Packers Vs. Eagles - 3 Plays That Make You Go Hmmm

Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from Sunday's game against the Eagles.

After re-watching the Packers game, here are three plays that made me go hmmm, for various reasons.

 

Aaron Jones:

It seems the NFL has deemed Aaron Jones' facemask fair game. For the second week in a row an obvious pulling of his facemask was not called. Everyone watching the game saw it, except of course, for the game officials. They can somehow see holding penalties in the middle of the OL scrum, but the man carrying the football getting spun around by the facemask? Nope, didn't see a thing. 

 

Whose Defense Was This?

Well, well. What do we have here? It seems there was a mixup somewhere in the Microsoft Cloud and the Packers accidentally were given another team's defensive playbook. Here we have a safety blitz combined with man press coverage and two safeties over the top. All on a third and seven! Yes Mike, yes! It's ok to do this! You don't have to play soft in these situations. The Packers have the cornerbacks to play press. Trust them to do their job and let your guys go get the quarterback. More of this, please. (BTW, check out Preston Smith on the right edge. He's double-teamed, disposes of the tight end, fights off the tackle and gets around him to help collapse the pocket on Wentz. That's an effort level that was missing for close to 10 games.)

 

Savage Eyes:

It's indisputable that Darnell Savage's play has been on the rise. He's starting to read plays better, perhaps the hardest thing for a safety to master (Don't forget, it took Nick Collins a few years before he became the player we remember). Savage understandably still has plenty to learn, and this play is a good example. If you watch Savage's head, he first is looking into the backfield, and then focuses on Zach Ertz running a crosser to his right, who is covered by Adrian Amos. Before he realizes it, Dallas Goedert is on top of him and Savage tries to recover by spinning out of his position but he falls, leaving Goedert wide open. This was a rep I'm sure Jerry Gray spent plenty of time going over with Savage. 

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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Comments (51)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PeteK's picture

December 08, 2020 at 10:31 am

-Face mask calls evened out by the end of game. Lewis showed his veteran blocking prowess on Jones's run because just as he was about to hold as the defender was moving laterally, he moved his feet and made body contact.
-I was surprised that Runyan didn't get the start , but O line played well against a very tough D line.
-Even before his gaming ending run , Jones gained some very tough yds. We have to get him signed, luckily RB don't break the bank. ( Henry 4yrs-50mill-37 guaranteed)
Get rid of Kirksey don't resign Williams and there's our Jones signing.

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Minniman's picture

December 08, 2020 at 11:58 am

To your last point PeteK, I'd like to see Dillon get more reps to see what he has; But agree that if the Packers in any way consider themselves invested in winning it all with Rodgers, they can't let a key piece like Jones walk.

P.S I do think that Williams is a solid RB (maybe not a RB1), but Jones seems to be the better fit for the MLF and Rodgers scheme.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 08, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Dillon has tested positive for almost 6 weeks now. I'd love to see him too, but not if he's contagious.

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Minniman's picture

December 08, 2020 at 01:03 pm

Thanks Bearmeat, that’s right!

6 weeks - for a young man in top shape and in the prime of his life.

I’d be interested to hear about his recovery journey and how the virus affected him.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 08, 2020 at 05:35 pm

Both Dillon and Barnes are still in the Covid-19 protocol. Hard to see them back on the active roster at this point. Having had the 'rona' earlier this year, it's one tough climb out. I had a very mild case and I'm only about 70% of what I was physically before getting the damn thing.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 08, 2020 at 07:44 pm

I'm sorry to hear this, flackcatcher. I hope you make a full recovery.

Damn this virus straight to hell.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 08, 2020 at 10:42 pm

Thanks, Bear. I'm getting there. Another two-three months I should be close to full health. Thank God that the virus is hard to get. I shudder to think if this was like the cold.

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Minniman's picture

December 09, 2020 at 03:01 am

Thanks for the response and candor flackcatcher. Good to hear that you are at least on the mend.

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Bure9620's picture

December 08, 2020 at 09:13 pm

He could be asymptomatic.....just testing positive

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Minniman's picture

December 09, 2020 at 03:06 am

good point. I hadn't thought of it that way. Given the time that he's spent on the Covid list I guess he'll get reporters questioning him about it and we'll find out.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 08, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Yes letting Jones go defeats the entire purpose of building a team.

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PeteK's picture

December 08, 2020 at 04:42 pm

Williams is a very solid all around back, love his contagious personality. I hate to lose him, but we can't sign both. I believe Dillon was drafteded as his replacement. He will have to learn to block.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:23 pm

A lot of good backs coming into this draft. Deep into the fourth.

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Bure9620's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:11 pm

Jones is a very good back, I see absolutely no way the Packers are able sign him. He will command close to Kamara money and the Packers simply will not the ability to make this work.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 08, 2020 at 10:55 pm

While I agree. It's all going to depend on the Cap number. How much Cap deflation will the owners and players stand for. Along with the flood of good RB in free agency and the draft, Jones could see his value plummet. Add to that what little Cap space the Packers have, even if Jones's agent offered a 'hometown discount' the team maybe in no position to accept the offer.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 09, 2020 at 05:27 am

Barnes was taken off the Covid list on 12/2 and was active for the Eagles game.

