Cory's Corner: Mike Pettine Deserves Credit

The defense has rebounded from a shaky start.

Why is Mike Pettine the easy target?

The Packers defense has come a long way this season. How far you ask? Well, the Packers are seventh in passing yards a game (221.2) and tied for 13th in rushing yards a game (112.8). After the Week 8 loss to the Vikings that saw Green Bay give up a season-high 173 yards rushing, the Packers have solidifed their running defense. Since that game, there were four games that saw the opponent get less than four yards per carry.

Yet, fans still want to blame Pettine. I don't understand it. This unit was a mess at the beginning of the season. The communication was poor and there were too many players playing for themselves and not for each other. The Packers were fortunate to get wins over the Vikings in the season opener 43-34, Saints in New Orleans 37-30 and Jaguars at home 24-20.

But the proudest moment for Pettine has been through development. 

Coming into this season, two of the biggest question marks on the defensive side of the ball were Darnell Savage and Rashan Gary. This is Savage's second pro season and many expected the first round pick to do more than just flash in a game. Things clicked for him about midway through the season and now Savage and Adrian Amos form a a solid back end of the defense. This is Gary's second season and some had already labeled the first rounder as a bust after playing just 24 percent of the defensive snaps last year. Through the first eight weeks of this season, Gary had four quarterback hurries. From Weeks 9-17, he tallied 23.

So what changed?

"I think everybody was getting a little frustrated," said Za'Darius Smith, who met with Pettine after the Week 13 Eagles win. "Nobody up front was having the type of year that they want, so we just knew. We were going to communicate with him, and if we just keep it simple..."

Pettine was caught in the minutia. He was too concerned about his schemes and coverages. Smith implored him to scale it back, which not only made things easier on the younger guys but it also lightened the load on the veterans as well.

The most important thing about that exchange is that Pettine listened. He could've easily said, "This is my defense and we are going to run things my way." But he didn't. He was probably grateful for Smith for pointing out the issue.

The Packers are No. 9 in defense according to Pro Football Focus. The last time they were top 10 was in 2012 when Green Bay was No. 10.

Pettine doesn't deserve criticism for what this unit has accomplished. He deserves praise for righting the ship and putting his players in the proper place to succeed. If there was one thing I would change about this defense, it would be press coverage by the corners on third and fourth down. Too often the corners give up too much of a cushion on short yardage. 

But this defense is perfectly paired with Aaron Rodgers and an offense that leads the league with 31.8 points a game. Remember, this is an offensive game now with nine teams scoring over 28 points a game. It is no coincidence that all nine of those teams are playoff teams. 

You have to score now. It's an offensive league. And Pettine's crew is doing a fantastic job by getting to the passer, clogging running lanes and forcing field goals. The Packers are giving up red zone touchdowns just 57 percent of the time — which is actually better than the vaunted Rams and Colts defenses. 

Pettine isn't without blame but he deserves plenty of credit as well. 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

12 points

Comments (69)

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

January 05, 2021 at 06:24 am

"Pettine was caught in the minutia. He was too concerned about his schemes and coverages. Smith implored him to scale it back, which not only made things easier on the younger guys but it also lightened the load on the veterans as well." This is, of course, an opinion piece, but this seems like a lot of conjecture over what Pettine's mindset was when this (IMHO overblown description) meeting was first reported. Good coaches listen to their players and I don't think this was as meaningful as the media makes it out to be. Just my two cents.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:38 am

You are spot on Spock.

I have listened to that interview of ZSmith's, and I did not get the impression that this narrative gives. This is the dramatized version... the version that would be used if the Packers go on to win the SB and a movie was subsequently made of this.

Or maybe someone would come up with Youtube videos, much like the "Run-the-table" video. I know I have watched that video more than a dozen times (every year during the season I watch that video as well as a few other Packer-praising videos).

Yeah, it's good, and I guess I don't begrudge the media their day... I actually enjoy that. So that makes me also to blame, since they pander to my fandom :).

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CoachDino's picture

January 05, 2021 at 06:48 pm

Totally agreed and I harped on this narrative from day 1. Even this article cites improvement from midway points and backs it with some quantitative data on Gary and others. The meeting took place more than 2/3 through the season. Still haven't gotten what exactly was said and what exactly was changed.

Cory hit it on the nose from the start. Too many selfish players. Starting IMO with the Smith brothers. They were brutal when it came to discipline. They sold out like Clay Matthews, on the pass. Then youre #1 defensive player Kenny Clark was hurt. HMM? Even the stats make it clear what the biggest issue was. Tackling. The Packers were the worst team in the League. That's not on the coach. With Injuries and lack of depth what is he supposed to do?

I'm not a Pettine fan nor am I anti Pettine. I really don't know enough to be that critical when the team just keeps winning. But I did say from day 1, many of the fans and media were clueless. Who cares if they give up points late? Its the correct strategy, used throughout the league. Passing is the biggest weapon and should be the focus, it is across the league. Once again its just the media and fans, not all, that have no idea and just love to complain using cliches.

I see many in the media are now changing their tune, some just being more vocal and others like posters just laying low.

Great article and thanks for the courage to put it out there.

ps..The same thing is happening with Gute. He has been nothing more than grade A since he started. A first time GM, losing team, neglected personel (I'm a TT fan but he wasn't himself at the end due to things beyond his control), it's completely turned around. Helps having a HOF QB but fans and media still give him so little credit.
What kills me is knowing that if the packers lose be it first playoff game of SB the same old tired naysayers will be out in force.

