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Packers May Have Missed Pickett More Than Jennings

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Packers May Have Missed Pickett More Than Jennings

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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jason's picture

Totally agree. The D-line looked like crap yesterday. Hopefully, during this years draft we can get a DE that can generate pressure and an OLB to help CM3.

We don't crush the pocket and the opposing QB just sits there forever. Our lack of pass rush makes crappy/mediocre QB's look like pro-bowlers time and time again.

Anthony's picture

Agreed, in a sense, but I think Jennings makes the other receivers work harder. The final score was 19-14. The Packers defense has done what it's done all season -- Held the team to under too many points... So the #1 offense (previously) 35 points per game could score their points. Too many dropped passes. Receivers not working hard enough. Offensive line shuffled a lot.

jack in jersey city's picture

i agree. the D was aweful in between the 20's but held the chiefs to field goals. this game should've been a blowout but our redzone D was very good. this game is on our offense- including mccarthy. hopefully this kind of poor performance is out of their system and we can roll to 18-1!

Ryan's picture

I agree with Jason, especially on the draft part. Even on draft day, I didn't understand why we spent our first 3 draft picks toward the offense, and thought it would have been much better served at least getting 1 defensive player. I know it's easy to say now with Sherrod and Green done for the year, but I've been saying it before that happened...

That being said, Pickett was definitely missed more than Jennings, for this simple reason: there are players on the roster than can replace Jennings, but not Pickett.

Evan's picture

I'd be shocked if we didn't go all defense in the draft this year. Hopefully there is a stud OLB at #32.

CSS's picture

There will be an emphasis on the evaluation side, but keep in mind Thompson & Co. are in the dominant position they're in now (in contrast with their NFL peers) by staying true to their draft board and taking value. It's the reason they're having sustained success while the rest of the field falls behind.

But yes, heavy emphasis on evaluating that side of the ball.

Jersey Al's picture

I've always considered Ryan Pickett a bit under-appreciated... He was missed, but I think Chad Clifton was missed more in this particular game.

jack in jersey city's picture

agree on clifton and having bulaga go down just killed us. we need both of those guys back healthy in order to have a shot at another superbowl. i don't think we can get there without at least 1 of them

NoWayJose's picture

Well put, Aaron.

To take it a bit further, the lack of Pickett didnt just cause the D soften, I think it cascaded onto the offense. Those unstoppable 4-5 yards runs caused the Chiefs to dominate TOP, reeling off endless long drives.

The Packers are an offense that thrives on rhythm. That's why the no-huddle has been so key for them. That's why they struggled after consecutive pick-6s in San Diego. When they are kept off the field for a long periods of time, A-Rod et al lose their rhythm.

It's more than the refrain of "keep Rodgers off the field where he cant hurt you". Once he gets back on the field, sometimes the lawnmower is cold and it doesn't start back up so easy -- it takes some choking and yanking to get it going. Not the recipe for putting up big points.

davyjones's picture

I think an equally appropriate refrain is, "keep our defense off the field where it can't hurt you."

I know the argument is you go with what got you there (ie great passing attack), but MM has always been pretty committed to "going with the hot hand" also. Ryan Grant looked like the hot hand yesterday and I can't for the life of me figure out why they didn't feed him 20+ carries to eat clock and keep struggling D off the field.

BubbaOne's picture

Agree that Pickett was missed, even mentioned it in a post last night. Plus, the right side of the D (DE, Walden, Zombo) didn't set the edge at all..."ole" as KC backs ran by them. While lacking in coverage skills I wonder if So'oto's physicality would have helped the run D.

Re the draft, I wouldn't be surprised if TT went DL and OL early in the draft. Injuries or not, need to protect the franchise QB better. A-Rod said this was the hardest he's been hit in a while.

lebowski's picture

Had high hopes for CJ Wilson, looks like he's going to be just another Mike Montgomery.

davyjones's picture

That means the Vikings ought to be signing him soon. :)

Jersey Al's picture

I'm also disappointed. I thought we would turn out to be another TT steal, but he has not developed much at all...

markinmadison's picture

There was less chatter about Pickett being gone because a lot of folks, myself included, probably thought he was going to be there. No doubt he is a huge difference maker, and has been a far more consistent presence than Jenkins ever was. But we will not get a big man of his caliber at the bottom of the first unless he comes with big question marks, like motor or injury history. This may be the time for one of those rare TT free agent moves, if the right guy is available.

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