Cory's Corner: Packers pass rush will sack Chiefs

To win in today’s NFL, you need an elite quarterback. If you don’t have one, you need to attack the passer.

The Chiefs are a far cry from having an elite passer. If you look close enough at Alex Smith, you’ll see Trent Dilfer. He’s the epitome of a game manager — a guy that cannot win a game by himself and in order for his team to claim victory, he must be as mistake-free as possible.

That’s where the Kansas City defense comes in. And like a smooth, smoky barbecue sauce, this defensive front seven has smothered just about every quarterback this season. Justin Houston, one of the league’s best pass rushers alongside J.J. Watt, and Tamba Hali on the other side, are programmed to attack the passer.

The problem with that is Aaron Rodgers. He has excellent escapability, throws on the run very well and is great at reading defenses. There’s also that little tidbit that Rodgers has only been sacked twice this year.

But for how much of a priority Kansas City places on disrupting the opponent’s passing game, it’s the Packers’ pass rush that will win it. Despite being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, 23 spots higher than two-time MVP Rodgers, Smith has a tendency to appear rushed in the pocket. And that’s when there isn’t a significant pass rush. He hurries his reads, he hurries his progressions and ultimately his throws get hurried which oftentimes leads to a pick or a sack. He has thrown two interceptions and absorbed six sacks. And when Smith sees pressure he’s only 7-for-15.

Actually Smith is similar to Jay Cutler in pocket presence. Both guys think they can make all the throws and they appear confident. But in the 5-10 seconds before the snap, the most vital time for a quarterback, both quarterbacks have a hard time deciphering or making a counter move to what they see across the line of scrimmage. Cutler obviously has the stronger arm, but they both have difficulty spotting a linebacker or defensive back that is about to jump the route and pick it off. Aquib Talib did just that for Denver last week Thursday. That pick swung the momentum in the Broncos’ direction, which ultimately led to a Denver road win.

The Chiefs want Houston to show the Lambeau faithful why he will be the highest-paid outside linebacker according to base salary next year at $14.9 million. They want him to make Rodgers feel uncomfortable, rush his throws and put the smooth-running Packers’ offense on ice.

However, this game will be about Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. If those two can prove why the 49ers gave up on Smith, then the Chiefs are in trouble. Smith will hand the Packers the game if he isn’t comfortable and is forced to do things that he doesn’t want to do.

And if the Packers get out to an early lead, Smith is going to press by trying to quickly quiet the home crowd. However, we all know that Smith cannot throw the ball down the field. He has only one completion over 20 yards and is last in the NFL in percentage of yards in the air before the catch at 30.2. Comparatively, Rodgers is eighth at 61.9 percent. That means that Smith settles for the dump off to the safety valve running back or tight end. But if he’s staring at a third-and-7, he’s unlikely to pick it up because that’s outside of his cocoon of comfort.

The Chiefs come to Lambeau with better pass rushers. But the Packers win the game by just hurrying a mediocre quarterback. 

-------------------

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

0 points

Comments (50)

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

September 26, 2015 at 07:01 am

Even if your team HAS an elite passer, it's still a good idea to attack the other team's QB.

Also: Smith certainly isn't elite, but the guy does not throw picks.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

September 26, 2015 at 07:36 am

This is a bit harsh on the Chiefs. They are a good team with an elite RB, TE, NT, OLBs, FS and CB.

They are certainly no slouch. And they'll have gotten almost 2 weeks rest by the time they line up Monday night.

I expect a GB win, because they are a better team. But it will be close.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
sub_zero_pr's picture

September 26, 2015 at 08:14 am

Can't believe you did not mention Rodgers Hard Count in Lambeau. That is one of Rodgers best weapons against a pass rush. Even when they don't jump offsides, it keeps them at bay. And Rodgers uses that extra second to carve a secondary.

I expect a full dose of running attack by the chiefs. Their O-line is better than Seattle's. Remember what Forte did to us in the opener.

Still thinks the Pack wins because it is at Lambeau. GO PACK GO!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
marpag1's picture

September 26, 2015 at 08:50 am

Not sure I really agree with the logic here.

"The TKstinator" up above is spot on with both his comments. Whether or not YOU have a good QB doesn't much effect how you ought to play against the other team's QB.

More than that, Smith is pretty darn good at NOT getting rattled into throwing picks. He's sixth in INT ratio among active QBs, trailing Rodgers of course, as well as Brady, Bradford, Ryan and Tannehil. Or to say it differently, Flacco, Luck, P. Manning, Brees, Romo, Roethlisberger, and Rivers are all more likely to throw picks than Smith is.