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ReaganRulz's picture

January 05, 2021 at 06:58 am

The issue is more around playing a full defensive game. We’ve had multiple games when we almost lost at the end due to taking the foot off the gas. That’s what is frustrating. Sure, when you run the numbers at the end of the game, it probably averages out to be a pretty decent defense. But we need to eliminate those late game defensive lapses that give teams a chance to beat us......especially in the playoffs.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 05, 2021 at 08:40 am

There has not been single game that was "almost lost at the end" because of the defense. It actually just the opposite. Playing to prevent the big play has caused teams to burn time off the clock, thus enhancing the chance of victory.

Why some people want to risk giving up big plays just for a prettier looking score, thus putting the game at risk, is baffling.

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CoachDino's picture

January 05, 2021 at 06:50 pm

Why? Fantasy Football..and the lack of understanding of stats and how to use them...It most cases it was the offense faltering. That's the strength of this team. Why rely on the defense....

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croatpackfan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 02:44 pm

If you are complaining about garbage time scores, lets remind you that those scores comes as learning time for Packers back-ups player. Those players enter the game to feel how it looks like to play NFL. Because they did not have preseason to adapt themselves to the speed and strength of the game in NFL. Also, garbage time is good time to avoid unnecessary injuries. It is better to stay healthy for another week than to win with larger point difference, I believe.

To be able to win SB game you have to implement strategic plans. One of those plans are to adapt as many young players as you can to the NFL level of playing games. Only way you can achieve that is through playing the game at the requested level...

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Leatherhead's picture

January 05, 2021 at 03:12 pm

You are correct. The garbage time stuff is learning time. In the 4th quarter of our opening game, we gave up 24 points in the fourth quarter, which caused the defensive rankings to be lower. In the other 63 quarters, we were #7 scoring defense.

No real training camp or pre-season.....it was a good idea to play the backups. But for some people, they’re just too focused on some things besides winning.

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gkarl's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:27 am

The players are playing better that is why the defence has improved. How much of that credit goes to Pettine IDK. It seems a coach should realize when thing aren't working and aren't getting "caught in the minutia". To Pettine's credit he did listen to the players concerns and made some adjustment. As long as we're winning Pettine's safe, if we lay a defensive egg like LY in the playoffs I'm not so sure.

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murf7777's picture

January 05, 2021 at 08:14 am

“The players are playing better that is why the defence has improved. How much of that credit goes to Pettine IDK.“

The problem is, if the players are not playing well, the D Coordinator gets the blame. So, the credit should go to him when the players are playing well. That is only fair and logical. Some fans don’t use good logic or care to be fair.

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gkarl's picture

January 05, 2021 at 11:24 am

Murf

Agree the DC is going to get the blame when thing are bad so it should follow that he gets credit for the good as well. Like many I'm just a fan, the IDK part is did the players get better because they have more experience and a chance to play more, (Barnes,Gary,Savage) or did specific coaching/technique improvement make them play better. Hopefully its both!!!

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Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 03:14 pm

It seems the players are performing better because the defensive coordinator stopped hindering them.
I'm glad Mike Pettine listened to his players, who seem to have told him pretty much what a good number of fans here at CheeseheadTV were saying in our comments.
It seems that the deficiencies of the defense were obvious to almost everyone except Pettine.
Even the people who are so "defensive" about "defending" Pettine and the defense today may not have been defending him a half-season ago.
I don't remember there being a lot of support for our defense in the recent past here at CheeseheadTV -- say, after the Colts game. (I'd be glad for a reprint of the articles and comments.)
Plenty of fans who "use good logic" and "care to be fair" are saying pretty much the same thing: We're glad the defense has come a long way, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a long way to go.
That is sensible and consistent thinking, and eminently fair.

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CoachDino's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:02 pm

I've sung the same tune since day 1. I couldn't post anything positive about Pettine w/o a flurry of thumbs down votes. I know the guys that we shared the same basic opinions. Heck not 100% but basically.

It's not really the fans that irk me the most, we are all entitled to our opinion and share a common interest, the GBP. No fun if we all agreed and I would then learn very little from reading posts. To me in many instances the posts can be more informative and insightful than the article. That said, I still go off my share on what I feel are "whack" statements.

Hey, I didn't see ANY writers defending let alone praising Pettine or Gute, there were some on Gute, on a consistent basis here or anywhere. Some of that is probably correct, lets see the results before passing judgement. To me the writers here as a whole are much more grounded and insightful than most. Once again, don't always agree but it doesn't seem narrative driven or loose with the facts/stats but more just how they see it.

Keep up the good work...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 06, 2021 at 03:36 am

"[I]n many instances the posts can be more informative and insightful than the article."

^^This^^

It should be a complementary product. CHTV has added some very good writers this year; that plus good comments, whether they augment the author's argument or rebut it, makes for great synergy.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 05, 2021 at 09:37 am

Ask La Fleur what adjustment he sent over to the defensive meeting room. He just went on record wanting more press coverage from the CBs. He was not happy with the prevent defense, two man fronts earlier in the season.

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CoachDino's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:07 pm

King still doesn't play press coverage and I doubt very much if it had anything to do with Jaire. Sullivan in the slot? The rest are safeties, they seldom press (Savage,Amos, Redmon,Greene).

The announcers were actually making fun of King playing so far off.

