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Grading the Pack - Week 4 (Defense)

On paper this was a dominant performance by Green Bay’s defense and there’s no debating that one of the deciding factors in the game was Green Bay’s +4 turnover margin. When grading the game, however, the tape told a bit of a different story. For the most part, this wasn’t a great game for the Packers’ defense—it was an awful performance by Chicago’s offense.

On the very first offensive play for Chicago, Glennon held on to the ball way too long and Matthews did a nice job of forcing the fumble. The next turnover was a snap that went off of Glennon’s knee and the two passes that Green Bay picked off were thrown right to the defenders. Take nothing away from Green Bay’s ability to pay these blunders off, but make no mistake, they were awful plays by Chicago.

Green Bay’s defense also benefited from the offense cashing in those turnovers into points. By the time Chicago was able to get any rhythm in the game it was 21-0 Green Bay. I wouldn’t say that this was a bad performance by the defense, but there wasn’t a ton to write home about. The line held up fine in the run game, the pass rush was hit and miss and the coverage was still leaky. Thankfully Glennon and the Bears offense was so inept that they were not able to take advantage of any of Green Bay’s deficiencies.

Top 3 Performers

Blake Martinez +1.25
Morgan Burnett +1.10
Ricky Jean Francois +0.20

Bottom 3 Performers

Josh Jones -1.35
Josh Hawkins -0.90
Kentrell Brice -0.85

Defensive Line

Ricky Jean Francois +0.2
Kenny Clark +0.1
Quinton Dial -0.15
Dean Lowry -0.4

Kenny Clark made some standout plays in this game and to be totally honest I thought he would have graded out better than +0.1. You could tell Clark tired at times and wasn’t always able to get the penetration or pass rush that he would have liked. Overall the line held up fine and held Chicago’s running backs to 103 yards on 29 carries.

Edge

Ahmad Brooks +0.05
Nick Perry -0.1
Chris Odom -0.1
Clay Matthews -0.2
Kyler Fackrell -0.25

Both Ahmad Brooks and Clay Matthews made some big plays in this game but it wasn’t consistent and it wasn’t often enough. Chicago’s offensive tackles held up well in pass protection and really stymied the outside pass rush. It’s easy to see that Nick Perry isn’t himself with the club on his hand but the effort was still there.

Linebacker

Blake Martinez +1.25
Joe Thomas +0.1
Jake Ryan -0.6

Blake Martinez is really having a nice start to the 2017 season and this was a solid all-around performance for the second year linebacker. Martinez has really looked sharp in the run game and he continues to get better in pass defense. He did have one play where he didn’t get deep enough in his drop in zone coverage, but overall it was a stellar performance. Joe Thomas had one of the plays of the night as he dropped deep into coverage and was able to stick with a wide receiver and breakup the pass.

Hybrid

Morgan Burnett +1.10
Josh Jones -1.35

I’m absolutely loving Morgan Burnett in his hybrid role. He’s all over the field at corner, safety, and linebacker and he’s playing well at every position. He’s become such a valuable player to this team. Burnett, Linsley & Adams are all putting on quite the show in their contract seasons.

Jones just couldn’t gain any momentum in this game and to be fair it wasn’t a game that best utilized his strengths. He was played at linebacker a lot against power fronts and he just wasn’t given a chance to showcase his speed and athleticism much. He also struggled blitzing but held up well in coverage.

Cornerback

*Quinten Rollins +0.0
Kevin King -0.2
Damarious Randall -0.45
Josh Hawkins -0.9

Oddly enough, Damarious Randall was having his best game of the year, and best game in a while, prior to giving up the touchdown at the end of the half. To be fair it was a brutal play and gave Chicago life at the end of the half but other than one brutal play he held up quite well. It’s possible that was one of the reason’s he was so frustrated at his benching because really he was having a good game up to that point. King had his expected ups and downs and Hawkins had two highlight pass breakups to go with some soft coverage overall.

*Note - Rollins only played one snap.

More on Josh Hawkins from Zach: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/packers-cb-josh-hawkins-in-line-for-more-snaps-447

Safety

HaHa Clinton-Dix +0.0
Marwin Evans +0.0
Kentrell Brice -0.85

Overall I liked the scheme and strategy that Green Bay went with against Chicago, specifically emphasizing more 3-4 looks, but I think they would have been better off playing Jones more at safety this game and holding Brice back a bit. Brice has been a bit of a disappointment so far this year and getting a downhill, physical safety like Jones in the game could have helped the defense as a whole. Clinton-Dix was better in this game and started to show some signs of his stellar play from a season ago.

