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After Further Review: Packers vs. Cowboys

Ross will provide a few observations every Monday afternoon following a Packers game based on a few viewings of the condensed version of the game on NFL GamePass.  While this might not be the All-22 camera deep dive that might be more "educational", it should provide a conversation point for the rest of the week.

Rodgers is the best I’ve ever seen do it.  I don’t care about #QBRingz or #QBWinz and I understand that there was a rough stretch in his career from late 2015 to early 2016, but he’s incredible.  Rodgers outdueled the Cowboys, on the road, with one hobbled tackle and a guard protecting him from the edge. Per PFF, Rodgers’ passer rating yesterday under pressure was 102.1, which, of course, is absurd.  Rodgers made several plays of which only he is capable.  The throw downfield to Bennett, the 3rd down run to set up the Adams fades, and the early strike to Cobb on 3rd down were all plays in which a lesser athlete takes a sack, and a lesser passer throws an incompletion or worse.  Best I’ve ever seen.

Aaron Jones is RB1.  This is coming from someone who has written and tweeted about just how good Ty Montgomery is for two years.  Montgomery will still be a key part of the offense, but Aaron Jones is the most talented back on the roster.  He’s fluid, he has great vision and he’s an excellent athlete.  He is strikingly better than Jamaal Williams, who I’m not sure has the vision to cut it at the NFL level.  The buckshot approach to selecting running backs appears to have paid off, though, as Jones appears to be a keeper.  If Green Bay wasn’t as good as they are in the passing offense, Jones would be this season’s Jordan Howard.  That’s not hyperbole, either.

Kenny Clark is a star. Right now.  Not someday.  Right now.

 

I’m wavering on Quinten Rollins.  Rollins was a pretty good player as a rookie, and was effective in the limited things that he was asked to do, but he’s struggled mightily since.  I can’t for the life of me explain why he would allow inside leverage to Beasley in a cover zero situation on the goal line.  It looked like the easiest TD ever.  I personally think Rollins’ best position in the NFL would be free safety, but there aren’t any snaps for him to play there.  Green Bay’s three best corners are all outside players.  Kevin King, Davon House and Josh Hawkins.  They need to use Damarious Randall inside.

Speaking of which, Damarious Randall was exceptional yesterday.  Randall is consistently under fire, especially from old ex-beat writers, but he was really, really good yesterday against Dallas.  Randall allowed one catch, which was a touchdown to Dez Bryant in which he was in very good position.  Bryant, an excellent player, made an excellent play.  Other than that Randall had a clean sheet and a game changing pick 6.  I don’t have any problem throwing up the “X”, in fact I love it, but don’t flip the ball at the QB. That’s just dumb.  Don’t forget his PBU on the free play, either.

I’ll say it again, Josh Hawkins is one of the three best corners on Green Bay’s roster.

 

Lane Taylor was not good yesterday.  He was passable or better at left tackle against Chicago, but he was getting eaten alive by Dallas.  He’s a decidedly above average guard, and a big part of Green Bay’s future but he needs to be playing guard.  You really have to hope that DBak can come back this week.  Minnesota isn’t a very good team, but they do have two excellent edge rushers in Hunter and Griffen.  Bryan Bulaga can’t block them both.  

 

Mike Daniels isn’t 100%.  I hope he gets there again this season and that his explosiveness isn’t somewhat limited.  Daniels played a ton of snaps against the Cowboys and I don’t remember him popping on film.  That’s difficult to swallow if you flip the Seattle game back on.  This should be his All Pro season.

 

Good for Davante Adams.  They can announce his contract extension any time as far as I am concerned.

Can we please get that damn club off of Nick Perry?  Perry was really good on Sunday, but the club is clearly limiting his ability to finish plays.  Unfortunately for the Packers, Dallas was able to do big things with the plays that he did not finish.  As an aside I have absolutely no idea what he was doing on the last play of the game.  If you have the ball you have to go down and be touched.  Sweet Jeeeeezus.

 

I thought Matthews was really good in this game.  Clay was asked to do a multitude of things in this one, including playing off the ball linebacker in Green Bay’s quad package because of the injury to Ahmad Brooks and the limited uses of Nick Perry’s clubbed hand.  