@ minni: no point in asking coaches about Dillon's stay on the Covid list since they are forbidden to say much of anything.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 08, 2020 at 10:21 am

The team is on the rise. This is the best Packer team we've had since 2014. We should be playing deep into January, and unlike last year, we have a real chance to win the NFC. Just need a couple more things to drop... ahem... run defense... special teams... (man this really does sound like 2014. But with a better ending hopefully!)

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PeteK's picture

December 08, 2020 at 10:35 am

Yes, we have as good a chance as anybody and might be better balanced than most contending teams. The final scores this week proved that no one is a clear favorite.

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Point-Packer's picture

December 08, 2020 at 02:54 pm

I don't know if the curse of Jim Brown somehow transferred over to Green Bay's Special Teams, but I can't remember a Packer special teams unit that has been truly special since Desmond Howard was putting on his cleats for the green and gold. They have been remarkably consistent in their putridness over the years. Minus Mason.

And JK Scott, dear god.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

December 08, 2020 at 03:15 pm

I miss Janis! Now there was a gunner!

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Point-Packer's picture

December 08, 2020 at 04:14 pm

Can we get jarret bush to come out of retirement?

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PeteK's picture

December 08, 2020 at 05:31 pm

Allen Rossum was pretty solid return man in 2000-01, but yes it's been a long time. I'm hoping Austin brings some fire to the position now that Ervin is hurt.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:27 pm

Yes, then sherman let him go in free agency.

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splitpea1's picture

December 08, 2020 at 11:34 am

It seems like play #2 is just common sense; that's how the defense is supposed to play on third-and-long when the game is still competitive, and I'm sure the players are happier when they're allowed to be more aggressive and have the chance to make a stop and get off the field.

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Minniman's picture

December 08, 2020 at 12:02 pm

With Wentz being the most sacked QB in the league leading up to this game, there would be serious questions asked if GB couldn't continue this theme; especially with essentially their entire starting defense active for the game.

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Guam's picture

December 08, 2020 at 03:10 pm

And yet Jets fans are screaming about an overly aggressive defense that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. A more passive prevent defense likely would have preserved victory and the DC's job. Coaching is tough.

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 08, 2020 at 03:59 pm

That decision went beyond passive vs aggressive. The entire NFL universe agrees that was a monumentally stupid call.

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PeteK's picture

December 08, 2020 at 04:58 pm

After the fact. If it resulted in a sack , everyone would have been praising Williams. Question: could he be our next coordinator? My vote is no.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 08, 2020 at 05:40 pm

Zero coverage. Either Balls of steel or flat out crazy. I can't decide...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 09, 2020 at 05:39 am

IDK, the jets were up by four;
the opponent needed a touchdown;
46 yards needed for a TD;
just 5 seconds left in the game.
DC blitzed all-out, 0 coverage!

The only thing that can beat the Jets is a TD pass. First time in 15 seasons that a DC blitzed 6 or more in such a situation.

Yeah, I'd play prevent with at least a 2 deep set of safeties, if I weren't in quarters. And I'd fire the DC.

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splitpea1's picture

December 08, 2020 at 04:06 pm

Can't disagree with you here; the CB had no safety help and was caught flat-footed as Ruggs sped by him. I would add that the Raiders' OL did a terrific job giving Carr all the time he need to deliver the strike.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:34 pm

Yes, perfect blocking.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:32 pm

Bring five, six max with man outside. The CB is not fast enough to hold down Ruggs. Needed at least two deep and the spy. The middle blitzer had to get Carr and he whiffed.

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ricky's picture

December 08, 2020 at 11:51 am

Hopefully the team complains to the league about the missed calls when Jones gets his face mask, so the refs can be more aware of this. Maybe they'll balance things by giving him a phantom call. But did you notice that D. Adams hand was clearly grabbing the defenders face mask as he got the 500th TD for Rodgers? Sometimes things even out. As far as the defense getting better, apparently both Pettine and P. Smith can read the comments and the tea leaves, and are getting the message that if they don't do better, they'll be looking for work next season. Also, Z. Smith said he and some of the other members of the defense had approached Pettine, asking him if they could be more aggressive. Z. Smith then complimented Pettine on being open to new ideas from the players. Meanwhile, the fourth and 18 for a TD was vintage MP: relaxed coverage leading to another easy gain. And another punt return for a TD? I'm not going to blame Scott for "outkicking the coverage" or not making a tackle. The ST's coach should be giving Scott explicit instructions as to how to kick the ball so there is not going to be a return. And if the ball is not returned, the punter is not put in the position of trying to make a tackle- something he is not trained for. The Packers need to sign a good ST's coach, even if they have to pay him more than they like. Mediocre pay gets a sub-par coach, with the results showing up on the field.

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Minniman's picture

December 08, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Re WR's and face-masks.

