Midseason Assessment

milani

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Looping back to where I was trying to start with...a switch to a 4-3 isn't a new architecture, it's changing the guest bedroom from Burgendy to Maroon.

Both schemes have a NT (Clark). Both schemes have 2 edge rushers (Gary and Smith.) Both have two off-the-ball linebackers responsible for run defense, hook zones, and the running backs in man--4-3 calls them WILL (weak outside) and MIKE (Middle) and the 3-4 calls them BUCK (Weak Inside) and MAC (strong inside). Only real difference is most 3-4s slide their 1-2 gaps further to the TE side.

Further, the most common 4-3 in the league today is the 4-3 under, which has been called a hybrid 3-4/4-3 OR "a 3-4 with 4-3 personnel." It was actually Fritz's base look as well. Per the above, go back to 1996. Have Sean Jones play in a 2-point stance. Boom, you're done, it's a 3-4 now. Ditto Seattle under Pete Carrol.

But even with all that, that's still not the biggest issue. The reality is that nickel matters more. And pretty much all teams deploy a 4-2 or 2-4 nickel, as it turns out a front 4 is a better pass defense.

You can play any coverage, cover-2, man-2, tampa-2, cover-3, quarters, cover-1, cover-0 from any front.
About 20 years ago on the open NFL boards I was asked by frustrated Bear fans why their defense struggled with Favre and the Packer offense. They could not get pressure on him enough but had to play more in the box to counter our running game and offensive line. When I saw Urlacher as a rookie my first thought was put this guy in a 3-4 and send him. He is just short of Ray Lewis. Instead they have him trying to plug every hole and go sideline to sideline. When Lovie got there he built a very vanilla cover 2 with a 4-3. They did not fool anyone but they made it work. When we drafted AJ Hawk from OSU I said he would be perfect in a 3-4. But he never became the disruptive force we hoped he would be even though he rarely missed a game. I still believe the foundation of the defense is controlling the line of scrimmage. That means stopping the run first then getting to the QB.
 

mradtke66

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So how many teams in the league today still deploy a 4-3 and why?

How many? I'd have to go look.

Why? Probably because it matter less these days. It really comes back to not mattering much anymore. It mattered a little bit when Capers started as our DC, but by the time he left, it didn't.

Defenses spend 60% of their time w/ 5 or more DBs on the field now. They do *that* because offenses are 3WR base offenses. Simple rule is 1CB per 1WR (some flexibility on field position, down and distance, etc.), so nickel is the defacto base for the entire league.
 

mradtke66

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That means stopping the run first then getting to the QB.

That may very well be true, but generally, pure 3-4s are the better run defense than pure 4-3s. On running downs, a 3-4 presents more as a 5-2 due to alignment and gap assignments. 4-3s replicate that with the under-front, which brings the SOLB on to the LOS, presenting a 5 man front for run defense.

I'm enjoying the conversation, but I really want to get to the root of your understanding. Ignoring what the players are called on teams' roster, what do you think are the actual differences between 3-4s and 4-3s. There are some and I'm more than willing to concede that, but most of them have more to do with single-gap vs. 2-gap responsibilities. And you can 1 or 2 gap or hybrid from either scheme. And you can shift between those responsibilities by just adjusting alignment and playcalls.
 

tynimiller

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Why isn't Wyatt getting more playing time than 9 or 10 plays a game.

He simply isn't one of our best DL at the moment clearly. Clark is the only DL that I don't see Wyatt ever playing over even if he is out performing him...otherwise, clearly Wyatt simply isn't transitioning as fast as we all assumed he would.
 

captainWIMM

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I would prefer to see Nixon return punts rather than Cobb. I think Nixon would be able to show some of his juke moves which Cobb does not have in abundance. His acceleration looks better also.

I'm not sure Bisaccia trusts Nixon to field the ball cleanly on punt returns.

The Packers (finally) face reality and move on to Love in 2024 maybe moving Rogers for a 3rd day pick or he retires

That's ridiculous.

So how many teams in the league today still deploy a 4-3 and why?