 

Blake Martinez is really good.  I honestly think this defense is maybe one more good pass rusher and one more corner away from being excellent.  Not just hang in there good, but excellent.  Maybe Biegel is that pass rusher.  That’s certainly possible.  Martinez is one of a few young stars at other levels of the defense, though.  Against an offensive front like Dallas, Martinez was repeatedly able to make splash plays.  The next step for the young Stanford linebacker is to start dominating on a higher percentage of plays.

I still think there’s something weird going on with HaHa Clinton-Dix.

 

Corey Linsley and Jahri Evans have been very good, and that’s been important.  Left Guard, Left Tackle and Right tackle have been revolving doors all season long, so the consistency and quality of Linsley and Evans’ play has been a Godsend for Rodgers and the Packers offense.

 

This is probably obvious, but this was clearly Martellus Bennett’s finest game as a Green Bay Packer.  Bennett will continue to improve as the season goes on and he continues to grasp Green Bay’s complex offense and play style.  He’s an excellent blocker but his ability to draw coverage is important.

Morgan Burnett cannot be hurt for an extended period of time.  Even though Green Bay has excellent players to fill his roles (Josh Jones and Kentrell Brice), his versatility and experience are incredibly important to the defense and the secondary.  I’m sure he’ll be with the rehab group this week.

 

I’m really excited to watch the All 22 for this game.  I hope it drops soon.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Archie's picture

One of the Pack's most entertaining games. However, it looks like Dallas has no defense. I know they were missing Sean Lee but still.

Welcome to the Packers, Aaron Jones. Just what we needed when we needed it. Can MM figure out how to optimize combo w Monty when he's healthy?

Looks like Adams is cured of the dropsies. Nice catches on both TDs.

Bennett is old.

Rodgers is too much. We are so spoiled.

Defense still not where it needs to be but it is better than last couple of years and should get better as young players develop and return from injury.

All in all, 3 hours very well spent, watching our team!

Bearmeat's picture

Who the heck are you, and what have you done with Archie??? :D

dobber's picture

"One of the Pack's most entertaining games. However, it looks like Dallas has no defense. I know they were missing Sean Lee but still."

I agree: with the exception of their outside pass rushers, Dallas's D looked more lost than the Packers did against Atlanta. Once they found a way to protect #12, the Packers met little resistance in moving the football. If they play this way the rest fo the season, I'm not sure Dallas is any more than a fringe playoff team.

This is in part why I'm tempering my enthusiasm for Jones. He's going to get the ball against a good D in Minnesota on Sunday. I'm hoping he can do enough to take the heat off #12 there. If he looks anything like he did against the Doughboys? Then I'm on the bandwagon.

Mojo's picture

That first video is kind of interesting. The camaraman zooms in on Arods mug then follows the flight of the ball to and through Adams catch. Not bad Fox camaraman.

Over the years we've delved into Arods positive attributes, but lately I've been focusing on how quick a release he has at times. It actually looks weird. He might be running around and then when the target is in sight it's as if he presses a button and the ball comes whipping-out at Mach 2 speed. Not a long-arm sluggish wind-up except for the real deep throws. Just a concise, short sometimes half-flip motion.

ironman3169's picture

Hey thanks for the article Ross! I thought you'd hung it up or something last week, as I didn't see one for the Bears game.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Ross,

In your last paragraph you talk about the importance of Burnett to the Packers defense. Do you think the Packers offer him another contract?

On a side note great job on the article.

Mojo's picture

What was with that last play of the game? Except for Rollins, it didn't seem like anyone was taking it seriously.

Coaches need to bring it up to the team what to do if they get control of the ball. And secondly don't assume anything until the refs call it. It looked like some players were ready to run off the field while Dallas was running around. Could you imagine if Dallas had managed to work their way to the end-zone?

And we don't need CM3 having to take on Frederick with ten yards of steam when the game could have been over. If he got hurt on that play.....

flackcatcher's picture

Defense was completely exhausted, both mentally and physically. Front seven was spent. Rollins was one of the few DBs who didn't suffer cramps during the game. Glad the game did not go into overtime.

