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Depth Chart: DEFENSE

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by FrankRizzo, Mar 16, 2014.

?

Looking at the probably starting groups, WHICH ONE position looks like it needs upgrading now most?

  1. ILB

    28.1%
  2. Safety with elite range (allow Burnett to play more in the box like Polamalu/Vacarro)

    46.9%
  3. Safety with physicality in the box (keep Burnett more back at free safety)

    15.6%
  4. More DL beef

    9.4%
  1. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    Nick Perry does not have stiff hips. He was drafted because he's able to bend at the waste and get low around the corner, something he's demonstrated playing on the right side. Perry's problem has been one part injury and one part mental. He has a mental hitch to playing standing up, something that mostly goes away when he moves to the more familiar right side. He's also received some praise from coaches for his work in coverage, however, he does struggle when attacking runners in the open field and his foot was a problem throughout the second half of last season. As JS beat writers noticed he'd typically start out games playing pretty well and getting pressure, but as games went on he'd steadily decline as his foot pain started to flair.

    EDIT: You watch his sacks against Baltimore and Detroit and then you tell me that he has stiff hips. He's no Clay Matthews but he's not a stiff either.
     
  2. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    Most yes, however, when you have a unique talent you need to make adjustments to maximize that player's impact. It's not common for CBs to be employed like Woodson was in 2009 -2010 and no one could argue with the results. Matthews primary strengths, well apart from his freakish flexibility and loose hips, are his versatility and his instincts. Put him in a position where teams won't know where and when he's coming from and his impact will be greatly magnified. Playing as a pseudo DE he's just not at the same level of effectiveness.
     
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  3. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    I don't think he's a misfit at LOLB. I suspect going from right side hand in the dirt DE to left side stand up LOLB was simply too much of a change for him. I wouldn't surprised that if Perry does stay healthy and continue to be effective on the right side that he'll eventually look more natural and comfortable when playing on the left.
     
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  4. wist43

    wist43 Cheesehead

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    Capers apologist??

    I seem to be one of the few Packer fans these days who doesn't like giving up yardage in huge chunks, embarrassing blowouts in which we're helpless to stop anything the opponent is doing, etc

    2011 was enough of an embarrassment, but there can be no excuse for that mess he put out there against the niners in the playoffs - after which he admitted he had no idea how to stop them; then there is last years dismal collapse.

    Injuries factor for sure, but most of our problems go back to that idiotic 2-4 alignment. It is simply a fact that Capers plays it more than any other team in the league - and we get our asses handed to us out of that alignment. Other teams play the 2-4 too, but nowhere near as much as Capers - and the teams that do run it, have vastly superior personnel who can make the alignment work - we don't have the personnel to make it work.

    Add all of that up, and any rational observer should conclude that we shouldn't be running the 2-4; and if our personnel are not suited to the 2-4, the other options are 3-3 and 4-2, both of which would be much better suited to the personnel TT has brought in.

    Everyone wants to indict the players, but how can you blame someone like Perry, when he's said from the beginning he never wanted to play OLB - and it's obvious he's not a fit there; yet, Capers throws him out there anyway, and when he sucks at it, everyone blames Perry and not Capers??

    It's up to Capers to use the players to their strengths, and he's clearly not doing that. For that, he should be fired.
     
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  5. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Every Packers fan is tired of the way the defense has played for most of the last three seasons. I don´t think it´s all Capers fault though. While there is no denying he was to blame for what happened in the 2012 playoff game vs. the Niners, his defense started pretty good in 2013 and I think the players are mostly to blame for the downfall after Rodgers went down. If it would have been the schme I´m sure it wouldn´t have worked during the first eight weeks either.
     
  6. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    See, you're missing the point. 3-4 OLBs are pseudo DEs. Period. And stuff. Their responsibilities (outside containment in running plays, rushing the passer on pass plays) and alignment have the most in common with 4-3 defensive ends (and a strong second with 4-3 Strongside OLBs. Which are often at or near the line and jam the tight end.)

    The vast, vast majority of 3-4 OLBs were college ends because college 3-4s are rare. I believe there are something on the order of 50 teams that run a 3-4 in college. As a result, we project. Matthews was technically actually a DE in college (he played under Carrol's system and was their Leo.)

    The ideal 3-4 is a college 3-4 backer. They are as rare as hen teeth. The LIKELY ideal 3-4 OLB an undersized college DE who doesn't have the size to hold up at the NFL level as a 4-3 end. So we stand him up and give him an easier job in the run game.

    To your point that Matthews is more effective "not as a pseudo DE," you'll have to explain what you mean by that. I'm confident (working on finding a source) that most of his sacks come from rushing in his standard spot. Care to elaborate on what you mean?
     