I'm not a King or sullivan fan and would love to see them upgraded and more press coverage. Issue is press coverage isn't nearly as popular now days with all the pick plays, I mean rub plays.
I think King and sullivan are adequate but weak points on this D IMO.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:27 am

Cory, not just the fans were blaming Pettine. If I recall correctly, some of you from CHTV were also calling for his blood :)

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croatpackfan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 02:46 pm

So, you want to say that people who write for CHTV are not Packers fans?

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Houndog's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:30 am

Nice article, and it's nice to compliment Pettine, but is it deserving?
The fact remains, as stated above, that the "D" still plays too far off the ball. Short yardage situations seem to be an almost guaranteed first down, especially if it's a pass play, and it's only recently that on run plays the Pack MIGHT stop it.
Isn't it time for our corners to start playing up a bit more. If you get beat it's one thing, but if you just 'give it up' it's another set of downs with Rodgers on the sidelines. Maybe I'm just too old, remembering Woodson and Harris playing one or two yards off the LOS, makin' stops, makin' picks!
But then, lest we forget, the "D" was basically ignored in the early rounds of the draft with everyone knowing that they were weak on short yardage and weak against the run, so? Thank God for Kris Barnes.
Improvement comes from coaching (and maturation) so yeah, Pettine (and his staff) deserve credit for that.

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EstebanPablo's picture

January 05, 2021 at 09:23 am

"But then, lest we forget, the 'D' was basically ignored in the early rounds of the draft..."

In the last 11 drafts (since 2010) 8 of the 11 first picks were on the defense side. The first 3 picks of each draft dating back to the 2010 draft were 20 D vs 13 O.

In 8 of the drafts since 2010, we took 2 of the first 3, or all 3 picks on the defense, meaning only 3 out of 11 times did the offense get at least 2 of the first 3 picks.

I think we've really tried in the draft to bolster the D with early round picks, and in the last 3 drafts with Gutekunst they've taken some guys who are shaping up to be quality players on D.

Here is the list of us basically ignoring the "D":
2010 T Brian Bulaga
2010 DE Mike Neal
2010 DB Morgan Burnett
2011 T Derek Sherrod
2011 WR Ranbdall Cobb
2011 RB Alex Green
2012 DE Nick Perry
2012 DT Jarel Worthy
2012 DB Casey Hayward
2013 DE Datone Jones
2013 RB Eddie Lacy
2013 T David Bakhtiari
2014 S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
2014 WR Davante Adams
2014 DT Khyri Thornton
2015 S Damarious Randall
2015 CB Quinten Rollins
2015 WR Ty Montgomery
2016 DT Kenny Clark
2016 T Jason Spriggs
2016 OLB Kyler Fackrell
2017 CB Kevin King
2017 S Josh Jones
2017 DT Montravius Adams
2018 CB Jaire Alexander
2018 CB Josh Jackson
2018 ILB Oren Burks
2019 LB Rashan Gary
2019 S Darnell Savage Jr.
2019 C Elgton Jenkins
2020 QB Jordan Love
2020 RB AJ Dillon
2020 TE Josiah Deguara

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Jared's picture

January 05, 2021 at 10:11 am

EstabanPablo: Interesting, thanks for posting this. Something that stood out for me was how much decline there was in TT’s drafting in the latter years. Seeing how many players flamed out so fast!!

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EstebanPablo's picture

January 05, 2021 at 12:19 pm

TT is hard for me to really pinpoint one way or the other. Definitely seems like many early round guys never went anywhere or flamed out fast, but even with that said he had many guys overall who were integral players for some of our best teams in recent years. 2015 draft in particular set us back, and we are just digging out of that hole. He also mostly had late first round draft choices or none at all after trading back out of the first. His only 2 top 15 draft choices were AJ Hawk and BJ Raji, add in Justin Harell at pick 16 and it's pretty blah drafting higher picks.

His poor defensive drafting I think was far and way out-shadowed by his seemingly higher level offensive drafting. Couple of really bad first round picks hurt bad. Justin Harrell, Datone Jones, Derek Sherrod, Damarious Randall come to mind.

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CoachDino's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:12 pm

Nice post, some good points. I could be wrong and am too lazy to check but it seems that what really hurt the packers in the past were the chunk plays when the CBs and safeties were beat. Love to be able to eliminate both run and short passes AND Big Plays but I would much rather allow more small plays if it translates into practically eliminating big plays.

Can a team have it both ways? Honestly, not really. Maybe 5% which translates into 1 or 2 teams in the whole league.

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stockholder's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:34 am

I think the credit goes to the players. Keep it simple stupid. (KISS) Pettine didn't. We had young players. They needed to be brought up to NFL game day status. A DL that was last in most stats. Not to mention the revolving door at ILB. I realize we can't put all the blame on Pettine. BG did make it harder for him. Yet, people give more credit to BG now. Pettine is finishing what he started. And for that he does deserve Credit. The conditions he put on players were obvious. The veterans saved his bacon. And the development is now rewarding.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:51 am

The Packers actually has the best case scenario.

The defense struggled early in the season. The offense was great.
The defense improved as the season went on. The offense continued to be great.
That is how you win games.

