Joe Whitt's Star Ratings

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HardRightEdge

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While being a fan of Joe Whitt, I confess to having been concerned that Whitt's practice star ratings smacked of being too atomistic and data driven and less holistic for my tastes. My concerns are assuaged:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/327032231.html

Cohen reports, "But the arrival of the regular season ushered in a different method of evaluation, and Whitt shelved the star system until next year. The focus now, he said, shifts from giving players a numerical representation of where they stand among their peers to finding the right combinations that will help the Packers win games."

"That [star rating system] was to give guys an opportunity to show that they deserved to be on the team or if they deserved the reps," Whitt said. "Now we do everything we’ve got to do to win the game."

"This is where it matters. We’ve prepared for it, this moment, and now how do we go execute? We just have to go execute."
 
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While being a fan of Joe Whitt, I confess to having been concerned that Whitt's practice star ratings smacked of being too atomistic and data driven and less holistic for my tastes. My concerns are assuaged:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/327032231.html

Cohen reports, "But the arrival of the regular season ushered in a different method of evaluation, and Whitt shelved the star system until next year. The focus now, he said, shifts from giving players a numerical representation of where they stand among their peers to finding the right combinations that will help the Packers win games."

"That [star rating system] was to give guys an opportunity to show that they deserved to be on the team or if they deserved the reps," Whitt said. "Now we do everything we’ve got to do to win the game."

"This is where it matters. We’ve prepared for it, this moment, and now how do we go execute? We just have to go execute."

I was quite surprised when I first read about this system as well. I hope the only reason Whitt implemented it was to offer the players a numerical explanation for their spot on the depth chart but the coaching staff uses the film to actually decide about playing time in the secondary.
 

adambr2

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Anyone think that Whitt has an excellent shot at being the heir apparent to Capers for the next DC job?
 

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I like Whitt's star system in the preseason better than just giving top draft choices snaps with the 1s and 2s no matter how they perform. As far as Whitt being in line for DC if Capers is fired, (unfortunately IMO) it makes sense to predict McCarthy will stay in-house. The problem with promoting Whitt may be the status of Winston Moss. McCarthy was apparently so worried about losing his LBs coach, he promoted him to Associate Head Coach. Even for a position coach, Moss has really been the invisible man so far in Green Bay, so I have absolutely no idea how he'd do as DC.
 
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HardRightEdge

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I was quite surprised when I first read about this system as well. I hope the only reason Whitt implemented it was to offer the players a numerical explanation for their spot on the depth chart but the coaching staff uses the film to actually decide about playing time in the secondary.
Judging from week 1, I think we can conclude that it was a coaching and motivational mechanism and not the ultimate measuring stick.

At various times Gunter held the lead in terms of preseason snaps; Goodson won the star rating contest going into preseason week 4 but was dinged up and couldn't go. Goodson was out there today at gunner, however it was Randall getting the call after the Bear's first possession despite an inauspicious preseason. Putting the investment on the field to find out what he could do appeared to be a consideration.

I don't know if anybody noticed, but the starting base defense had Richardson at safety with Dix, and Hyde on the perimeter with Shields. After that possession, Randall took a lot of snaps on the perimeter in nickel with Hayward getting snaps in base, while Hyde worked at nickel/safety with Richardson getting safety rotation snaps.

They didn't throw at Randall, so that's a gold star in his favor, though it's hard to tell without going through the all-22 to know how much safety help he was getting. On the couple of obvious isolation plays he looked good; his play on the ball on the deep sideline to Forte was not exactly elegant, but he had the coverage and got the job done.

I didn't see him in on the support much. On one occasion he did come up to the line in edge contain and got blown back 5 yards, so the physicality issue remains a concern particularly in a CB crew that's not very physical to start with.

All in all, a pretty good performance, and for a pleasant surprise. He got some snaps against Jeffery, but I'd say most were against the other guy. We'll see how he does against a steady dose of better competition.
 

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I really prefer

Randall took a lot of snaps on the perimeter in nickel with Hayward getting snaps in base, while Hyde worked at nickel/safety with Richardson getting safety rotation snaps.
Over
the starting base defense had Richardson at safety with Dix, and Hyde on the perimeter with Shields.
 
