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By this time of the season, we pretty much know the Green Bay Packers roster and what these players can and can’t do well. We know, for example, that Jared Cook is big and fast. That the Packers are desperately weak at the cornerback position. That Cook can get open all over the field. That the offensive line is a superb pass protection unit. That Cook is a challenging matchup for any defense. That Ty Montgomery and Aaron Ripkowski are a couple of tough hombres. That Cook being released by the Rams was a gift from heaven. That Aaron Rodgers makes all things possible.

Still, there were some nuances that emerged from the glorious upset win in Texas.

I’ve talked before about “catch radius,” a metric that playerprofiler.com came up with to predict how well a receiver can catch somewhat off-target passes. The formula takes into account speed, agility, height, arm length, and vertical jump. Jared Cook illustrated the whole idea against Dallas: he dove to capture low balls, he soared for high throws, he out-reached defenders who were all over him, and he even caught that last ball that wasn’t even inbounds. Today I looked up Cook’s catch radius, and he’s in the 97th percentile.

We know both starting cornerbacks sucked. If you need any more proof, Pro Football Focus reports that when Dak Prescott threw at Packers’ cornerbacks, his passer rating was 141.4 against Damarious Randall and 136.6 against LaDarius Gunter. Gunter was at least trying – both I and Dom Capers were wrong to think Gunter could handle Dez Bryant one-on-one. Randall, on the other hand, was again the very picture of the “soft” coverage the broadcasters kept referring to. However, this was one bad game among many good ones for Gunter, whereas for Randall it was yet another typically horrid outing.

I’ve got to think Quinten Rollins will replace Randall as a starter when he’s healthy. Rollins has been subject to the NFL’s concussion protocol since his neck and head injury along the sideline against Detroit in week 17. Of great concern here, that injury did not appear to be much more than a fairly mild striking of the back of his helmet against the ground, which suggests that, like Sam Shields, he might be highly susceptible to more, and worse, concussions in the future.

Despite his heroics, Aaron Rodgers had one of his least accurate outings in quite some time. On at least three occasions, he was off-target enough to cause wide-open receivers (Cook, twice, and Geronimo Allison) to leave their feet to make the catch, preventing a bunch of yards-after-catch. In the first half, when Rodgers was generally very sharp, he missed a wide-open Cook on a deep route than would have been the team’s longest gain of the day. Rodgers’ interception was also due to an errant pass, meant for Davante Adams. Accuracy issues explain why Rodgers wound up with a 96.7 passer rating, less than Prescott’s 103.2.

Kentrell Brice looked capable in the opportunity presented to him by the injury to Morgan Burnett. Playing three-fourths of the defensive snaps, he led the team in tackles with seven, and used his speed to get into the action all over the field. And it’s official: he hits hard. I don’t know if there’s the possibility of using him, short-term, at cornerback, but assuming Burnett is able to play against Atlanta, that’s where the furious need is in Green Bay’s defensive backfield.

Not only has linebacker Joe Thomas moved ahead of Blake Martinez in the pecking order, Martinez was reduced to one defensive snap, though he had many special team snaps. Thomas played well, I thought, in pass coverage, but linebacker Jake Ryan was pretty much left alone on the inside to try to hold down the league’s top running back, Ezekiel Elliott. The strategy appeared to be to concede the runs, but to restrict the passing. You could say it worked, barely.

Sorry for the repetition, guys, I see Monty beat me to the punch a few times – but you know what they say about great minds.

Rob Born

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



  1. Deepsky January 16, 2017

    The only way I thought the Packers would win this game would have been if Cook stepped it up and replaced Jordy Nelson’s big plays. Which is exactly what happened.

    As for Kentrell Brice, that guy actually as some speed. Like much faster than Burnett and Clinton-Dix. Like Nick Collins speed. Let’s see him lay some wood on Julio Jones after his first big catch.

    1. Chad Lundberg January 16, 2017

      Sounds stupid and crazy, but maybe Rob has a point about Brice. If Morgan comes back, we may have to try him at CB, it’s just that bad and we can’t afford anymore bad play like that going forward.

      1. PF4L January 18, 2017

        What we can’t afford, is if we got to the SuperBowl, is our defense giving up 24 points per game, vs the Patriots defense that gives up only 15 points per game. (1st in the league).

        The 2 last Super Bowls Green Bay won. The defense in 2010 gave up 15 points per game and the 1996 defense gave up 13 points per game.

        Yes, it matters.

  2. Chad Lundberg January 16, 2017

    How sorry is it that we have look forward to seeing Quinten Rollins come back from a concussion in hopes he can improve the CB play? I thought Randall and Gunter were capable of having at least an OK game today, but Gunter kept getting beat, and Randall was always 5 yards away from his guy. Who the hell coaches someone to do that? Or is it Randall just daydreaming in the middle of a game? Dez Bryant had been playing poorly for 8 weeks up this point, and the corners playing were healthy, there really wasn’t much excuse for this performance.

