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After Further Review: Packers vs. Giants playoffs

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After Further Review: Packers vs. Giants playoffs

Ross will provide a few observations every Monday afternoon following a Packers game based on a few viewings of the condensed version of the game on NFL GamePass.  While this might not be the All-22 camera deep dive that might be more "educational", it should provide a conversation point for the rest of the week.

I apologize for the Tuesday release.  We had a few technical issues and I actually waited for the All-22 this time.

By the way, you can check out a lot of clips from the All-22 from my actual study of this game by checking out my Twitter feed @RossUglem

Jake Ryan.  You.  Guys.  That was as good as you'll see a middle linebacker play in a game in which the other team is throwing the ball constantly.   I counted three pass break ups and did not see him allow a single first down, or really any YAC whatsoever.  Ryan, per PFF, was also credited with two run stops.  A "stop" in their statistical breakdown is a play that results in an offensive failure based on down and distance.  The Giants only ran 15 run plays when Ryan was on the field, so to record a stop in 13+% of those plays is impressive.

Jake Ryan played like a supertar on Sunday.   If he continues to play like that the Packers can utilize specialty players next to him in the base and nickel defenses.  If they want to draft a run specialist in the 2017 draft and use Martinez and Thomas later in down and distance situations they can.  It's a lot to ask, especially consdiering I've both watched and later evaluated every game Ryan has played in.  This was the best one.  Absolute star performance and star effort.

Damarious Randall was really good, too.  That was as healthy as Randall has looked all season.  He looked like rookie Damarious Randall.  I have faith that the Packers will eventually get something out of Quentin Rollins, even if it's not at outside cornerback.  I think it'll all be alright.  That doesn't mean Rollins hasn't worried me this season.  I've never actually been worried about Randall.

The long touchdown to King was not his fault.  What HHCD did on that play left Randall completely out to dry.  Deoin Sanders himself wasn't breaking that bad boy up.  I still think Randall could be a little more detailed in his work as far as assignments and pre-snap alignments, but he was really, really good on Sunday.  If he can continue that level of play the Packers can continue to use him on the outside.  I didn't see 23 get beat deep once on Sunday, only to the inside on the TD.  The Giants tested him deep a number of times, and it usually ended up with Randall getting his hands on the ball in one way or another.

Dude almost had three picks.

The fake reverse to Janis, screen to Montgomery was cool (and I love the concept), but against man coverage it was smoked from the beginning.  I don't know what option two is on that play, but Rodgers should have been looking for it.

It's hard to imagine the Packers winning the Super Bowl without Jordy Nelson.  While I'm not saying it's going to be easy, or even that it's going to happen, the offense actually improved on Sunday after he left.  Those things obviously have very little to do with each other but when Nelson went out a season ago, the Packers fell apart offensively.  

The reason might surprise you, it's Jared Cook.  Cook offers a third option in the passing game, no matter what.  His presence makes defenses account for him and as well as Rodgers is playing, Adams (now healthy) can handle the #1 role.  Cobb from the slot, Cook from the tight end position allows for the Packers to use Geronimo Allison when it works for them, not the other way around.  Green Bay also has a matchup problem in Ty Montgomery.  If the Packers lose one more key contributor, there's an issue, but they definitely have a chance without Rodgers.

Micah Hyde continues to be put in difficult positions and not cost the Packers big possessions or games.  Did he play perfect football?  No.  Did he play well?  Hell yes he did.  They got a lot more out of Micah Hyde than they would have out of Josh Hawkins or certainly Herb Waters.  Maybe I take that back on Hawkins, but really who knows.  

Boy was it a good thing Green Bay let Randall Cobb get healthy.  The Packers were certainly good enough offensively to get through Minnesota and Detroit without Cobb.  He wasn't very effective when he was playing hurt, and he was a monster on Sunday.  The Giants developed their "NYPD" pass defense on the backs of Landon Collins at safety and the ability to use DRC, Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins in a nickel set.  When DRC was injured, the Giants had to decide where to play Trevin Wade.  

Instead of using safety Leon Hall (a former very good cornerback) the Giants chose to throw Wade in at the nickel position.  He was abused repeatedly, amnd not just by Cobb, though Cobb's work was outstanding.  Cobb and Davante Adams actually broke their own record for combined receiving yardage by a Packers WR tandem in a playoff game.  A lot of that damage was done from the slot.  Cobb is also a surprisingly effective red zone target despite his lack of size.  Expect him to get a lot of work against Orlando Scandrick.

HaHa Clinton-Dix was good on Sunday, despite the TD he allowed.  He could have had the INT Randall dropped, or the INT that Randall caught.  He also worked sideline to sideline and was very, very physical.  I'm not sure HHCD was as good this season as advertised, but he certainly was effective.  He'll have to be ready for some very serious run support next weekend.  Ezekiel Elliot is no joke (obviously).  