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All in all, a pretty good performance, and for a pleasant surprise. He got some snaps against Jeffery, but I'd say most were against the other guy. We'll see how he does against a steady dose of better competition.

According to PFF (I haven't been able to watch the replay or coaches film so far) Randall was targeted five times playing outside, three of them while covering Jeffery, and didn't allow a completion. Pretty good.
 
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HardRightEdge

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I like Whitt's star system in the preseason better than just giving top draft choices snaps with the 1s and 2s no matter how they perform. As far as Whitt being in line for DC if Capers is fired, (unfortunately IMO) it makes sense to predict McCarthy will stay in-house. The problem with promoting Whitt may be the status of Winston Moss. McCarthy was apparently so worried about losing his LBs coach, he promoted him to Associate Head Coach. Even for a position coach, Moss has really been the invisible man so far in Green Bay, so I have absolutely no idea how he'd do as DC.
I wouldn't make too much of Moss' elevated title. If the packers.com bio is to be believed, "Winston Moss’ title was adjusted to associate head coach but his role will remain the same as it was for the last eight seasons under the title of assistant head coach. In addition, he will have responsibility for all linebackers for the second consecutive season, a role he originally worked in from 2006-08."

I do think Whitt may need some kind of intermediate step up in responsibility before he'll be considered for DC. Other than coaching WRs in college, his position coaching experience has been only as a CB coach and he did not DC at the college level.

Whether McCarthy would consider going outside the organization would depend on the motivation. If the change is based solely on McCarthy's decision-making process, I would lean toward an inside promotion as you say. McCarthy (and the football operation as a whole) has the promote-from-within/keep-your-own approach shot through it. Incrementalism tends to rule the day.

However, if he is under pressure to do something to alter the defensive status quo, he may sense the need to do something more radical. It would certainly upset the apple cart. A new DC from the outside would want to bring in some (all?) of his own guys as position coaches, whereas the incumbents have been around for quite some time. We saw how McCarthy stuck by Slocum long past he point where it was sensible; their long-standing relationship would have played into that. It would be a last resort.

In the final analysis, taking 2 steps back to go 3 steps forward is not likely in the cards, however much I'd like to see it.

Then again, we'll see how the season plays out.
 
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HardRightEdge

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According to PFF (I haven't been able to watch the replay or coaches film so far) Randall was targeted five times playing outside, three of them while covering Jeffery, and didn't allow a completion. Pretty good.
Good start for the rookie, to be sure.

The primary reason I did not like the Randall pick was his lack of physicality in a pairing with Shields. Shields is a guy on the ankle-biting end of the tackling spectrum who gets away with it in some games, others not. But we knew that about Shields going in. I can't say it cost much in the run game from what I can tell except the one play where Randall was blown off the line. Then again it was hard to tell with the D-Line and LBs out of sync. We'll have to see how it works out going forward.

As for Shields' play, there was the early confusion over a switch off (or not as the case happened to be) on an inside route, the 2 penalties (very bad), and the missed ankle-biter (though he didn't have another option) on that other WRs big gainer late in the game. That's a troubling rap sheet on the night. On the other hand, he had Jeffery for most of the game, albeit a dinged up Jeffery sitting out some plays, and contained him. So it wasn't all bad for him.
 

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I wouldn't make too much of Moss' elevated title. If the packers.com bio is to be believed, "Winston Moss’ title was adjusted to associate head coach but his role will remain the same as it was for the last eight seasons under the title of assistant head coach. In addition, he will have responsibility for all linebackers for the second consecutive season, a role he originally worked in from 2006-08."

I do think Whitt may need some kind of intermediate step up in responsibility before he'll be considered for DC. Other than coaching WRs in college, his position coaching experience has been only as a CB coach and he did not DC at the college level.

Whether McCarthy would consider going outside the organization would depend on the motivation. If the change is based solely on McCarthy's decision-making process, I would lean toward an inside promotion as you say. McCarthy (and the football operation as a whole) has the promote-from-within/keep-your-own approach shot through it. Incrementalism tends to rule the day.

However, if he is under pressure to do something to alter the defensive status quo, he may sense the need to do something more radical. It would certainly upset the apple cart. A new DC from the outside would want to bring in some (all?) of his own guys as position coaches, whereas the incumbents have been around for quite some time. We saw how McCarthy stuck by Slocum long past he point where it was sensible; their long-standing relationship would have played into that. It would be a last resort.

