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Packers Have Work to Do in Secondary

This past week, the Green Bay Packers added three free agent players to their defense.  General Manager Brian Gutekunst has made no secret of it since he took over that role last year: he is not afraid to use free agency.

He may have to do it again before the 2019 season.

One of those free agent signees was safety Adrian Amos.  Amos helps solidify what was a weak depth chart at safety but the Packers still need more reinforcement.  Josh Jones returns for his third season and hopefully defensive coordinator Mike Pettine can get more out of him this season.  Beyond those two, currently it's Tramon Williams (part time), Raven Greene and guys most of us aren't familiar with.

There aren't many top-tier safeties left on the free agent market.  Eric Berry was just released by the Kansas City Chiefs but he's coming off of two straight seasons where he missed significant time due to injury.  His best days are behind him and he's not likely to offer more than Williams can right now.

In the draft, there are good options at safety and the good news is that the Packers can likely wait to land one of those prospects until after round one.  That gives them a lot of flexibility to add in other areas early on.

At cornerback, the Packers also still have some question marks. 

Kevin King will return after finishing his second-straight season on injured reserve.  The Packers are still hoping he can stay healthy and turn into something worthy of the early pick they used on him two years ago.

Jaire Alexander also returns and seems poised to be even better than he was in his rookie season.  Tony Brown will also return and if he can overachieve like he did last season, that gives the team depth at the position.

After those three, there's Josh Jackson, who struggled and was inconsistent last year and, like safety, more guys most of us aren't familiar with.

The Packers could theoretically roll with what they currently have at corner, but that would be banking on the elevation of more than one of these young players that are not guaranteed to do that.

Bashaud Breeland remains unsigned and is an unrestricted free agent.  It's not clear whether there has been any discussion between the team and Breeland but he did provide some valuable depth last season.

Bringing Breeland back would give the Packers a veteran who can step right in and start if he needs to.  The Packers could surprise us and take a corner early in this draft but signing Breeland would help free the team up to pursue positions that are deeper this year.

There are still more moves to be made around the league and there could become more veteran options available at safety and cornerback.  Those moves will mostly come after the draft so the Packers' approach doesn't have to be rushed or panicked.

But they do need to do something.  With the moves already made, the Packers may be just one or two more away from rounding out a potentially great defense.  If they're not able to add any more solid pieces, the secondary could become similar to other areas the team didn't improve in recent seasons past.  Areas that ended up being very costly at the end of those seasons.

 

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Daren726's picture

Brown will step up at corner. If the team doctor says he is in good shape, sign Berry. Also sign Breeland. Then draft another safety. This should go s long way to fixing our backfield problems.

The TKstinator's picture

Curious what kind of $ Breeland will command.
Can King stay healthy?
Will Josh Jackson make a second year jump?
There are questions here, no doubt. The expected improvement in pass rush will help.

RCPackerFan's picture

"The expected improvement in pass rush will help."

That is a huge key to keep in mind.

I saw a stat that showed both Smiths pressured QB's around 112ish? times this year. Whereas the entire Packers front 7 pressured QB's like 80 some times? I can't remember the exact number but it was a huge difference.

Adding the Smiths, getting Daniels back healthy should go a LONG ways to improving the pass rush. Which in the end helps the secondary. Maybe DB's will be able to jump routes more. Maybe we will see more Interceptions due to pressure.
Adding an actual pass rush threat will really improve this defense!

The TKstinator's picture

Yes!
Hand in hand, chicken and egg!

Old School's picture

I am unable to find any statistical rankings of team pressures, and I don't feel like adding up the totals for each individual team and ranking them.

But the team rankings of sacks has the Packers at #8 last year with 44, behind league leading Pittsburgh's 52. Of the 7 teams who were more successful at getting to the QB than the Packers, 4 of them did not make the playoffs.

I personally think that believing you can have an overwhelming pass rush is Fool's Gold. These 320 lb dancing bears at tackle get paid, too. You can go to max protection. You can throw quick timing patterns. You can move the pocket. Or, you can just run the ball right at these 245 lb outside guys and see how they like having that OT running at them instead of backing up.

Teams threw 527 times against the Packers last year, and we got to the QB 44 times. That's an 8% success rate, one of the better ones in the league. What are you doing on the other 92% of pass plays?