Guys.  Jake Ryan.

Mike Daniels is going to have to play really well on Sunday, as he did against the Giants.  He was dominant in the few times that New York actually tried to run the ball against him.  He needs to consistently beat Martin and Leary to help keep Ryan and his linebacker-mates clean.  The Packers at this point have to use pass-defending LBs next to Ryan like an injured Blake Martinez, a small Joe Thomas and a safety Morgan Burnett.  The cleaner those guys are, the better chance they have against Elliot.  Green Bay has a chance against Dez.  If they let Elliot destroy them it's going to be a long day.

Snacks Harrison is a monster.  Dallas' interior DL is going to be a breath of fresh air for Lang, Linsley and Taylor.  By the way Taylor just continues to be an average-to-above-average starter making no money at all and allowing the offense to work at a historic pace. 

I know he wasn't incredibly effective, but you can see the potential of Kenny Clark with the way that he played against the Giants.  He moves well for being a man of his size.  He was athletic enough to help outside guys run a number of twists, and he never embarrassed himself athletically.  His wide base, especially with the news that the Packers will not be bringing Mike Pennel back as any part of this playoff run, is going to be important against Elliot.  The Packers should be in decent shape beef-wise against Dallas if they use the Clark/Guion/Daniels front.  With that said, Dallas is as good as it gets up front.

Landon Collins is good, man.  Like, really good.

Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as I've ever seen.  Yes, that includes 2014 pre-injury and 2011.  His individual dominance against the top defenses in the league is really to be commended.  The next two games against elite opposing offenses and very average opposing defenses are going to fall pretty squarely on # 12's shoulders.  If he finds a way to lead the Packers to wins, it will help silence a lot of critics.  He's been especially lethal in the second halves of games.  The first TD to Adams was Jedi stuff.

The Hail Mary situation is getting to the point where I just expect them to score now. 

As long as I live I don't think I'll ever forget the Clay Matthews play in this game. This game was not the best I've ever seen him play.  He didn't look as disruptive as he was against Minnesota, but the one play he did make was highlight film-worthy.  He had a strip sack of Eli Manning and then chased the ball down, obliterated Paul Perkins and recovered the fumble.  I know that it at least seemed the Giants didn't know what was going on, but Matthews making that play is pretty indicative of his effort level.

I wish that at some point in my high school and college days I was as athletic as Julius Peppers will be when he is 75 years old.

Dom did a great job.  People love to do the well A and B player did this against the Packers, C player is much better so watch out!  I heard it about Julio Jones before Green Bay played in Atlanta, I heard it about Matthew Stafford before week 17 and I heard it before this game against Odell Beckham.  Yes, when Green Bay is way ahead in games opposing receivers and quarterbacks tend to put up big numbers.  During the competitive balance of the games, however, when Green Bay is healthy in the DB group (that's a big one), they aren't as bad as the raw numbers would tell you.  

So much of what Capers allows is what goes on when Green Bay is up 8 or more points.  During the competitive balance of the game, Capers erased Beckham from the game plan (when Beckham wasn't erasing himself).  Jake Ryan eliminated Perkins and Tye in the passing game (except for the one play to Tye that wa sa perfect throw against Martinez).    Green bay allowed nothing on the ground, and New York was forced to try outscore GB using an Eli to Shepard and Eli to Cruz game plan.  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.  


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

Lphill's picture

I don't recall Richard Rodgers being thrown to at all I know he sucks at blocking but he makes some decent catches , I have to watch the replay to see how involved he was.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Another unsung hero of that game was Letroy Guion. I love the attitude he and Daniels bring. Letroy's play led to a handful of easy cleanup plays for others.

I also need to give Randall his props. I was quick to mention his poor technique during bad performances, but this Giants performance was damn good. I still hate to see those "should be" INTs (especially in the Playoffs) not pulled down, but as long as the coverage is much better now - I can't complain much at all.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Containing (notice I didn't say stopping) the Boys running game will be key.

We are going to light them up on the board ourselves. But we need to keep them from 4 8 minute drives ending in TDs.

Since '61's picture

The Packers played a very solid game however, a couple of early drops by the Giants did help the Packers defense out early. They could have been down 14-0 instead of 6-0 by the 2Q. Having said that, once the Packers got going they blew the Giants away 38-7 over the last 34 minutes of the game. In addition to the points made in the article Chistian Michael made a big contribution to the Packers offense. The speed and intensity he brought to the Packers run game was impressive. Hopefully he will continue to get more snaps as we advance. He clearly adds a dimension to the Packers ground game that they have not had in a long time. Against Dallas Michael could be the antidote to Elliot. Meaning that he could help sustain time consuming drives for the Packers while Elliot sits on the Dallas bench. Overall a very impressive performance by the Packers in all 3 phases of the game against the Giants. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

alex's picture

Well said.

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