Of course, the ST may lose it all for us. I did come up for a solution for that. ~~
- On punt and kickoff returns, don't ever return. Don't even try to catch the ball. The offense just start from where-ever the ball stops/applies. (we still have to be careful of onside kicks and fake punts). This eliminates fumbles.
- On punts and kickoffs, ALWAYS kick out of bounds. If in opponents territory, don't punt... just go for it on 4th down. This eliminates the need to cover and tackle the returner.
~~~~

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CoachDino's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:17 pm

I don't understand all the thumbs down. Ya, its a bit tonguencheek but to me there;s some logic there.
Its when Scott was kicking out of bounds (OBB) or booming it with the mega hangtime (#1 in the league, its why he is considered a good punter) forcing fair catches, all was fine. Its when he started to keep it in Bounds and going for distance that things seems to go awry. Of course IDK if it was on purpose but it's what the stats say.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 06, 2021 at 03:44 am

No NFL team should have kickoffs go out of bounds. But I get the spirit of PeWaukee's idea.

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CoachDino's picture

January 06, 2021 at 04:07 pm

Ya, I read it as more punt it out of bounds and kick it out of the endzone. Ya, kicking off out of bounds is ridiculous. My bad...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 05, 2021 at 08:00 am

"Pettine doesn't deserve criticism for what this unit has accomplished. He deserves praise for righting the ship and putting his players in the proper place to succeed."

He deserves both. Everyone could see what he was doing wasn't working, the criticism was deserved. I'm glad he listened and adjusted. He deserves credit for that too.

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Guam's picture

January 05, 2021 at 08:29 am

Excellent point JJJB. You get credit when you are doing well and blame when you underperform.

I think Pettine has done a superb job of developing his young players - Gary, Savage, Alexander, King, Barnes, etc. etc. They have been brought along patiently and are starting to blossom as players. That is a credit to both the players and their coaches.

I am less enamored of Pettine's defensive scheme and his ability to adjust in-game. I still do not understand a 2 man DL against Dalvin Cook and the Vikings with no adjustment at half time. I do not understand off coverage by our CBs (particularly in short yardage situations) when both Alexander and King are good press coverage guys. I think Pettine has earned the blame in these categories.

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Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 08:13 am

Hey, although I did call for Mike Pettine to be fired not that long ago during this season, I've also been rooting for him all along.
After the embarrassing debacle against the 49ers last year in the playoffs, and some clunkers during the current campaign, I think he's still fighting for his job in this postseason.
I don't think anyone expects our developing defense to be dominant -- but how about a lot of dash, a little daring, along with energy, toughness, and smarts?
We've seen a good deal more of this of late, but now comes the likes of the Bucs and Seahawks and Saints.
So may our defensive coordinator excel at creative scheming, adroit adaptability, and overall unpredictability -- as well as meaningful motivation.
To criticize sincerely and constructively is a sign of caring, especially if the general intent is the good of all our players, coaches, and fans. To my mind, there's still a big question as to whether Pettine is the guy to lead our defense into the future. Will it be better for all concerned if there is a fresh start?
I am truly excited about the recent improvement of our emerging defense, but there is still a ways to go.
Again, we don't have to be awesome in stopping opposing offenses, but we do have to show some vitality and verve with a good measure of effectiveness. I'm rooting for it.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 05, 2021 at 11:02 am

"To criticize sincerely and constructively is a sign of caring..."

It is impossible to sincerely and constructively criticize when you do not know what you are talking about. When you have no knowledge of the subject your criticism has nothing to do with caring.

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Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 09:45 am

Drifter, consider yourself welcome to skip over my posts, or to offer your own savvy insights to correct my abysmal ignorance. What a boon that would be to me, especially with your abounding graciousness.
I'll reserve the right, as a matter of free speech in America, to give my opinions here until the moderator at CheeseheadTV asks me to leave, or until fans get a petition for my recall.
My general opinion is that in these days our society needs more discussion that is robust and respectful, not less due to censorship, cancelling, scorn or ridicule.
I think the non-experts of common sense and common courtesy have worthwhile things to say about our common lives.
It's not we the peons, but we the people!
Keep America Unique!!!

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 05, 2021 at 11:28 am

You are just a little bit too "holier than thou" for me. You are also obviously one of those nuts who rants about the "cancel culture", as if I or anyone else is trying to stifle your opinion. I'm sure you think that removing Confederate statues is somehow canceling history, which is ludicrous.

Notice that I did not say anything about your opinion, although that is also worthless if you have no knowledge regarding the subject you are opining about. What I said was that uninformed criticism is not sincere or constructive, and it is certainly not caring.

Do you really think that Coach Pettine reads your criticism of him? Of course you don't. Therefore, your criticism is not intended for his good, but rather to massage your own ego.

One does not need to be an "expert" to offer valid criticism. However, people like you who dismiss credible experts out of hand, who refuse to accept basic knowledge, have nothing useful to offer about anyone's "common lives".

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Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 12:31 pm

What I notice about you, Drifter, and cancel culture is that you condemn cruelly without any reasonable explanation at all. It's just your right, I'm wrong.
Actually, I do write as if the players and coaches may be reading our comments. I try to be fair. I genuinely care about all of them.
It didn't hurt for Pettine to listen to his players a little a few weeks ago; and it wouldn't hurt coaches to take into account what the fans have to say a little bit, too.
In any case, if what I'm saying is so moronic, how do you account for so many other fans saying much the same thing?