Against good, veteran QBs, they're just going to get rid of the ball. Against some of these young rabbits, they're going to bolt the pocket and start running downfield.

Pressure is good. So is coverage, and so is containment.

Old School's picture

I am unable to find any statistical rankings of team pressures, and I don't feel like adding up the totals for each individual team and ranking them.

But the team rankings of sacks has the Packers at #8 last year with 44, behind league leading Pittsburgh's 52. Of the 7 teams who were more successful at getting to the QB than the Packers, 4 of them did not make the playoffs.

I personally think that believing you can have an overwhelming pass rush is Fool's Gold. These 320 lb dancing bears at tackle get paid, too. You can go to max protection. You can throw quick timing patterns. You can move the pocket. Or, you can just run the ball right at these 245 lb outside guys and see how they like having that OT running at them instead of backing up.

Teams threw 527 times against the Packers last year, and we got to the QB 44 times. That's an 8% success rate, one of the better ones in the league. What are you doing on the other 92% of pass plays?

Against good, veteran QBs, they're just going to get rid of the ball. Against some of these young rabbits, they're going to bolt the pocket and start running downfield.

Pressure is good. So is coverage, and so is containment.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx

Two of the most overwhelming pass rushes in NFL history, the Fearsome Foursome and the Vikings of the 70s, won zero titles.

dobber's picture

They also played in four SBs in that era where running the football still won games.

Packers defense the last couple years...ranked high in sacks, but no SBs. There are a tremendous number of ways to not win SBs.

I'm willing to see what BG is cooking and let this play out.

carlos's picture

A take from Ron Wolf. You can not have to many good corners. Maybe draft one and a safety in the upper tier of draft. I know-a lot of needs, but I like King’s potential, but can he be on the field? The million dollar question. Just an idea to throw out here- maybe someone already suggested it. I think Jackson could be one hell- of- a - safety. He’s like a hawk when it comes to finding the ball.

Chino's picture

Too, late...Chiefs got Breeland

The TKstinator's picture

I heard that too.

Nick Perry's picture

"The Packers could theoretically roll with what they currently have at corner, but that would be banking on the elevation of more than one of these young players that are not guaranteed to do that."

Isn't this EXACTLY what the Packers are doing at the WR position? I like Allison most than others but he's NOT a #2 in the mold of what say Jennings was to Driver or Jones/Nelson was to Jennings.

I agree the Packers NEED another safety and could add him in the drafty. Personally I'd like to see Breeland brought back. Clearly the market is softer for him than it was last season so maybe an incentive loaded deal could get him signed.

I'm hoping for some offense in this draft. An O-Linemen, and a TE or WR early. We just committed a boat load of money to the defense in FA. The Packers have used either their first 2 or 3 picks in the last 4 drafts on defense except the year they took Spriggs. But even then they followed Spriggs pick with 3 more defensive players.

HOW ABOUT SOME OFFENSE!!!!

MarkinMadison's picture

Re WR: I think you are mostly right. I'd consider Alexander and Adams as the leaders of their respective groups. Jackson and Moore are kind of both in the same camp - available, but technically flawed in a way that really limits their production. So then it is ESB and MVS v. Brown and King. The potential is similar (maybe even higher with the CB group) but the non-availability of King is a real problem. I'd say between the two groups I'm more comfortable that the young WRs will step up than I am that the CB group will stay available. So I end up agreeing with you that Breeland needs to come back. The Packers could also use a little help in the receiving group, but I think I'd solve for that by going with either of the TEs from Iowa, and I have a slight preference for Fant.

RCPackerFan's picture

I also agree that I want more offense in this draft.

The offense suffered the last couple of years due to the lack of attention paid to it under Thompson's last however many years. I have brought it up before but since drafting Cobb in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft they only drafted Adams and Montgomery within the first 4 rounds of the draft. That is until Gutekunst took over.

Since drafting Finley with the 3rd round pick in 2008, they have only drafted Richard Rodgers within the first 4 rounds of the draft. The TE position has been largely ignored and that is the reason that they have had to go out and get Free Agents.

Depending on who is available, I would absolutely consider drafting a TE with one of their first 2 picks.

