Taking a look inside the Xs & Os, personnel and schemes after watching video of the Packers’ 9-0 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday…
- If there’s evidence that Mark Tauscher will return to the starting right tackle job once he’s fully healthy, Sunday may have been it. Very quietly, rookie right tackle Bryan Bulaga struggled against the Jets. There were four plays in which Bulaga was guilty of “bad runs” where he either couldn’t get to second level or couldn’t sustain blocks. Bulaga also appeared to be guilty on third quarter first-and-10 play where he had no help in the offensive backfield and failed to pick up edge blitz. The victory will go a long way to overlooking Bulaga’s shortcomings, but make no mistake, he had more than his fair share of struggles.
- With only three running backs on the active roster to begin the game and then injuries to both Donald Driver and Andrew Quarless during the game, the Packers were quite limited in their offensive personnel late in the game.
- For what it’s worth, tight end Donald Lee took part in only 2 of the team’s first 28 offensive plays. Then he played in 18 of team’s final 36 plays, in which the injury to Quarless played a part.
- The Packers used a T-formation (for lack of a better term) two times on Sunday in which Korey Hall and Brandon Jackson flanked quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the shotgun. To my knowledge, it’s the first time they’ve used that formation this season. It was particularly effective in the fourth quarter when on a first-and-10, Jackson got the ball, criss-crossed with Hall, and ran for a first down.
- It’s too bad Aaron Rodgers went to Donald Driver on his first quarter drop. The screen pass option to Brandon Jackson was set up perfectly underneath.
- Is it just me or have the Packers gone to the well one too many times on the misdirection rollout? It hasn’t worked for a couple weeks.
- I couldn’t really discern a pattern for which situations the Packers chose to use newly acquired outside linebacker Eric Walden, except that he only played in the nickel for seven snaps and he was strictly used as a pass rusher whereas Frank Zombo would occasionally line up at inside linebacker and would drop into coverage. Zombo played 66 snaps.
- For the second consecutive week, Brandon Chillar appeared to be “benched” late in the football game. The company line may be that the Packers are limiting his snaps as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury, but his so-called benching happened to come not long after he was flagged for pass interference, one of only three Packers penalties on the day. Earlier in game, Chillar had been playing in place Desmond Bishop in third down (though not first or second down) nickel situations.
- The Packers had Cullen Jenkins, Jarius Wynn and Michael Montgomery to choose from, but they still used T.J. Lang anyway on the Jets fourth quarter fourth-and-1 conversion.
- The Packers played 33 snaps in base defense, 37 in nickel, 1 in “Hippo” and 1 prevent defense on the very last play of the game with Anthony Smith and Jarrett Bush on the field.
- I don’t know if he’s taught to do it or not, but B.J. Raji dropped into coverage on a Jets second quarter third-and-15 play when he saw LaDanian Tomlinson come through the line of scrimmage.
- The Packers did some of their least blitzing of the season, sending someone off the line of scrimmage only 12 times total.
- Charlie Peprah looked even better on tape than he did live.
- Before he left the game with an ankle sprain, Tim Masthay could thank Pat Lee for a lot of his success. On Masthay’s first two punts, both were directional punts to the right sideline (Lee’s side of the field) in which Lee beat a double team on both plays to force a fair catch.
- Credit Jarrett Bush for forcing a fair catch on Masthay’s third punt of the game in which was also a directional punt to the right side of the field where Bush worked his way all the way over from left side to get in front of Jim Leonhard. Of course, Masthay also deserves kudos too for having fantastic hangtime to allow these fair catches to occur.
- James Jones replaced Pat Lee as a jammer on punt returns, and Brett Swain replaced him a a gunner on punts. Even as a backup, Swain did a fantastic job first forcing the punt returner to fair catch and then immediately getting in position behind the returner to possibly down a punt let go over his head.
- Matt Wilhelm doesn’t appear to be very fleet of foot, which didn’t help him on kickoff.