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Defensive Line Discussion

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by PackerFlatLander, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. PackerFlatLander

    PackerFlatLander Cheesehead

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    Since the faces are so different across the line now, I figured it merited a discussion. What's our consensus thus far? Gone are Raji (we assume for good?), Pickett, and Jolly.

    The thing sticking out to me the most, is the ascending play of Mike Daniels. This guy is an animal, albeit perhaps a quiet one, in the sense that he still has yet to attain league-wide attention or recognition. Only in his third year, the potential of this dude is off the charts. I have noticed that he seems to be getting bigger and stronger. I looked it up and sure enough ... his draft profile listed him at 290 and today, he weighs in at 305. That's all muscle addition. They need to be ready to open up the bank for him, because he ain't going nowhere.

    Elsewhere, Guion and Pennel, while not setting the sky on fire, seem to not be detriments, at least not overall. Datone Jones, while underachieving thus far, while not getting sacks, has been making disruptive plays. I know for sure that he got up in Brady's area several times on Sunday, forcing errant throws, etc. That doesn't show up on a stat sheet, but those are absolutely game-saving plays - no way around it. Even though CM3 and Peppers are linebackers, I'd argue that they are part of the d-line's success, as well.

    Feel free to discuss other aspects of the defense here, if you like. I just wanted to assess the "new" d-line. Getting back to Peppers ... I think it's accurate to say, that after Charles Woodson, Peppers is easily the 2nd-best veteran free agent that Thompson has signed. That was a shrewd "under the rug" pickup and it has paid off HUGE.
     
  2. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    I've been a Guion critic from the start. At this point, I think that he's back to playing at or a little above the level that he played with the Vikings. He was terrible at the start but that could likely be attributed to his switch to a new team and scheme. He has been effective at times, and I'm not sure Raji would have been any better. There was a lot of debate about whether Raji had anything left for this team. Post injury, it seemed that the entire fanbase was positive that we just lost the centerpiece of our defense. We really don't know what we lost, but in my mind, we still need to find that dominant force in the middle.

    Mike Daniels seemed to disappear for the first half of the season, not long after talking about being a leader and letting his play make a statement. Now he's starting to play well down the stretch, much like last season. Daniels is becoming a leader but we still need more.

    I haven't watched as much of the other guys but agree that Peppers and Matthews are a part of the re-energized defensive line play. Capers having healthy players and the ability to rotate in different packages is also making a positive impact. Let's hope that this continues through early February.

    As for the Peppers signing, it continues to show TT's methodology. He looks for value free agents that don't cost a lot because there are questions about effort, ability, or age. Your success rate is going to be low but when it works you'll look like a genius. At the same time, it keeps your salary cap in good health. Personally I don't mind this strategy but wouldn't mind seeing TT cycle a few more of these types of FA players through the system to see if we can net a few more on a more regular basis.
     
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  3. PackerFlatLander

    PackerFlatLander Cheesehead

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    Indeed. I forgot to mention Mike Neal, silly me. When healthy, he's played okay. Not great, not terrible, but okay. Good mention on Josh Boyd - he's another one to be developed further and hopefully becomes a good player. As for re-signing Raji ... I could be wrong, but I think Raji's view of his own worth is still a bit inflated, even if other teams didn't exactly go running after him in free agency. If that proves to be the case, I say we cut him loose. He is not All-Pro and is not a game-changing, difference-maker. I'd prefer to develop Josh Boyd, rather than keep Raji.

    Sam Barrington - I really like that kid - he's making strides. It's still tough for me to diss, or talk bad about the guy, but AJ Hawk - I'm still trying to recall ONE great or outstanding play that he's ever made since 2006, and ... I can't think of one. Funny how, as soon as he's on the bench, everyone seems to play better??? Fun guy to root for, but at this point, Hawk may be one of best JAG examples of the 5th overall pick.
     