WR I would love to see them draft a slot type of WR. With the size we have with Allison, MVS, EQ, Kumerow, we could use a smaller, shiftier type. A guy like Deebo Samuel would be a nice fitting player at pick 44. Another player that really intrigues me at WR is Hakeem Butler. A 6'6" WR that runs under 4.5, can be a matchup problem! Packers seem to have found a trait they like in WR's this past year or so. And that is Height. Why not add another towering guy.

I would also like to see them add a RB in this draft. I think they could find a nice RB in round 4. I wouldn't be surprised if they went RB higher, but I am guessing they end up going in the middle of the draft to add another.

kevgk's picture

I really think unless the market shakes out right, they resign ibrahem cambell as their number 2, and draft a number 3 for safety

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

LF is an offensive guy...take it to the bank! With the draft top heavy loaded on the defensive side of the ball I am very curious if the Pack goes offense at #12 (including dropping back in draft) and then go heavy defense? This approach seems very possible and of course if so would endear LF and Gutey to Rodgers right?

stockholder's picture

Go offense and pick top 10 again next year! Do you people really Love the Packers? What did the super-bowl show you. Keep the game close. We don't have the missing pieces. Gutey will take Defense early. Rodgers career is almost over. Free yourself from his apron strings.

Old School's picture

Offense? We should draft a backup QB in the first. Maybe Lock.

We have two first round picks, a 36 year old QB with an injury history, and absolute garbage behind him. We have nobody who we can win with behind him this year, and nobody who can take the reins in the future.

This should be a no-brainer. But no, we'd rather get a guy who'll get us an extra 0.5 sacks/game, or another TE or WR, than a guy that might help us win games for the next decade.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Lock isn't even as good as the last stud Mizzou QB was, Blaine Gabbert.
You can get him now free......

Coldworld's picture

I would be shocked if they don’t draft a free safety and possibly at both positions. We have a lot of picks coming up. I wouldn’t be shocked to see competition for Burkes/Jones at ILB/SS hybrid either. That still leaves the bulk of picks for offense.

Brown will play somewhere based on last year, whether at corner or safety. That leaves is with the need for one more CB so I expect us to draft one. Breeland would be nice but I’m not sure we will get him based upon the existing roster from his perspective, cost and other team’s needs.

I would like to see another FS brought in for depth. If Williams is retained he is one guy and is depth at a lot of poditions and FS is a role in which few rookies hold up.

The signings in early FA give us the opportunity to add competition. I expect that plus a vet FS type perhaps in later FA.

Jones worries me. If not used as a cover ILB it’s a big jump of faith to see him as viable in coverage from what I have seen. If they bring back Campbell on a small sample he might actually be better. Do we have the right players at SS? I’m not convinced.

4zone's picture

Problem with all those picks is that only about 3 will have any immediate impact. Where do you want that impact, and at what positions can we afford to wait on development?

MarkinMadison's picture

To me, Amos is the preferred FS, but could play either position. Give Jones a shot at SS and Jackson a shot at FS in camp and see what develops. Pick up a guy for depth or a cheap FA for SS, but I don't think you need to bring in another top-flight player. There are pieces there to work with right now.

Old School's picture

Jones has had shots a SS. He couldn't beat out Brice.

Jackson is one pulled hammy away from being our starting corner. He may well be our nickel guy. Since corners are more valuable than safeties, I think it'd be a mistake at this juncture to move him.

dobber's picture

"He couldn't beat out Brice."

He did last week...when the Packers didn't tender Brice. Now all he has to do is make the 53. ;)

Old School's picture

Jones was already under contract, Brice was not. If the situation had been reversed, it would have been Jones leaving, not Brice.

You don't release people who are under their rookie contract unless they're really, really bad.

Coach JV's picture

We need to get off the pot with Breeland and pay the guy. He's the only ball-hawk we have. Just sign him and put it to rest.

kevgk's picture

I don't think thats how it works. They probably told his agent what they would sign him for and he is testing the market. If he likes the Packers' offer, he'll join. I don't think they should throw money at him to keep him off the market.

Chino's picture

sorry day to late he's gone

Old School's picture

We have King and Alexander as our starters, and Tramon and Jackson as backups. I don't think we're going to pay Breeland starter money to be a backup.

He had two interceptions and four passes defended last year. That's worth $6 million?

dobber's picture

"He had two interceptions and four passes defended last year."

