With two weeks to prepare for the big showdown in Palo Alto, it was clear what the Packers had to fix — things such as loose coverage by the defensive backs, low third down conversion rate, under-utilization of running backs as receivers, allowing too many receptions in the middle of the field, giving up too many big pass plays, and poor special teams play – and they’d need to contain the league’s consensus top tight end, George Kittle.
The score for the Packers’ coaching staff: zero for seven.
I’m thinking of writing a book, whose working title is “NFL Defensive Strategies for Dummies.” Okay, some big publishing company has that trademark, so maybe I’ll change it to “. . .for Simpletons.”
Even a simpleton knows that the primary requirement for receivers in today’s NFL is speed. Above-average speed is highly desirable, whereas blazing speed is manna from heaven. And while speed is important for receivers, it is essential for cornerbacks.
Two years into the Brian Gutekunst reign as general manager, the Packers are moving briskly in the right direction, but San Francisco showed us they aren’t there yet.
If an NFL team’s cornerbacks aren’t faster than the opponent’s receivers, that spells major trouble. We saw that play out on Sunday evening.
Here are the pertinent 40-yard dash times for Green Bay’s defensive backs (cornerbacks, as opposed to safeties, are shown in bold): Tremon Smith (4.30); Tony Brown (4.35); Darnell Savage (4.36); Jaire Alexander (4.38); Will Redmond (4.38); Ka’Dar Hollman (4.39); Kevin King (4.43); Ibraheim Campbell (4.50); Raven Greene (4.51); Adrian Amos (4.56); Josh Jackson (4.56); Chandon Sullivan (4.60); Tramon Williams (4.67)
In Tramon’s case, I took his Pro Day time of 4.57 and added on .10 due to his age of 36. Ibraheim Campbell had a Pro Day time of 4.47, so I added .03 due to his age of 27. Redmond’s time is somewhat suspect, as it was reported by his school, Mississippi State.
Even the simple-minded can see that Jackson and Sullivan don’t have the speed to be solid pro CBs. Williams by now is totally off the chart – he should only be out there when the Packers are playing a team with a below-average-speed set of receivers.
Alexander and Hollman, two Gutekunst acquisitions are fine speed-wise, and Kevin King’s speed might be acceptable in most situations. Tony Brown’s time is more than fine. I’m not sure whether Tremon Smith, at 190 pounds and chosen in the sixth round by the Chiefs, is viewed as a bona fide CB or strictly as a kick and punt returner.
The 49ers have a fast receiving corps – though by no means one of the league’s fastest. It’s obvious that the game plan of Kyle Shanahan and his staff was to create favorable receiver-defender matchups. The two key players were tight end George Kittle and rookie wideout Deebo Samuel.
Kittle’s dash time of 4.52 is 94th percentile for tight ends. Samuel’s time of 4.48 is better than average at 64th percentile.
Based on these numbers, it would have seemed that once Kittle made his breaks King would have been able to close on him. However, the game film tells us otherwise – 40-yard dash times are sometimes not truly indicative of one’s speed over shorter distances or in the heat of competition. In the second quarter Kittle ran a crossing route, with King initially one stride behind – and he remained that same distance behind throughout the 22-yard pass play. The two appear to have equal game speed, whereas a cornerback needs to be faster than the receiver.
On Kittle’s 61-yard touchdown stroll, King, the only defender in the vicinity, was a full nine yards behind Kittle when the ball was delivered on another pretty crossing route.
The 49ers other big offensive play was another beautifully conceived crossing route, this time from right to left, by Deebo Samuel. As with King’s defense, Tramon Williams was in hot pursuit but a step behind when the ball was delivered. Tramon actually managed to chase him for 30 yards without losing ground, but also without gaining any ground.
The 49er’ five big pass plays, of 61, 42, 22, 22, and 18 yards, constituted 165 of Garoppolo’s otherwise modest 253 yards through the air. What made these plays so conceptually sound was that they isolated the two targeted Green Bay slow defenders on equally fast or faster receivers, and they cleared all others out of the area. In so doing, the passes were relatively short and easy, and the receivers were afforded lots of unimpeded yardage after the catch.
