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Mike Neal "Virtually Unblockable"

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by FrankRizzo, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    I really like this guy as a player (and a person).
    Talent, ability-wise, I think we have some greatness possible in:

    Matthews, Datone, Perry, Raji, Neal....... that's 5 guys up front, plus Pickett is Phat vs the run inside.
    These guys, if we can get good luck injury-wise, can make our defense at least a top-10 defense, and perhaps an actual weapon.
    I hope, and kind of expect, Kaepernick to get his bones crushed on Sept 8th.


    http://www.espnmilwaukee.com/common/more.php?m=49&post_id=27921

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2013
  2. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    We'll have to see how / how often they use him as a LB, but this continues to beg the question, where does Perry fit in the nickel sets?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  3. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Doubt he plays OLB in the nickel. Neal is just practicing standing up so that he can run more stunts from the DE position. If you have Perry, who is big enough to play DE in most defenses, dropping Neal occasionally to confuse the QB becomes a valid strategy. Nickel would probaly have Perry at OLB as per usual with Neal at DE.
     
  4. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Flesh that out if you will. Assuming Neal is standing up with the intention to stunt, and assuming Matthews is on the other side, that's a nickel front. Or are you suggesting a 3 man base front with Neal standing up at 5 tech? The latter doesn't seem to make much sense.

    Perry is not big enough to play DE in 3-4, especially now that he's dropped to 260-265 lbs. If Capers threw in a hybrid 4 man front with Perry in a down position (his natural position), one would assume the up man on the other side is Matthews. Then where does Neal fit as an up player?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  5. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    I don't know, he just said in an interview that all you hear about '12' is all the positives, all the positives...." :D
     
  6. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Was writing it quickly and perhaps the word "stunt" threw my meaning off. What I meant was that Neal could start at 5 technique DE and would then have the skill to drop back into coverage at the snap while Perry or someone else rushed from that side. Obviously this wouldn't be an ideal thing to do often but as a change-up it could very well confuse some players (especially if Raji/Pickett slanted to occupy the guard that would have blocked Neal and a linebacker looped inside to rush the confused center).

    My comment on Perry wasn't meant to imply that he could handle being a 3-4 DE for a lot of snaps, just that he would be able to hold up occasionally if he was forced to take on a guard/tackle combo resulting from Neal dropping into coverage. My "most defenses" comment was because his size qould be just fine for a 4-3 and many sub-packages. None of what I said assumed that Perry would play with his hand down. Just that Perry would have the size to help compensate for the larger Neal NOT attacking the line.
     
  7. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    And he was busted for PEDs.
     
  8. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    I would assume they intend to use him in a lot of 24 "Nickel" sets. Basically you run out with 3 OLBs, subbing out either Hawk or Jones depending on the down. I imagine it would function like a light 33 nickel set. I really like the potential, and especially like the idea of moving someone like Neal up and around over the center where he has the size strength and speed to really cause some chaos.
     
  9. 98Redbird

    98Redbird Cheesehead

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    Being unblockable doesn't do him much good from his hyberbaric chamber... just saying.

    I'd like to see exactly how they intend to use him in a game situation. Looking forward to seeing him in St Louis.
     
  10. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    If so, who's off the line among the 3 OLBs? Neal is getting chatted up for the pass rush, and as noted previously even with the lost weight 4.8 speed is a stretch. Perry playing the middle at this stage is a scary thought. Perhaps, for Kaepernick, Matthews will be taking plays off the line in nickel, as hard as that is to believe. I can't think of a better player to shadow him or blow up read option runs or generally freelance in and around the box. Of course this requires Neal and Perry living up to their billing.
     
  11. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    When this Neal thing started in OTA's MM said we'll have to wait until "week 1" to see how he'll be used in this OLB capacity. It was not entirely clear what he meant, but "week 1" suggests they're saving it for a SF surprise. Then again, MM is not the most articulate guy around. Perhaps he meant week 1 of preseason.

    If Neal is playing and not standing up this week, I would not expect to see it in preseason.
     
  12. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Or it could be something as uninventive as using a 4 man psycho front with Matthews, Neal and Perry standing up...a set that has lost effectiveness with each passing year. The idea may be simply to try to rejuvenate with Neal.
     
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  13. Oshkoshpackfan

    Oshkoshpackfan YUT !!!

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    ^ I like that way of thinking HRE.....bring back the psycho formation, that sh!t worked.
     
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  14. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    I would assume, dependent on down, that it would either be Hawk or Jones. The other 5 would more or less function like your standard 33 defense except you have a hybrid lineman OLB/DL in place of one of your DEs. As for Neal's speed, who knows what it is right now after losing 25 pounds. Perhaps he's faster and more explosive or perhaps he's Kampman part 2, less weight less strength and not any quicker than he was.