...in 7 games (less than half a season).

Old School's picture

And why did he only play in 7 games?

mikepeske's picture

They're going to draft greedy Williams with their first, first round pick

mrtundra's picture

Greedy will be gone by #12.

MarkinMadison's picture

6'3" and 185 lbs. Shockingly, he is not a great tackler. I'd pass.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Very similar to Kevin King if that is his size.

at the Combine Deon Sanders was not happy with how Greedy back peddled and pivoted his hips to run with receivers. Greedy is fast and may be able to make up for this issue most of the time.

do not see Greedy being gone by #12 but certainly do not see the Packers ever drafting him with their first selection. Going to be either DL, edge rusher, or TE. If either Metcalf or Murray fell be interesting to see if they would be tempted or not. Do not see them taking an OL either at 12. I wouldn't be against it but would be surprised being that a lot of quality OL can be had in rounds 3 and 4.

Lare's picture

"do not see Greedy being gone by #12 but certainly do not see the Packers ever drafting him with their first selection"

Me neither, but if they do it probably means they have some major concerns about King and/or Jackson.

Old School's picture

If you have major concerns about a guy a year after you draft him, then I kind of wonder if the GM and the scouting department know what they're doing.

carlos's picture

You’re right about his tackling Mark ‘ M

4zone's picture

Some position of need is going to get left unfilled. Which one can we live without the best? I like Adderley at #30 which would solve our Safety problems. But that leaves our best shot at TE at #12 which could be the pick of the litter but at too high a price. Best gamble is to get Irv Smith in Rd 2 but we may have to trade up to do it

That leaves chosing to draft a top OT, DT, Edge or ILB at #12. Come Rd 3 the quality will not be nearly as high as at #12 obviously. So what gets left out?

CalPacker's picture

This is my issue with the consensus feeling that we are better off staying put with #12 instead of trading down for more picks. There's a ton of tape on YouTube featuring outstanding Rd2 and Rd3 prospects at all of the positions we are talking about. Instead of leaving ourselves with all-or-nothing dilemmas with the picks we have, why not trade down, increase our total haul, so we can have our cake and eat it too?

Lare's picture

The question marks in the defensive backfield are on the health of players such as Breeland, King and Campbell along with the continued development of Jones, Brown & Jamerson.

If these all pan out the Packers may be pretty well set, if not they'll need more players either through free agency or the draft.

There's always injuries in the defensive backfield throughout the season. A decent pass rush from the front seven can help the DB's immensely, but with the number of teams that prioritize the passing game you can never have enough good players ready to step in if needed.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Agree on all accounts!

I am a believer though that a strong pass rush is always the key making the DB's and Safety's better. I also believe a strong pass rush minimizes the amount of injuries in the backfield due to sacks, hurries, and throwing the ball out of bounds. If I had to choose I'd beef up the pass rush with the current state of the Packers players before the backfield for this reason.

edit: also because the strength of this draft is the front 7 on defense. The DB's and Safety's are supposed to be weak this year based on comments/reading. I would focus early on the front 7 if I am Gutey and later in the draft hope I hit on some backfield guys. Drafting the higher rated players is vital to improve the team and that is on the DL, edge rushers, and ILB's.

Old School's picture

I'm of the belief that good coverage by the DBs and safeties makes the pass ruhs better.

Pass defense starts with guys who can cover. Do you remember when Belichick would rush Peyton Manning with 2 and cover with 9? Why do you think he did that instead of rushing 9 and covering with 2?

dobber's picture

Peyton Manning couldn't run, either.

Since '61's picture

Cookie!!! Thanks, Since '61

Rick F's picture

7 picks in the top 150. They will have a safety, corner, linebacker and defensive lineman picked by then. You look at how this this defense is built so far, depth is the missing piece of the overhaul. This draft is tailored to Green Bay’s holes on the roster. This time of year is about roster construction and building depth. Pettine with proven players and his coaching staff this unit will make a huge jump. Gutekunst has done a great job of restocking this defense with starting talent. Then he gets to draft a class full of players that fills your weaknesses.