To find an updated, running total of the grades throughout the season, click here: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/grading-the-pack-regular-season-totals-454

How I Grade

  • Each player starts by getting a zero or neutral grade on a play. If they performed as expected on a play, their grade stays at zero.
  • For a slightly above or below average play, the player gets graded -0.1 or +0.1. The vast majority of grades on the vast majority of plays are graded -0.1, 0, or +0.1.
  • The highest and lowest grades on an individual play are +2.0 and -2.0 respectively. These would be large, game-changing plays.
  • I won’t grade a play negatively if I cannot tell which player was at fault.
  • Most of the time it’s impossible to tell the play, so I’m not grading on the execution of the play call as an NFL coach would.
  • The goal of this exercise is to grade every snap over the course of the season to get a long-term view of which performers are performing well and which are not meeting expectations. This is very similar to what Pro Football Focus tries to achieve. Is it perfect? No. But what you are getting is a consistent grader who is watching specifically Packer games and putting multiple hours into every week to breakdown film and assign grades.
  • Grades are for offense and defense only (including two point conversions). Special teams does not factor in.
  • Preseason does not have All-22 film which makes this exercise even more challenging than usual
  • Bigger plays in the game such as a 4th and 1 or a two-point conversion are weighted higher than say a normal 1st and 10 play to start the game.
  • Lastly, the grades do not necessarily reflect who the best players are on an overall basis. As an example, Morgan Burnett may grade almost two full points below Jermaine Whitehead. Does this mean that Whitehead is the superior player to Burnett? No. It means that given the opportunities each player was given, Whitehead performed at a higher level for this individual game.

Please feel free to ask questions or comment below!

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jclombardi's picture

For the record great job with these weekly scores for both the offense and defense.

It is sorely needed! Good luc!

SconnieSports's picture

Thanks so much! Appreciate the feedback!

Denver's picture

I don't comment much, but just wanted to mention how much I enjoy your breakdowns Andy. Great stuff!
Andy
(not the author Andy)
(this time :))

SconnieSports's picture

Thanks!

croatpackfan's picture

Well, it looks like Brice was responsible for that Bears TD at the and of the half, not D Randall. That should be taken in consideration when you giving the marks to each play for every player... So, if you did not grade immature behavior of Randall at the side line, he should get higher grades...

SconnieSports's picture

Croat,

I’m curious your explanation on this. Brice was blitzing on the other side of the field. Randall was matched up 1 on 1 on the td. If it wasn’t Randall’s fault I doubt very much they bench him...

Spock's picture

See Flackcatcher's comments on the "Packers CB Josh Hawkins in Line for More Snaps" thread here on CHTV. Apparently, Randall did his job per Whitt but someone else (Brice?) freelanced and wasn't where they were supposed to be.

SconnieSports's picture

Thanks. It smells to me like Whitt trying to protect his guy. Either way it certainly wasn’t Brice who was on the opposite side of the field. Everyone else is in man coverage, along with Randall. You can never know 100% for certain but it really looks like Randall was at fault on the play.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Even if Brice free-lanced, Randall has to have some awareness. A glance around him would reveal that there was no help to the outside.

RobinsonDavis's picture

My thoughts too Andy&TGR....situational awareness.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Duplicate..sorry

flackcatcher's picture

I think next year we will see Jones play more SS/HyB. Right now the coaches do not want to overload him. The current training camp/CBA makes it impossible for players, to learn more than one position in the Packers system per camp. Good job Andy.

dobber's picture

I have a hunch (as do several here) that Burnett will be allowed to test the FA waters and that Jones would be in line for his spot.

Turophile's picture

Burnett is 28 now and has been generally healthy. He is such a versatile player (slot corner, ILB, safety) that I'm now wondering if the Packers offer him good money on a three year contract.

I used to think he would be gone, and J.Jones would 'take over', but Burnett IS valuable to the Packers, and just might still be considered a core guy. Later, when Burnett goes, big money can be shifted over to Jones second contract (assuming he deserves it).

dobber's picture

TT has always had a track record of honoring his contracts, so I wondered if maybe they sign Burnett to a deal that gets them a cheap out in the last year, if necessary. It gives that next GM that option.

I agree: Burnett's been very good this season. Possibly the defensive MVP so far. I have a hunch there are too many other players up for contracts and that will make Burnett a "let go".

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I am closer to Dobber's opinion. I do think Burnett is the glue holding this defense together right now. I didn't think Burnett could play slot CB (actually, the jury is still out in my mind). Burnett is going to get some real nice offers should he reach FA. Some of them might be for four years with real dead money left in year 4. Easy to say TT should structure the contract so that Burnett can be easily cut in year 3 or 4, but Burnett saw Sitton get cut because he didn't have any dead money, and saw that Sitton lost milliions due to the timing. Some other team might well be willing to offer a not so team friendly contract to Burnett. I think TT might make a good offer to Burnett, just not sure he'll fight harder for Burnett than he did for Lang, for much the same reasons. Burnett should fetch at least a 4th round comp pick, and it could be a 3rd.

I will continue to watch Evans, Brice, and Jones closely, but only Jones can "replace" Burnett. Our UFAs in 2018 (*= re-sign; ** = internal replacement?; ~ = jury is out either due to $ or level of play, but we need someone good to play that position):

Davante Adams*, Morgan Burnett~, Corey Linsley*, Jahri Evans**, Davon House~, Ahmad Brooks~, RJF, Barclay, Dial, Janis, Goodson, and RR, plus a new contract for AR.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Why not have 2 good players that can play the position? Hope they do sign Burnett, but TT has been unwilling to sign DBs, even though he appeared to be close with contracts in the past. My point is that TT has his price that he is willing to pay, and appears to not budge often. If Burnett wants to be here, I think the Packers will offer a nice contract, but likely not what others teams are willing to pay.

Regarding the slot corner position, it is still giving us problem. However, I feel Burnett has done better than most.

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