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Capers Should Leave Woodson On Davis

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Capers Should Leave Woodson On Davis

In last season's matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers began the game by leaving cornerback Charles Woodson matched up with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis almost exclusively. While facing Woodson, Davis did little to no damage against the Packers. But once Al Harris was injured, Capers took Woodson off Davis and used him on the outside, leaving Davis matched up against a revolving door of players, from linebackers A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews, to cornerback Jarrett Bush to safeties Nick Collins and Atari Bigby.

None of them could stop Davis or even slow him down.

Head coach Mike McCarthy seems to understand the need to shut down Davis, as he illustrated with his comments during his Wednesday press conference:

The vertical big plays that he hit on us really gave the 49ers an opportunity to get back in the game. We were winning I think 23-3 at halftime.

He’s a unique player. What I like about him is he’s tough and physical in the run game part of it too. He’s not just a receiver. He can really run. He’s a powerful man, and he has the ability, when you can stretch a defense vertically like he does, it not only gives himself opportunities, but it makes the guys on the outside better.

I’m a big believer in the fastest way to the end zone is through the post. You can never have enough big guys that can play inside and stretch it, and I think he’s definitely one of the premier big guys in the league to play inside and get vertical.

With the loss of Frank Gore for the season, the 49ers are left to rely on the 31 year old Brian Westbrook and rookie Anthony Dixon to produce on the ground in their run-heavy offense. When they have taken to the air this season, the passing game has gone through Davis. There's no reason to think they won't run the offense through him even more now that their workhorse Gore is gone.

Capers should just take away that option by leaving Woodson on Davis all game long, regardless of what happens.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Adam Czech's picture

In case Aaron's piece wasn't convincing enough, check out the Football Outsiders breakdown of how Tony Gonzalez owned the Packers' LBs.

Capers definitely should just tell Woodson to find Davis and not let him out of his sight the whole game. No need to even screw around w/ Hawk, Matthews or (gulp) Zombo trying to keep up w/ Davis.

IdiotFan's picture

I haven't watch the 49ers much this year, so I don't know what weapons they have. If Tramon takes Crabtree, is there anyone else that Capers may be tempted to put Woodson on besides Davis?

jay's picture

My guess is Woodson would line up against Davis but would blitz more often than cover. That's the alternative. I like Woodson more in coverage honestly, esp against a big target like Davis but I can't deny that he's a fantastic blitzer.

I wonder if they're training Shields to blitz. His speed would be useful there. Woodson to teach him the technique, that could be fun to watch!

aussiepacker's picture

totally agree on the shields point. should be good with that speed of the edge.

JerseyCheese's picture

Couldn't agree more with you Nagler. If I was Capers, which I'm not because my hair is real and he's ten times smarter than me, I'd put Woodson on Davis, Williams on Crabtree and have one of our LB's spy Troy Smith (since he can run a bit). Losing Gore was huge for us so maybe the football Gods are in our favor this week!

zub-a-dub's picture

The great tight ends in the NFL are just athletic mutants or super men. Thats the million dollar question, how do you match up against them when you don't have the same body type on your defense.

Woodson maybe the best answer the Packer have. But a good QB will even make Woodson look bad, good thing is the 49ers don't have an elite QB.

Tarynfor 12's picture

The Niners don't have an Elite QB true,but Elite TE's can turn any QB elite for a game if you blow the coverage on them.

alexwoodsIAM's picture

I wonder if Finley is as strong as davis or how they stack up against each other

Ruppert's picture

This guy is their only big-play threat. Yeah, I know Crabtree is good, too. But Vernon Davis is something else. Whoever is on him, we should bracket him with a guy in front and a safety directly over the top. Make Troy Smith squeeze the throw in over Woodson and underneath Peprah. If we do this and single Tramon on Crabtree, I can't see either of those two doing much.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Man, I sure hope Dom reads this. Doubt he'd think of that option. Good call.


packeraaron's picture


FITZCORE1252's picture

Back to the old "go-to"... (rollseyes). Other than pre-adolescent teen girls, who rolls their eyes? Serious question.

packeraaron's picture

Anyone unfortunate enough to be accosted by sarcastic bullshit rather than actual commentary on what one has written.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Really? so when "accosted" (nice $3 word even though you misused it, I did not stop you in order to speak) you roll your eyes? Not what grown men do where I'm from, BUT HEY, more power to you Broseph!


ac·cost -
to approach and stop somebody in order to speak, especially in an aggressive, insistent, or suggestive way

packeraaron's picture

My action of reading through the comments was stopped by your snark. Thus - I was accosted.