4zone's picture

The scariest scenario for the Pack, other than AR lost for the season, is Bahk being lost for the season. Even with our FA signing, we have no replacement for him except Bulaga and he is rather beat up these days. I propose our greatest need at the moment is a top tier OT. AR is our barometer and we definitely have to improve his protection if we have any hope of winning another SB.

dobber's picture

I honestly think, more and more, that this will be one of the first two picks.

Lare's picture

I agree. Even if healthy, I wonder if Taylor and Bulaga can be effective in the zone blocking scheme.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

100% agree!

Spriggs not working out has certainly handicapped the Pack. In addition to picking up a quality OT a point could also be made that a fast RB who can get around the outside corner in the running game would significantly impact the pass rush helping to protect Rodgers. Also, having a quality TE and slot receiver who can effectively work the field and get separation would definitely help as well.

Old School's picture

I think we'll get an OL on Day Two.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

That is my guess as well. Plus, I wonder how some of the top rated OT's slated to go in round 1 are mobile enough to pull wide in LF's offense?

fastmoving's picture

I would be shocked if they take a WR!! No need for it at all and least need position wise. We have already more than enough good ones and have to cut some of them anyway.
It all depends of the guy who is throwing to them and that he is not off like last year. Get over your trust thing AR and this will be a hell of a passing game....

dobber's picture

If a guy they really like at WR is there at 30, I wouldn't be surprised. The moves made in FA look like a GM who is trying to shore up for 2-3 years of what's left of ARod's best. The contracts they wrote all balloon up down the road (up against the CBA/ownership bomb that's waiting to drop). Signing Marcedez Lewis at TE and keeping Graham gives them the flexibility to look for a pass-catcher at just about any of those positions (WR, TE, RB) if a play-ready TE isn't there. Even if they find a TE, he's more likely to take snaps away from the current WR group.

I think we're putting way too much hope in that WR position group and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see another pass-catcher or even two added. The sample size on just about every WR but Adams (and maybe Allison) is just too small, yet, to really know. It's one thing to say that we hope MVS/ESB/Kumerow/etc. turn into credible receiving threats...it's another to bank the productivity of #12 and the future of your offense on it.

jannes bjornson's picture

Slot WR who can returns punts and kickoffs. OT will be taken with one of the first round picks and Pass rush. Safety in the second or third rd. or WR.
!st ( OT and Edge) , 2nd ( S, WR or TE) 3rd ( S, TE or ILB) ......

RCPackerFan's picture

I hope they bring Breeland back. Even if they could get him on a 1 year 'prove it' type of deal. Which might be a possibility since he hasn't signed yet.

What signing Breeland would do is provide insurance to if there is an injury or Alexander/King/Jackson don't improve.

What it also does is it might give Pettine some options. While Jackson did improves as the season went on many feel he might ultimately be a better S then CB. Well perhaps he could shift him to that hybrid role.
Regardless if they resign Breeland or not I expect them to draft a CB. Under Thompson, they drafted a CB in 11 of his 13 drafts. I expect that trend to continue with Gutey.

At safety its going to be really interesting to see if they can find a role for Josh Jones. He has abilities and maybe an offseason Pettine can find the perfect role for him.
I think Williams will be a safety this year. He lost a step at CB and an offseason of playing Safety it should give him plenty of time to be ready to play it full time.
Amos will definitely be an upgrade over Brice. I do think they will draft a Safety. How high, we will have to see but I think they will draft one.

I am really looking forward to seeing what they have in Tony Brown, Natrell Jamerson, and Raven Greene.

Brown really flashed well last year and Greene had some really good moments on special teams. Both guys could take a jump in year 2.
Jamerson really intrigues me. He played in a very similar system at UW with Jim Leonard as the DC. Now he is with Pettine and I really think he could emerge as a really good player. He is a sleeper to watch for sure.
He is also a guy that could be used in the Hybrid CB/S role. Don't be surprised if he emerges once the preseason comes around. He is one of the players I am looking forward to seeing the most in the preseason. He should at the very least be a factor in as a core special teams player.

RCPackerFan's picture

You probably should have waited to post this a few hours later, moron!

Breeland signing with the Chiefs.

Skip greenBayless's picture

It's all about timing RC. Oh well, you win some you lose some. You'll survive this.

Dash

RCPackerFan's picture

I liked the idea at the time... But a lot happens in that amount of time apparently...

Oh well.