  3. Kato January 16, 2017

    HaHa Clinton Dix is going to have to play way better than he did against the Falcons earlier in the year, otherwise it could be a long day for the secondary. Is it just me or did Gunter seen to be playing a little soft on Dez? I was kind of hoping to see him play a little more physical with him at the line, but maybe they didn’t want him to do that since he was on an island.

  4. Kato January 16, 2017

    Packers will need to address corner in free agency this year. They don’t need to splurge and spend big $, but they need to at least get a veteran guy, because as of now sans Shields for next year, they aren’t looking so hot at corner. Right now both corners drafted last year look like failiures, but maybe next year there will be improvement. I wouldn’t count on it though. The draft alone won’t fix this issue. And I don’t really trust TT to do this

    1. Deepsky January 17, 2017

      They won’t do anything in free agency. I’m sure Rolins and Randall are injured and it is affecting their play. Just like Cobb and Adams had bad years last year because they were nursing injuries.

  5. Gort January 16, 2017

    Hey Rob, would you spend some time critiquing Matthews? You do a superb job of analyzing things that dummies like me don’t see. What I do see is that he did almost nothing against Dallas. Was his performance as bad as it appeared on the surface?

    1. Deepsky January 17, 2017

      He went up against Tryon Smith, probably the best left tackle in the game having gone to the Pro Bowl each of the last 4 years.

      The top left tackles will always stop the top defensive ends/outside linebackers. Even Reggie White did nothing against the top left tackles.

      1. Gort January 17, 2017

        THX – I wasn’t aware of the quality of his opponent.

  6. ay hombre January 16, 2017

    I really couldn’t care less what the numbers were on Gunter. He was right there on every play they completed and those needed to be perfect throws and were. The only play where Gunter got torched was when the Cowboys receiver dropped it in the end zone. Gunter will be fine.

    And I’m more prone to Burnett and corner and keep the headhunter at safety.

    1. Empacador January 16, 2017

      ^This. The Packers need a hitter at safety.

  7. PF4L January 16, 2017

    Rodgers had a 125 passer rating for much of the game. Maybe i’m the only one that noticed, but Marinelli decided he needed to bring on the pass rush and blitz’s to slow the Rodgers machine down.

    When they start to bring def. backs and linebackers blitzing, and they don’t get picked up, or Rodgers gets hurried and sacked. This may sound alarming, but this may cause his completion percentage and passer rating to go down.

    Unfortunately, Rodgers is busy reading progressions, and trying to get a pass off, he has to rely on others to block for him, he can’t do that also.

    When watching the game, it’s always helpful to pay attention for those wanting to analyze it.

    For some reason, Rob once again has to throw some shade at Rodgers. Hope this clears things up.

  8. PF4L January 16, 2017

    Holy shit Rob,
    Rodgers plays his ass off the whole game, 35 seconds left in a tie playoff game against Dallas, gets down to field goal range. We win it with no time remaining, And you want to shit on him with ticky tacky childish nit picking?

    “Accuracy issues explain why Rodgers wound up with a 96.7 passer rating, less than Prescott’s 103.2.”
    ” On at least three occasions, he was off-target”
    “Rodgers’ interception was also due to an errant pass.” – Rob

    Jesus Christ Rob, Rodgers cant throw an interception from an errant pass? That shit doesn’t fly with you?
    Holy shit Rob, Rodgers had 3 errant passes? Pffftttt, What a loser.
    Rodgers wasn’t as good as Dak right Rob? Thanks for the 411

    Maybe in the off season Rodgers can work on those flaws. Next season i better not see any errant pass, or God forbid, an interception. And if he does, damn it were gonna get on his nuts for it, maybe even trade him.

    Play perfect or get the fuck out!!

    Guess what Rob, Rodgers has thrown 24 td’s since his last interception.
    Is that a good “METRIC”?

    1. icebowl January 16, 2017

      Thank you P.
      Ian O’Connor wrote a great piece on the game ending it with this comment..

      “….from here on out, Rodgers’ primary opponent is history. He can spend the rest of this tournament and the rest of his career trying to play himself into the top five, the top three, or maybe even the top one.”


      1. PF4L January 17, 2017

        Yes sir.

        Although i could debate with O’Connor his contention that Rodgers is still trying to play himself into the top 5.

        Look no further than Tom Brady’s recent thought’s he expressed about Aaron Rodgers. I’m pretty sure that Brady’s extremely qualified to quantitate Rodgers skills. Pretty high praise coming from arguably the best QB of all time.

  9. Empacador January 16, 2017

    All this talk about the secondary. What do the masses think with regard to Micah Hyde now? Sign him or let him go? I seem to recall in the not too distant past there were some calls for his head. I think he is truly a versatile gamer and the least of the worries in the secondary. He isn’t going to break the bank to re-sign either.

