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Packers Daily Links: Packers Go Clay Pigeon Shooting

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Packers Daily Links: Packers Go Clay Pigeon Shooting

During the Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay, the Packers have historically foregone one day of practice in minicamp in favor of a team building activity. On Wednesday, that activity was an afternoon of clay pigeon shooting at Little Creek Lodge in Little Suamico, Wis. "Players and coaches were divided up into groups of six and rotated through the venue’s different shooting stations, which featured clay targets fired in various directions and from different distances," writes Mike Spofford of the Packers official website. "Some stations included an elevated shooting platform." It's fun to see the players take part in an event like this once a year.

More on the clay shooting activity comes from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green Bay Press-Gazette, ESPNMilwaukee.com and a photo gallery at the Packers official website.

The Packers are adding a wrinkle to their defense this season, according to Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette. "In a less dramatic but noteworthy change, coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers also have decided to play more dime defense (six defensive backs) after relying primarily on nickel (five defensive backs) personnel on passing downs the last three years," writes Dougherty. This should be viewed as an attempt to contend with pass-heavy NFL offenses that are using more and more multi-receiver sets. Keen observation by Dougherty. Highly suggested reading.

An in-depth examination into the fundamentals of tackling in the NFL (or lack thereof), and the Packers in particular, is undertaken by Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel. Last year's tackling woes are revealed: "Tramon Williams, battling a shoulder injury, shied from piles. Charles Woodson missed 18 tackles. In the slot, he too often went for the strip. At safety, a giant club over Morgan Burnett's broken hand affected his tackling. And many fans still lament Peprah bouncing of Hakeem Nicks in the playoffs." That's only a sampling. Sam Shields isn't spared. Several reasons for shoddy tackling are mentioned, from lack of practice time to an emphasis on creating turnovers to the glorification of big hits. Another great article.

An enlightening interview with outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene on first-round draft choice Nick Perry is shared by Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. Greene gets into the transition Perry is making from college to professional football. "Now he's got to stand up in a two-point stance and has to capture all five eligibles in his vision," Greene is quoted as saying And he has to know what each one of those guys are. Is it a halfback,? Is it a running back? Is it a fulback? Is it a tight end? Is it the second tight end? Is it a receiver? He's got to capture all five eligibles, understand who they are and what they mean to his pass coverage responsibility. And to see motions and to see shifts in alignments, that's the hardest thing, taking a guy like this and now focusing from sideline to sideline and capturing everything." Greene goes onto explain even more. It's an insider's look into the development of an NFL rookie. Fantastic insight.

Defensive lineman B.J. Raji speaks frankly about his performance last season in an interview with Fox Sports Wisconsin and reporter Paul Imig. "The fact of the matter is it's just the way it was last year. I didn't get it done," said Raji. "Hopefully this year, I think will be different." Last year Raji's sack production slipped, and the performance of the defense as a whole did as well. The onus is on Raji and company to improve.

Aaron Rodgers' relationship with quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo is touched upon in an article by Chris Jenkins of the Associated Press.

A feature on backup quarterback Graham Harrell is written by Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.

Blog posts from ESPNMilwaukee.com include items on Jermichael Finley, Mike Neal and tackling issues.

Articles on Sam Shields and the coaching staff are posted at Packer Report.

Items on Tramon Williams and the Lingerie Football League appear at AllGreenBayPackers.com.

Former Packers running back Dorsey Levens talks about concussions with NinersNation.com.

Installation of the markers on the Packers Heritage Trail is complete.

Breakout candidates on the Packers are predicted by Andrew Garda in a video at Bleacher Report.

Video: A look back at Clay Matthews' recent youth football camp is taken by Fox 11...

Brian Carriveau is a writer for Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

Watching games last year, I feel like Woodson's strip-tackle really spread throughout the defense and was one of the main culprits of the horrible tackling. It was beyond infuriating watching players run-through tackles as Packer defenders tried in vain to knock the ball out.

Turnovers are great, but the 2 or 3 fumbles it may cause throughout the season is in no way worth the dozens of missed tackles that result.

CSS's picture

The downside to playing more dime: You can expect competent opposing QB's to audible to run more often considering the number of smaller bodies the defense places on the field in dime. Means your backfield better be loaded with willing, if not aggressive tacklers.

Dime is great, but you better have DB's willing to press the line of scrimmage and aggressively tackle. I seem to recall an issue or two in that department last year.

keith's picture

I think the dime would be used in obvious passing situations...

so we're talking 3rd and long, 2 min drills at the end of a half, and when our offense gives us a huge lead and the other team commits full force to the pass--- these are all situations which our defense got burned last year on the pass, so I am happy to see a commitment to putting another DB on the field.

The most interesting part of the article was note about who was practicing in which positions: Shields and House on the outsides exclusively (less run support needed) and Hayward, Bush, Woodson, and (surprise) McMillian working on the inside spots.

I would love to see Hayward and Woodson in the Slot Dime positions with House and Williams on the outsides, with Shields coming in based on matchups.

It looks like Shields could be in for a demotion if House continues to impress and Shields cannot improve tackling, since he is not a fit for the inside nickel and dime spots...

ON a related note: our recent signing Micah Pellerin responded to a tweet asking whether he was a CB or S with the answer that he was a "rover." Perhaps Capers is looking to train some of our young guys in more less traditional defensive roles that focus on the versatility needed to combat versatile offensive attacks.

It seems that Hayward (look at his tackles for loss stats) McMillian and Richardson could add coverage skills while not sacrificing too much in the tackling front.

I love the possibilities of more
2-3-6 3-3-5 2-4-5 1-5-5

this year to help stop the pass.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Very astute observations, Keith. Agreed on all accounts.

CSS's picture

I disagree with dime being used only in 'obvious passing situations', such as 3rd and long. Offensive coordinators, head coaches and QB's are all about forcing the opposition to play formations that exploit a defense. Teams won't wait to play 4 receiver sets until it's 3rd and long, they will do so on any down if they feel the Packers dime defensive personnel are to their advantage. i.e. - they like the flexibility to audible out of passing sets into run on any down if they force the Packers into dime because their dime personnel still can't tackle.

Brian Carriveau's picture

If you're going to hold him to his term "only," then yes, maybe you've got a point. But I think Keith's observations are still valid. The Packers are far more likely to bring out their dime package on third and long, second and long situations where the distance to go is 10-plus yards.

CSS's picture

I'm quibbling on a single point, nothing negative related to his observations.

Unless there's a substantial change in the consistency of the Packers interior pass rush and the secondary tackling is substantially better, if I (just an opinion) were an opposing offensive coordinator I would force the Packers into nickle and dime every series with the latitude to audible to run until the Packers show they can tackle or move the pocket.

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