The secondary is weaker now.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Yeah, it sure the hell is weaker. Why not offer the guy 5 million plus a dollar and throw in Milwaukee Bucks season tickets? Rodgers is part owner. My God I can believe Gute let this guy get away.

Dash

Old School's picture

Yeah. I think we should get those guys and wait until Rodgers is dead before we think about drafting a QB we can win games with.

AgrippaLII's picture

A lot of the mock drafts I have seen so far have the number one corner as the BPA when the Packers pick at #12...the top four edge guys are usually gone,the top ILB, the top 3 OT's. and a couple of the top DL's. So who do you take? A TE or a corner? I can easily see the Packer's taking a CB and Safety with their 1st round picks.

HankScorpio's picture

Greedy Williams and Nasir Adderley (or Juan Thornhill) @ 12 & 30 would make heads explode all across Packerland. I don't know if mine would be one or not. I guess it depends on who they would have passed on.

All 3 qualify under the RAS guidelines the Packers seem to follow when drafting. And all three could hold value and be BPA, if available.

Personally, I'd like to see Edge or OT @ 12 and the BTEA (Best Tight End available) at 30. Or maybe more OL at 30. But that's the beauty of the draft. You never know where the value will be when you are on the clock. Smart GMs follow the value, not some pre-determined plan or checking off the lines on a list of "needs". It's nice if you can draft good players that match your needs or if a carefully crafted plan works out exactly as expected. But that's not always the case.

Guam's picture

The Packers have depth issues that could bite them in several areas - OL, RB, S, ILB, DL. They also have two old TE's that will need to be replaced soon. I am not sure you can prioritize one need over another as you never know where injuries will fall.

Given the scattered depth needs, this is the perfect draft for BPA. Take the best player you can get at each draft choice and you will have done the best you can for the team. I know - duh! But I have seen so much advocatiing for specific positions that we seem to be missing the point that we have multiple depth issues and any of them could be potential pitfalls for the season. Take what the draft gives you with BPA. Over-reach for draft choices based on need and you could regret those choices for years.

CalPacker's picture

Yes, I totally agree with BPA, but after watching a lot of tape on YouTube, this draft looks deep to me through RD3, at which point there seems to be a drop off. So why not trade down from #12 and stockpile some RD2-3 picks, both to collect playmakers and address depth issues? Our current draft position looks solid compared to most teams, but still, IMO we could really use more than 4 bites at the apple in RDs 1-3...
Exhibit A: Dawson Knox. They didn't throw to him at Ole Miss, but a lot of scouts see him as steal on day 2...

Handsback's picture

Green Bay lacks depth everywhere! Reading the article, the DBs available read like a hope and a prayer. I think Green Bay has to sign Breeland and hope that King remains healthy. They have Amos, but look at that list again for safety...Williams (a little long in the tooth and first year as safety), JJ (hope he's better) and Greene. No starter quality safety to team with Amos. They may develop, and I may win the lottery...I wonder what will come first?

If Bak goes down, no replacement on the roster. A fill-in would be needed and not sure from where? So OT has to be selected very early in the draft. You can say the Packers have depth at WR, and they do. But do they have starters now? They have a good #1 and #3 in Allison. Who is the #2 receiver? Should they pull the trigger on a great one if he falls? I think you do. No all-purpose TEs currently on the roster.

So in my opinion...ANY player that falls to the Packers will fill a need and/or add depth that will be required for this team to make the playoffs. The lone exception would be QB.

Matt Gonzales's picture

The Packers secondary last year had pieces to be formidable. What hurt them the most, aside from injuries, was the lack of a pass rush when they weren't bringing blitz packages. I would like to see some additional fresh faces in the secondary (especially for depth), but coverage is going to look a lot better when the defensive front isn't giving opposing QB's all day to pick their spots.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Bingo!

jannes bjornson's picture

Need another EDGE and DT/DE added to the mix. Four early picks need to secure the EDGE ,DT ,OT and TE minimum. Take a flyer on Boston as a FS free agent.

LambeauPlain's picture

Gutey and his Personnel gurus need to commit to selecting the BAP from OL prospects on the first 2 days of every draft for the duration of Aaron’s career.

