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Poppinga A Quiet Surprise

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Poppinga A Quiet Surprise

Much has been made of the switch of Clay Matthews to right outside linebacker and the move of Brandon Chillar to the outside in general.

Not a lot has been made of Brady Poppinga's quietly excellent camp.

Through the first two weeks of camp, I was impressed by Poppinga's concentration and focus while he was taking instruction from Kevin Greene during pass rushing drills. He really seemed to be working on his first step, and could be seen several times asking Greene for some extra coaching on hand placement when it comes to shedding blocks.

I didn't really pay it much mind at the time simply because I'd read the offseason puff pieces about Poppinga going back to his "roots" as a pass rusher. I remember the end of 2008 when the Packers had him lineup with his hand on the ground in passing situations and rush the passer - he looked terrible.

So it was a shock to me when I saw how well he played on Saturday night. He got the edge a few times, including the play below where he is clearly held - of course, it went uncalled:

Brady does an excellent job here of keeping his momentum going and shedding the attempted block of John St. Clair. I don't know if he would have gotten the sack but St. Clair clearly grabs him after getting beat. But what is such an encouraging sign is that once he gets by the block, he flattens out to the quarterback. This is something he never used to do and its a sign of progress. Rather than fly by the offensive tackle and continue on the same trajectory, he actually squares the edge and makes a bee-line for the quarterback.

Poppinga later had the only sack by a Packer defender later in the game as well, though that came against backup competition. But for all the press Brandon Chillar has gotten, Brady Poppinga was the more impressive player on Saturday night. Now, Chillar is by far the better athlete and he is much more fluid in coverage than Poppinga will ever be. But for a team in desperate need of pass rushers, any flash from Poppinga is a welcome surprise.

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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.

PresidentRaygun's picture

I remember yelling that that was a hold, glad it really happened and I wasn't just drunk. I think he'd have gotten the sack, or at least enough pressure for the QB to get rid of it, Seneca was just starting to run when he was held, Poppy woulda caught him

asshalo's picture

Prior to that holding call most of the pressure he's generated has fallen short of truly being a threat. He might have pushed the pocket back slightly (which can cause problems), but nothing to take notice about.

packeraaron's picture

You just described Brandon Chillar's whole night.

bomdad's picture

I've always been impressed with Pop's closing speed and lateral pursuit in the backfield. He once caught Michael Vick from behind, most impressive.

NickGBP's picture

Eh, after being in prison I don't think catching Vick from behind is a rare occurrence.

Cole's picture

Was impressed with Zombo too.

DaveK's picture

I agree. I thought Poppinga was the most productive OLB on Saturday. Unfortunately, that isn't saying too much.

WoodyG's picture

I've always admired Popps for his tenacity, desire & willingness to take on any role to benefit the team ..... Unfortunately, he's limited ....... I say the same for Chillar ........ At some point in time Chillar has to live up to all the hype the press seems to continually heap on him ......... The state of GB's LB Corp (IMO) is tenuous at best ....... Face it, if Brad Jones flattens out as a player, I know GB's 1st round pick in the 2011 draft will be a linebacker...... We'll never see the best of CM3 until the other side is solid.

Jeremy's picture

I guess it's preseason for the Officials too.
That was a blatant hold.

PackersRS's picture

Poppinga Quiet. A Surprise? No.

Jake's picture

We're in big trouble if we have to count on Poppinga to help us generate pressure. Unless, of course, we can make sure John St. Claire is starting at RT for every team we play this season.

packeraaron's picture

We don't have to count on Poppinga for pressure - but it would be an amazing boon if he or anyone else provided ANYTHING opposite of Matthews. Imagine if Matthews is on the other side on that play?

happyc's picture

I was at the game and I have to say he was the most impressive player on the defense. He had couple really impressive pass rushes and played solid all around football. His quickness off of the ball and overall enery were impressive. Those are plays Poppinga would not have made in the past, he is clearly an improved football player. He is on a different level this year. Anybody who watched him last year in camp or the season would know he wouldn't have been able to do those things last year. His improvement should help the team.

nerdmann's picture

When I see it three games in a row, I will begin to believe.

pat fermanich's picture

tes the season to be jolly- no holly-molly-no super polly (bowl) yea. what ever

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