I'm also not sure about the implication that if the other team has an elite QB, then you need to bring a ton of pressure. In theory, I get it, and the theory can hardly be denied... but how many teams do you see throwing all out blitzes over and over against ARod? Virtually none, because they know that he actually does BETTER when you blitz than when you sit back and play coverage.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 26, 2015 at 08:42 am

"He [Alex Smith] has only one completion over 20 yards and is last in the NFL in percentage of yards in the air before the catch at 30.2. Comparatively, Rodgers is eighth at 61.9 percent."

I had to read this again but I think I've understood the gist: the stat means that 30.2% of Smith's yards come from the LOS to where the receiver caught the ball, with the rest of Smith's yards coming from yards after the catch generated by the receiver.

It is an interesting stat. Not sure where I want Rodgers to be, but I don't think I would want him ranked first. I've thought GB would be more effective with more check downs to the TEs and RBs for some time now. I wonder what Brady's % is, and some others.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Cory Jennerjohn's picture

September 27, 2015 at 07:54 pm

Here is the answer to your question for quarterbacks based on percentage of yards in the air:

1. Ben Roethlisberger 72.9
2. Peyton Manning 71.7
3. Cam Newton 67
4. Jameis Winston 63.1
5. Ryan Mallett 62.6
6. Blake Bortles 62.5
7. Russell Wilson 62.1
8. Aaron Rodgers 61.9
8. Ryan Tannehill 61.9
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick 61.5
11. Matt Ryan 60.5
12. Carson Palmer 59.3
13. Kirk Cousins 59.2
14. Tom Brady 58.1
15. Colin Kaepernick 57.8
16. Nick Foles 56.4
17. Andrew Luck 55.2
18. Marcus Mariota 54.7
19. Tyrod Taylor 54.2
20. Derek Carr 52.7
21. Teddy Bridgewater 52.6
22. Joe Flacco 51.7
23. Eli Manning 49.9
24. Tony Romo 47.9
25. Andy Dalton 46.4
26. Matthew Stafford 41.7
27. Drew Brees 32.5
28. Sam Bradford 32
29. Philip Rivers 31
30. Alex Smith 30.2

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

September 27, 2015 at 09:18 pm

Clearly this isn't a stat the helps define Elite QB play.

However, a QB can still be good for his system w/ a lower number. A good QB throwing short can throw the receiver into being able to gain YAR.

Overall, not a meaningful stat IMO.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 28, 2015 at 02:08 am

Thank you Cory. I really appreciate it when the authors take the time and trouble to answer questions in the comments. I feel bad because I was lazy and now I find that the answer is readily available via googling it. I assumed it was an advanced metric that required a subscription. FWIW, I agree with Dan. Probably a stat that might confirm what one suspects, and one that needs to be judged with knowledge of the scheme and type of receivers each QB has available to them.

Cory's stats are for 2015, to date. Below is a link to complete stats for 2014. Alex Smith came in 33rd out of 33 QBs with 40.5% of yardage coming in the air and 59.5% gained as YAC.

McCowan 65
Stanton 60.8
Peyton Manning 57.4
Newton 57.1
Hoyer 57.1
Kaepernick 55.2
Brees 54.8
Romo 54.6
Fitzpatrick 54.4

Median 17th of 33: Rothlisberger 52.1
Rodgers: 22nd of 33 at 50.0%

Worst: Smith 40.5, Bortles 42.9, Cutler 43, Wilson 43.6, Stafford 46.4.
http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/quarterback-air-yards/2014/

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Rossonero's picture

September 26, 2015 at 09:04 am

Packers' pass rush needs to exploit an unsettled Chiefs offensive line. As reported by the Kansas City Star:

"This is a unit that’s been subject to injuries, position switches, promotions and demotions throughout the preseason as coach Andy Reid searched for the most effective combination."

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Archie's picture

September 26, 2015 at 09:11 am

True enough, another opponent with OL difficulties. Should mean another good week for Packers DL. But I don't think KC is as bad off as SEA. Of course Wilson is more mobile than Smith. Should be a close game. Hard not to take the points given long rest for KC.

btw - can you believe MM took Smith over AROD with top pick in the draft. That is infamous. Shows that MM is no scout.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:27 am

McCarthy might have been a voice in the room, but it wasn't McCarthy's pick. He was the OC and a 1 year OC w/ that team, so I doubt he had a a lot of say in the choice. Even tho he opted for Smith, it wasn't his pick. At the time it was thought Smith had the better arm and more mobility (Smith was the original Read option QB for Urban Meyer). McCarthy isn't a scout he's a teacher and a coach. Good thing he isn't over stepping his abilities like Holmgren and understands who/what he is.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 26, 2015 at 11:24 am