Drafting a top OL prospect in rounds 1, 2, or 3 every year to build and maintain one ot the best O lines in the NFL to protect #12 and power the run game WILL get the Pack back as perennial contenders.

dobber's picture

If there's anything that we've learned since Sam Shields got hurt, it's that you can never have enough coverage guys. Having a Sam Shields who could handle his side of the field with minimal safety help made it much easier to get safety help to lesser players. If your CBs are still developing and your S's aren't good, it makes for some rough games. Here's hoping Amos can still play when he doesn't have arguably the best defensive front 7 in the league in front of him.

Maybe King gets healthy and becomes that kind of coverage guy. Maybe King gets healthy and Alexander continues to shine and they've got two rock-solid cover guys. They'll still find a way to go through 5-6 CBs before this season is out, and opposing offenses find those weak links.

Old School's picture

Pass defense starts with guys who can cover.

Teams spread the offense out and put 5 receivers in the pattern....you'd better have 5 guys who can cover, and last year, we couldn't put five guys on the field who could cover and tackle.

Alexander and King are the starters at CB, and Tramon and Jackson are the backups. We're not going to pay Breeland starter money to be a backup and so he's probably gone as soon as he gets an offer from somebody.

Brown is JAG and hoping that he steps up is not the same as having a plan.

We have one starter at safety....Amos. He has no backup. The other safety position has Josh Jones who has still not shown that he can cover.

We usually carry 4 safeties and 5 CBs on the Gameday 21. By my count, right now, we have 2 safeties and 4 corners.

Since '61's picture

Like nearly everything in the NFL pass defense starts in the trenches with the DL or the front seven and their pass rush.

“The successful defense against the pass must begin with the men up front, the defensive line, who must destroy the timing and the precision of the pass, and they destroy it by their pass rush. After the pass rush the responsibility belongs to linebackers and defensive backs.” Vince Lombardi, from Vince Lombardi On Football.

After this introduction Coach Lombardi spends two chapters discussing in detail how to defend against the pass. After 50 plus years nearly everything he wrote back then is still accurate today. Speaking for myself I’ll stick with Coach Lombardi’s philosophy and approach as to where pass defense starts. Thanks, Since ‘61

stockholder's picture

Yes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Thanks Since 61!

So many knowledgeable and insightful contributors.

Been so frustrating for years watching even average to poor QB's have a field day against the Packers. All day long to throw. A strong pass rush for the Packers would be refreshing for once and likely allow Rodgers and company an extra possession or two each game.

Since '61's picture

It’s seems like it has been a long time since an opposing QB has looked uncomfortable in the pocket while playing against us. We rarely win on 3rd and long and get off the field or get a big sack to close out an opponent in the 4th quarter. Hopefully that changes in 2019.
Thanks, Since ‘61

Old School's picture

50 years ago, probably true. Now, not so much. You can talk to any coach at the college or pro level and they'll tell you that pass defense starts with corners who can cover.

Don't take my word for it. Pick up the phone. Call your local university and talk to one of the coaches and ask him. As a high school football coach in Texas, I'd go to seminars every summer where college coaches would help us develop. Every single one of them said that coverage was more important. If you've got people running open, there's no pass rush in the world that'll save you.

Since '61's picture

A valid point but at the professional level no one is going to cover a professional receiver for more than 3- 4 seconds.

The defense needs to at least get the QB to move or throw off his back foot or make him uncomfortable to force an inaccurate throw. Failing in that get their arms up to block or tip the pass. That is what helps the DBs. Creating enough of a pass rush to force an inaccurate pass. The best case scenario is a sack or strip sack but that will not happen on every play.

While agree good coverage is one of the keys to defending the pass consider for a moment how often we have seen teams go to a prevent defense with 8 or 9 players in coverage and only 2 or 3 pass rushers. Just about every week in at least a few games the prevent defense is defeated and the opponent drives for a game winning or tying FG or TD. Why? Because the QB ends up with 5+ seconds to find a receiver who finds an open spot against the prevent defense. Our Packers have lost innumerable times (many to previously unheard of QBs) during the Capers era while utilizing the Prevent defense at the end of a game. Often after Rodgers had just led a drive to take the lead.

No matter how good your DBs are they are going to get beat if the QB has time to throw. The bottom line is that you need to execute both the pass rush and in coverage. Yes, you can't have receivers running around uncovered but without a good pass rush they will be uncovered after 4 or 5 seconds even against the best of secondaries, especially with today's rules which favor the receivers and the passing game.