  4. rondon57

    rondon57 Cheesehead

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    Pennell has potential, Guion is as good as he is gonna get but it would have been nice to have Raji in the mix just to see if he could have regained his play like 2010
     
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  5. PikeBadger

    PikeBadger Cheesehead

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    Actually TT's success rate has been perfect when signing players of Pepper's type. He's 3 for 3 when signing high profile free agent talent. My guess is he's tried to sign more than those three but couldn't agree to contract terms or was out-bid. Ted will not sacrifice the concept of fair value. I'd like to see an upgrade from Guion at NT next year but it won't be easy drafting at pick 32.
     
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  6. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    I don't know what you call Pepper's high profile free agent type, but using that description he's 1 for 1. Woodson wasn't wanted by anyone but Green Bay and it was pretty much the same with Ryan Pickett. Also on that list should be Marquand Manuel, Frank Walker, Brandon Chillar, Anthony Hargrove, Jeff Saturday, Cedrick Benson, and a host of others that barely are worth mentioning. Saturday is the only other guy with Pro Bowls to his name, but bargain-basement former pro bowlers aren't a dime-a-dozen in the NFL.
     
  7. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Peppers doesn't even play D-Line but for a snap here or there. Matthews a D-Lineman? These are linebackers, guys.

    The only D-Lineman I can muster any enthusiasm for is Daniels. He's the only 3 down guy we have, and the only one who seems to be able to get off a run block with any regularity. Guion is better in pass rush; Jones too and that's not saying much. Pennel is very stiff which severely limits his upside; Robinson is more athletic than Pennel but he needs more bulk to make the jump next year. Boyd hasn't taken the second year step and may have topped out.

    There's need here.
     
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  8. Carl

    Carl Cheesehead

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    Daniels is having a very good season. As far a Datone, to me he has done a good job. As a 3-4 D end, he basically has to take on his block and stay in position. I think he's done a good job at that.
     
  9. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    Daniels excelled last year as a designated pass rusher. He was asked to do more this season – playing more snaps and vs. the run and I thought he struggled some early in the season but he’s definitely come on. Letroy Guion has flashed but he’s not a classic NT IMO; he seems to do better one-gapping than two gapping. Josh Boyd is OK but I remain disappointed in Datone Jones. It’s not that he’s been terrible or anything, just that I was hoping he’d be a difference-maker and so far I haven’t seen that (but I’ll re-watch the Pats game and watch him). The bottom line for me is the DL isn’t getting washed away vs. the run like they were at times earlier in the season. The jolt of energy that was either caused by, or coincided with, the switch of Clay to the middle for significant snaps seems to have energized the DL too.

    Perry getting better this season made the switch of Clay to the middle make even more sense. I hope he can get and stay healthy down the stretch. Neal has played pretty well too. Peppers has obviously been a great addition.

    Woodson certainly was a big name, high profile free agent. He was just the last of that group to sign that year. Grouping Woodson with Pickett, Manuel, Walker, etc. doesn't make sense to me. Woodson signed a contract worth as much as $52M over seven years. He made $10.5 M the first year. Who in that list signed for anything like those numbers? BTW, the Bucs wanted Woodson and reportedly would have matched or exceeded the money the Packers paid but they wanted him to play safety. The Packers promised him he could play corner so he reluctantly agreed to come to Green Bay. He clashed with McCarthy that first year, they worked it out and the rest, as they say, is history.
     
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  10. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    its a misconception that Woodson wasnt wanted by anyone. Woodson wasnt wanted by anyone else for the price he was asking, which was alot. He had plenty of suitors at less than what he signed with the packers for
     
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  11. PikeBadger

    PikeBadger Cheesehead

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    All three were first round picks in their draft class so they clearly had significant talent, skills and abilities. Saturday was at the end of his career.
     
  12. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    While the defensive line has played better since the bye week there´s no denying that we need an upgrade at NT. I´m actually surprised to see teams having more success running the ball to Daniels side.
     