    Matthews over the middle certainly does make sense, he has been very effective rushing from the middle. However, I'm not sure how well he'd handle the angles and guard movement playing from that position.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  15. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    Except against quarterbacks with an IQ above 80.... well it'll still work against baby Jay.
     
  16. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    and Dog Boy Vick
     
  17. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    He looked extremely blockable on Saturday. Did not do well shedding blockers and spent way too much time engaged with the TE on the Rams.

    I'll give the experiment plenty of more time before judging it, of course, I was just hoping to see a little better start to it.
     
  18. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Yet another example illustrating why you can't get excited about what goes on in practice (or what we're told goes on in practice). Most of those snaps were against the Rams second team. Maybe they're talking him up to shop him.

    When a guy looks unnatural or confused or slow you have to figure he's a year away or maybe never, assuming there isn't an injury involved.
     
  19. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    Could be that they're trying to shop him or perhaps they have him working on particular parts of their game. Sometimes preseason games are a good place for players, especially pass rushers, to work on their weak points. It'll be hard to judge players like Neal and Perry until the season starts.
     
  20. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    That would be true of an established player, safe in his position. Matthews, for instance, has scored only one win in practice one-on-ones as of last week...he says he's experimenting with some new moves.

    Neal and Perry are converted DEs who have not even established a baseline at the position. They don't have enough demonstrated strong points to be messing around with weak points. These guys are competing for snaps; they will be trying to put their best foot forward.
     
  21. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    I really hope the Packers aren't serious about this moving Neal to OLB thing; I'm hoping it's more of a depth thing, getting a guy some experience there since our two starters at OLB are not always durable (obv Perry is very small sample size). In the games Neal played last year he was our best pass rusher on the dline, not sure why we would want to move him.
     
  22. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Neal showed up to OTAs at 275 lbs. I don't believe that was planned or expected by the team. That's probably too light to play DE in base or DT in nickel. He's now scaled more like a 4-3 DE...Perry conversion redux.

    In base, we have Raji or Pickett for DE on the strong side and Datone Jones on the weak side. We have several options for the DTs in nickel...Raji, Daniels, Jones, Worthy when healthy. It's not like Neal was guaranteed to be anything more than a rotational player once we drafted Jones.

    It looks like an attempt to make lemonade out of lemons, which is not a criticism of the coaches...trying to fit Neal into some OLB sets is a way to derive some residual value.

    I'm skeptical of the "unblockable" claims. We've heard some excitement and encouraging words over the years regarding slow OLBs, along with Greene's assurances that 4.8 speed (if Neal can even crack that number) at the position is not a problem. Yet, we continue to have issues and those promising names are gone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  23. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    275 is big enough to play defensive end in a 3-4, it's not perfect but it's certainly no reason to move the second best pass rusher on the team to a new position. I would love for Jones to be a starter in a our base defense but I'm thnking that won't happen any time soon, the standard transition for defensive linemen from college coupled with missing much of training camp with the ankle injury means he'll most likely end up as a depth player for a while.

    I too agree that "unblockable" is probably hyperbole and that any claims made during training camp should be viewed skeptically.
     
  24. 12theTruth

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    Neal didn't look to good especially on that big gainer to Kendricks as Neal was out there "covering" people.
     
  25. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I went through the ESPN depth charts. Here are the DE starters with listed weights for all 3-4 base defenses. Typically one or both of the guys in these pairs move to the inside DT position(s) in nickel.

    PHI: Thornton 309, Cox 300
    WASH: J. Jenkins 315, Bowen 310
    AZ: Campbell 300, Dockett 290
    SF: McDonald 300, Smith 285
    GB: Jones 285, Raji 337
    NO: Hicks 324, Jordan 287
    BUF: Carrington 301, Williams 303
    NYJ: Wilkerson 315, Richardson 294
    KC: Jackson 296, DeVito 305
    SD: Reyes 300, Liuget 300
    BALT: Canty 317 (the one who got away), Jones 315
    CLE: Rubin 330, Bryant 310
    PIT: Hood 310, Keisel 285
    HOU: Watt 289, Smith 289
    IND: Redding 318, Francois 297

    Datone Jones at 285 is at the bottom threshold for 3-4 DEs. I'm waiting to see how he handles the run. Neal at 275 is below the threshold. Pairing two DEs at those weights will not happen, in base or nickel. There was no brainstorm here in having the incredible shrinking Neal try standing up; there isn't much choice.

    DE in Capers defense is not nearly as complicated as LB or DB. Trgovac will tell you as much. It's boils down to one-on-one, get off the block. And that's more or less a universal fact regardless of scheme. A 1st. round draft pick DE not getting a decent amount of snaps would be a disappointment.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
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