Finally, I carefully stayed away from any partisan politics. However, I am against rioters of vandalism and violence tearing down American history without a civil discussion by the rest of us -- as if in their "holier than thou" arrogance they are better than all of our predecessors, and those of us who honor the good in them.
May average Americans stand firm and speak out even in our imperfections.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 05, 2021 at 03:04 pm

Writing "as if" players and coaches are reading your comments is nowhere near the same as believing that they actually are. You know good and well that no coaches or players are reading your comments.

I offered you plenty of explanation. For the sake of clarity let me repeat that explanation. If your opinion is not informed, is not based in fact, it is worthless. If your criticism is not based on knowledge or experience it is not only useless, it is also not offered in good faith.

I am not surprised that you wish to honor symbols of hatred. I am certain that you agreed that the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were "fine people".

Regardless of what you have been led to believe, average Americans and the common people are not under attack. They never have been. No "elites" are out to get you. You are being used by charlatans who are preying upon your fears.

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Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 03:37 pm

Well, it seems about time to put an end to this particular back-and-forth, and hope for better down the road.
I hope you may consider that you've never said a word about how my opinion is not informed, not based in fact, not based on knowledge or experience.
You never said how your opinion is different than mine, and what information and facts and knowledge and experience you used to make your evaluations.
Instead of simply disagreeing cordially in camaraderie, you acted the jerk in this case -- although I hope not in the future.
Millions upon millions of us average Americans are able to see quite clearly that an elitist establishment is talking down to us with condescension and deception; is trampling all over our rights as equals; and is treating us like second-class citizens, if not servants.
This is my last comment to you today, Drifter. I hope any future interactions are indeed better. I wish you well.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 05, 2021 at 04:50 pm

It would be interesting to know who or what you believe constitutes this "elitist establishment". What is this vast conspiracy seeking to trample on your rights? I knew that if we went long enough you would expose your nuttiness.

By the way, no one is "tearing down American history". Knowledge of American history, especially the Civil War era, is not dependent upon statues. As a person of Southern heritage, I have previously written on this blog about the varying reasons that led to secession and the war. An intellectual discussion of those reasons can be interesting and enlightening.

The problem is that your ilk has co-opted the discussion by adopting the symbols of the Confederacy to promote your racial hatred. Therefore, it is impossible to intellectually discuss the era because putting forth reasons other than preserving slavery makes a person appear to be in lockstep with the racists. You claim to care about people, but you have zero regard for the people who are offended by those symbols.

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Packerfan357's picture

January 05, 2021 at 08:58 am

The problem with the defense is they don't wrap up their tackles. Kevin King is one example against the Bears if you watch close he always tries to tackle with his shoulders and never wraps his arms you can not shoulder tackle in this league you must wrap your arms around people and he is not the only one on defense that tackles that way. They must get more aggressive on defense TACKLE someone

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NJMagic's picture

January 05, 2021 at 01:13 pm

I've wondered how much of this is Kevin's concern over his shoulders? And if so, is it being coached for him or it in his own head?

Note MLF specifically praised Kings tackling against the Bears (well we only remember his mooney classic shove and don't tackle whiff)

Etan

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croatpackfan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 02:59 pm

By official statistics Kevin King was the 3rd best tackler in the game for Packers, Kris Barnes had 14 (8 solo), Savage 10 (8 solo), King 10 (7 solo). Also King leads Packers with 2 PD.

It is sad when you see someone who claim he is fan and comment the game, spitting on the player and he did not watch the game at all.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 06, 2021 at 04:35 am

Give credit to King for being a willing tackler. He is willing to hit. But I am not spitting on King when I criticize him in this case. Teams are running at him for a reason.

It is true that King was third on the team for most tackles. I would guess that he was also in the top 3 for most whiffs on tackles against the Bears. One of his whiffs was due purely to terrible technique, and not due to the elusiveness of the ball carrier.

Check out the link below under Advanced stats. King has missed 12 tackles so far in 664 snaps (17.4%). That is a huge number. Alexander by contrast has missed 5 tackles in 900 snaps (8.9%) despite playing 35% more snaps than King.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/K/KingKe01.htm

2 points
2
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badaxed's picture

January 07, 2021 at 07:02 am

If the runner/receiver slips and you touch them while they're down, that's a tackle. I wonder how many of these are counted that make up total of tackles. Personally I do not think touching a runner down should be counted as a tackle.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 05, 2021 at 09:05 am

The defense was never that bad. People just wanted to bitch about something.

Minnesota held to 10 until garbage time. Detroit held to 14 until garbage time. New Orleans and Atlanta held under their average. Etc. etc.

0 points
5
5
Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Leatherhead, respectfully, just last year's playoff manhandling by the 49ers is recent enough to still be causing lingering trauma.
Plus, in the second game against the Vikings this season, didn't their offense score four touchdowns with long drives on their first four possessions -- something like that?
Against the Colts we were ahead 28-14 at the half, I think, and then the defense couldn't get off the field, our offense was sidelined, and we ended up losing in overtime.
Even this past game, the Bears offense used up half the first quarter in driving for a touchdown -- and it didn't seem as though Pettine made good adjustments after that.
