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Now It’s the Packers Defense That Has Gotten Predictable

It’s well known around the NFL that high-quality quarterbacks will pick apart a defense if they have ample time to throw and little pressure from defenders. In last Sunday’s game, neither the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan nor the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers had much pressure at all. Atlanta had only three sacks and four quarterback hits on Rodgers, and the Packers had only two sacks and five QB hits on Ryan. Given so little pressure, both QBs had strong passing games.

Though Atlanta ran only 56 offensive plays, they converted them into 33 points. Not more than once or twice did the Packers rush more than four defenders, and no more than a half-dozen times did they even make a pretense of rushing other players than the four lined up in the box.

In fact, the talk before the game was that the Packers, due to having so many substitute defensive backs, were going to stick with a basic four-man rush and not resort to blitzing. That’s exactly what they did and the result wasn’t good.

The Falcons only had three offensive drives in the entire second half. One was a three and out (with the two sacks), but the other two were long touchdown drives: of 14 plays in the third quarter and of 11 plays with 3:52 left to go in the game. The winning touchdown was scored with 31 seconds left.

The Packers’ defense put no pressure on Matt Ryan on these two long second-half drives – and he picked the Packers’ secondary apart with ease. Green Bay never tried to disguise their rush on the first drive. On the game-winner, they at least stunted three times, but they ultimately sent only four players to rush the quarterback each time.

Dom Capers’ undisguised, predictable, and conservative pass rush was a failure last week.

Against the Indianapolis Colts, the Packers face another quarterback who can pick apart a defense if given enough time and little pressure. Will the Packers again go conservative — depending on a four-man rush that hasn’t been effective? Or will they frequently and creatively use a variety of blitzes to prevent Andrew Luck from feeling comfortable and getting in a rhythm in the pocket?

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. PF4L November 6, 2016

    Last year D. House had a nice season with the Jags. This season Casey Hayward is tearing it up for the Chargers. On pace to have a better season than his great rookie year in 2012.

    If i’m a GM, i’d pay 5 mill for a corner who’s 2nd in the league with 4 picks and 11 PD after only 8 games.

    So is it the player, or the defensive schemes?

  2. Carl M DeLuca November 6, 2016

    Playing with all back up corners and having to double Julio, blitzing and making it even harder for the corners probably wouldnt have worked either. Sometimes the other teams just plays well too. It’s not always a coaches fault like this site always thinks.

  3. Unsupervised Child November 6, 2016

    Clay Matthews said he was playing tonight. He was listed as “questionable.” Time to trade him for future draft picks. He’s just on the team for a paycheck.

  4. PF4L November 6, 2016

    Thanks for playing like you actually gave a shit for 6 minutes in the 4th quarter.