  7. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Interesting stat from PFF:

     
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  8. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    See, that's just dumb. Our 2-4 is a 4-2. Our 'ends' just happen to be standing up. Would it make you feel better if Matthew and Perry were in a three point stance instead of a two point?
     
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  9. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    Let's see if Vince Lombardi can answer this dispute, Saint Vince what say you?

    “It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men... Wist is full of ****." Rodgers absence certainly did affect the Defense. In particular BJ Raji had a 8 million per annum multi year deal on the table until the end of October, furthermore Packer beat writers and coaches routinely praised his play up until Rodgers injury. Afterwards his play fell off a cliff and then suddenly he became a presence again when Rodgers returned. Even earning a win against a top notch 49er interior Oline.
     
  10. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Why are people assuming that Peppers is going to play end?
    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/word-muth/2013/word-muth-san-francisco-clinic

    Read the above artile and tell me it was mainly Capers' fault during the blowout loss to San Fran in 2012. Perry was drafted onto a 3-4 defense. He is not big enough to play defensive end in our defense. How is it Capers fault if Perry doesn't want to play OLB? Is Capers supposed to change his ENTIRE defense to accomodate a player that he wasn't in charge of bringing in? If Perry isn't happy being an OLB then that's on Thompson and Perry, not Capers. You can't actually expect Capers to change a 3-4 scheme he's been running for 20 years just because one rookie doesn't want to play OLB.
     
  11. wist43

    wist43 Cheesehead

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    Well

    1) standing up vs 3pt stance makes a difference

    2) 4 of the front 6 are, in fact LB's - you can argue Neal is a hybrid, but he transitioned to LB very well I thought, and dropped some weight to do it - as a result that defensive front is small and routinely gets blown off the ball on run downs - and since Capers plays the 2-4 on run downs, it happens far too often

    3) 2 of the 4 LB's in Capers 2-4 are Hawk and B. Jones - both of whom are weak links in our defense; and while those 2 weak links are left on the field, more talented defensive linemen are twiddling their thumbs on the sideline

    To make better use of the personnel he's been given, he needs to design schemes that put the DL on the field in pass rush situtions, and use the space eaters, i.e. Boyd, Guion, Jolly, Worthy, et al, in a base 3-4. In the nickel, the best way to get the most talent on the field is to go with a 3-3.

    It isn't that complicated.
     
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  12. wist43

    wist43 Cheesehead

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    That's a good article - but alas, it is Capers fault. The blame always comes back to the commander. If you're outmanned - it is up to the commander to find a way.

    We were outmanned in that game, I don't deny that. We were going to give up a lot of yds and pts regardless - but Capers didn't even slow them down. I remember saying before the game that the #1 thing they needed to do was contain Kapneridiot - after the game, the Packers players said they didn't prepare for that at all - which was obvious.

    And against that awesome run blocking OL, and with their great running game?? No way would I ever have been in a 2-4 on any down that could possibly go run/pass.

    As it happens, Capers has learned a little bit - and has played less 2-4 against the Niners in the last 2 matchups, and the results have been much better.
     
  13. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    It's not, but I think you're making it more complicated.

    1) Yes and no. It's probably a wash. They give up some leverage for more visibility standing up.

    2) Ignore that they "are linebackers." Look at their heights and weights. Perry, Matthews, and Neal are all big enough to be designated pass rushers in 4-man nickel front...

    3) Which is what the 2-4 and the 3-3 both are. They are nickel fronts. You're going to give up run defense when you run nickel. It's a balancing act.

    There is no promise that the 3-3 would be a better run defense. It might end up being worse. I'm not saying it's a given, just that it could happen.

    In my mind, a 3-3 with the current roster would be something like Daniels on the nose, more than likely shaded (1 technique--he's not really big enough to two gap, so set him up for pass rushing success), Neal as a three technique to the weak side, and Peppers as a five technique to the strong side. I'd probably want to blend size for outside run defense, so put "small" Matthews to the same side as "big" Peppers, and "small" Neal to the same side as "big" Perry.

    Diagraming this out, I still see a natural running lane up the middle. Having two inside backers might give up more short runs, but fewer longer runs, because you have more bodies that can move, scrape, and run down backs.

    EDIT: I just found something else I don't like about the 3-3 with our roster. Man-to-Man coverage.

    Let's pretend the offense comes up with a 3WR, 1TE, 1RB set. Pretty basic stuff. Packers go nickel to match up one CB per WR. Play call is a simple, straight up, cover-2-man (two safeties playing deep halves, CBs manned up on WRs, 1LB on the RB, 1LB on the TE.)