Plus, there's the eye test that so many fans seem to notice to our exasperation -- players looking cautious and listless and soft and confused as the other team gouges us for long runs and gashes us with completions to receivers running free across the middle -- all the while gaining just enough yards on third down to move the chains and stay on the field a while longer.
Now I'm excited that things have improved significantly in recent weeks, but I'm not yet convinced it's permanent. It's not as though the frustrations of not so long ago are figments of our imagination.
What seems to have happened to the good -- particularly against the Titans -- is that Pettine changed his schemes to put more guys up front and changed his strategy to allow guys to be more aggressive.
If he continues to mix things up, to be unpredictable to the opposing offense, to let our talented young players loose at times to make big plays, then I'll continue to be enthused.
However, it seems we saw some of the old tendencies and tentativeness creeping in against the Bears -- a little reminder of what has driven many of us as fans so crazy over the past season or two.
These playoffs are a test for Pettine to find the right balance of daring and discipline. It's a challenge, but that's what defensive coordinators are paid to do.
Again, as written above, not expecting perfection, but verve and vitality and a good measure of overall effectiveness.

2 points
3
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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 05, 2021 at 12:22 pm

You need to get away from the eye test, try relying on statistics and analytics. And please do not presume to speak for "so many fans".

-6 points
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Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 02:53 pm

Drifter, just read what the fans are saying in this very thread and then tell me how what I'm saying is significantly different.
What I'm reading is many fans appreciating the recent progress made by our defense, but still wary of what it will do, and how it will hold up, in the playoffs.
Even if you detest me, you may want to rethink your words if what I'm saying is in keeping with so many others -- unless you think we're all morons.

4 points
5
1
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 06, 2021 at 04:51 am

Yup. The eye-test earlier in the season revealed a tendency not to swarm to the ball to make sure of the tackle. There was still too much free lancing though it was less noticeable this year than last. There were a lot of DBs waiting for the ball carrier to reach them rather than moving forward to limit the gain. Amos is great at limiting gains. Savage is getting much better at it.

Why is Dean Lowry playing so much despite getting pushed around too much earlier in the season? It might be because he had zero missed tackles in the regular season. Grain of salt in there since he should have been in position to make more tackles than he did, imo. Clark has an excellent 4.7% missed tackle percentage. Keke is 3rd in line for snaps in part due to a 12.5% missed tackle percentage - that's not so hot. Lancaster is okay - not good, not bad - at 8.3%.

Z. Smith = 11.9% missed tackles percentage.
P. Smith = 12.5%
R. Gary's is 2.5% (which is 1 reason why fans want more snaps).

*All stats per PFR.

3 points
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NickPerry's picture

January 06, 2021 at 06:07 am

Thanks for all the info TGR... Good stuff as usual.

Gary is at 2.5% missed tackles? That's pretty incredible considering this is just year 2 of a position change and he didn't have a TC to learn and get better. People are to wrapped up in one stat...SACKS. I heard something on a podcast that Gary had as many pressures as Z Smith this year.

The Packers are going to be looking for cap room next season. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Preston Smith is let go and Gary is full time starter in 2021. The bad part of that is during Preston Smiths entire career his are good every OTHER year. Next season he's due for a great year stat wise...

3 points
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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 06, 2021 at 05:20 am

Swisch - I am certain that most fans on this thread (and most overall) do not buy into your wacko conspiracy theory that some invisible "elitist establishment" is trampling on their rights.

Why do you feel it is necessary to bolster your opinion by couching it as being in agreement with "many fans"? If you believe that your opinion is correct you should be confident that it stands on its own.

-1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 05, 2021 at 02:20 pm

I would agree that for some people, last year’s loss to SF was traumatizing, and it’s affected their judgement.

Our home loss to the Vikings was our poorest defensive game of the season.

In the Colts game, we turned it over 4 times.

Eye tests mean little to me, since I know that people see what they expect to see.

The facts are that the defense crushed the Vikings and Lions, held the Saints and Falcons under their average, gave up 24 to a good team at home in Tampa, crushed the Texans, had a bad game against Minnesota, and has pretty much kept everyone else away from the end zone.

1 points
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Swisch's picture

January 05, 2021 at 02:39 pm

Statistics are important, but what a sad day it will be if we stop considering the world with our own eyes.
Analytics are important, but let's not minimize the common sense of the common person.
Experts are important, but the most intelligent people can do the stupidest things -- and cause the most harm -- if they don't have a good measure of humility.
Leaders are important, but they are supposed to be the representatives of the people, not our masters.

3 points
4
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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 06, 2021 at 07:57 am

- The "eye test" is totally unreliable without the background of statistics and knowledge regarding what you are seeing. As Leatherhead said above, people see what they want to see. There is a reason that eyewitness testimony is the least reliable of all evidence.

Have you ever been involved in a class experiment where someone bursts in, performs some outrageous act, then leaves? When the class members are questioned afterwards their answers regarding the person's physical features, clothing, and actions vary widely. In contrast, a video of the event will depict all of those attributes perfectly.

- Similarly, the value of common sense is totally dependent on the wisdom of the person exercising such. Ask a sample of people what constitutes common sense in a situation and you will get a wide variety of responses. Common sense never produces a singular truth.

