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STL Game Notes: Defense

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by HardRightEdge, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Neal: The mystery has been revealed, and I'm thoroughly underwhelmed. I was right about this on three counts, more or less: (1) gadget, (2) psycho 2.0 and (3) Neal in place of Perry. The first time Neal took a snap standing up in STL's first series it was in a psycho-type set...3 man front with Matthews, Daniels and Neal...all standing up...with Perry dropping in coverage. No pressure. We were waiting for this? "Unimaginative" was the word I used for the predicted psycho 2.o, and that's what we got. Next, Neal was playing straight up strong side OLB in both base and nickel with the second team opposite Moses. Other than bouncing one run to the outside, Neal was non-factor.

    First Team Pass Rush: Two games now without impressing.

    Jolly: What can we say. He led the league in passes defended by a D-Lineman with 10 in 2009, and we saw why. They don't include these things in pressures, but they sure beat a "hurry" whatever that might be. Then he dropped in coverage for the pick, though after looking at that play a 1/2 dozen times I can't tell how that ball ever got through Means. Unrecognized in all that is playing well against the run. I'd like to see him get snaps with the first team so Raji can "rest".

    Raji: He actually looked pretty good on a few run plays. For that we should pay what?

    Wilson: He's the best run stopper on this team after Pickett. Is that enough? I think he's on the bubble. If he doesn't make it back, some other 3-4 team will be happy to have him in their rotation.

    Moses and Lattimore: These guys looked confused or uninspired, I'm not sure which. Moses whiffed in space on a screen, I think it was, which is never a good look.

    Francois: Two tackles for loss on run plays. He also blew up a kickoff return, shoving a blocker into the returner who fell down. He waved goodby to one runner with a half hearted arm tackle...out of position. The guy makes some mistakes, but he makes plays. He's passed Lattimore if he wasn't in front of him already.

    Mulumba: Like Francois, he's out there making plays...a sack, a couple of other licks on the QBs, a tackle or two for losses. Watch out Moses.

    House: It would be easy to overlook, but House made a nice comeback tonight. He had good coverage on a 3rd. down out that went incomplete, and nice coverage on a deep ball to Austin where he got behind the play. I don't otherwise recall hearing his name or seeing him, which is good for a cover corner.

    Shields: He made a nice run stop for a loss and he defended a pass. Otherwise...I hate to be a broken record...they didn't throw at him.

    Jeckell and Hyde: I saved the best for last. I've got more notes on Mycah Hyde than any player on either side of the ball.

    First the Jeckell: He got beat early on that 57 yarder to Givens. It wasn't terrible coverage; he was in stride with a 4.3 guy one-on-one all the way down the field, but he was a step behind at the end, and Bradford did what Palmer didn't do last week against McMillan trailing by two steps...he dropped in a beautiful throw. It was an illustration of the difference between 4.3 and 4.5 in the NFL. I still have to give Hyde a -1 on the result. Then Hyde...err, I mean Jeckell... got picked off and knocked down on the goal line looking like he had not seen that at Iowa...but Bradford blew the pass to the wide open receiver so it would be easy to forget...but you know we can't.

    After that it was all Mr. Hyde: The guy was all over the field, all around the ball, making plays. Here are my notes in no particular order. Early on he cut down a ball carrier on a run blitz for a loss. I have another note that says "run stopper" though I can't recall that play. He broke up a 4th. down pass. "Another Austin stop in the middle" I have written down...I think that was another pass defended. He had the nifty 15 yard punt return...quick feet side stepping a couple of guys; looked very natural on that one; we want more. He had the one sack and a QB hit, and was in the backfield the whole second half when he wasn't knocking down passes. We have our dime back, backup for Hayward at nickel and...dare I say...a legit challenger at safety. The league didn't want him for his size, but the guy plays bigger than he is and looks like he belongs. Game ball here, but I think he has to share it with Jolly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
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  2. TeamTundra

    TeamTundra Cheesehead

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    I'm not too concerned with the first team defense pass rush at this point. I don't think we blitzed very much and
    we also didn't have our starting CB's or Datone.