It doesn't make a whole lot of a difference as teams lined up in their base formation on only 23.4% of the plays last season.
 

captainWIMM

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Well, he sure stuck with Rodgers. So I guess he knows what he is doing.

While Rodgers was terrible at taking care of the football it's possible the Packers still haven't a player on the roster having more potential than him returning punts.
 

gopkrs

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While Rodgers was terrible at taking care of the football it's possible the Packers still haven't a player on the roster having more potential than him returning punts.
Same thing you said about kick offs. To me, if Nixon can catch the ball, which I have no reason to believe he cannot; then he looks like he would be a better punt returner than he is at kickoffs. And he is pretty good at kickoffs.
 

milani

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Same thing you said about kick offs. To me, if Nixon can catch the ball, which I have no reason to believe he cannot; then he looks like he would be a better punt returner than he is at kickoffs. And he is pretty good at kickoffs.
It is certainly worth a shot especially headed into next season. Now what we have to consider is that Nixon is a position player and figures to be on the field a lot in the next season. And position players on defense get hurt tackling. So this year Cobb can probably help. Next season we need a plan or look somewhere else on the roster if he goes down. Preseason may be the time to experiment.
 

gopkrs

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It is certainly worth a shot especially headed into next season. Now what we have to consider is that Nixon is a position player and figures to be on the field a lot in the next season. And position players on defense get hurt tackling. So this year Cobb can probably help. Next season we need a plan or look somewhere else on the roster if he goes down. Preseason may be the time to experiment.
And Nixon proves that we could have looked deep into the current roster earlier. Some said that since all we used was Rodgers; there wasn't anyone on the roster. But there almost always is. These current coaches do not seem very special at picking the talent already on their roster nor putting everyone in places to succeed. imho
 

Magooch

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And Nixon proves that we could have looked deep into the current roster earlier. Some said that since all we used was Rodgers; there wasn't anyone on the roster. But there almost always is. These current coaches do not seem very special at picking the talent already on their roster nor putting everyone in places to succeed. imho
That was kind of my thought. Whenever I heard things like "Maybe he really IS our best option back there" I couldn't help but think like...is anyone really looking THAT hard, though?

I mean I understand that perhaps mid-season you can't exactly take a no-stone-unturned approach when you're ultimately just talking about your punt returner. Perhaps it was just viewed as not a big priority/low impact position but tbh we saw that there was a pretty big negative impact when it was all said and done.

Rambling I guess but sometimes I just get the sense that our management tends to want to believe in their guys succeeding for longer than they should perhaps. I said it before but if Amari was some UDFA off the street he would've been gone MONTHS ago. We just have this tendency to believe that we drafted the "Right" guy and eventually he'll pan out, don't want to admit a "miss" even if it seems rather obvious
 

captainWIMM

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Same thing you said about kick offs. To me, if Nixon can catch the ball, which I have no reason to believe he cannot; then he looks like he would be a better punt returner than he is at kickoffs. And he is pretty good at kickoffs.

Nixon seems like a guy who might take too much risk returning punts. Just take a look at the ball he caught over his head on one of his first snaps back there. I wouldn't mind seeing him return punts as well but the coaching staff might be a bit more risk-averse.

It is certainly worth a shot especially headed into next season. Now what we have to consider is that Nixon is a position player and figures to be on the field a lot in the next season.

With Alexander, Stokes and Douglas around for next season as well I'm not convinced Nixon will get a ton of snaps on defense.
 
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Why isn't Wyatt getting more playing time than 9 or 10 plays a game.
I agree. I remember watching him in 3 successive snaps in 4th Qtr.

The first he was in a 3 man rush on 5 blockers and was doubled. We gave Fields all day and He rolled out and burned Alexander for a big play down the sideline. I’ve said repeatedly his college scouting said he excelled in 1 on 1!!! Yet Barry repeatedly puts him in precarious positions that don’t fit his current strength. That strength is if you tween him inside 2 other DL, he’ll manhandle his opponent and he’ll do it regular in the backfield.