- Rejecting experts because of outlier problems is amazingly short sighted. Do you refuse to go the doctor because a few doctors commit malpractice? Do you refuse to accept the plans and drawings of a professional architect or engineer because of an isolated miscalculation? Apparently you would rather rely on a lay person to treat your illnesses and design your buildings.

-1 points
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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 06, 2021 at 08:00 am

Your overarching problem Swisch, is that you are proud of being uninformed. You wear your rejection of facts and knowledge as a badge of honor. You are so wrapped up in being a "common person" that you believe being a know-nothing is virtue. This leaves you susceptible to being conned by the charlatans who prey upon your fear of being disrespected or dominated by those smarter and more talented than you.

-2 points
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CoachDino's picture

January 05, 2021 at 07:51 pm

I'm staying away from the non football thing going on here and though I do think your football opinions are way off you do have every right to post them. Whos to say any of our opinions are correct? Any of us can say so or not,...lol

Had to chime in though when it comes to FB statements and will be happen to give you my argument as to why.
SF had nothing to do with Pettine. It was inevitable. What SF did to the Packers is what the Packers are doing to everyone this year. They were scheming people open and had massive mismatches. Why would Pettine focus on the run when they were being burned for big plays on the Pass? People seems to forget that. Sure go ahead and focus on the run, take one guess what would of happened? Same thing ARod does when teams do it to them.
The problem with that game was Arod and his terrible start. the other issue? The SF were a much better team. Lose by 1 or Lose by 30 whats the difference? Its about winning not keeping it close with garbage time pts in the end.

The Vikings game was an example of the selfish play referenced in the article and terrible tackling oh and missing your best defense player who happens to be your best weapon against the run. The Smith Brothers were selling out as usual and not staying disciplined.

They also had terrible ILBs playing. Martin was on the DL and it was too early for Barnes. So you had a rusty Kirksey and Burks? Summers? You can't have a worse ILB unit than that. There's no argument there, just check the stats.

Indy. Dude, you made the argument in the first sentence, The Packers, The best offense in football scored 3 pts in the whole second half? Giving up 31 on the road to a top 10 offense isn't impressive by any means but it's not the reason they lost. Have you looked at what teams are scoring nowadays? 3 pts, then the #1 offense wins the toss and fumbles. ouch. Not pettines fault (once again)

Bears Game? Why bother making adjustments. It was working. Giving up an avg of 2.5 yds and forcing your opponent to go for it on 4th down to keep the drive going is not failure, especially when you have the #1 offense in the league. Can I ask how many points they scored in the 1st half including that long drive? 3 pts. 6 in the whole half. What in the world are you complaining about?

Effectiveness. They have gone 26-6 the last two seasons. that's winning. That's effective as it gets.

You're right, they might give up all sorts of points to some of these Elite Offenses with two of the Best QBs in History. They probably will, its up to our best QB in history to outscore them not to expect any defense to hold them to under 30 pts. its just the reality of todays league. It's not me saying it, not just my opinion but the facts.

Anyone who thinks that the Smiths brothers, 2 of the biggest issues when things were bad, and their meeting with pettine was the turning point is neglecting all the facts and is being extremely naive. Just look at this article, the stats, observations. things were getting better well before the meeting. And on top of that which way does one want it? KISS or mix it up more, disguise your defense, make more changes and adjustments on the fly. Confusing

3 points
3
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Lphill's picture

January 05, 2021 at 09:25 am

I have been saying it for awhile that the Packers had the players but I still think its Pettine's schemes , playing far off the receivers especially on third and short and his favorite 2 D lineman , funny how it was no problem against the Titans when he used 6 man fronts , now take advantage of Harrison , look at him on film against the Bears limited snaps and tossing the center down to penetrate for no gain, if the Packers play the Bucs Pettine needs to use the same plan used against the Titans and pressure Brady who is not elusive .

8 points
9
1
jimtalkbox's picture

January 05, 2021 at 09:40 am

Can someone tell KIng to stop playing 10 yards off the ball when the offense just needs 3 yards for a first down?

4 points
6
2
Leatherhead's picture

January 05, 2021 at 10:24 am

King is an outstanding CB who will certainly be making big money next year. His problem has been staying on the field. The Packers will need to replace him next season, and not with some UDFA. Whoever starts opposite Alexander is going to get thrown at and we’re going to need a real good player.

Personally, I think we could have signed him for about half of what we paid for Bakhtiari and drafted a tackle instead. Water under the bridge.

Most of this unfairly maligned, above average, defense will return next year, with Pettine. We will not blow a bunch of additional holes in the defense by cutting Player X to “get cap space” because he’s “just not that good”. We will replace King and Montravious Adams on our preferred Gameday 21 P. Smith, Kirksey, Lowry, Lancaster, Jackson...aren’t going anywhere. Burks....maybe.

-1 points
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ottscay's picture

January 05, 2021 at 10:15 am

I agree with Leatherhead that our defense was never that bad this year. In terms of defensive improvement, some was due to injury/sickness recoveries (Clark, Barnes), and some was young players ascending during the season (Gary, Savage, Barnes again). The coaching staff deserves credit for the latter. As for Pettine in particular, over the last half of the season I think he deserves credit for shifting his game planning against the run (especially vs. the Titans, and even the Bears this last week), his changes to personnel at ILB, increased usage of Gary at OLB prior to his injury, and subtle changes in how he uses Savage and Amos on the back end. I'd like to see King used in man press coverage a bit more (especially on 3rd/4th and short), as that's where he seems to excel but overall there are several things the defensive coaching staff can be praised for IMO.

1 points
3
2
Since'61's picture

January 05, 2021 at 10:09 am

Our defense has slowly but steadily improved over the course of the season. They have played their best football over the last 4-5 games of the season. This is the best time of year for our defense to peak.

