With the NFL Draft only three days away, Packer fans everywhere have visions of new linebackers and defensive backs being added to the roster and making a not-inconsiderable difference right away, most hopefully in the area of pass defense, what with the much-publicized problems Dom Capers' unit had against "veteran quarterbacks" that spread the team out and threw all over the yard last year.
Some new players will help, it's true. But more importantly, Capers having a full offseaon to evaluate the talent on hand and match their talents to what he asks them to do will have just as much, if not more of an impact.
As indicated above, Packer fans can recite by rote the phrase that appears in almost every season recap of the 2009 Green Bay Packers - "they had trouble against teams with savvy veteran quarterbacks that spread the field". This is true of course, but going back and rewatching the season (as I am prone to do) something jumped out at me.
First of all, the problems to come were foreshadowed in the 49er game especially after Al Harris went down. And as far as I know, Alex Smith has never been confused with a "savvy veteran". Now, yes, it's hard to blame Capers for what guys like Jarrett Bush and Brandon Underwood do or don't do well when thrown into the middle of a game and where he is forced to gameplan on the fly knowing what he does about their capabilities. But watching that game again, I was reminded how Capers, at times, could really struggle to find a playcalling rhythm once Harris went out. And it may have affected his ability to recognize what the 49ers were doing.
Been meaning to post this for awhile, pretty much since Jason Wilde mentioned it on one of his many radio appearances shortly after the NFC Coaches breakfast. Of course, waiting has meant that I've been beaten to the punch, so to speak, by Brian - among others. Yes, Mike McCarthy mentioned having Brandon Chillar (been there, done that) and Nick Barnett rush the passer from the outside.
We’re going to try to be creative with those guys, keeping those guys on the field in sub. I think both Nick and Brandon Chillar have outside pass-rush ability. I’m not saying we’re going to do it all the time, but it’s definitely an option for us that we’ve talked about.
I'm not sure I'm completely sold on Barnett rushing from the outside linebacker position. What I like about what Barnett does in the A Gap blitzes is how he uses his athleticism to weave through the wash and get to the quarterback. When presented with a one-on-one matchup, he rarely wins and usually does his best A.J. Hawk impression, giving his man a shake - which does nothing - and then barreling into the guy, completely negating himself in the process.
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