HankScorpio's picture

Blake Martinez is really turning into a player. It seems like I'm making that comment about a different defender each week...Kenny Clark, Josh Jones, Kevin King.

I'm really curious to see what this defense can become if they can ever get healthy and some time together. They've handled the lesser offenses they've face so far. But Dallas and Atlanta had their way with the Packer defense. I think those are the two best offenses on the schedule but there are still some other good ones left. I'm wondering if they have it in them to handle some of the better ones.

flackcatcher's picture

Nice overview Ross. Two points. I think Dix is playing what amounts to a new position in Don Capers defense. He may be playing what amounts to 1-high for most of the game in Capers schemes. He may be the only true safety out of the field. Morgan Burnett is both the MVP and MIP on the Packers defense. Without him the nitro won't work. Jones is too young, and none of the other players have a compete masterly of the defense. By the same token, without Burnett the Packers have trouble playing both their base and sub packages. No one else has the size, speed, or experience to take on TE or SLWR. At this point in the season, what he is being ask to do in football terms is unreal. There is only one other player being ask to carry such a burden for this team, and that is Aaron Rodgers.

MITM's picture

As far as the defense goes, the first half, even the first 2 and a half quarters seemed like the focus was solely on stopping Zeke and forcing Dak to be the difference. And to his credit, he did not disappoint. After that we seemed more concerned with the passing game and in turn Zeke started to gash us especially because all game the TOP was in the Cowboys favor. Throw in the fact that they have what, 3 all pros on that offensive line? And voila. In my honest opinion i truly believe at the end of the regular season we will be a top 15 defense, which is enough to do some major things with 12 at the helm. We desperately need to get healthy and when/if we do, watchout.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Zeke had 31 yards on 16 carries through the end of the third quarter. Not sure if Dallas' 4th quarter success was due to the absence of Burnett or a change in emphasis by Capers. Thumbs up for this comment.

Otto's picture

I think the 4th quarter success is due to the Cowboys running 72 offensive plays (vs 58 for the Packers) and holding the ball 11 minutes longer than the Packers.
It's an old formula: get those big O-linemen leaning on the defense for three quarters and the 2-3 yard runs become 7-8 yard runs in the 4th.

It might benefit the defense for the offense to slow down.

dobber's picture

On Jordy Nelson, from JSOnline...

"Nelson’s final play of the game was the failed 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter after cornerback Damarious Randall returned an interception for a touchdown. Nelson jogged in motion from the right side of the formation to the left and ultimately broke free in the back of the end zone.

But the pass from Rodgers was high, and Nelson jumped with his left arm extended trying to reach the football. The ball sailed incomplete as Nelson tumbled to the ground. He was slow to get up and grimaced in pain as he rose to his feet."

Sounds like a shoulder issue? Maybe don't want to expose him or his injury as a target in case he plays on Sunday?

Oppy's picture

Fun experiment:

Think about what you feel the weakness of the Packers defense is.

Did you think "Secondary"? I bet most did.

Now go to NFL.com and look up team defensive statistics for pass defense.

Surprise! Now enjoy the rest of your day.

dobber's picture

Gameflow can do a lot to impact how performance is perceived.

Finwiz's picture

When I watch the defense, I focus on the LOS. What kind of push do they have, and do they get pressure on the QB.
Most of the time the opposing QB is standing back there or breaks contain and NO SACK. The real problem with the Packer defense is at the point of attack, the LOS, where they don't get pressure. This is the weak link of the Packer D, not the corners, which aren't greatest, but still better than the Packer front 7. Not saying much I know, but it is what it is. With Daniels not 100%, who gets consistent pressure on the QB? I don't think they have anybody they can count on right now.

Oppy's picture

perry(even one handed), martinez, matthews have all been consitently pressuring the QB (among other things) this season. clark has been stout. thats 3-4 good players out of 7 right there, not counting Daniels. We'll see what happens as Daniels gets healthy and Beigel and Adams become available. I have a feeling the Packers will be alright up front as the season progresses.