I do hope that we go to 3-4 man DL fronts during the playoffs to take away our opponents run games and make them one dimensional. If we can do that and play with a lead we are going to be fine.

Late in the game we turn our pass rushers loose to create havoc and generate a turnover or two.

Pettine takes the heat when the D plays poorly it’s only fair to give kudos when the D improves. We’re 13-3, so for me at least the defense can’t be too bad. Thanks, Since ‘61

8 points
8
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CheesyTex's picture

January 05, 2021 at 10:10 am

You need to give some love to the assistant coaches as well. When the season started, LB was in shambles and secondary not looking very good either. Think Jerry Gray, Mike Smith, et al have done one helluva job. Isn't it nice to see young players "getting it" and getting stronger as the season wears on?

Amos and Savage look like we dreamed they would. Barnes, Martin, Kirksey all playing better. Tweet, even the much maligned D-Line has been better.

Maybe Pettine is valued by the front office for his personnel selection, management, and other factors in addition to the things we see.

5 points
6
1
JohnnyLogan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 10:25 am

Bucs game (the team we're likely to play), will be very different from the last couple of games in a few significant ways. Against Tennessee Pettine and LaFleur were forced into completely changing the defensive scheme for the very obvious reason that if they continued to play Pettine's preferred scheme of a light DL and DBs playing so deep they were practically behind the goalposts, Henry would run for more yards than Forrest Gump. Chicago presented a slightly less formidable but similar challenge as they'd been winning with Montgomery's running so Pettine kept close to this grand new idea of stopping the run first. But the Bucs are a completely different animal. They have Brady, who is still playing like a Hall of Famer, and the best receiving corps in football. The question here is what will Pettine do?... go back to his preferred scheme of dime defense, zone defense, prevent defense with open field everywhere for Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and a newly resurgent Gronk. Or will Pettine continue to play the style defense that has seen the Packers suddenly resemble a good defensive football team? Brady and those receivers are scary. Jaire will likely shut down Evens or Godwin or Brown, but not all three. I like how Amos and Savage and Barnes have taken TE's and slot receivers out of killing us in the middle of the field. Kevin King will be up and down but he'll get help. The players on D have improved, that goes without saying, most particularly Savage, Amos, Barnes, and Gary, I believe because Pettine finally put them in a position to succeed. I'd like to see us keep the same scheme of the last couple of weeks, despite the fact the Bucs are completely opposite to the Titans and Bears. Pettine will be coaching for his job. Curious to see what he dials up.

6 points
6
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Bearmeat's picture

January 05, 2021 at 10:56 am

Best take you've had in months, Cory.

MP deserves credit for changing to the strength of his personnel: Jaire, both safeties, KC and pass rush.

1 points
3
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JohnnyLogan's picture

January 05, 2021 at 01:45 pm

I don't think Pettine made the changes, I think LaFleur and the players were getting tired of the soft D and he was told to play tighter on the edges and heavier on the line. He's slow at making adjustments and even against the Bears, he allowed them to control the game; 4 drives over 10 minutes long, limiting Rodgers to 44 plays. Fortunately, it was against the Bears so they didn't score many TDs. Against Brees or Brady or Wilson, letting them eat the clock and keep Rodgers off the field will be a recipe for disaster. We kept Capers many years too long because he won a SB. Even if we win it all this year I'd like to see Pettine gone next year.

3 points
5
2
PhantomII's picture

January 05, 2021 at 09:40 pm

ML says he wants CB's pressing more so the D can get off the field. I'm glad ML is getting involved in the D. The OLB's have really improved setting the Edge also. I was very pleased with that aspect. Safeties are playing so much better. Alexander is playing lights out. Clark looking good also. ILB play is coming along nicely. Yes, I think tweaking the scheme a bit should get them in the right coverage for the better teams coming up depending on their strengths. Bucs have some very good WR's. I think Evans got hurt Sunday though. We will see. I hope we get the beneficial weather come game day.

0 points
1
1
wildbill's picture

January 05, 2021 at 12:04 pm

I think two things that have helped our defense is they are swarming to the ball and tackling better. Early in the season Pettine would have a good play called, with someone in excellent position, and the tackle would be missed and a positive gain resulted. We had games with as much as 9/10 missed tackles if not more. Good defenses swarm to the ball and tackle well and I hope we continue that trend. Now if we can work on those 2DL, 3man rushes, and playing 8 yards off the LOS on 3/4 and short our defense may take an additional step upward.

4 points
5
1
Lare's picture

January 05, 2021 at 12:19 pm

I think some of the defensive improvement later in the season was simply due to better tackling. Not sure who gets credit for that.

1 points
2
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MITM's picture

January 05, 2021 at 02:24 pm

Well, in the words of Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction .... "lets not start su- well you know the rest. And thats how I feel.about Pettine.

1 points
2
1
hobowilly's picture

January 14, 2021 at 02:00 pm

Cory, very timely and fine article. Isn't it true as a great fan base, we should be ecstatic over mlf delivering two back to back stellar years, 26-6!?? Poise and playing for one another and the banner, "everyone has to do their 1/11th" (this years' battle cry) has worked.
Admittedly, i've become a little frustrated with Pettine....yet, he's listened to his charges and has made necessary adjustments, thus a 9th ranked Defense has emerged.
Lastly, i'm still very, very pleased with Gutey's work, steady at the helm trying to improve the roster day to day. And, for those who question his selections, i would remind them that drafted players rarely make a big impact in their first year. The CM3's of the world just don't happen 'cept for every so often. His first round picks of Alexander, Savage & Gary seem to have come around okay, right?! The jury will still be out on Mr. Love for at lease another season and we haven't seen what Josh D can do, but he appeared to be the real thing; Dillon has yet to show his game to game whammies yet as well. Go pack...win!!

0 points
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0