In the final analysis, taking 2 steps back to go 3 steps forward is not likely in the cards, however much I'd like to see it.

Then again, we'll see how the season plays out.
Yeah we have to see how the season plays out. I don't like Capers but it is what it is. I'd rather see new blood. I get keeping our own players but at a coaching level sometimes really new ideas are needed, instead of the chair shuffling MM did with STs. I would think talented and coach able young coaches could stay even with a new DC.

I hope it's something that won't become an issue. Of course I'd rather see a SB and keep Capers then fail to win it all, fire Capers, and then bring in new blood. The window passed for whacking Capers. I was surprised yesterday because the secondary did a good job (Shields excluded. It's a crime to cost your team points. ). I was shocked at the lack of execution in run D. Capers actually had a good plan for that, making the failure all the more disturbing.
 
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As for Shields' play, there was the early confusion over a switch off (or not as the case happened to be) on an inside route, the 2 penalties (very bad), and the missed ankle-biter (though he didn't have another option) on that other WRs big gainer late in the game. That's a troubling rap sheet on the night. On the other hand, he had Jeffery for most of the game, albeit a dinged up Jeffery sitting out some plays, and contained him. So it wasn't all bad for him.

Once again, because I haven't been able to watch the replay so far I have to go with PFF's stats. According to them he did an OK job covering Jefferey but was responsible for the long completion to Marquess Wilson and missed two tackles. In addition a penalty like the one on the Bears FG attempt drives me completely nuts.
 
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Once again, because I haven't been able to watch the replay so far I have to go with PFF's stats. According to them he did an OK job covering Jefferey but was responsible for the long completion to Marquess Wilson and missed two tackles. In addition a penalty like the one on the Bears FG attempt drives me completely nuts.
The long completion to Wilson is the one I referred to as the reception given up to "the other guy". I wouldn't be surprised if PFF gave Shields a 2-fer on that play...he was clearly the responsible coverage party, and then he dived and missed the tackle. I want to say the other missed tackle was early in the game where he got deeked out in space and didn't touch the guy. He's about as good as anybody in deep sideline isolation; inside routes look to still be an issue, something we discussed in the offseason as an issue last year.
 
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Yeah we have to see how the season plays out. I don't like Capers but it is what it is. I'd rather see new blood. I get keeping our own players but at a coaching level sometimes really new ideas are needed, instead of the chair shuffling MM did with STs. I would think talented and coach able young coaches could stay even with a new DC.

I hope it's something that won't become an issue. Of course I'd rather see a SB and keep Capers then fail to win it all, fire Capers, and then bring in new blood. The window passed for whacking Capers. I was surprised yesterday because the secondary did a good job (Shields excluded. It's a crime to cost your team points. ). I was shocked at the lack of execution in run D. Capers actually had a good plan for that, making the failure all the more disturbing.
To the point of "shuffling chairs" on ST, I have a different take.

It's a fairly common practice in business, which I've observed first-hand on several occasions, to see a manager bring in an outside consultant to evaluate a problem area, with said consultant sometimes eventually hired in. McCarthy divulged this offseason that he had previously never attended a defensive position meeting; I think it's safe to say the same applied to special teams going into last year, so he may have found himself light on perspective. The fact that McCarthy had a long relationship with Slocum may have been a factor in bringing in some fresh eyes for an evaluation.

I think it's more appropriate to think of Zook's role last year as such an outside consultant, not a run-of-the-mill assistant, who's job also was to assess and report...an independent, hands-on viewpoint unburdened by personal relationships. At the same time, the quality of Zook's assessment work would have been a basis for evaluating whether he should get the job.

The choice of that specific individual has been come under some criticism, but it's hard to argue with the process.

And frankly, the ST looked pretty good yesterday to my eye. Masthay had the one line-drive punt which turned out to be of little impact. Were there any other ST gaffs you can note?
 
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The line drive punt was the only thing I didn't think was up to par for a team with aspirations like GB. Being just week 1 I don't care too much at all, but then our past causes some concern still. Overall, I thought they did very well considering Shields was suffering from a bad case of brain farts all day.
 