    Great to see J. Jolly making plays. Not only did he have an impressive bull rush, but he also made some nice swim moves.
     
  3. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    I agree the first team pass rush hasn’t been anything to write home about but it’s not about scheme IMO. Pass rushing schemes only go so far in the NFL, it boils down to individuals winning their individual battles. Even so, if Capers has anything imaginative up his sleeve, he’s not going to debut it before opening day. It would be great if the Packers find that one compliment to Clay rushing the passer but it would be even better if Perry, Datone, Daniels, Neal, Raji, Hayward, and/or someone else took turns being that compliment. But we haven’t seen that yet, and my point is the disappointment should be more with the players at this point, not the scheme.

    Jolly looked good and I like the trend, even though it’s just a couple of games. I’m not sure if it was on this site but I remember Packers fans downplaying Jolly’s penchant for knocking down (or up) passes. The comments were something like, ‘he doesn’t rush the passer, just waits to bat at the ball at the LOS’. That’s nonsense of course, I’ll bet on nearly every pass deflected in Jolly’s career he first got a push up the field. And in the end it doesn’t matter, the result is still the same. BTW, I think it was Jolly who beat a double team with the Rams backed up to their goal line and pressured the QB into an incompletion.

    I agree Wilson is on the bubble – they may want to make room for Boyd who has shown a flash or two, albeit against opponent’s 2nd and 3rd teamers. Francois has impressed so far and for a relatively raw player so has Mulumba. I agree on House too, glad to see the player we remembered from last preseason has returned. The reports that Shields has had a terrific camp have translated onto the field.

    Hyde has been beaten a couple of times but you have to like what we’re seeing overall. When he was drafted I was hoping they’d put him at safety but see now how he fits covering the slot receiver like Hayward. In the dime he and Hayward will give Capers a lot of flexibility. Unless Jennings or McMillian really emerge, I’d like to see Micah take over at the safety spot opposite Burnett. I think Hyde is miscast on the outside - and the Packers have Williams, Shields, and House to fill those spots anyway. And if Hyde starts at safety he could still fill a different role on the dime.

    I’d like to see the experiment of Franklin as a returner stop and those chances go to Hyde. McCarthy said this week he’s tempted to use Hyde on offense – well returning is the next best thing. Let’s see Hyde and Ross fight it out.

    An aside: Of course it’s early, early, early – “they” say you have to wait three years to evaluate a draft . But look at the early returns on the 2013 draft. The reports we read about Jones from his arrival in Green Bay have been extremely positive. I read somewhere this week that if he hadn’t injured his ankle on that play last week, it would have been a highlight-reel play. Obviously he needs to get back on the field but again, early returns are favorable. Lacy looks special. Bakhtiari, other than being in desperate need of a pronounceable nickname, could be the long-term answer at the most important position on the OL; and he was the 109th pick. And then there’s Hyde. What do these four have in common? Of course they’re all physically talented but that’s not uncommon. What is all too often missing is something these kids have: They are football players. They have “it” and it is the knack for the game that can’t be taught. Like I said, the “final” grade won’t be assigned for years and who knows how Tretter, Franklin, Boyd, Palmer, or the speedy WRs will turn out. But so far, so very, very good.
     
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  4. 7thFloorRA

    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

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    The scheme problem is that opposing lines have no trouble picking up the blitzing linebackers up the middle. I assume Capers is going with last years stuff and being vanilla to hide his hand. I hope I am right because they look like they know what is coming and flawlessly pick it up. It would help if the big guys like Raji would try harder and require a double team. then there is no one to pick up the linebackers.
     
  5. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Curious if the lack of targets at the guy shields was covering is a good or bad thing in your book. Generally, if the quarterback doesn't throw at the corner that means the corner had good coverage (that's a positive). Also, I think "hurries"is pretty descriptive, not too much difficulty seeing if a quarterback Is under pressure.

    Speaking of pressure,I too find the lack of pass rush disconcerting. I know it's only preseason but the return of Nick Perry was supposed to improve the pass rush and so far that hasn't been evident. If this continues then taking Neal off the dline was a huge mistake, Neal is by far the best rusher on the dline.
     