One of the most enduring clichés in the NFL, “you can’t teach speed,” played out at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday.
At the same time, don’t you wonder how the Packers were able to vanquish the hyper-fast Chiefs in Week 8? They had Tyreek Hill, whose Pro Day dash time was 4.29 seconds – he caught six balls for 76 yards, but didn’t have a catch over 21 yards. Green Bay also did relatively well in holding superstar TE Travis Kelce (4.61 dash time) to four completions in eight targets, including a 29-yarder. The Chiefs air attack also featured Sammy Watkins (4.43 speed, 4th pick overall in 2014), and rookie Mecole Hardman (4.33!) – who had two catches for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Pack. Coach Andy Reed positively lusts for speed.
One thing for sure: Packers’ opponents the rest of the way are going to be keying, as did Shanahan, on Kevin King and Tramon Williams. King, chosen 33rd overall, actually had a promising rookie season in 2017, but he now seems totally lost. Things were so bad on Sunday that the Packers might choose to give up on him, as they did with Round 1 picks Damarious Randall (4.46) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (4.50).
Going forward, Packer fans need to hope and pray that Mike Pettine can get more speed on the field. They might already have the solutions on the roster: Tony Brown, Will Redmond, and Ka’Dar Hollman are all plenty speedy at sub-4.40.
By the way, whatever happened with Tony Brown? After an impressive preseason, he’s gone from getting 37 percent of the defensive snaps in Game 1 to barely finding a spot on the bench to park his butt. He appears to be in the doghouse – did his emotional volatility get the best of him?
The lbs are very slow and weak! Dline besides Clark is weak. You replaced 2 aging/ injured pass rushers with 3 younger pass rushers! Still no upgrade at ilb..they need a fresh start there!
3 pass rushers? Oh…..i get it, nevermind.
Thought out of the blue…..If you have the 12th pick in the draft, couldn’t you trade down a little bit, plus pick up an extra 2nd round pick?
Just thinking out loud, don’t mind me.
In relation to trading back from #12. You’re not going to get a 2nd rounder trading slightly. You’d need to trade into the #20’s to achieve that for a 1 to 1 deal. 5th year options generally won’t be for even on the trade calculator (both ways) it’s why GB was able to trade a 1st for an earlier 1st and only give up 2-4ths totally off scale
Our trade partner never blinked an eye for a #29 and
2 4ths. They never lost their day 1 option.
I’d trade down to 25th for a extra #2. Two reasons why….1) You probably still get Rashan Gary (if your drunk enough to call that a good pick.) 2) If you don’t get Rashan, i would think you can get someone who gives you more than a bench warmer. Plus you get an extra 2nd rounder.
The point is…..you have both the edge rusher spots solidified for years. So you knew you were drafting a bench player with Gary, When there is immediate need on the line and wide receiver, tight end, ilb, etc.
With the exception of a QB. NOBODY purposely drafts a bench player with the 12th pick. If you can’t draft a starter with the 12th pick, you failed (period). That’s where you find, and expect a starter.
This isn’t difficult. The Packers probably could have shot a dart blindfolded at their draft board in the first round and ended up with a player that could have contributed more than Gary. not trying to be mean, but fuck…..C’mon Man!
We’re disappointed when a 2nd round pick rides the bench right? This is supposed to be the 12th best player in the G Damn draft we’re talking about and he sits on a bench? For the life of me, i can’t imagine anyone not understanding this.
Here…i’ll stop sugar coating it….It was a dumb ass stupid fucking pick.
I believe that most people do not consider the fact that Gute WAS someone that helped to choose draft picks for Ted Thompson (the Frugal GM) to look at and then go after. That was one of my biggest worries about him . . . It appears that I may not have been that far off. I believe that he can see the difference between a good FA and a bad one. But most of us can do this! I still believe that Gute was ANOTHER FAIL in a growing list of fails for that Ginger Gap-Toothed fuck.
Nope, I understand it. I’m with ya on this one. I was on the Sweat or Burns bandwagon if OLB was going to be the pick. When the Gary pick came in I was keeping tabs on this with a buddy of mine and we both had the same underwhelmed reaction. On the next pick the Dolphins took Christian Wilkins and my buddy said, “That would have been the better pick.” Hard to argue that.