    And there's the rub. You need two coverage capable linebacker on the field. Matthews and the MLB in this scheme (Jones or Hawk) would be adequate, but now you've taken Matthews out of the rush. Who else on the roster could do it?

    As a change up, that's awesome--let the offense worry about Matthews and the drop him out. If that is your gameplan, you've made every other offensive coordinator in the league happy. Like 5 year old on Christmas morning happy. All he has to do is shift the TE to Matthew's side and he's "blocked," because now he's in coverage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  14. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    wist43's obsession with the 2-4 is getting more and more humorous. He had to be dragged into mentioning Thompson and even then says the personnel doesn't fit a 3-4 but Capers has to make 'em fit playing the 3-4. He can't understand that the 2-4 is basically a 4-2 with the DEs standing up - even in light of the coverage stats of the OLBs. And that the 2-4 was used during the 2010 season. He also continues to forget to include Daniels, the best pass rushing DL on the team!
     
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  15. wist43

    wist43 Cheesehead

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    Nobody should be 2-gapping in a 3-3, everyone out there is a pass rusher.

    Here is what I would argue the most optimal nickel would look like now with Peppers onboard

    Line: Peppers/Daniels/D. Jones

    With Perry rotating with Peppers and Jones to keep everyone fresh, and to put Perry back to doing what he does best, and what he want to do, i.e. rush the passer with his hand on the ground.

    Linebackers: ROLB Matthews, LOLB Neal, MLB (Rover) Hawk, B.Jones, Mulumba

    Matthews and Neal are constants. Hawk is very pedestrian, but can eat up snaps; Jones can cover TE's well; and Mulumba is big, can threaten on the blitz, and is mobile enough to drop into zones - so use them according to opponent and down/distance.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As for how a 4-2 would actually look - again, to maximize the talent on the field, instead of having them holding their helmuts on the sideline,

    Line: Peppers/Daniels/D.Jones/Perry

    LB's: Matthews, and dictated by need/scheme rotation of Neal/Mulumba/Hawk/Jones
     
  16. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    We agree that no one should be 2-gapping.

    Regarding everyone being a pass rusher, that sounds nice. We'll just ask the offense to not run up the middle or throw any passes to the TE or running back.

    I'm on board with this and would agree that's a good group.

    You presume Perry would be a better rusher (probably) but also a good enough run defender at this level. Maybe, maybe not.

    Completely disagree here. For all the problems that Hawk and Jones have, they're not bad. They're also some of the few "natural" or traditional linebackers on the team. I don't want someone well suited to rushing the passes have to cover sideline to sideline. Mulumba would be a sitting duck. I'd throw it at his man every time.

    Same thing with Neal. If he's in coverage, and if he's a linebacker in a 3-3, he will be and will be more often, I'm also throwing at his guy.

    [/quote]

    And you're further off your rocker here. You've made Matthews a "traditional" linebacker. He'll rush what, 20% of the time if you're lucky? Rushing more than 4 guys is an oddity for any scheme.

    With Neal, it's the same thing but worse. You're trying to turn a converted lineman into a sideline to sideline MLB/WLB kind of player. He'll look lost. Same thing with Mulumba.

    Please understand this concept: Our OLBs have much, much more in common with 4-3 defensive linemen than linebackers. Flipping them around like you propose takes our best player (Matthews) and puts him in a position that neutralizes his strengths, while putting our role players in position to be game-changers.

    Terrible, terrible idea.
     
  17. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    We've reached a disagreement based upon semantics. What I dislike is seeing Matthews play a static position virtually every snap. I believe hes much more effective when he allowed to line up all over the front 7 ala Lawrence Taylor.
     
  18. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    I'm not convinced that would improve his play or production. As a change up here and there (5-ish snaps?) sure, let him float in the middle. More than that, I have my doubts. Matthews isn't the force of nature that LT was. He gets sacks from effort, technique, and setting up the opposing tackle. If he's moving around too much, he can't play the chess game.

    If you want him to roam around, you need to do so in a schematically sound fashion and find someone else do his "base" responsibilities.

    I also suspect that LT wouldn't be quite as dominant in the modern game. He was a super star and would probably still be one of the most feared pass rushers in the league, but offenses have evolved. More WCO/three step drops/complete audibles. Find LT. Figure out who he should be covering. Throw at that guy. If he's a free, 5th rusher, find the hot receiver and dump it off.
     
