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LB's

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by 12theTruth, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. 12theTruth

    12theTruth Guest

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    Just how hard is it to get a linebacker with the trifecta of playing skills: coverage, run-stopping, and pass rush.

    The most complete linebacker the Packers have had in recent memory was Nick Barnett in this regard. None of our current LB's really have the whole package. The only accolade Barnett received was 2nd team All-Pro in 2007. In this regard I feel he was underrated.

    Does the fact we don't have linebackers with plus skills in all three components fall more at the feet of Ted Thompson or the coaching staff?
     
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  2. Luca

    Luca Cheesehead

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    And this one is a choice by Ted (not necessary a bad thing). Ted selects DE's to play on the outside, and DE's are usually not great in coverage. At the same time Ted didn't use a high pick to select an all round ILB, so that you are left with guys with some flaws.

    Keep in mind, with all the sub-packages that are on the rise, the value of specialists is increasing.
     
  3. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Matthews is actually stupendous at rushing the passer, very good at stopping the run and average in coverage (average not being a negative here, just that he's neither good nor bad). Bear in mind that Matthews was only targeted eight times last year, so it's not like he's being asked to cover a whole bunch.
     
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  4. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    I disagree on Barnett having the "trifecta" of skills. He's wasn't particularly adept at rushing the passer or for that matter man coverage up the seam. I also recall his work again fullbacks, he usually did an outstanding impression of roadkill whenever one got through the LOS unmolested.
     
  5. Einstein McFly

    Einstein McFly Cheesehead

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    You really need to differentiate between outside and inside backers. Obviously for what we run they value the inside backers the least since we never draft ILBs high and we focus a lot on Dline OLB and secondary.

    Also, I'd rather have CM3 than a more "complete" guy who isn't as good at rushing the passer. In the end your defense is best when the guys whose whole job is pass coverage (safeties and corners) are best at that and your pass rushers are best at that. A whole team of "complete" guys who aren't great at anything sounds like a mediocre team.
     
  6. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    I also wouldn't characterize TT as drafting DEs to play OLB. The coaching staff works in conjunction with the scouts and the GM to determine what type of players work in the scheme.

    I'm also not one to lay this at the feet of the GM. Yes it is his job to get the players, but I don't look at individual positions and then lay blame. Overall TT has been exceptional at talent acquisition. There is no GM that has ever filled ever hole with the "trifecta" of talent. It would be great to have better linebacker play but it hasn't been in the cards
     
  7. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    This single argument disproves the OP.
     
  8. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Matthews is not average in coverage. He is very good, if not outstanding. See if you can find some 2011 stats...he dropped in coverage 6 or 7 times per game well into the season and you would not have heard his name called very often.
     
  9. 12theTruth

    12theTruth Guest

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    Matthews is pretty good at back side run support but not so much when the tight end, full back, and big bruising back run straight at his side. He has improved but definitely not "very good" at this point.
     
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  10. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    The problems lies in the fact that few colleges run 3-4 defenses, ergo they do not produce 3-4 OLBs. Teams end up converting college DEs with mixed success. You'll note established pros at the position don't hit FA very often until the injuries or years pile up.
     
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  11. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Barnett couldn't read an offense if the opponent handed him the playbook. He'd take the wrong first step so often I wanted to throw something at the TV. He covered over his mistakes with speed. That didn't prevent him from being frequently late.

    He made second team All Pro on the back of his "signature" game, a one-on-one shutdown of Westbrook when he covered him all over the field. That's Barnett...a one-on-one player.
     
  12. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I agree with that...but his back side run support is better than "pretty good".
     
  13. 12theTruth

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    Maybe speed does help mask some weaknesses! Maybe its just that watching AJ Hawk makes me long for Nick Barnett's speed and range. Granted one is on the inside and another the outside. I just get sick of watching Packer linebackers chasing the opposing players all over the field from behind. At least with Barnett to my recollection he had a better chance at making a play on the ball then a guy like Hawk especially in the way of coverage skills.

    Guys like the former Poppinga and Hawk suck the life out of me due to their being so one dimensional. While Barnett had the multi dimensions just not as savvy with awareness at times as you stated.

    Oops. Sorry Barnett did play middle linebacker in the 4-3 My Bad.
     
  14. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Some, not all. Personally, I'll take the slower assignment-sure guy. If an LB makes a habit of misreading then speeding to recover, it messes with the flow and spacing in the defense and exposes areas for exploitation that are not reflected in the tackle stats.

    I've been highly critical of Hawk over the past two years, but I'd take him over Barnett any day.

    Evidently, Barnett also had a disruptive personality. By some reports he chattered away during position meetings and sucked the air out of the room.
     
  15. 12theTruth

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    If not Barnett than who amongst the recent Packer linebackers had across the board plus skills. Wayne Simmons, Paup? I watch other teams and get very jealous seeing the talent and sufficiency in comparison to what I have seen while watching my Packers linebacker group these last couple decades.
     
  16. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    The truth is revealed! Bitterness.
     
  17. 12theTruth

    12theTruth Guest

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  18. 7thFloorRA

    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

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    I like Clay in coverage. I think he is excellent at it. They just rush him every play. It might help the scheme tremendously to drop him into coverage and let some of the other guys rush. Teams are planning for him to rush so it might screw their game plan up by not rushing him.
     
  19. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    I take back the average comment on pass coverage though I won't go so far as to say very good. He was above average in 2011 though only average in 2012. In 2011 he was targeted 26 times and gave up 16 receptions for 131 yards. He was targeted more per coverage snap than any other 3-4OLB in the NFL, which seems to point to his man being open pretty often.

    Anecdotally, I would also have to mention that you didn't hear Matthews name called very often because our secondary was giving up so many big plays that quarterbacks didn't bother throwing short passes very often.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  20. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Matthews missed 1 tackle in 2012 in the run game and 2 in 2011. In 2011 he was top 10 in PFF's "stop" percentage and in 2012 he was 14th among 3-4 OLBs. I'm not sure what exactly you're expecting of him in the run game. He's not a defensive tackle, he's a linebacker. His job is to take on blocks and redirect the runner if he's engaged by the TE/FB/RB, not take on the entire offense to defeat the running back (though yes, he and other linebackers will occasionally make that play, it's not normal). He is very good against the run, both on strong side and weak side.
     
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  21. 12theTruth

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    Are you also counting the times he was blown off the ball and blocked not being in a position to make the tackle. The evidence is there on tape. Clay has run himself out of plays on the strong side AND has been physically owned against the more physical opponents. Like I said before he is not only pretty good but I should say VERY good at back side run support but by no means is he a TOP NOTCH run support linebacker when a team takes him head on.

    I will say that when afforded the opportunity Clay does not miss the tackle. Another one of his great attributes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2013
  22. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    maybe I'm expecting something different than you are when it comes to run support from an outside linebacker. What outside linebacker would you consider very good at the direct point of attack, just so I can better understand what you're looking for.
     
  23. 12theTruth

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    Manny Lawson for one. Especially when he was still with the 40ers. Although he has a different skill set than Matthews, doesn't have Clay's speed off the edge or ability to pile up the sacks. What he does have is a better ability to hold up against the point of attack than Clay.
     
  24. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    I agree that Lawson was better at taking on blockers but I think that was mainly because that was his role in San Fran (he was mainly coverage and run stopper, didn't rush the passer very much). However, I think my main point may have gotten lost. I was simply saying that we have a linebacker who is above average in three areas. Run stopping is both play side and chase-down. Matthews is, at worst, average at play sides (for the position I actually think he's above average) and he's, as many have said, a very good chase down guy. Put those two together and he's above average in run support.
     

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