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And frankly, the ST looked pretty good yesterday to my eye. Masthay had the one line-drive punt which turned out to be of little impact. Were there any other ST gaffs you can note?

Shields penalty on the FG attempt resulted in an additional four points for the Bears. Quite a terrible gaffe by the special teams.
 

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To the point of "shuffling chairs" on ST, I have a different take.

It's a fairly common practice in business, which I've observed first-hand on several occasions, to see a manager bring in an outside consultant to evaluate a problem area, with said consultant sometimes eventually hired in. McCarthy divulged this offseason that he had previously never attended a defensive position meeting; I think it's safe to say the same applied to special teams going into last year, so he may have found himself light on perspective. The fact that McCarthy had a long relationship with Slocum may have a factor in bringing in some fresh eyes for an evaluation.

I think it's more appropriate to think of Zook's role last year as such an outside consultant, not a run-of-the-mill assistant, who's job also was to assess and report...an independent, hands-on viewpoint unburdened by personal relationships. At the same time, the quality of Zook's assessment work would have been a basis for evaluating whether he should get the job.

The choice of that specific individual has been come under some criticism, but it's hard to argue with the process.

And frankly, the ST looked pretty good yesterday to my eye. Masthay had the one line-drive punt which turned out to be of little impact. Were there any other ST gaffs you can note?
Good point of view on Slocum and Zook. Overall ST's play was good yesterday. Mistake free I think, and Montgomery looked good on kickoff returns. If they just "do no harm" I'd be ok with it.

Hadn't thought about MM not having enough first hand info at the end of the year to make a drastic call, a wholesale house cleaning. He was too close personally to Slocum to be objective. If Zook did function like a management consultant, something I did as well in business, then it would make sense to keep him for at least a year as MM focused more on that unit as well as the D. Anyway very fresh perspective on that situation that has me reversing my call for a housecleaning on STs. Thanks HRE.
 

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Once again, Shields penatly on the Bears FG resulted in an additional four points for the Bears. Similar mistakes in the playoffs could turn out to be devastating.
Though it should be noted jumping offsides has very little to do with coaching, and probably a little more to do with Shields pressing to make a big play in what resulted as a long day for him. Six blocked kicks and the wrong man looking to recieve an onside kick on the other hand. Yeah, that's on coaching.
 
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Though it should be noted jumping offsides has very little to do with coaching, and probably a little more to do with Shields pressing to make a big play in what resulted as a long day for him. Six blocked kicks and the wrong man looking to recieve an onside kick on the other hand. Yeah, that's on coaching.

I didn´t blame Zook for Shields jumping offside. He has to let the team know that something like it won´t be accepted going forward though.
 

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Six blocked kicks and the wrong man looking to recieve an onside kick on the other hand. Yeah, that's on coaching.
Six blocked kicks absolutely on coaching, but not the onside kick IMO. This is Bostic on what happened:
Andrew Quarless lined up next to me. “I got this guy, you got this guy,” he said. “You know your assignment?” “Yeah,” I said. “I got this.” I was supposed to block for Jordy Nelson, who was right behind me. We had practiced this dozens if not hundreds of times before. But when the ball appeared in front of me, just floating in the air, my mind went blank. I forgot everything I was supposed to do.
http://mmqb.si.com/2015/02/26/brandon-bostick-nfc-championship-game-onside-kick

Right before the kick, Quarless reminds him of his assignment, "...you got this guy". They practiced the play dozens if not hundreds of times. That's as much as the coaching staff can do IMO. That botched play was entirely on Bostic.
 

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Once again, Shields penatly on the Bears FG resulted in an additional four points for the Bears. Similar mistakes in the playoffs could turn out to be devastating.
Good point. There may have been few mistakes, but Shields' offsides was huge and cost 4 points. No excuse for anyone to make a mistake like that, much less a veteran like Shields. And similar mistakes during the regular season in close games could be the diff between a W and a L. Reminded me too much of the Seattle fake FG where players and coaches were not aware of what was going on in the game and so not anticipating a fake FG. Players need to treat each play as unique. When a 5 yard penalty can result in a first down on a field goal, better to concede the 4 points, or at least just wait for the snap. Overall Shields did not have a good day. Those types of mistakes infuriate me no matter who is to blame.
 

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