Well said.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
vj_ostrowski's picture

September 26, 2015 at 11:56 am

Exactly. It's an interesting storyline to drag out every time Rodgers plays a Smith-led team, but it's not exactly accurate. The media sure likes to make it sound like McCarthy made the pick. I've no doubt that he was in that room and preferred Smith to Rodgers (he's admitted as much), but the story has changed from that to "he made the pick." If that's true, then whoever the GM was at the time was definitely incompetent. Maybe he was. I doubt it.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 26, 2015 at 05:34 pm

Yeah, and week after draft 49ers wanted to trade Smith for Rodgers... Also known by reporters... Everything for good story. Or, maybe Mike McCarthy knows that he is coming to Packers for HC position and wanted Aaron to be on his team?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 09:41 pm

MM was a big part of the assessment of Smith and Rodgers, as attested to by MM himself.

He has said that a big part of the reason why they evaluated Smith higher than Rodgers was that he did not grade out Aaron's athleticism as high as it should have been.

True, MM didn't make the final call, but MM himself has indicated he was a big part of the decision, and that he clearly mis-evaluated Rodgers' ability to avoid pressure, extend plays, and gain yardage with his feet.

It is what it is, MM doesn't hide from it, and we shouldn't either. We have a happy ending now.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

September 27, 2015 at 10:11 pm

I doubt he was more than a voice in the room. Both the HC and GM had much bigger voices in the selection. That's kinda commonsense. A HC and GM are inextricably tied to the QB when he's selected #1 overall. To the point where their jobs are tied to the QB.

Yeah McCarthy misevaluated him, but to think he was a big part, or deciding voice is overblown IMO.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ray nichkee's picture

September 26, 2015 at 02:22 pm

Archie, you are a complete ass to state mike mccarthy took smith over rodgers. He was the OC but you seem to think he was pulling strings. Harbaugh is out because the GM wants all the credit. You sir are a fool.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

September 26, 2015 at 07:21 pm

Calling him a fool is an insult to fools everywhere.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since '61's picture

September 26, 2015 at 09:08 am

KC will try to play keep away with their running game and with short passes. If we stop the run effectively and/or play with a big lead we may be able to generate a pass rush. Either way I expect a lot of check downs by Smith. Packers need to do a good job of covering the TE also. On offense the Packers ground game will be the most effective method for slowing down the Chiefs pass rush. Otherwise our tackles may be exposed in this game. I would like to see some screens to Ty Montgomery as another approach to slowing down the KC pass rush. MY biggest concern is the Packers having a letdown for this game after their emotional victory over Seattle. If they come out flat and KC gets a lead their pass rush will be a problem. However we are playing at home and I expect to see our defense continue to emerge as they did in the Seattle game, specially their tackling. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Archie's picture

September 26, 2015 at 09:14 am

Another convincing win by the Pack against best opponent yet would certainly fan the flames of another SB appearance. AZ only other NFC team that looks hot right now and they played back-to-back patsies.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
shmelbs's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:24 am

Since '61, I agree with you. The GB pass rush might seal a victory in the end, especially if GB takes a big lead and forces KC to throw the ball more, but Smith v our pass rush probably won't be the main focus of the game. I think we know KC is going to feature Jamaal Charles until GB shows they can stop him. Not much sense in us pass-rushing if Smith is constantly handing off to Charles.

I thought briefly about a letdown by the Packers after the win v SEA, but I don't think it will happen this week. I think it has a better chance of happening this week in the DEN-DET game, where DEN might be looking ahead to their SEA game, and DET is playing at home and desperate for a win.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 06:08 pm

You got it.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
John Galt III's picture

September 26, 2015 at 09:16 am

Two other thing to keep in mind.

Chiefs 3-0 @ Lambeau Field since KC became a team in the 1960's.

Chiefs 7-3-1 vs Packers all time

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
marpag1's picture

September 26, 2015 at 09:56 am

So true. Rumor has it that the stinging home loss to the Chiefs in December 1989 made Randall Cobb so mad that he decided not to be born until 1990.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
EdsLaces's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

I believe a bazing is in order ..baaazing.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
lebowski's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:22 am

that's hilarious. Those 'all time' stats mean NOTHING.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:10 pm

I feel like I've been banging my head against the wall saying that for days. Marty Schottenheimer and Marcus Allen aren't taking the field on Sunday.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
phillythedane's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Well played, marp. Gentle irony is a delicate art on this forum.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
FITZCORE1252's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:03 am

Meaningless.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PETER MAIZ's picture

September 27, 2015 at 10:21 am

That is ancient history. It says nothing of the current teams.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 09:44 pm

I love this guy
lol

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
EddieLee's picture

September 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

Chiefs offensive scheme will be similar to what the Bear's did and had some success in week one. Run outside and dink/dunk passes to move the sticks. Keep Rodgers on the sideline. My concern is that they have had 11+ days to prepare for it. I think the key may be if Burnett can go this week. He'll be the difference.