Finwiz's picture

Ross, I completely agree with your conclusion on Jones. I'm not one to draw conclusions based on one game, or make hyperbolic statements based on limited statistical data. Jones is really, really good, and deserves to be the starter. Montgomery is not a running back, and he runs too upright, so he will continue to get hurt. Jones is more compact and runs with a lower center of gravity and avoids hits with his quickness. The big determining factor in making him the starter is, he's a great receiver too. Watch some of his film from UTEP - the guy got downfield and made some big catches for them. They struck gold with this guy, and it was obvious even against the Bears where he had some nice runs on limited creases. I hope they don't play around with Monty just to stick to their principles, because there's other things 88 can do, namely be a great slot receiver, or 3rd down change of pace back.

Listen to the guy do an interview, not only his he humble, but he's clearly a smart dude. He probably grasps the offense very well already - why? Because he's got the intelligence to go along with the physical talent.

Dave in Texas's picture

Overall, I thought the defense played very well. The were jobbed on that EZ call vs Martinez that gave Dallas 4 points. Then they lost King. That changed all the match ups and led to Dallas passing the ball more easily. It became even easier as our pressure on the QB dropped off in the 2nd qtr. that seemed to be due to physical exhaustion with the lopsided TOP.

The defense looked well rested in the 3rd quarter. But the loss of Burnett in the 4th changed things again, like the earlier loss of King. Both of those events probably led Capers to using more zone that Prescott carved up. And the 2ndary injuries also put Rollins out there more than I suspect Capers pregame planned to do.

I agree with those who think this defense can develop into something very special if they get healthy. If Daniels recovers and stays healthy that will cover a lot of the weaknesses Dallas exploited. He and Clark are the “big” keys to opening things up for Martinez, Burnett, Perry and CM3. Along with King, those 7 guys are all close to 100% in December, I think we will do well in January. That is a lot to hope for; but, the bye week starts in just 12 days. And that is an opportunity for many of these players to work through some of their nagging injuries. Like Perry’s club.

billybobton's picture

It amazes me that new age writers don't bother to watch what they write about. Randall sucked. Even TROY A called him out....TROY A.....yes, that troy called him out. He was not good in coverage he was beaten like a dog for an easy TD when Dak saved Randall's day with an underthrow that was bad by jay cutler standards.

Then with 11 seconds left Randall played his own unique style of wave football, not zone and not man but wave at beasley as he runs past for the winning TD but AGAIN dak bails out randall with an OVERthrow this time that completely missed the mark. If you can not watch a game you should not be writing articles and misleading people about what happened.

Finwiz's picture

You have NO CLUE what defense they were in when you claim Beasley ran by him. It looked like a zone to me, because it was the END of the game. Don't you watch football, or know anything about football? Nobody plays man coverage when protecting against the long pass at the end of the game. Nobody.

And on the sideline throw he wasn't beaten, he was stride for stride with the receiver and made a play on the ball. He played fine.

He isn't Deion Sanders - go figure.

billybobton's picture

actually you are wrong again, as you consistently seem to be
watch and learn

on the sideline throw he was beaten badly and only a terrible pass aloowed him to recover

https://shepherdexpress.com/sports/packers/packers-outgun-cowboys/

Finwiz's picture

You're obviously confused - I see NO play in that replay involving Randall except the Beasley throw. What are you looking at. I saw what I saw live, there's plenty to rip on the guy for, but that play was not one of them.
You have nothing to teach me, so don't waste your time and effort.

You have an axe to grind with Randall, just like I did with Gunter. I say he redeemed himself for whatever YOU think he did wrong, by getting us 6 points on a great reaction play, and some nice speed. I didn't see anyone else on that defense make a play like that all day.

You're going to have to face the fact he's a 1st round draft choice that will be given every opportunity to succeed. Don't shoot the damn messenger - write your comments to Thompson. My guess is you'll hear crickets. The guy is what, 24 years old? He's immature, and has physical talent. Show some patience and give him some time.

