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How Capers Uses Woodson Will Be Key

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How Capers Uses Woodson Will Be Key

Cheesehead TV is pleased to welcome back guest blogger Chris Squire. Big thanks to Chris for his insight and we hope you’ll let him know what you think in the comments section.

No 3-4 defense is created equal outside of its respective base formation but they all have the same core philosophy:  Stop the opposing teams running game, create a favorable down-and-distance, make your opponent one-dimensional and wreak havoc with your sub-packages and generate turnovers.  The Packers, like any other good defense caters to the strength of their core personnel, in this case Charles Woodson.
From his interview with Vandermause:

The most important part is the way (defensive coordinator) Dom Capers has been able to use me. Moving me around, allowing me to survey the field, survey the offense, and just go out there and make plays. It doesn’t matter what defense it is, it just depends on whether or not the coach is willing to do that, and he is.

I’m not discounting the rest of the defensive personnel, but to make a deep run into the playoffs the Packers need to find a way to keep Charles Woodson close to the line of scrimmage and create unpredictable angles in order to generate turnovers and blow-up offensive sets on favorable (defensive) down-and-distance.

That brings us full-circle back to the current DB’s on the Packer roster.  They don’t need to be great, they only need to be adequate and play within the framework of the defensive package.  IF the front end of the depth chart stays healthy and IF the gentlemen in player personnel are right about what resides on this roster at the DB position then the Packers can/will make a deep run into the playoffs.  The offense will dominate.  The defense will stop the run.  Development at the left OLB position is a bonus, but not a pre-requisite.

Woodson roving the line of scrimmage during December and January is key.  Woodson locked into nothing but coverage during this same time-frame and it’s an early out from the playoffs.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

brewers_rule's picture

Sounds kinda familiar to me. Perhaps if you substituted Shurmur for Capers and Butler for Woodson? Now, if only Thompson would find the Keith Jackson, Eugene Robinson, and/or Gilbert Brown to put us over the top in needed areas already....

Philip's picture

ummmm. . . our Keith Jackson is Jermichael Finley, our Eugene Robinson could be Morgan Burnett and our Gilbert Brown is B.J. Raji. . .

CSS's picture

There are 15 teams running the 3-4 in the NFL. 14 of them would kill to have a depth chart that says Ryan Pickett and B.J Raji. I believe we're just a tad ahead of the Gilbert Brown era

nerdmann's picture

Finly is our Chmura. Quarless is our Keith Jackson. If you go by order we got them on the team.

PackersRS's picture

If Tramon can be relied upon as Al Harris was, then Woodson will be able to do so. Of course, it's a cascade effect, as the #3 CB needs to be as good as Tramon was, and so on...

If not, Woodson will HAVE to be assigned to the best weapon on offense, thus impeding him to roam free...

CSS's picture

They need to have one guy step it up in nickle and stay healthy. ONE GUY! Who's it gonna' be?????

packeraaron's picture

Pat. Lee.

nerdmann's picture

I like Pat Lee. I think Underwood develops this year too, as does Bell. Not only that, but we got Peprah and Bigby as BACKUPS this year. Then there's Blackmon.
Are talking dime, after Al Harris/Tramon Williams at nickel?

CSS's picture

I neither like nor dislike Pat Lee. I have no idea 'what' or 'who' the kid is at this stage in the game. I have wishful thinking as a byproduct of his draft status and the ad hoc nod of approval from a personnel standpoint when the Packers didn't pursue a DB via draft or trade, but that's it, really. I'm hopeful, but it feels like a huge leap of faith having seen, well, nothing....

PackersRS's picture

Jurist or just cultured?

PackersRS's picture

Exactly. Between Lee, Blackmon and Underwood (I don't trust Bell, Ford or Bush), there's got to be someone!!! Not to mention Harris coming back, and the possibility of using Burnett at nickel and dime...

FITZCORE1252's picture

"there’s got to be someone!!!"

Fo sho. He's on the roster, just don't know who it is yet. I kinda like Underwood. Along with everyone else, I hope Lee shows us something this year... the time is now.

GBP 4 LIFE

Max's picture

I like it. Nice work, Chris.

I agree that Woodson is the key to the season. He is that special kind of player that takes over games. However, he can't be that person unless he's free to roam around. Let's hope the young corners/safeties step up this season and let Charles be in charge.

Ron LC's picture

The same issues that cost big games last year are wtill present. Players who did not or could not perform last year are required to be there and improve to the degree that a 500+ yard game last year will be a 300 yard game this year. I'm hoping that will be the case but depending on unknowns to be there in key positions is just pure speculation. No one will know til they hit the grass. Get the pre-season going.

FITZCORE1252's picture

"No one will know til they hit the grass. Get the pre-season going."

Ron, if I took one thing away from last year... it's that you learn NOTHING in the pre-season. NOT. A. GOD. DAMN. THING.
(someone around here was warning of that, if it comes to me...) 8-)

GBP 4 LIFE

nypacker's picture

I have a question that I'm confused about, is Woodson our No. 1 CB or Harris? Even back when we used to the run the 4-3 defense, I always saw Harris cover the other teams' best receiver but at times Woodson as well.

CSS's picture

Woodson, and it wasn't close. Harris excelled within the first 10 yds of scrimmage because he was so physical. He played bump coverage exceptionally well. However, Harris really isn't in the same athletic class as Woodson and is frequently a liability when asked to run free with a receiver beyond that 15 yd range. Woodson did/does do it all. Not the physical bump and run Harris is, but that's all Harris had/has on him.

FITZCORE1252's picture

CSS, I think he was getting at the fact Harris often covered teams #1 WR. Not who's better, Wood or Al.

For instance, off the top of my head, the NFCC game... Al was on Plax (Giants #1), not Wood.

NY, I think they just went with the most favorable match-ups in certain instances. But, Chuck is clearly our 'best' CB (not like you didn't know that). And for the most part he is taking the #1 WR.

GBP 4 LIFE

FITZCORE1252's picture

"NY, I think they just went with the most favorable match-ups in certain instances."

CORRECTION:

NY, I think they just went with the "PERCIEVED" most favorable match-ups in certain instances ('cause that Al on Plax thing was a F'ing disaster! nothing favorable about that!)

CSS's picture

I hear ya', but that's not what he really asked. The question sounds like, 'who's the best cover corner'? Not to beat a dead horse, but Harris has one core skill (heavy bump and run) and that's it.

The reason he was up against Plax: he was so physical at the line of scrimmage and the defensive philosophy at the time (train of thought if you will) was to knock the QB and WR off their timing route. To do so, you ask your most physical corner to pound him at the line of scrimmage. So, they didn't give Harris the #1 receiver because he was the best corner, it was a calculated wager that the physical corner (Harris) could disrupt a route where a QB (Manning) had tunnel vision on a single guy. Good strategy, but Manning and Burress just were so hot at the time.

Again, it was about disrupting timing of a QB, not that Harris was even in the same league as Woodson. The 'D' was mathing a skill set.

packeraaron's picture

"NFCC game… Al was on Plax (Giants #1), not Wood." - and after that game, you saw them make the switch in most cases. Remember the 08 Cowboys game? Woodson was on TO. Now, they don't do it all the time, but more often than not, if there's a clear #1 WR (vs BAL Woodson was on Mason) they will put Woodson on him for most of the game.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Agreed.
If the question was indeed ‘who’s the best cover corner’? It's not even close. In fact it's such a mismatch, that's why I thought he may really be asking a different question... NY, WHERE YOU AT? 8-)

CSS's picture

St. Paul, MN. Orginally from La Crosse, WI.

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