  19. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    That requires other players knowing the assignments of multiple positions. Perry screwed up coverage having to know only ONE position. You think the coaches trust him to handle multiple positions? Neal was in his first year at OLB making the trasition from dline, he had enough on his plate. You can't just say 'Mathews should play all over' without thinking about how that impacts the other guys.
     
  20. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    You admit it's a good article and then completely ignore everything it said? You say the players didn't prepare and yet the article explicitly mentions that it was only a couple of players who didn't play their assignments that lead to Kap running all over the place. The article EXPLICITLY STATES that the Packers were playing a gap excchange defense against read-option looks, "probably the most popular adjustment to stop traditional zone reads."

    The article even has screenshots and explains the roles of each Packers defender on breakdowns. Other wonderful quotes, "Green Bay had a deccent enough scheme, but awfful execution. If Burnett is a little better, maybe the 49ers only gain four yards" (in reference to an 18 yard Kap run). On the play that everyone remembers (Kap's 56 yard TD in the third) Raji gets "absolutely destroyed" (this has a screenshot of the play and it's funny in a depressing way that Raji ggets shoved from the middle of the field to outside the hash mark) and Walden, responsible for outside contain, takes oon his blocker with both arms, which makes it difficult to maintain outsidde leverage (this screenshot is even better because it shows Walden looking downfield while Kap IS RUNNING AROUND BEHIND HIM WITH THE BALL!)
     
  21. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    During the first 4.5 games of the 2010 season he was frequently moved throughout the front 7 and his sacks were evenly distributed from across the formation. I'd argue that that4 game stretch, until injuries forced Capers to change his scheme was his most impressive period of play to date. I'd argue that from the start of 2010 up until his hammy took him out of the Washington game that Clay Matthews was as effective disruptive and downright scary as LT was at his best. In 4.5 games Clay Matthews produced 8.5 sacks and knocked out 2 quarterbacks, and nearly knocked out a third as Vick finished game 1 with a sprained shoulder.

    Matthews is not just an effort guy, he is a fast explosive player and he is a terror around the edges when he's able to get low. He also plays with violence and elan which allows him to blitz very effectively up the middle, and his hand technique makes him a very slippery player to block even when he is picked up. Yet because he isn't a great bull rusher, he uses it to set up his outside and inside moves, he's unable to take direct routes to the Quarterback and is very susceptible to Offensive scheming. The threat of RBs chipping him limit his use of jet rushes and teams frequently slide guards towards him to limit his outside and inside moves. Matthews primary strength is his versatility, he does play the run very well and he does cover well. Which makes it tough to figure out what he's doing and tough to take advantage of him when he is back in coverage. Simply put moving Matthews around makes it much harder for teams to scheme protections towards him and maximizes his excellent instincts and intuition. The guy flat out knows how to attack an offense.

    Finally it seems Capers agrees with me. When Perry and Neal were healthy and available Capers did start moving Matthews around the formation last season.
     
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  22. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    We were able to do it during the first few games of 2010 and that was with an OLB corps consisting of Frank the Tank Zombo and Brady Popeye Poppinga. I think the biggest issue is having a smart savvy and athletic Defensive end, which we have now in Peppers.
     
  23. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    I remember watching that Colts Chiefs playoff game and Waldo bit badly inside on an option play allowing a big gainer to the outside... and I giggled. Hell I still chuckle when I think of that play.
     
  24. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    I'm looking for proof of where his sacks came from. Not just putting the onus on your, I legitimately want to know. I've been looking for a simple chart that show number of sacks by alignment and if a stunt/twist was used.

    He did a little bit, but again, I'm looking for numbers. But also "why." Is it to get the pass rushers on the field? To take advantage of a particular weakness or alignment or tendency in the offense?

    If you move Matthews around too much, he'll rush less. If he's not at OLB/nickel end, he'll have more coverage responsibilities. Remember, Capers rushes 5 or more only about 33% of the time.
     
  25. wist43

    wist43 Cheesehead

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    It's always the responsibility of the DC, if the players aren't executing, or can't execute the play call; mental mistakes as opposed to getting beat physcially - that always come down to the DC.

    Sun Tzu, "... the buck stops here", etc. Getting beat physically is one thing, players making mental mistakes, blowing assignments, losing contain, etc, those things come down to coaching. If it happens once in a while, you expect that, but when it happens over and over again?? That's the responsibility of the coaching staff to get that corrected immediately.

    Taking on the wrong shoulder?? Bad angles?? Those things come down to coaching. If players are mentally prepared, the game slows down, and they recognize what is coming, where the play is going, and get themselves in position to make the play. Raji getting blown off the line by a double team is one thing, but players taking on the wrong shoulder, and not knowing their responsibility - that is coaching.
     

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