    1. PF4L January 17, 2017

      That’s a good question, and you make valid points. The problem with Hyde is that he can actually make plays here n there. That’s only a problem because other times he’s slow and gets schooled. But it’s hard to hate on a guy making plays.

      I don’t know if it’s Hyde’s talent sometimes, or that the other cornerbacks play is consistently bad. But yea, at this point, i think you have to ink him.

      1. Kato January 17, 2017

        Never underestimate a guy in the the final year of his contract trying to make coin.

        1. PF4L January 17, 2017

          F O

        2. knucklehead January 19, 2017

          I wish the same applied to my man Lacy. Under the circumstances I really can’t understand him getting to fighting weight.

          1. knucklehead January 19, 2017

            Thats NOT getting to fighting weight.

  10. Howard January 16, 2017

    Not sure if anyone noticed but Hawkins had several snaps at corner and did fine. He was beat on one of those snaps over the middle. Hawkins was at least next to his coverage responsibility so he could make the tackle unlike Randall.

    Randall has no sharp change of direction, almost every cut is rounded off. In addition Randall does not show a willingness to initiate contact unless forced. Randall if injured or not is getting beat at a high rate and in many cases is not close in coverage. The team will probably use the more experienced player (Randall) over the healthier and less experienced player (Hawkins). If Randall can or cannot play I think Hawkins should receive more snaps at corner. Brice would be better as a safety rather than corner unless it is an emergency or a change up in coverage looks.

    1. PF4L January 17, 2017

      That’s astute that you noticed how he runs “rounded”. It bugs me to no end. It gives the receiver that much more opportunity to create space.

  11. MMTTDCSUCK January 16, 2017

    Randall appears to be a liability in the defensive backfield for the Packers. It is NOT getting better, but in fact appears to be getting worse . . . I also thought Gunter played tight coverage. Bryant “willed” his game for payback for that dropped TD in the playoffs. No one was going to deny Bryant period. Good thoughts from someone regarding Hawkins and Brice. Hopefully those two will get more snaps . . . And WTF is up with CMIII? When they play him at ILB he gets to the QB, when he goes up against the big boys he seems to fade.

    1. knucklehead January 19, 2017

      Hey Walking BBC Glory Hole (MMTTDCSUCK),

      Mathews’ shoulder is torn to shreds. He’s a fucking man and playing with the pieces that he has. Outside linebacker takes rips and twists to overcome an often physically superior adversary. These rips and twists are led by the hips and finished with the shoulder. If the shoulder is unsound, as is Clay’s, the finishing move to bypass the opponent is decapitated. Clay’s frame cannot out muscle an offensive lineman when he has lost leverage in a standing position.

      I’m surprised you are still posting with this name you diseased ballsack.

      GO PACK!

  12. icebowl January 16, 2017

    Any word on Burnett ?

    1. PF4L January 17, 2017

      All Packer safeties are currently seeing optometrist amongst concerns over colorblindness, citing they keep on tackling their own teammates.

      1. icebowl January 17, 2017


  13. Phillip Besaw January 17, 2017

    Randall is garbage. Perhaps he needs some years to develop but the kid is straight garbage. His speed is bad, cuts are terrible, and his smarts are lacking. Hardly ever does he turn around in time, his jumping is ether mistimed or he just doesn’t have the hops. I honestly hope I’m eating my words after the next 2 games.
    I hear Gunter told Hyde to break on that int. Perhaps he’s the true ufa cb that becomes a pro bowler, as we’ve been so blessed to have in the past, I’m over shields.

  14. Ted Hawthorne January 17, 2017

    Don’t forget–Randall is another failed example of TT’s “change position syndrome.” Randall
    runs “heavy” like the former safety he is. He is not fleet. He is not nimble. He is not a CB.

  15. Howard January 17, 2017

    Sean Lee with the Cowboys is an all pro linebacker. If you look at the first half of the game the Packers used Ty to move Lee out of the area of the field the Packers wanted to attack and it worked. In most but not all cases when Ty received the ball, Ty with the help of Lang and Rip defeated Lee. Lee in the second half abandoned for the most part keying on Ty. Lee started keying on the TE. The Packer offense had a winning game against Lee the key to the Cowboys defense. Did Lee make some plays, yes but the Packers for most of the game defeated Lee.

  16. Vijay Swearingen January 17, 2017

    Upcoming draft we’ve got to look pass rusher first and foremost but it also appears as though Corner is still a need for us. Good thing this draft is loaded with both in the first couple rounds. We sure need more “competition” in these categories going forward.

  17. Empacador January 17, 2017

    I finally figured out who the Rollins/Randall duo reminded me of. It’s like they cloned Jarrett Bush.