Also, I don’t buy the BS that it was Gary who made Chase Winovich look good at Michigan. The Patriots third round pick is doing just fine on his own.
“I’m not sure whether Tremon Smith, at 190 pounds and chosen in the sixth round by the Chiefs, is viewed as a bona fide CB or strictly as a kick and punt returner.” – Robster
Has it been confirmed Smith is a bona fide kick and punt returner? Just asking. There may be a reason that the Chiefs never had Smith return a punt.
If anyone has ever watched Alexander and King chase down the same runner. Alexander is so much faster, that he almost makes it look like King is out for a light jog. I exaggerate, but not by much. If i only saw it once, i wouldn’t bring it up.
Rob bringing up Tony Brown…reminds me of MVS and how he’s fallin off the play calling map.
In the first 5 games MVS was targeted 32 times. In the last 6 games he has 13 targets. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but coming into the 12th game of the season, can this receiving core be any more of a hot mess? In my perspective, there is absolutely no identity to this passing game at all. This is everyone’s fault, from Gute down.
Maybe I should start doing a “Speed Watch” on upcoming opposing receivers. The Giants’ WRs are Sterling Shepard (4.48), Golden Tate (4.42 at NFL Combine but now the 31–year-old is probably around 4.52) and the rookie from Auburn, Darius Slayton (4.39 – trouble). Slayton and Tate are about even on the year on yardage, with 461 and 450, Evan Engram (4.42) at tight end beat Kittle’s Combine time by a full tenth of a second. Finally, RB Saquon Barkley (4.40) has 35 receptions for 259 yards on the year. Engram leads the team with 467 yards – and he’s done it in only starting six games. Will Pettine repeat his coverage assignments blunders on Sunday, and who will he line up across from the rapid TE? And while on that subject, how about putting Alexander on opponents’ fastest WR, instead of confining him to the right (offensive) flank of the formation – where opponents ignore him? Whenever teams have two blazing receivers, King and Tramon should probably sit.
I agree, we need an abundance of speed. I also agree that Pettine needs to have Jaire mirror the team’s fastest. To me, it is not using his full potential making him guard one side of the field; all an opponent OC has to do is flip the plays. I like King in, however, only if the mentioned occurs. A good option for the other side of Jaire could be Chandon Sullivan who has started for other NFL teams before. He is aggressive, quick and determined to make plays.
Also, a bonus, Mike Pettine needs to learn to work with what he’s got. A lot of times, it’s excuses for what we lack rather than scheming to show and prove. We are struggling hard with stopping the run and also missing an impact ILB and Pettine thinks he has to abandon a traditional “base” package. Regardless of talent, we need to be in base more often than not. If I were an OC, I would check to a run play each time I see a Packer hybrid as the only one who has played impactful there has been Raven Greene. Why not run a base defense with Kenny/Dean playing downed, Smiths on outside and OB as the “will”. OB was mentioned to be one of our best linebackers before injury, now he can’t find the field. He’s fast enough to cover a TE and adds help to stopping the run. I don’t like him stopping the run as much as BJ Goodson but why not let him be our “hybrid” in a base package. If in passing territory, by all means go into full subpackage with a safety-hybrid, but it’s not going to help us stop the run against the league’s best. It also leaves us vulnerable in the passing game. We cannot generate pass protection if the run has opened up play-action. Start there with more traditional packages and let the back-end play fast and physical like they are good at and used to.
Engram and Tate are out this Sunday.
Maybe the defense will get a pick 6 in a route of the giants this week.
Well get to see kevin king and co pose as a group in the end zone again…God that would be cool.
Rodgers wont be sacked by the worst pass rush in the nfl…and we get to hear about how awesome our line is.
Then they will wipe out the Redskins next week.
They can pose when they do something big, like get into and WIN in the playoffs. The attention seeking frat boy skits are another reason the team trends to the soft side of football.
Exactly. Sounds like all the shit I’ve been hearing from Michigan fans for the past month before today’s reality check at the hands of Ohio State. You are spot on.
I love draft talk!