I'm no rules guru but I seem to recall that WR's with ball in hand (key point), can legally stiff-arm an opponent (even in the helmet). So they can push\fend an opponent, but they can't grab the grill and pull the head of the opponent.

Adams, I'll agree, was right on the border of legality there though as he had his hands on the grill and...... errrr, shall we say "guiding" the defenders helmet away.

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Minniman's picture

December 08, 2020 at 12:18 pm

second point, re Scott and his kicking:

Totally agree that he should be given a specific target to aim at.

Unfortunately he's got a touch of the Tiger and Phil in him (golf) where he sprays it when he's going after it.

A saying in golf is that you aim small to miss small, aim big and miss big.

When Scott does connect he cannons it! Unfortunately he can't do this reliably, so perhaps the best course of action, like you said, is to give him a target to aim at. That at least gives the punt team a focal point too.

..... after all, Hunter Bradley (LS) is playing at a Pro-Bowl leading level, so Scott is not going to get the ball delivered to him any better.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:39 pm

The design was to the right to the sideline. He hit it straight up the middle and leveraged his own coverage team. Hollman did not hold square to the left hash. There is a good article in the JS breaking down the play.
If he cannot aim well, he won't last in the NFL, especially in Canada South. The ground is starting to firm up and ice on the ponds. Get ready to rumble.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

December 08, 2020 at 03:19 pm

No, I missed that (or rather, I hope I WILL not miss that), I did not see Rodgers' 500th TD. And I'm glad that it is Adams that will have that one too. So far he has the 200th and 400th. Nice to know that the future milestone 500th IS also by him.

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Bure9620's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:14 pm

If there is a 500th it will not be with the Packers.......

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mnbadger's picture

December 08, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Whose Defense Was This? the real question is Did Z Smith ask if he could share ideas with Mike Pettine or did MLF ask Z to share ideas with Mike Pettine to improve the defense? Either way, GPG

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SpikeHyzer's picture

December 08, 2020 at 02:49 pm

Al, every week you pick one that stood out to me and it was the face mask. Annoying.

I'm not sure Preston's effort was lacking. It was the lack of press coverage with safeties over the top that didn't give him time to finish his plays. It might indicate he's lost a step, but now that he has more time and route runners are better covered, he's getting there.

And so are a lot of others who have been roundly criticized (like Keke by that Brian Sampson dude, who has no idea what he's talking about).

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Point-Packer's picture

December 08, 2020 at 04:18 pm

When Hurts came in, the outside rush opening up the B gap was giving Hurts space to run and time to throw. I think it was his second series where Pettine had the OLB's bull rush and ostensibly play a two gap technique. Forced Hurts to have to throw the ball from the pocket. Nice adjustment from Pettine, albeit slightly obvious at that point.

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Minniman's picture

December 08, 2020 at 05:58 pm

Hurts got beat out of the QB position at Alabama by Tua because of his decision making under pressure and it was still there when he went to Oklahoma.

It makes sense to keep pressuring him and make him rush his processing and throws.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 08, 2020 at 06:47 pm

An astute observation. I recall we used to have persistent problems with running QBs. Not so much anymore.

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Bure9620's picture

December 08, 2020 at 08:16 pm

We used to have huge problems with running QBs but Trubisky was able to scramble a bit as was Jake Luton....

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 09, 2020 at 05:50 am

Wentz scrambled 3 times for 18 yards. Hurts added 5 for 29. Hurts went for some first downs, but I don't remember whether Wentz got the yards that were needed.

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CoachDino's picture

December 08, 2020 at 06:01 pm

Thanks Al, Once again I learned something from you. Thanks for taking the time to breakdown tape to find these examples that supply a real insight. I'm going to keep an eye out for more safety blitzes.

Though I'm not of the cloth that ILB is more critical than QB,CD,OT,DE it doesn't mean it's not important. When looking at the ILB prospects over the years I never gave much value to the Pass Rush/ Blitzers. Is it me or do the Packers almost never Blitz ILB?

I'm a fan of the DL/ED providing the pass rush with a focus on coverage and keeping the QB contained BUT like 90% of competition there is value is not being overly predictable. I don't watch coaches film but my thought is the Packers D is very predictable based on personnel and Formation.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 09, 2020 at 06:04 am

Greene blitzed on the completed pass to the TE when Savage fell. Savage was beaten even if he hadn't fallen as he was late with his recognition.

It is hard to blitz ILBs when there is only one on the field much of the time.

2018: 7 games, Kirksey blitzed 37 times for Cleveland.
2020: 7 games, Kirksey has blitzed 13 times (PFR).

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egbertsouse's picture

December 09, 2020 at 07:38 am

And last week 2 Packers grabbed Trubiskey’s face mask on one play and there was no call. You’d think the refs could have seen at least one out of two.

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Ernesto's picture

December 09, 2020 at 08:25 pm

This is a decent o team but c plus on d. Going nowhere in playoffs

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Since'61's picture

December 09, 2020 at 10:09 pm

I don’t know how the officials miss the face mask calls. So much for focusing on player safety. Another reason to have an eye in the sky official to make those calls.

Another good job Al. Thanks, Since ‘61

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