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MM denies plan is to get smaller on DL

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by captainWIMM, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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  2. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Why am I not surprised?

    I like your wording ("plan to") or McCarthy's wording ("want") better than Hodkiewicz's wording ("won't"). Replicating the base D line averaging 330 lbs. that we put on the field last year will be difficult to accomplish.

    As we discussed previously, going into the season with a starting front comprised of the guys currently under contract (sub-300 lb. average) is entirely unrealistic. The D philosophy that led us to construct the linebacker and safety crews as currently constituted would leave us woefully insufficient on the physicality scale. Even if McCarthy wanted to change direction, it wouldn't be practical given the measures required to reconstruct the back 7...resignation to rebuilding would be required, and we're not there yet.

    So, where is McCarthy going to get these big bodies?

    Raji should be ruled out based on cost vs. performance. That's the charitable view. My less charitable view goes back to my comments on the ATL game where I took the trouble to focus on Raji on each snap in viewing the replay, trying to figure out why he hadn't been making any plays (or tackles for that matter). He quit on us. We got 1/2 of one game of Pro Bowl level performance (a first half against the Bears). You just can't pay a guy like this, and there was likely no intent to do so except on the most favorable of terms.

    Starting a couple months ago I speculated we might have offered him a low signing bonus and/or guarantee in that rumored $8 mil contract, having since upgraded that speculation to "likely". The picture he painted on the field is consistent with being dissatisfied with the offer and an expectation he'd be moving on. We saw a similar scenario play out with Jenkins and Wells, both outspoken in-season about their likely departures over their offers. Jennings too, but the expressions of disgruntlement were reserved for the post-season. When looking at the contracts these guys eventually signed, relative to the rumors, the likely bone of contention was the guarantees. At least those three players worked for their FA contracts. Raji, mysteriously, behaved as though he had nothing to prove.

    Pickett will be 35 and played with a bad knee. He averaged about 30 defensive snaps last season. I'd like to see him back for depth and veteran presence on a cheap one or two year deal, but I have a hard time seeing him repeating that snap count.

    Jolly suffered a season-ending neck injury characterized by McCarthy at the time as "significant". He's 31 years old. Unlike Bulaga and Finley, I've not seen any commentary from the player or the team about his progress or intention to come back. This is a low probability re-sign.

    Even if Pickett is brought back, I see us bringing in at least one other big body. Unless Boyd puts on considerably more heft over his listed 6'3", 310 lbs., his lack of experience and his smallish line mates currently under contract argue for him as a base DE, not the NT. Somebody with heft needs to take Pickett's NT spot, leaving Pickett for spot play in rotation (fewer snaps, fresher more productive player). Even penciling in Boyd as a base DE starter has it's own issues given that he's entirely unproven.

    Failure to bring back one of the big body incumbents means we'll need 2 new ones at a minimum. We can handle one smaller guy at weak side DE in base (just as we have in the past seasons with Jenkins, Wilson, Neal, et. al.), and a guy with pass rushing cred makes that preferable (Daniels, for example), but I fail to see how this defense as constituted can get away without 2 big bodies in base D.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  3. ExpatPacker

    ExpatPacker Cheesehead

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    Interesting what he said about Datone Jones. Makes me a little more optimistic about his future.
     
  4. Ace

    Ace Cheesehead

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    Completely agree with this.
     
  5. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    The only reason the Packers would be getting smaller on the dline is because we're losing Raji, who was drafted with the intention of playing NT. Raji was a HUGE defensive end the past two seasons. Yes, the dline is getting smaller but only because we're going to be playing more guys that are traditional players along the dline.
     
  6. 7thFloorRA

    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

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    I am totally on board with getting smaller. Offenses have adjusted to the fat road blockers and they use them to pick the linebackers.
     
  7. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    And yet, there is nothing in McCarthy's comments to indicate he sees Jones as a 3-down player.

    I add it all up, and come to one conclusion:

    If, after the Combine, the Packers do not see Nix as realistically available at 21, they'll sign a bona fide starter-level big body in FA. I'm not talking about a franchise money guy, but I'm not talking about the speculative bargain reclamation projects of recent years either. I'm thinking about a signing similar to Pickett in 2006. We've discussed Soliai previously; there are other possibilities.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  8. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    So you're assuming both Pickett and Jolly will be back? If so, I'd like to hear your arguments for such.
     
  9. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I think MM would like to have mostly three down players on the DL, which would actually lead to the defense being less predictable. Not sure though if Datone is capable of that.
     
  10. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    You've got that right. Signaling intent is to be avoided where ever possible. We've discussed previously the difficulty in disguising intent when using situational substitutions.

    One thing we have not discussed previously is defending no huddle offenses. The key reason teams run them is to dictate mismatches by forcing the defense to keep a static personnel set on the field for the duration of a possession. You want 3-down players to answer that.