2nd down Chicago was fortunate they ran away from his Area.
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Next you’ll see #95 is second from top of screen working on #76 RG
Watch #95 literally toss #76 like a ragdoll in a nice leverage move. While the ball came out quick and #95 likely had no impact, it does display his strength, balance and hand usage is superior to a starting caliber OL and no, this isn’t preseason.
In case you don’t know, #76 is Tevin Jenkins. He’s 6’6” and 321lbs. He’s not a small man. He’s the smallest player on the ground after this play as he’s totally manhandled and left curled in a fetal

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This is Wyatt #95 in a key
3rd n 5 scenario that eventually was a turning point in this game. Wyatt blows by his OL like a hot knife in butter with a slick quick. It positions him both nicely defending his sides Gap, but also positions him for any run that’s up the A gut. He displays his agility by pouncing on the RB at LOS and literally stops him in his tracks. The Runner was fortunate he made LOS here. He got credited for 1 yard, but looking at details we can see it was a generous spot aided by #76 giving him a 1ft push like OL do. He barely broke the LOS and It’s the dirty work plays that don’t make the highlight reel. That Guard was pushed backwards 2 yards off balance. Btw. The ensuing FG is missed and it totally takes the Windy out of Chicago. That basically 0 play was a top 3 DL stop in this contest as it set up a 42 yard attempt in a cold/windy Soldier. Yet nothing is said. He’s apparently just not ready to get more than 6 snaps. Is it possible he’s just underutilized? What are we afraid of??
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This is the time for every player and coach with the Packers to be measured for a future fit.
It a great time to say who stays and who goes for the 2023 season.
We don't have nothing to lose and we're not in any play-off games.
 

Mondio

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I remember that play, he seems to have an impact at least once a game with very limited snaps.
 

captainWIMM

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I’ve said repeatedly his college scouting said he excelled in 1 on 1!!! Yet Barry repeatedly puts him in precarious positions that don’t fit his current strength.

Maybe Barry should ask opponents to not double team Wyatt so he can excel at what he's good at ;)

We don't have nothing to lose and we're not in any play-off games.

The Packers are still playing for a small chance to make the playoffs.
 
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Maybe Barry should ask opponents to not double team Wyatt so he can excel at what he's good at
Well if opponents are purposely Double teaming him as you say, shouldn’t other Players be getting home??

I saw this film study review to show how bad he was and how we should be concerned. Yet notice it’s the best team in the league, arguably a top OL and a couple of the best players leaguewide.

What You’ll notice more n more against the Eagles etc..??
Barry repetitively had a 5 Defenders on 7 Offensive scenario. Also a 7 D on 9 O or 8 D on 9 O scenarios. Top that this is an Eagles O with a QB who’s one of the most dangerous dual threats and a stellar OL leaguewide. Go check their OL Roster. This just spells pure stupidity knowing that they’ll just punish us on the ground.

I defend Wyatt because the examples they’ll use to show he’s weak would stand on 95% of the Defenders out there’s. The guy barely plays and the one time he gets 20 snaps the Eagles abused him and for good reason.

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Anyone who knows Pee Wee level Football understands not to line up Wyatt in these scenarios. Reed? Ok maybe. Slayton? Sure. The Fridge Perry? Amen. Wyatt when knowing he specifically excels in 1 on 1 matchups? What on Earth is our DC doing? He’s completely eliminated him from his only known strengths. Not to even mention if Wyatt was held anymore his helmet would’ve been hijacked! Wyatt on limited snaps over Landon Dickerson? or just putting him on an island with A Double or triple?? No wonder why we gave up 400 rushing yards!! We run a 4-1 or a 5-2 on one of the strongest rushing fronts in Pro ball with 6-7 blockers and a 2 RB (RB/QB)

Get this DC outta GB I’ll take my chances with a total unknown DC.
 
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captainWIMM

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Well if opponents are purposely Double teaming him as you say, shouldn’t other Players be getting home??

I wasn't the one suggesting Wyatt is double teamed on a significant amount of snaps. While I don't have any numbers to support my opinion I highly doubt opponents focus on him for the majority of snaps he's playing.

Anyone who knows Pee Wee level Football understands not to line up Wyatt in these scenarios. Wyatt when knowing he specifically excels in 1 on 1 matchups? What on Earth is our DC doing? He’s completely eliminated him from his only known strengths.

