Trying to fill the void left by Tom Pelissero at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, I'm attempting to do film review of last night's win against the Indianapolis Colts while aiming to reveal the nuances, trends and personnel groupings not uncovered by the naked eye when seen in real time.
Three hours and seven sides of notebook paper later, I've come up with an analysis that's sure to be as much chicken-scratch observation as it is detailed breakdowns. At the rate it took me to do this inaugural analysis, I'm not sure I can keep this up. But I also think I'll get better and quicker at doing it as time goes on.
It also might help if I join the 21st Century and invest in a DVR. VCRs are slow and grainy as I'm sure the rest of the world knows. I digress. Here's what I found out:
- Talk about vanilla. The Packers went with their nickel defense on every single snap of the entire game. Even on the one goal line situation they faced, all they did was bring the inside linebackers and safeties up to fill the gaps on the line of scrimmage.
- Beyond vanilla. On three snaps on 3rd-and-10 or longer in the first half, the Packers dropped Brady Poppinga in coverage in the middle of the field and rushed only three players. You know Dom Capers doesn't want to show much when putting Poppinga in coverage is being considered instead of playing dime.
- There were only five instances the entire game when the Packers rushed at least six players, and three of those five plays came on the last seven snaps on defense in the fourth quarter with the third-string. But on those five plays, the Colts didn't complete a single pass and the Packers looked every bit like a top-flight defense (I guess this is where the "neapolitan" come into play. Vanilla mixed with a little chocolate and strawberry). Here's what happened:
- Nick Collins breaks up pass.
- Nick Barnett hits Peyton Mannning.
- Cyril Obiozor gets a sack.
- Nondescript incompletion.
- Sam Shields grabs an interception.
- Tramon Williams did an excellent job being physical and making tackles. One one play both he and Charles Woodson sniffed out a screen pass for a minimal gain. On another, Williams fought through two offensive linemen twice his size on the Pierre Garcon run around left end to tackle the Colts receiver out of bounds.
- Williams was seen giving up a couple of completions, but the only one he looked bad on was the 10-yard slant to Reggie Wayne in which he gave up his inside position. On two other deeper completions came in two-deep zone with Williams handing off his coverage to the safeties over the top, once in front of Nick Collins and once in front of Morgan Burnett. Credit Manning with finding soft spots in the zone nearly impossible to cover by either Williams or the safeties.
- The interception by Burnett came on play he was filling in a spot vacated by Woodson on a blitz. It was a veteran play, and the first display of the play-making ability we've heard so much about.
- Charlie Peprah displayed more fire than almost any other player on the roster last night. In addition to the hit that almost sent a Colts receiver out of commission, Peprah made two tackles, both on gains of about a yard. One one he flew up from his safety position to make the tackle when both Frank Zombo and A.J. Hawk were closer to the play. It also didn't hurt his cause that he made a tackle on a kickoff at about the 15-yard line. After Collins and Burnett, Peprah is probably the third-best healthy safety on the team right now. He's also considered behind both Derrick Martin and Will Blackmon in special teams worth, which doesn't help his cause. The Packers have to seriously consider keeping him, at least until Atari Bigby comes back.
- With both Greg Jennings and Brett Swain out of the game, the Packers ran a four wide receiver set three times in the first half in which Charles Dillon filled the role.
- Tight end Tom Crabtree paved the way for the final seven yards of the fourth-quarter drive capped off by a Kregg Lumpkin 1-yard touchdown run. The play before was a Quinn Porter 6-yard gain down to the 1-yard line. Both runs play were behind Crabtree and a great-blocking effort.
- The touchdown to Donald Driver was a run/pass option in which Driver was the only eligible receiver running a pass route.
- On the touchdown pass to Jermichael Finley, running back Brandon Jackson blocked two players on the same play. First he chipped in on the interior of the offensive line and then recovered to help out Mark Tauscher off the right edge just as Aaron Rodgers released the ball.
- The Packers aren't hesitating to use Andrew Quarless just like Finley. Quarless lined up outside, in tight, as a fullback and on the wing.
- If the Packers keep three halfbacks, Lumpkin may have jumped back ahead of Porter because of his experience. Lumpkin could be seen running more complicated draw plays and motioning out of the backfield as a receiver as compared to the simple straight-ahead running plays ran by Porter.
- Korey Hall was the only player to register more than one tackle on special teams. Of course, more impressive was his fumble recovery on a muffed punt for touchdown. He's one of the premiere special teams players on the Packers.
- Among the biggest reasons for the muffed punt was the huge hangtime from punter Tim Masthay. When punts like that seem to hang in the air forever, they're that much harder to catch. He also had the only touchback of the night on a kickoff, where he looks to be every bit as good if not better than Mason Crosby. If Masthay makes the team (and it's looking like he will after last night), the Packers may consider using him in that role.
- Crosby didn't get a ton of field goal opportunities on Thursday, but he went 1-1 on field goals and 8-8 on extra points. Any fantasy football owner knows you can't ask of any more of a kicker than a performance like that. If the Packers offense scores in bunches all season long like they are in the preseason, Crosby might be the top fantasy kicker in the NFL.
- Like Like
- 2 points