Please, I am a prick but I do have a basic grasp of English.

FITZCORE1252's picture

I do apologize. I guess the theme of this piece is just so painfully obvious that it should be a given. You are just giving your due dilligence, I shouldn't have got snarky.

BUT, I do remember the Crabtree vs. Bryant back and forths (9'ers game just made me think of it)... not that Dez is lighting it up right now but the potential is clear. And you and your boy were basically poo-poo'ing the notion that he could possibly be on the level of the great Michael Crabtree.

FITZCORE1252's picture

On a side note. I will be watching Crabtree closely, can't remember the last time he's done anything. I remember a year or so ago when Nagler and CSS were trying to tell me Dez Bryant (right before the draft) was nowhere near the player and had nowhere near the skill-set as Crabtree... I think we all know how that's working out. Crabtree's a guy, Dez is a game changer, just like I said he would be.

Just sayin'.


packeraaron's picture

Crabtree: 38 catches for 509 yards and5 TDs.
Bryant: 44 ctaches for 547 and 6 TDs.

You're right. Bryant, obviously a game changer. Crabtree, just a guy.

I don't think, without looking, that CSS and I were saying he couldn't be "at that level" - I DO seem to recall that we were saying it was crazy to draft him in the Top Ten.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Like I said, he's not lighting it up by any means, but the two of you acted like it wasn't even close between them. Just make a mental note to compare the 2 of them in 7-8 years, and I don't think it will be close. At the time I was comparing their college stats and Dez was better in EVERY tanginble category over their collegiate careers. You and CSS claimed it was the offense he was in and it would not translate to the NFL. I begged to differ, that's all.

CSS's picture

You're right, I didn't think he was in the same class coming out as Crabtree. I never said his game wouldn't 'translate' into the NFL. I said receivers coming from gimmick offenses that are simply asked to run to open space have a difficult time running an NFL route tree their 1st year in the pros.

Crabtree is still adjusting and the Cowboys, if you've watched their games, send Bryant on nothing but basic routes with '0' hot reads. He can't run an NFL route tree yet.

One thing I will always be consistant on, I would never draft a WR with a top 20 pick. Even the handful of great ones average 7 targets a game and 4 catches. Not worthy of a top 20.

Pack Fan In Enemy Territory's picture

LMAO at Aaron comparing a 2nd year players stats up against a rookie to make his case and the stats still favoring the rookie. FAIL. Why not compare rookie campaigns, Aaron.

Crabtree Rookie Campaign(11 games played) - 48 catches 625 yards 2 Tds

Bryant Rookie Campaign(11 games so far) - 44 catches 547 yards 6 Tds & counting ---- He also returns punts and kicks. He might have even returned a punt or 2 for a Td. I forget...

I think it's pretty obvious who the better and more versatile football talent is. Bryant's had a better rookie campaign than Mike did and he does more. That's without being able to run an NFL route too, who would have thunk it?

Wasn't CCS the one that said that Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, and Deshawn Wynn were all the same type of RBs last year?

packeraaron's picture

I wasn't "making my case" about anything. Fitz stated it was "clear" Bryant is a "game changer" while Crabtree is just pedestrian. I think the numbers suggest otherwise.

Good lord, why is it always "Gotcha!" in the comments section. This is what gets me so pissed off - everyone trying to out-snark each other. Why is it so hard to just make a civil point?

WoodyG's picture


Using stats to make your point ? .... I thought actual numbers were taboo .....

CSS's picture

I said no such thing about the backs, not even close.

WoodyG's picture

He said CCS, not CSS ..... Brother? ...

CSS's picture

No brother would claim me;) pretty sure it was a mis-spell. I don't take it personal, just never said that or anything close.

Pack Fan In Enemy Territory's picture

99.9% sure you did. Just have find it. May take some time, but I'll find it. Bet on it.

CSS's picture

I seriously doubt it. I've never, anywhere on the internet, advocated for or defended Wynn. You have to be thinking of some other guy.

CSS's picture

You find where I said, "Grant, Jackson and Wynn were all the same type of RB's last year", without it being a quote mine and I will gladly eat crow and apologize. Otherwise, I expect the same.

For the most part, I've been absent from this whole running back ebb and flow.

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