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Last Game’s Revealing Stat: Packers’ Quarterback Hits

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is recovering from Sunday’s 26-15 loss to Seattle. In that game, the rookie quarterback out of North Dakota State was heavily pressured and harassed by the Seahawks’ defensive line, getting sacked twice and suffering seven quarterback hits – four of them punishing hits by defensive end Chris Avril. Wentz is probably smiling now, however, as he will encounter the Green Bay Packers defense next Monday.

In the Packers two most recent losses, the defense has totaled three sacks combined – and zero quarterback hits other than those sacks. The return of Clay Matthews on Sunday, after missing a month due to a hamstring pull, was inauspicious: one tackle, no sacks, no QB hits.

Through their first eight games, the Packers averaged 5.9 QB hits. They managed to have 12 QB hits against the Vikings, eight against the Colts, seven against the Giants, and five each against Atlanta and Chicago.

While the defensive backs usually get most of the blame when opposing teams rack up huge passing yardage, a good portion of the blame should also go to the defensive front seven when they exert little pressure on the quarterback.

Kirk Cousins obviously felt comfortable in the pocket on Sunday when he threw for 375 yards (on only 30 completions) and had an outstanding passer rating of 145.8. The same was true a week before, when the Titans’ Marcus Mariota passed for 275 yards, and accumulated a magnificent 149.8 rating.

To further show how inept the pass rush by Packers linemen and linebackers has become, the Packers sack leader over the last three games is safety Morgan Burnett, with two. The team’s linemen and linebackers have only totaled two and a half sacks in those three games.

Wentz presently has a quarterback rating of 84.2. If the past couple games are a guide, and unless the Packers can find a way to bring more heat to their pass rush, his rating against the Packers should be around 50 points over his average – somewhere in the mid-130s.

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Rob Born

Due to Aaron Rodgers’ reckless ways, I’m officially launching the Campaign for GM Gutekunst to Acquire the Best Available (Veteran) Backup Quarterback – NOW.

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7 Comments

  1. PF4L November 22, 2016

    Good article Rob. If you have strong front 7, i mean very strong. The NFL is your’s for the taking. (see the 2010 Packers front 7).

  2. And now the latest news is Blake has a sprain.

    So your starting ilb against the eagles and maybe shady are joe thomas, carl bradford, and maybe Burnett and or Clay, if he doesn’t view it as a health risk. VROOM VROOM!

    So maybe good news, maybe bad. I kind of though Clay could benefit from blitzing from the middle, but not sure how many dog blitzes and suchnot they will dial up with Ertz and a possible real live rb in contention. He is now, without a doubt, the best ilb currently active.

  3. Ken November 22, 2016

    I believe the Packer’s problems are due mainly to coaching ills.
    I played and coached enough sports to know that the direction and preparation of a team by coaches is so important to its success. In formal logic the fallacy of composition means that the best players do not make the best team. They might not bring the best out of each other, they may not play well together (sounds like children), they might not complement others’ skills, etc. Good coaches can get average players to perform above average. Remember when Ray Rhodes got fired as Packer’s coach years ago. I remember reading that the team dynamic had been lost under his tuteledge. A coach has to be able to assess his opponent and find out how to neutralize its strengths. That’s the focus. A coach has to size up his team and create an effective system given its constraints be it lack of speed, size, whatever. You get your team good at what it can be good at based on it’s limited resources. I remember a wresting coach at a camp in Ames, Iowa. He told of a wrestler that had one take-down move, and everyone knew he was going to do it. But the guy was so good at it that he won most of the time. Whoever is coaching the Packers needs to figure out exactly what is it that they can be good at given whatever resources they have and what the opponent brings and work it. If the coaches can’t do that then they are just average in a league where average gets you demoted to someone’s assistant. Do you think that Lombardi always has a healthy team or all the manpower resources he wanted? I don’t think so. But he knew how to teach the players he had the basics tools for what it took to be proficient. Was Bart Starr a Bret Favre or an AR. No. But Lombardi got him to be the leader he needed in his system that fit the team.

    Link to article on Lombardi from GBP web site:
    http://www.packers.com/history/hall-of-famers/lombardi-vince.html
    Lombardi left no doubt who was in charge and that means if anything went wrong there wasn’t going to be any finger pointing. I never hear McCarthy admit that he screwed up. If he is in charge then the buck stops here. Also note how Lombardi kept it simple. The KISS principle. Keep it simple stupid. Learn how to block. learn how to tackle, etc. The practiced the sweep over and over and got good at it.
    Did anyone not see Thomas totally juked in the Reds’ game. Basic tackling 101. That stuff cannot happen if you are going to win. Dropping passes, errant throws, missed tackles, missed kicks, bad punts, etc. All that stuff is what makes a team a poor team.
    Football is not rocket science.
    Lombardi said, “I want it understood that I am in complete command here.”
    That’s the kind of attitude that a coach needs to have. That leaves no room to blame AR, or someone else.
    McCarthy’s words and body language don’t remind me of a take charge kind of person. He says things like, we need to play better… He needs to say after a loss, “I am going to get this team going and I am going to get it going now.” He just doesn’t have the Lombardi mindset.

  4. Killer November 23, 2016

    Good article Rob with good stats to back up your points. There was one error = In the fifth paragraph you state parenthetically that Cousins had 30 completions. Actually he had 30 attempts with 21 completions. A staggering 12.5 yards per attempt. That is nearly twice as much as Rodgers has averaged this year (he is at 6.7). I don’t have the specific stats but I know it is rare to ever achieve such a a high average yards per attempt.

    The focus really has been on the terrible secondary. Some excuse it with talk of injuries but all teams have injuries, it is the GM and coaches duty to possess and develop proper depth in anticipation of injuries, and the secondary was not very good even when healthy. The first Jaguars game does not even count because it was due to Bortles’ regression not secondary brilliance.

    But the Packers front 7 is truly terrible. Mike Daniels is an obvious exception. Guion is a below average NT. Possibly the worst starting NT in the league. Pennel, Lowry, Clark are just bodies. I’m sure there are many street free agents better than them — though Clark has potential for improvement the other two do not have. (Still should have taken Vernon Butler in round 1 as I wrote at the time. He has missed some games but has 1.5 sacks and blocked a FG whereas Clark has done nothing in anything other than the run game where he is average.)

    The linebackers are, in the middle, equivalent to street free agents (though Bradford has potential), and the outside backers are a puzzle. Who is still taking PEDs and who has stopped? Their play indicates all but Perry have stopped taking PEDs. There is hope though that the pressure will get them back on the juice. Probably the worst set of 3-4 linebackers in the league — when not on PEDs.

  5. PF4L November 23, 2016

    Yes, there was an error. The error was one of the 5 men that could be your father, didn’t use a condom.

    1. PF4L November 23, 2016

      Oops, 7 men. She just whispered in my ear about a Vegas weekend getaway.

      My bad.

  6. Killer November 23, 2016

    So the Packers have 13 QB hits in their 4 losses and 3 sacks in their most recent 2 — but 2 of those were by a safety on a blitz. To put this in perspective = the Vikings hit the QB 23 times and sacked him 4 times (3 by DEs)… in this one past game vs. the Cardinals…..