lol. At least we don’t have to watch Tramon Williams attempt to make a tackle on this team.

      1. PF4L November 10, 2016

        NFL Ticket…I’ve seen him do it a couple times. laughed.