After the draft I pointed out that the Packers could have taken Chase Winovich in Rd 3 and gotten a better player than Rashan Gary at 10th overall. It is very simple. He produced much more than Rashan Gary against the exact same opponents and in the same circumstances. They were on the same team for crying out loud! I liked the Elgton Jenkins pick and I scorned the picks of Gary and Savage.
I like Savage but, really, he was the best DB in the entire 2019 draft? The best one? Worth giving up multiple picks to obtain? I like Juan Thornhill better and he wasn’t taken until round 2 to put it in perspective. Gute the Bad traded up in round 1 to obtain a late second round player. That is bad draft day management.
The Gary pick is a total stumper on multiple levels. Yes, sure, Gute the Bad could have gotten a better player from the same team same specialty in Rd 3. Ouch! If you HAD to use a Rd 1 pick on an Edge Rusher then Sweat and Burns appeared then and appear now to be better values. Could have had Sweat with a major trade down still to OBTAIN picks instead of THROWING THEM AWAY. That’s thinking outside the Gute the Bad thinking box.
But, here’s another thing: The Packers signed the Smith brothers. If they worked out then Gary is a specialist and a reserve and an off the bench player. You used your #12 overall on that? You used it like you assumed one of the Smiths would not work out? (Don’t come back that Gary would be the 3rd pass rush LB on passing downs. 1. Still a specialty reserve. 2. Really? Rush 3 LBs and basically show that pre-snap? It isn’t like the Smiths or Gary can cover anyone who was a true threat. It would just basically make a blitz obvious and leave 5 players in coverage vs. 4 or more receiving options. Ouch.)
Even worse, the Packers already had top reserve covered. Kyler Fackrell. Over ten sacks last year. No reason to say he could not do that this year if he was on the field as much as before or as much as the Smiths. In fact, what the Smith’s are each being paid is for the differential in sacks more than Fackrell’s 10.5 sacks last year. There are still 5 games but currently Preston is even and Za’Darius is minus .5. You’d compare Fackrell to the lesser producer actually. But, let’s say they both end up with 15 sacks. Then you paid the second guy 16 million this year for an “extra” 4.5 sacks.
Good drafting means matching value with need. A blend. A balance. Both are equally important. Fill your need and you make the biggest differential to your team. The selection of Gary was a total FAIL on the need side of the equation. In fact, I cannot think of a team that so severely failed on the need side in the top half of the draft. Can you? Maybe I missed one. (Not just this draft. Any draft. Top half teams usually have lots of needs and then have their pick of players at most the positions.)
It also looks like a FAIL on the value side. Two better round one players at that position. Another in Rd Three!
Ok Lonely Boy….Thanks for the insight.
Now tell me, how is Gary is a “specialist” in any reference? He has one rush move, a bull rush, That’s like a pitcher having a fastball….and that’s it. and his fast ball clocks at 99 mph.but he has no control.
I have to be honest with you Lonely Boy, i’m getting sick and tired of having to come in here and educate you.
Fine….i’ll keep educating, but please….just shut up,listen, and learn…..
There was no question in the minds of Gute, or Russ Ball that the Smith brothers would be starters before the ink dried. You aren’t going to pay these guys 36 million dollars before they hit the practice field and then bench one of them. They are your starters….plain and simple. Everyone knows that, so should you.
Now, something i have discussed with you in the past. Thanks for telling all of us that the Gary pick was a fail. I think that might have been established in no uncertain terms earlier. If you want to keep posting here i’ll remind you again. Stop riding my coat tails. Bring up a subject on your own. Maybe someday…. somebody will then follow your lead. But then again, it’s doubtful.
On the “up side” Lonely Boy. As always, i give credit when it’s deserved. Lately you have been consistently cooking my egg correctly, nice texture, not runny anymore. BUT……and please take this constructively….the muffin edges still aren’t burnt like i like them. I think if you focus and give better effort you can improve on that also.
Thank you for trying
Finally, getting smart. You’re starting to learn to…Stay down. Good job Elmer.
Fackrell is a one year wonder. Taking Gary at 12 was a head scratcher then trying to convert him into an OLB is something that hasn’t worked yet [Datone Jones, Mike Neal] but they continue to try it. Moderate success with the oft injured Nick Perry.
