All week leading up to the game against the Chiefs, the constant refrain was how the Packers offense was going to compensate for the loss of wide reciever Greg Jennings. Nary an article or on-air mention that I can remember talked about how the defense would compensate for the loss of Ryan Pickett for the week to his second concussion of the year.
And miss him they did.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers preaches the importance of stopping the run first and foremost. Yesterday, we saw why. Without Pickett manning the nose tackle position, the Chiefs ran roughshod over the Packers defense. This, in turn, opened up everything else the Chiefs wanted to do on offense. Their ability to get 4 or more yards on first down, seemingly at will, opened up Mill Muir's playbook to an almost absurd level. Everything was working - all because they could run the ball, the Packers knew it, and they were busy overcompensating trying to stop it.
Those big plays to little-used tight end Leonard Pope? Both linebacker D.J. Smith and safety Charlie Peprah completely lost him because? They were biting on play-action. Those screen passes that went for huge chunks of yardage? They took advantage of a defense biting hard on the initial action because they'd been getting killed on the edge in the run game.
Now, I don't for a second think Pickett being in the lineup would have been some magic elixir that would have turned the Packers defense into the '85 Bears. But the drop off from having Pickett and Raji playing in the base defense to having Raji and a mix of Howard Green, C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn was not pretty.
Yes, the Packers missed Greg Jennings yesterday. They may have missed Pickett more.
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