Ross Uglem's picture

lol

Ross Uglem's picture

"he was beaten like a dog for an easy TD when Dak saved Randall's day with an underthrow"

boy is this take innacurate.

please see video evidence posted below from all 22 film

Fordham Ram's picture

If Ha Ha keeps giving up the bombs I'm wondering if they give Evans more playing time. Our weakest link is back there. At 4 and 1 now would be a good time to experiment and see what you got. If we keep getting smoked in the backfield we have to keep smoking them in the backfield. With all that smoke...can someone help me finish this line, I'm trying to think of a good one. Ha! or should I say ha ha.

Duneslick's picture

On the long pass randle broke up the receiver was more than 5 yds behind him. The ball was short allowing him to catch up and knock it away

Ross Uglem's picture

I'm trying to think of a comment that could be less accurate but I really just can't.

All 22 Video evidence:

https://twitter.com/RossUglem/status/918215491692490752

Finwiz's picture

THANK YOU ROSS UGLEM - thats the GD play I'm talking about, and at NO TIME, NO TIME, was Randall beaten on that play. Give the guy a break people. Go show that one to the other guy that thinks he's an expert too!

BILLYBOBTON....do you know how to click on a video link - look at the one above, and tell me how Randall was so beaten.
You obviously don't know much about football, so sit down, shut up, have a cookie, and a warm glass of milk!
Clown.

Gman1976's picture

I read somewhere that the last TD drive by Dallas took 19 plays....19 PLAYS!!! After further review, while our defense was once again hurt by injuries to key starters, our defense gutted it out & never quit. They showed great character even though Dallas finally scored. If Daniels was his ol' self & fully recovered, if Perry had 2 hands to tackle opposing players, and if King & Burnett (our top CB & S) were in the game, it's not hard to imagine how good this defense could be.

billybobton's picture

the defense...the defense with Burnett and King and a fresh daniels held dallas to 3 long time consuming TD drives to start the game

the defense..... held dallas to their highest point total this season, 30% more than dallas average

the defense held elliot his highest yardage production this year , only 40% over his average

we held Dak Prescott to a qb ranking of 105 and his owner was forced to admit how we shut dak down by holding him to " Afterward, owner Jerry Jones called it “the best game I’ve seen him play since he’s been a Cowboy.”"

we have played 2 teams with decent offenses and we have been steamrolled, humiliated and kind of disgraced and in only one game saved by the GOT AROD give some credit where it is due...Adams was not open, he did not beat his man, AROD throws him open and wins

then randall tried to give the game away by playing the 'stand still and watch D' that does not really exist out side new age reporters and fans to lazy to watch

dobber's picture

Normally, I'm looking for the ray of sunshine in things, but this was a defense that--aside from a pivotal pick 6--needed the clock to run out to stop the Dallas offense.

That said, this was a Dallas team that came out with all the motivation in the world: they just got their nose rubbed in it at home by a Rams team that may or may not be good (remember the Rams got beat at home last week by a Seattle team that may or may not be good) to fall to 2-2 with a defense that is undermanned and looking up at a Philly team that seems to be improving each week. Also, they had memories of last off-season's "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" loss at home to the Packers on Jared Cook's miracle catch and two late, long Mason Crosby FGs.

Whether this Dallas team looked good on offense prior to this game, they have good personnel. Dallas had 9 possessions, scored on 5 of them (4 TDs). That's the kind of efficiency they demonstrated last season. I wasn't surprised to see them score a lot of points, and I fully expect that they're going to get their share this season. But I'll give the Packers credit for winning that game in about the only fashion they could.

Finwiz's picture

You are such a clown. The only thing you got right in this post was your criticism of the defense.

Fact is, Adams wasn't open, but he made one hell of a twisting, body contorting catch, that was arguably just as good, if NOT BETTER, than AR's throw. GIve credit where its due.

You have no idea what defense Randall was playing, so your last line is totally negated because you're just assuming you know. The prior week Joe Whitt himself said Randall did not miss his assignment on the end zone TD where receiver was wide open. It looked that way to a guy like you that JUMPS to conclusions without any evidence. Grind your axe all you want, Randall's here to stay for a couple years at least, and I expect him to only get better as he MATURES.

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