Def. end down lineman, convert to stand up OLB in Green Bay….The Packers have tried it 5 times in 8 years, what could go wrong. Outsmarting the rest of the league….it’s what we do. Ain’t that right Big Ted.
Draft a project at 12. One step ahead of the league.
He should be a DE in 4-3 looks. That 3-4 with a fu …g safety in the WLB spot is idiotic. He has speed off the ball, set him up. Try Summers inside in nickle. Let Martinez walk.
You are correct sir!!
Now, lets go get that axe back…..
When you pick at 12 you should get a GREAT player like the Vikings did with Christian Ponder. They were so good that year they went 3-13 and had the #4 overall pick the next season that they wasted on Matt Kalil. I can go on but just don’t care enough.
Yes, punch back, flail thy mental fists.
I’ll tell you a few things about the Ponder pick. I grade the players pre-draft into where their value is. You know, like late 1st rounder, end of 3rd round, and so on. 4 echelons in the 1st round, two in Rd 2 and 3, and then just “4th”, “5th”, etc.
I had Ponder graded as an early 3rd rounder. When the Vikings drafted him I was in a hotel room traveling. I dropped to my knees and covered my face in horrified disbelief. I wanted DE Robert Quinn for that pick although I also had DE Cameron Jordan ranked as a Top 10 level player. (I love defensive linemen!)
The problem with that draft was that none of the QBs were that good. If not Ponder then we could have taken Kaepernick or Andy Dalton. We perhaps would have been stuck with those errors longer. The thing with QBs is that you really can’t tell very well how they’ll convert to the NFL (Cousins in RD 4, Brady in RD 6, 50/50 total failures in RD 1). It is a 50/50 roll of the dice. The other thing is that you generally try to take them earlier than projected or you just miss out. If you are right you are brilliant. If you are wrong you look stupid. A few years ago when the Chiefs traded up to get Mahomes and the Texans traded up to get Watson most people thought they were taken way too early and were mistakes to draft. You can look at pre-draft rankings and they were not viewed at all as top half of Rd 1 QBs.
Matt Kalil went to the pro bowl his rookie year and then had mental issues and back injury issues and other body break down issues. Funny, I wanted Riley Reiff instead of Kalil and Reiff is on the team now.
You also neglected to point out that the Vikings traded up into the back end of Rd 1 to draft Harrison Smith. We gave up much less than Gute the Bad did to go get Savage and Smith is a future Hall of Famer.
Don’t ignore the draft hits while you try to spin some draft yarn about the Vikings being poor drafters! Most our talent comes from the draft and we are one of the most talented teams in the NFL.
You grade picks…new level of being alone. Wow. I’m sorry.
Here ends my correspondence with you. Not worth my time.
They say it takes talent to win a Super Bowl.
Keep trying…Never give up.
LONG DEEP CHUCKLE
Lonely boy now is a “talent evaluator” LOL. Ok Mel Kiper. Whatever you say
Go away, douche bag.
Aaron Rodgers reckless plays? When did he ever resemble Favre? More like Aaron Rodgers conservative plays. Hold onto the ball for forever. Unwillingness to throw in tight coverage because it might lead to an INT but not a completion.
Yea…we need to get rid of that dude. I’m not sure i’ve ever seen him throw in tight coverage with a small window. Not sure if he even knows what a window is. He’s gotta go, bench him for now, and lets give Hundley a shot…oops….i meant, lets give Boyle a shot. I had a flash back to 2015, my bad.
Eh, you guys are stuck with Rodgers for the next several years while being gashed by him in the salary cap. You really can’t get rid of him now. What happened in the 49ers game is that he subconsciously rebelled against the Lafleur offense. He may correct that. Or, I should say, Lafleur may correct that in him. He probably had a heart to heart with Rodgers about knuckling under and getting with the program. If Rodgers plays well tomorrow then the intervention worked and Rodgers has gotten on board and will do as he is told to do.
If he plays poorly then Rodgers has not been remolded by Lafleur.
Hmmm…lets see…Stuck with Rodgers….
Or stuck with an empty trophy case…It’s a quandary.