If it's true that Wyatt solely excels in 1-on-1 matchups the Packers shouldn't have spent a first rounder on him in the first place.
 

gopkrs

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If it's true that Wyatt solely excels in 1-on-1 matchups the Packers shouldn't have spent a first rounder on him in the first place.
I think the point being made is that it is almost like they are scheming him for a double team which on the face of it and looking at overall results; is a mistake. I too think he should have been playing more in the rotation. I mean, can the run D be worse? Another example of just sticking to what you have been doing no matter the results.
 

captainWIMM

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I think the point being made is that it is almost like they are scheming him for a double team which on the face of it and looking at overall results; is a mistake. I too think he should have been playing more in the rotation. I mean, can the run D be worse? Another example of just sticking to what you have been doing no matter the results.

I highly doubt Barry is trying to get Wyatt double teamed. My guess is that despite the defensive line struggling he doesn't present an upgrade over anyone currently receiving more snaps, that being the reason he hasn't been getting more playing time.
 
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If it's true that Wyatt solely excels in 1-on-1 matchups the Packers shouldn't have spent a first rounder on him in the first place.

So you claim that Wyatt shouldn’t be a later Day 1 selection? Why because “he isn’t great at every aspect coming in”? That to me is an extremely knee jerkish type personnel evaluation imo. But it shows what you do to prove a point holds no prudent boundaries.

To be fair, Scouts offer weaknesses in almost every draft profile, that by itself doesn’t negate the overall evaluation. I can show you loads of negatives for any player you present, I don’t think it’s prudent to deem them not Day 1 worthy at all though based on that alone. It does shows me who is impatient at evaluating talent in its entirety of scope though.

This one is from SB Nation

Negatives​

There are very few knocks about Wyatt’s game, but there are some question marks that Georgia’s defense didn’t answer. While the blitz-heavy defense had an insanely productive year, leading the team all the way to a national championship win, it asked defensive linemen to do so much stunting that they rarely got to pin their ears back and penetrate in the backfield, which is how NFL defensive linemen make their money. This is also a question mark about Travon Walker’s game, the potential first overall pick in April’s draft.

Because of this scheme limitation, you don’t see too many opportunities for Wyatt to showcase his explosiveness, especially when he’s typically a run-first defender when he isn’t being asked to move one or two gaps away at the snap of the ball. Like Davis, there are questions about what Wyatt can bring as a pass-rusher because the Bulldogs had such a deep defensive front that they had NFL-like sub-packages in pass-rushing situations, keeping their interior linemen off of the field on “passing downs.


This part is me again
Also if he’s a “RUN FIRST defender and projected as a DE because of elite ability to separate and cover lateral movement with speed?
then why on earth would Barry not use him extensively against teams that excel at the run??????? Instead we start him on 6 snaps in the Middle on a 3 defenders on 5 Blockers scenario?? What is going on with that thinking? Kinda blatantly obvious isn’t it? Joe, This isn’t brain surgery here.
 
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tynimiller

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I’d contend that if you draft a player who needs more time to develop? Which is about 90%+ of everyone. Use that player earlier where his strengths are, while you develop areas of improvement. I guess that’s kinda common sense, but I suppose not everyone employs that theory for various reasons. Saying he shouldn’t be a later Day 1 selection because he isn’t great at every aspect of the game is more a knee-jerk personnel move. As a GM you’d miss out on 75% (or more) of the Day 1 draft prospects if they had to be perfectly well rounded rounded. The vast majority of players come into professional sports carrying strengths and weakness.

Which is precisely why I feel the Amari Rodgers experiment was a disaster from the start - trying to force him continually to be a returner when clearly was not a strength in the NFL he had...Cobb was a better slot guy but I still think his rookie year if he'd played more a Tyler Ervin jet sweep role more it would have worked to his strengths. Just an example I thought of when I read your post.

Another good example might very well be Devonte Wyatt for the OTHER side of the coin and how to properly do it. Clearly that young man can put pressure on the QB in passing downs, but containment and run diagnosing is rumored to be where he's still growing...hence the lower snap counts.
 
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