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Packers Led NFL in Nickel and Dime Usage in 2012

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Packers Led NFL in Nickel and Dime Usage in 2012

For the second straight season, the Green Bay Packers led all NFL teams in the use of nickel and dime defenses in 2012.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Packers used five or more defensive backs on 66.8 percent of plays last season. Over 1,033 snaps, Green Bay employed the nickel or dime on 690 of them.

Certainly, this usage has roots in the roster. Rookie cornerback Casey Hayward was a revelation in both the slot and outside, and he essentially forced his way onto the field early in 2012. Tramon Williams also stayed healthy for most of the season, and the Packers weren't shy in using both Sam Shields and Davon House on the outside opposite Williams.

Such a luxury of riches did not exist along the Packers' defensive line, despite drafting both Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels during the 2012 NFL draft.

As Kevin Seifert points out, the heavy usage of nickel and dime defenses could be partly to blame for Green Bay's struggles against power running teams. The Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks each pounded away at the Packers during 2012.

However, Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus noted this morning that the Packers allowed 4.6 yards per carry in their base 3-4 defense, and 5.1 in the nickel or dime. In short, the Packers were poor at stopping the run regardless of which defensive front they employed last season.

 

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

Chad Toporski's picture

"Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus noted this morning that the Packers allowed 4.6 yards per carry in their base 3-4 defense, and 5.1 in the nickel or dime."

How does that compare with other teams?

paxbak's picture

Put it this way, a running back averaging those kind of numbers would get paid big!! Even in the pass happy NFL. I think Benson averaged 3.7 -3.9

Beep's picture

Yeah, big difference if you can run the ball twice for a first down versus having to make a 3rd down conversion.

CSS's picture

It's all relative, averages mean little. What was the down and distance in conjunction with the defensive alignment (post-snap, not pre-snap). Packers were good at getting teams in unfavorable down and distance, awful at getting off the field in unfavorable down and distance.

This isn't a commentary on Zach or anybody using PFF, it's one of the few statistical references available. I like PFF as a blunt instrument. PFF views themselves as a precision instrument, they are not.

Again, this isn't commentary on anybody using PFF, but I officially cringe anytime I see it as a reference. It's my new dislike of PFF.

Jeremy's picture

Amazing how when you average everything out, it all looks very average.

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