  13. gopkrs

    gopkrs Cheesehead

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    I agree with ThxJack that Perry is playing better and it gives the D a lot more options. Am looking forward to him getting back in the game. Hope it is not serious and coaching staff is playing it safe with him. Daniels surprises me with some excellent plays at times. Wish Datone would pressure better.
     
  14. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    TT took a gamble on Woodson and it paid off big time. Woodson had been good early in his career, but had finished his two previous seasons on IR with knee, hip, and leg injuries. In the five seasons before joining the Packers, he had recorded only one interception each year except for 2003 when he made three. He hadn't played in all 16 games since 2001. His work ethic and commitment were questioned during his final season in Oakland. Tampa Bay wanting him at safety just proves my point. Nobody wanted him as a CB because they considered him to be washed up, injury prone, no longer effective, and not worth the money he wanted. I don't call that high profile. Here is a good article that I referenced for my info above: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2423159 They call him one of the last of the premium free agents to go off the free agent market that season, but nothing they describe backs up that claim. He was a big name free agent, but to most he appeared to be at the end of his career.
     
  15. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Perry's been playing better, but I'd not call him the play maker you'd like to have gotten out of a first round pick. D. Jones...same deal.
     
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  16. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I believe there was a conscious decision to build a one-gapping line to improve the D-Line pass rush out of base. Raji was a better one-gapper than two-gapper when he played nose, and he was penned in to go back there.

    The problem with one-gapping and jet-rushing is the ILBs need to be quicker and more aggressive strikers than what we were getting out of Hawk and Jones. It's hard to play aggressive and penetrating on the line when the opponent is gashing at the second level. Having Matthews back there has been a confidence builder. In the end, though, playing Matthews there regularly on an ongoing basis past this season is an expensive proposition. One would think the injury risk goes up as well watching Matthews playing cement-head Will backer.
     
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  17. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    He also wasn't ready at the time to be moved to safety, which was the deal breaker with Tampa.
     
  18. ThePerfectBeard

    ThePerfectBeard Cheesehead

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    Man, it's CRAZY to think that Daniels is only in his third year. Honestly, this guy is one of my favorites on this team. He brings it every game and I feel like he's a quiet leader on this team. He gets pissed when these guys don't play with the fire that he does. Just an absolute beast and we need to lock him up.

    As for Datone.. I think he's improving, but he doesn't stay on the field. Hopefully, he'll stay healthy. I really want him to be amazing, but I feel like he's going to be one of the "good" lineman. I hope I'm wrong.

    All this being said, this is exactly why I want to go with a ILB or NT in this years draft. Could you imagine if we had a huge NT that demanded a double team on every play? It would free up Daniels even more and that's scary! Getting a stud ILB that we could trust in coverage as well as stopping the run would make it easier for insanely disruptive inside stunts.

    The potential on the defensive side of the ball in this years draft has me drooling!
     
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  19. PackerFlatLander

    PackerFlatLander Cheesehead

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    I think my observation has been ... the d-line and the whole defense, really - has been ascending in their play, each game since the Saints game. There's a lot more to it, than just moving Clay inside. They're getting better and better and really, that's all we can hope for. I've been saying this a lot lately during football conversations at work and with friends at the bar ... for as much-maligned as the Packers' o-line and defense has been over the past 5+ years of being "bad" ... they really are NOT as bad as their so-called "universal" reputation is and has been. I mean, the defense rankings are what they are - you can't hide from numbers and statistics. But the only one that matters, is the win column.
     
  20. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    Even the statistics do back up that the defense is good in the sense that they are a classic bend-but-don't-break defense. We give up a lot of yards but don't concede a commensurate number of points, in part because we cause a lot of turnovers. We're a good team to pad your yardage stats against but the key is that you still have to score points, and most importantly score more than Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy.

    Our defensive line enables the secondary's aggressive turnover style.
     
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  21. rondon57

    rondon57 Cheesehead

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    Secondary is doing o.k. OLB seems good and if Perry can ever stay healthy and improve but D-Line and ILB should be a priority in the draft.
     

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