Unfortunately, I smell an upset brewing. KC offense will find some success and their defense will be just good enough. Really hope I am very wrong!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PaulRosik's picture

September 26, 2015 at 01:02 pm

The Chiefs are going to try to run the ball and play tough defense. At home in Lambeau it won't be enough to stop the Packers but there may be some frustrating moments if Charles gets going.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 09:45 pm

Agreed.

It will be great if the Packers roll, but I think it is wise to expect some rough spots.

Packers win, but they'll have to earn it.
I would love a tough win.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dschwalm's picture

September 26, 2015 at 01:24 pm

I think Cory has been drinking too much Kool-Aid (Packers Style). I think that K.C.'s pass rush will keep Aaron off balance all game - not enough to win it, but enough to force Rodgers and Co. to scamble to eke out a win. Their front 7 is the real deal.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 26, 2015 at 06:46 pm

Better or worse than Seattle's?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

September 26, 2015 at 08:01 pm

Close call, but I think Seattle might be a little better. Houston is a beast and Hali is still really good. But at least until this year Seattle front 7 was better IMO.

What's w/ Poe at NT? He's listed #2 on the depth chart. Has he really fallen off the map for them?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 07:03 pm

I just want to see our D play like last week. That and even an average game from AR means 3-0. In my heart I want to see Lacy, Montgomery, and JJ to have great games.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PETER MAIZ's picture

September 27, 2015 at 10:27 am

With Morgan Burnett likely out of the game, Charles may be hard to stop. As to their dangerous defensive rush, short, quick passes by Rodgers may be the answer. It would be nice if Lacy could play but this is still questionable.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

September 27, 2015 at 10:42 am

Burnett out again? Whats happening is all the pressure is being put on Rodgers. If he has a average game, with not much run support, the Packers will lose. Will the defense step up and keep getting better? Crowd noise should help, heard it was really loud last game, about time. Its going to come to GB's front 7.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

September 27, 2015 at 02:02 pm

Burnett aggravated his calf on thurs. So its the same issue he's had for a month or so.

Packers should consider putting an overhang over the stands, a la Seattle. That's what helps trap the sound and keeps it in. The fans in Sea feed off it and try to make it louder. Unfortunately too many bluehairs in the GB stands who don't like it loud. Need some young blood in the seats or at least people who don't mind the screaming and want it LOUDER.

For a lot of reasons, Lambeau is too friendly to opponents.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

September 27, 2015 at 01:53 pm

Did you see the article about the seashawk fan at lambeau? She said they never seen better fans anywhere. Every fan base says the same thing. if you go to seattle with a cheese head, you probably get the shit kicked out of you. I've said the same thing about an overhang of some sorts. The sound just goes straight up and the box seats are useless for noise.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dan Stodola's picture

September 27, 2015 at 02:06 pm

Better or nicer? I think our fans are great and knowledgable but Personally I think our fans are too nice. Not that I think other teams fans should fear for their safety, but other fans can do/say whatever they want and our fans say nothing. They sit on their hands! Its F'in annoying.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 09:48 pm

Ain't no tech sector, coffee drinkin' douchebag in a flannel shirt kickin' my cheesehead wearin' butt.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

September 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm

You wear a cheesehead on your butt??

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
zeke's picture

September 27, 2015 at 11:19 pm

You don't?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

September 28, 2015 at 06:36 am

Turn the other cheek.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lphill's picture

September 27, 2015 at 03:55 pm

I agree about the home grown GB fans , wonderful people but too laid back, I have been to Lambeau with my son a former D1 linebacker and we get pretty animated in the stands and then when I look around seems like some of the fans are just sitting there daydreaming or something, being from New York and used to NY crowds we were a bit I must say shocked at the calmness of the Lambeau locals.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 09:51 pm

Were you yelling and screaming and getting pretty animated when the offense was on the field?

I see that all the time- people getting loud and crazy and looking around like "Why isn't anyone else going nuts?" and it's usually because the majority of the crowd knows you don't pipe up until after the snap when 12 is on the field.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lphill's picture

September 28, 2015 at 10:08 am

No Oppy we were not getting loud while the Packers were on offense , we were getting loud at times when fans are supposed to , this is not Mayberry .

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.