Good discussion Old School. 2 PM conference call for me. Thanks, Since '61

Old School's picture

If it’s not possible to keep guys covered for more than 4 seconds, what’s happening when Rodgers is running around and extending plays?

dobber's picture

If it's 2018, he's getting ready to throw the ball away...

Old School's picture

Why? Because nobody is open? But it's not possible to keep a guy covered that long, is it? I'm confused now, dobber.

The Patriots had 30 sacks last year, but held opposing passers to a rating of only 85.4 How did that happen? Is it possible those two #1 draft choices at corner made some kind of difference?

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Blame it on last year's WR coach! :)

Since '61's picture

2 things are happening. In 2018 he would be running for his life because we could not get the opposing pass rush blocked. It seemed like on nearly every series someone was coming through unblocked on Rodgers.

Secondly, he was extending the play in the hopes that a WR would execute the scramble drill and come open. Regretably, our WRs except for Adams, did not have the experience to get open during the scramble drill. Result was a high number of throw aways and/or QB hits. Andy did a great article on this topic about a month or so ago after he reviewed all of Rodgers throw aways in 2018.

In seasons prior to 2017 Rodgers and his WRs were more successful on the scramble drill and we had less throwaways. The question is not whether Rodgers WRs were covered. Often they were open but Rodgers was trying to extend the play to avoid the pass rush due to poor OL play and/or very good opposing front 7s rushing him. By extending the play rather than being sacked he gives his WRs more time to get open. Rodgers defeats the pass rush with his mobility which in turn allows him to defeat the coverage by creating more time (4+ seconds) to come open against the coverage.

Rodgers mobility and his accuracy throwing on the run is what separates him from nearly every other QB who has ever played the position. Think of a QB like Brady or Peyton Manning or Eli Manning and other immobile QBs behind the Packers OL. It would not be pretty. Rodgers is an exception because his mobility enables him to extend plays.

The issues with Rodgers have more to do with his mobility and lack of good OL play then with coverage. Although the receiving corps has been less and less effective in creating separation during the last 2-3 seasons than they had been in previous seasons.

It's not a matter of pass rush versus coverage. A good/great defense needs both to succeed. A good pass rush will help the coverage and good coverage will help the pass rush. Thanks, Since '61

Old School's picture

Bad pass blocking? But both PFF and Footballoutsiders.com have the Packers offensive line as pretty good pass blocking.

Here's the deal: Good coverage makes a really big difference. It makes that QB go to the 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th read. It buys time for the pass rush to reach home.

There is no pass rush that will ever be good enough to keep a QB from throwing completions to an open guy.

dobber's picture

Agreed '61: I would rather have a stud front and average DB coverage than an average front and stud DB coverage. It worked pretty well for the Bears last year.

Since '61's picture

Dobber - 1st and probably still the greatest FA signing of all time, Reggie White.

Biggest trade/signing of 2018 and probably since Reggie, Khalil Mack.

Both game changing and franchise changing pass rushers.

Thanks, Since ‘61

stockholder's picture

I Love King,Alexander, and Brown. I hope Jackson gets right. Breeland is no longer a need for me. I wish him the best.

HankScorpio's picture

There is no such thing as a front office having a secondary that doesn't need more work. With 10 guys on a typical team, there are always at least 1 or 2 that are weak spots that should be upgraded, if practical.

Donster's picture

Chiefs just signed Breeland to a one year, $5 million dollar deal.

LambeauPlain's picture

Will not be surprised to see a CB drafted in the first round if BAP. No reason not to.

I actually like this draft for the Pack to load up on quality depth with BAPs in many positions that are also Packer needs: Edge, TE, OL, S as well as CB and DL.

I also like the strategy to trade back at #12 with say, the Titans at #19 and their second rounder...then immediately offer the 2 second rounders to Pittsburg for their #20.

Pittsburg might be a willing partner to take the #2's, now having needs at WR and RB. And good WRs and RBs are going to fall in this draft.

Then the Pack would have 3 first rounders, likely starters, all under 5 year contracts as #1 picks.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

You both make good cases.
Here's the thing I hope u both agree on.
Pettine is a good coach. Smart.
He's done well with less tools than he has now....

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