  6. 7thFloorRA

    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

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    Perry seems like he is much better in coverage and vs the run as opposed to rushing. I didn't think he was supposed to be good in coverage but he closed well on guys. Maybe seeing how god awful hawk is in coverage makes the other lb's look better.
     
  7. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Bak, Bakhy, D-Bak, take your pick.

    The Franklin returns really do need to stop.
     
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  8. GeeDogWarrior

    GeeDogWarrior 0 - 0

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    According to Pro Football Focus - we pressured the Ram's QBs on 50% of their plays ... maybe we should blitz the house like the Bills and Saints?

    Lead the league in sacks during the preseason - ya HeaRd?
     
  9. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    Agree, scheme certainly does get too much focus. Yet I do think it's important to consider the effectiveness of individual players within the scheme. Clay Matthews is a very effective player in the vanilla schemes but he's at his best when he's cut loose and allowed freelance. When teams can't figure out where and when he's coming, that's when he turns into a one man wrecking crew.

    Also I think it's worth noting that it's generally tough to evaluate the play of Defensive starters in early pre-season games especially in the trenches. While opposing Offensive lines play at game day strength and ferocity to protect their quarterback, players in the Defensive front 7 are more motivated to avoid injuries.

    I disagree on Wilson being a bubble player, he brings too much value against the run. Id be surprised if they kept Boyd over him.
     
  10. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    You seem to have conflated two separate observations.

    One observation was that the first team pass rush was once again uninspiring. I made no mention of scheme in that regard.

    The second observation was that Psycho 2.0 with Neal was unimaginative and ineffective. That had nothing to do with scheme either...it was one play and constitutes a gadget, which by definition is counter-scheme. I think we can all agree our 3 man pass rush has been weak the past few years, and this gadget looks like a reach.

    As for what Capers may be holding back with respect to Neal-at-OLB, the options were fully explored in that game with no favorable impression made.

    I agree there is no substitute for talent. Lets hope Jones comes to play. Perry? Anything we get our of him in the pass rush will be a bonus at this stage.
     
  11. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I consider Wilson on the bubble because of MM's habit of carrying 6 D-Linemen. Raji, Pickett, Jones, Neal and Daniels are set. That would leave one spot for Jolly, Wilson or Boyd. Jolly is making a very strong case.

    MM could go with 7 this year since Raji and Pickett are questionable beyond this season which would improve Wilson's odds considerably.

    However, with some popular notions that we'll carry 4 TBs or 6 WRs, something has to give.
     
  12. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Wilson is in a contract year, just like the rest of about half of our DL. Expecting us to go light on S/OLB, possibly OL/ILB. 6 possible CB as well. Wilson is bubble simply because he has trade value, and Jolly does similar work in the run game.

    Anybody remember me pounding the table for run DL this past summer and throwing Wilson under the bus? We got more run DL. Only thing I put Wilson over Jolly is youth. Wilson may not even start if Datone is healthy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  13. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    Can't remember when we've had this much depth at CB.

    I like Shields. A lot. He's developed a better understanding of the game. He's a bit overlooked, but I actually think he has the ability to be one of the top outside corners in the game. Trouble is, you might never know it because he's rarely thrown at. So the flashy stats will never be there.

    House was much improved yesterday from last week -- and Hyde looks like a gem in the 5th right now.

    I haven't forgotten about Hayward, and here's hoping he can get back quickly because he showed a ton of ability last year. Definitely waiting Tramon's return as well, although I think the performance of the other corners have put him in a tough spot where his starting job may be in jeopardy.
     
  14. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    I like PFF but the starters didn't do much
    Much of that pressure came after the starters were out of the game. Of the starters, only Jones and Matthews got actual pressure (Matthews with 2 hurries and Jones with 1). Rest of the pressure all came from backups.
     
  15. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    A good showing from the defense against the Rams. Bradford stayed in for most of the first half if I remember, and we still held them scoreless. Jolly was fun to watch as was Hyde, Mulumbo, Francois, and others. The assignment gaffes don't worry me as much since these guys are at the beginning of the learning curve. They'll worry me in a few weeks though.
     

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