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Pickett Could Move Back To Nose Tackle

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Pickett Could Move Back To Nose Tackle

Interesting development reported by Bob McGinn on some possible changes coming along the defensive line for the Packers:

The Packers' two most common alignments in their base 3-4 front are:

Okie, in which both ends play a 5-technique head-up over the tackles while the nose tackle is head-up on the center.

Eagle, in which the end to the strong (tight end) side is head-up on the tackle in a 5-technique, the nose tackle is in a shaded position just off the strong-side shoulder of the center, and the weak-side end is in a 3-technique position on the outside shoulder of the guard.

Last year, on the approximately 25% of the defensive snaps when the Packers were in the 3-4, they played far more Eagle than Okie. Usually, Pickett was the 5-technique on the left side, Raji was the shaded nose tackle and either Cullen Jenkins or Howard Green was the 3-technique on the right side.

In the new setup, the 340-pound Pickett would be back at nose tackle, where he started from 2006-'09 and probably is most effective, and Raji would have more freedom as a one-gap player in the spot previously occupied by Jenkins.

This is particularly interesting given our recent discussion regarding the Packers run defense. Pickett moving back to the nose tackle spot would certainly help the base (or Okie) defense. Pickett was practically immovable in that role in 2009.

When I was at camp last week, Raji was certainly active and slicing through the line. Its been somewhat assumed that Mike Neal would be taking over Jenkins' role this season, but the idea of having Raji back at defensive end is certainly exciting.

Look for this new personnel grouping Saturday night against the Browns.

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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.

alexwoodsIAM's picture

How did raji do when he played end his first year. I remember hearing or reading that Raji's talent would be wasted at end.

Chris K's picture

Thats what the rest of the article is trying to explain.. There are two different formations in our basic 3-4. Eagle we played most and are talking about now.-Raji would replace Neal/jenkins and Neal would replace Picketts spot with him moving to middle.

With the way they are aligned over a center, head-up on a tackle, and on outside shoulder of a gaurd they are different. This formation would allow Raji to basically play Warren Sapp's old spot, Three technique so he could fly off the ball AND with his immense talent we could see MUCH longer days for opposing QB's. We could see this guys 7.5 sacks jump above 10. Of course this is dependant on Neal holding up well over there on the strongside and his replacement CJ Wilson as well if Neal doesn't make it through another season...

I absolutely Love this idea!! Man, Ted's best moves when he's done here in GB would definetely have to spark talk about the hiring of Capers!
Remember Dom Capers was the third coach to interview for the job and there was talk of Greg Williams being offered the job 1st who is now is New Orleans, he's a good coordinator but man I like OUR GUY Capers!

Nononsense's picture

Raji is best when allowed to attack and penetrate in a 1 gap system which is what he will do when playing 3 technique at RDE in the Eagle front.

They will still have him 2 gap/read and react as a 5 technique in Okie but not as often. Mostly on early downs or obvious running plays I would assume.

Then when they go to nickel he will move inside to rush the passer with Mike Neal, Wynn or Wilson.

Pickett moving back to nose is a good thing though, thats where he is most effective.

We will see how it goes.

redlights's picture

Does anyone see DL going the way of WR, where everyone know how to play each position and they become (somewhat) interchangable?

MarkinMadison's picture

I think its just going to depend on your personnel. I think guy like Raji who is big enough (over 330) to play the inside, but quick enough to get pressure from anywhere on the line is just too rare. I felt like with Pickett, him going outside last year was more a function of letting Raji get comfortable at the NFL level, and probably a matter of trust at the beginning of the year. But Pickett produced zero sacks and not a lot of pressure from the DE position, and he really belongs on the inside.

lebowski's picture

I just love how this coaching staff is willing to think outside the box to get their best personnel on the field at all times. Dom was such a fantastic hire. Here's hoping he sticks around for another 7 or 8 years.

CSS's picture

'...the 340 pound Pickett...'

What did he weigh when he placed the other leg on the scale?

He's perfect as 2 down nose in some of those packages on early downs.

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