    Now, whether it's running a no huddle offense or recognizing a situational substitution at the line of scrimage and audibling to a mismatch typically involves a skilled, veteran QB. You want to be able to beat those guys and not just feast on the Weedens and Ponders.
     
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  11. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Absolutely true. Another reason you want as many versatile guys on your DL as possible.

    Yeah, the defense hasn't been able to stop a lot of those QBs lately.
     
  12. yooperpackfan

    yooperpackfan Cheesehead

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    Why are you not sure if Datone is capable of being a 3 down player?
     
  13. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Plain and simple because he hasn't proven it so far. It's great that MM expects him to make a huge leap in 2014, I want to see it on the field before I believe in it though (think back to camp last year when all beat writers were impressed with him, in December he was behind Josh Boyd on the depth chart).
     
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  14. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    I'm hopeful that Pickett is back (he shouldn't cost much) but I don't necessarily assume that. If Pickett leaves I would fully expect the Packers to hae Boyd bulk up and/or sign a replacement. We don't have the inside linebackers to play a 3-4 with a light NT. It's possible to play the 3-4 with a 290 lb NT but you need inside linebackers that can REALLY hit and take on guards (since the NT won't be holding them up at the line) and I don't think anyone will mistake Hawk or Jones as guys that can take on guards.

    Let's say Boyd replaces Pickett. Boyd was listed at 310 lbs as a rookie while Pickett was 340. I could see Boyd getting up to 320 which is smaller, technically, but not really a "smaller" defensive line. Jolly could be re-signed but assuming he isn't and Jerel Worthy takes his spot in the base, run-down defense, that might only be a difference of 10 pounds by the time the season starts. Yes, the linemen may technically be smaller but that doesn't mean we're actually trying to put a "smaller" 3-4 dline out there, just that we have players that don't weigh as much as the guys they're replacing.
     
  15. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    The "playing behind Josh Boyd" in base D syncs with the eye test...he's not a guy to be relied upon against the run. That's "Boyd" mind you, not "Jolly" or "Raji".

    It's back to basics. If you have guys on the line in base D that can be kept out of the hole with one-on-one blocking, that frees guards and centers to release to the second level, where guys like Hawk and Jones get lost in the wash.
     
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  16. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    It's hard enough projecting a player's improvement once he's played some NFL football and established a professional baseline. Projecting a weight gain without an associated loss of agility and stamina while also expecting a general improvement / maturation in his play is a lot to expect. Sometimes you end up going the opposite direction, as with Neal.

    That's not to say guys don't improve, mature or expand their repertoire with esperience, but you need to seem some flashes first.
     
  17. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Typically you don't want your 2 gappers to be taller than 6'4 or they lose leverage. I can believe that our board fell that we wound up grabbing shorter DT that fell to our pick in the bottom half of the round due to a lack of height. Guy on twitter I follow listed out the metrics for TT's draft tendencies by combine scores.
     
  18. Einstein McFly

    Einstein McFly Cheesehead

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    It's tough to know which way to go since the same thing that worked great last year for five games failed horribly for the rest of the season. Having a massive front with Raji/Pickett/Jolly seemed to work perfectly but somehow fell apart, so it doesn't seem to be about "bigger" versus "smaller" but finding something better. And Jones isn't necessarily too small to be a three down end. Watt is listed at 289. Wilson was better against the run than Raji last year. Unless Boyd can gain 20 lbs I doubt he could be the main base nose.

    Without knowing why three huge guys couldn't stop the run last year or what they really have from Worthy it's hard to predict what the dline will look like next year.
     
  19. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    I'm just going with what commonly happens with players as they age and get involved in professional workout programs. Neal is a poor example because he was simply TOO big (think David Boston). Can't remember where but I read somewhere that players who are weightlifting champs can be more of a risk for injury (don't remember the details though). The difference between college, where players are allowed 20 hours a week with the coaches, and pros, where they can spend all day if they want working out, is enormous.
     
  20. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Since writing that post I see McCarthy commenting on how Datone Jones dropped weight as the season went on after bulking up to the 290 range going into the season. Some guys move up or down from year to year to find the right quickness/agility vs. size/strength balance for the role they're targeting. Finley, Matthews and Hawk are few examples of guys who have fluctuated up or down in about a 15 lb. range from year to year. Other guys have trouble keeping weight on; some guys have trouble keeping it off.

    I think it's a mistake to look at a player, project a role, and then assume he can hit a target. Even if the guy hits a target, there's no guarantee it yields the desired result.
     
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  21. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    It's also a mistake for us to read into the comments of coaches and general managers as they evaluate talent in preparation for the draft. There is probably no greater time in the annual NFL timeline that is filled with more misinformation, misdirection, and journalistic puff.

    Let's all say it together: "Don't believe everything that you read on the internet."

    Repeat
     
  22. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    Well big, fat, and slow hasn't so mise well try the opposite...seems to work for Seattle.
     
  23. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Almost every player ends the season weighing less than when they began.
     

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