The nice thing about banners is, that you can put them over the glass trophy case to keep the dust off, just in case you win something to put in there sometime in the next 50 years.
LONG DEEP CHUCKLE
I would rather be stuck with Rodgers than stuck with no super bowls. You know who is stuck with a QB? The LA Rams. Think the Rams are really regretting that albatross of a contract
I think barring a big turnaround Pettine is going to be fired.
Idk Kato. That could be true i guess when you really look at results, before and after. But Gute, or Murphy, or whoever makes that call, would have to be ultra aggressive. It just isn’t how the Packers operate, at least in the past.
I was waiting until the end of the season to take a valid look at it..new acquisitions, money spent, and end results. Pettine’s claim to success is lowering the YPG given up. But as i noted awhile back, that started to go south. They are now at 22 PPG, but they were under 20 when i brought it up. I guess the bottom line is, you could spend 200 million dollars on the defense, but if it doesn’t improve, what have you done?
The Pettine Zoo.
When you look at Pettine’s career he always did well after taking over from great defensive coordinators. He inherited great well-coached players everywhere. Great defense continue to do well for a year or two after the coordinator who made them leaves. Usually. Like how the Bengals D did fine the first year or two after Zimmer left and the rapidly did worse and worse and are not one the NFL’s worst defenses. Same thing will happen with the Bears. Only a little less good this year but by next year they won’t even be Top 10 because it will be two years A,F. (after Fangio).
With the Packers Pettine took over a bad defense and he has never shown he knows how to turn that kind of sinking ship around.
In 2017 the Packers were 22nd on defense allowing 348.9 yards per game. The year before Pettine.
In 2018 the Packers were 18th on defense allowing 354.4 yards per game. Pettine’s 1st year. The top 3 draft picks were defense. Note that though the ranking slightly improved the yards allowed actually increased (as did the points allowed).
In 2019 the Packers are currently 28th in defense allowing a whopping 380.5 yards a game. Pettine’s second year. Two first rounders, one a high pick, used on defense and three (3 !) premiere defenders added in free agency. As more and more talent has entered the Packers defense that defense, illogically, has done worse and worse.
It’s so funny because the writers and pundits still heap verbal accolades on the Packers great new defense and these great wise free agent additions and how the Smiths have transformed the Packers defense.
Into what? 28th? Whatcha gunning for? Gonna go for 27th next year and 26th the year after that?
Just think: Lafleur is the coach because he was willing to keep Pettine….
They literally can’t keep pouring resources into the defense and ignore the offense. There are no excuses for the defense, they have been mostly healthy this year.
The other problem one could say is when they did try to help the offense, they’ve been missing, sans Elgton.
Great point made Kato. It could also be said they started going defense heavy since the 2012 draft and all those #1 picks on defense in succession. Ted was much better drafting offense over defense.
Part of the problem is, they stick with Capers entirely too long, at least in my opinion. Part of the failings of those players was perhaps due to coaching. While they made some headscratching picks, some of the guys they drafted were pretty good players out of college and were highly thought of. One thing that comes to mind was Micah Hyde somehow was not a starter. He has been a great player for Buffalo. Casey Hayward has managed to have some nice seasons for San Diego. Damarious Randall has been decent for Cleveland, they have gotten way more out of him than Green Bay did. Talent is just part of the equation, but coaches at some point need to do their part and maximize the players they have. I really don’t think the cupboard is bare in terms of talent on the defensive side of the ball.
I am going to lose my shit if I see another pathetic showing from the defense tomorrow. Anything over 17 points is a large scale failure
The Packers are worse in league rankings on defense than they were on average with Capers
I see your point, but I think it’s more ‘reaction’ speed than straight speed.
It’s reading the play, and knowing your role, and your fellow db’s roles.
How many times do you Packers db’s, and other teams db’s, stay in a
‘Zone’ instead of following the receiver, either on deep routes or on
crossing routes. Is it too much combo man-to-man and zone together?
I suppose one can not play just man-to-man, as there would be too
many crossing picks (accidental or intended). And each opposing
team’s offensive coordinator / coach is forever scheming to confuse
the db’s. The answer I think is smarter db’s, but of course with speed!