Cory's Corner: Packers Will Make 49ers' Secondary Work

San Francisco has a good defensive front seven, but the back end has plenty of holes. Aaron Rodgers is sure to find them. 

I have heard all week about the 49ers running game. I get it. San Francisco is the epitome of “three yards and a cloud of dust.” 

San Francisco wants to turn the game into a 1960s bruise fest. They want to pound the rock as often as possible and then flip the switch into a misdirection circus. 

The one thing that nobody is talking about is San Francisco’s flimsy secondary. Dak Prescott only completed 53 percent of his passes last week. He barely pushed a secondary with awful throws and terrible decision making — and Dallas still had a shot to win the game. 

That won’t happen on Saturday night at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers is going to make that secondary work. The San Francisco corners have allowed a reception percentage of 68 this season. That is enough to make Rodgers’ mouth water. 

The 49ers will likely double team Davante Adams, but nothing that San Francisco does in the secondary should scare anyone. As long as Rodgers is given a clean pocket, I don’t see why he cannot pick this defensen apart. 

This is the game that Packers coach Matt LaFleur and Rodgers need to embrace the play-action. That 49ers defense is going to come after Rodgers right away and the best way to disrupt that is by making them stop and start again. Rodgers is completing over 71 percent of his passes out of the play-action. The only current playoff quarterback that has a better play-action completion percentage than Rodgers is Jimmy Garoppolo. And the reason Garoppolo is so high is because the play-action is the only way that he is a viable passer. 

The Packers started out the season with a generous amount of play-actions and bootlegs and the number of those has been tapered off, probably by the severity of Rodgers’ toe injury. 

Rodgers also leads the league in passer rating when he has four or more wide receivers. Expect the Packers to spread the 49ers out and make that questionable secondary guard them. I would look for Allen Lazard to have a real impactful contest, especially if Adams is drawing double coverage most of the game. 

The best thing for the Packers would be to get a two-score lead early. That would force the 49ers to become one-dimensional and virtually take Deebo Samuel out of the game as a running back. It would also force Garoppolo to throw it more than San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan wants and would greatly increase Garoppolo’s chances of throwing a pick. 

San Francisco does have a chance. It can muddy things up by playing physical, like what New England did to Indianapolis nearly 20 years ago. The problem is, the rules have changed and receivers have much more freedom of movement. However, with Ron Torbert’s crew assigned to the game, a lot of physical play downfield is going to be allowed. 

That means that the route running has to be succinct, the coverage has to be clean and the reads have to be spot-on. 

This is the Packers game to win, they just have to make sure this game is played on their terms. 

 

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

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

5 points

Comments (25)

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

January 22, 2022 at 06:57 am

The 49ers are the WORST team in the NFL at defending the opposing teams number one WR. I read it this week but I don't recall where, and have heard it on multiple Podcasts as well. This year in SF, Adams had 12 catches for 132 and one TD. Last season he had 10 for 173 and a TD. Since the 2018 season, the 49ers have obviously had trouble with Adams. Tonight I don't expect them to have found a solution unless they do what Baltimore did and TRIPLE him. With Cobby back, Lazard playing like a solid #2, I say PLEASE triple Adams... As long as Rodgers doesn't force the ball to Adams over and over, AND he uses Dillon and Jones, this offense will roll.

When they run the ball they can do what Packers fans are worried the 49ers will do to them, they can PUNCH the 49ers right in the mouth. Meyers is back and he's a big dude and so is Billy Turner. Bakhtiari is the best pass blocking LT in the game, but he's an excellent run blocking LT too. I also really like JRJ, especially in the run game. Lets see how physical that 49ers defense is after they've have to tackle Dillon 10 or 15 times, then deal with Jones speed in the run and passing game.

The Packers can OUT PHYSICAL this 49ers team on BOTH offense and defense and out finesse them in the passing game too. I've said it all week I don't think this game will be particularly close. Not a blowout but it will be a game the Packers always feel like they have control. Oh, and PLEASE Matt, if possible give the offense the ball first. Might be exactly the thing to heat the Packers up on a really cold night.

#12 Quarters to go!

8 points
8
0
Houndog's picture

January 22, 2022 at 07:20 am

I agree Nick.
The Packers CAN punch the 49ers in the mouth, and I think they need to throw the first punch, come out on the first series and score. Cause a punt, and score again!
There's nothing better for GB than getting Garoppolo on his heels, if they can stay in his face he'll morf into Stafford and start handing out presents.

1 points
1
0
NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

January 22, 2022 at 06:58 am

Agree, Keep them spread so Dillon gets head of steam into the secondary and beyond. Deep passes keeps them spread.

GPG....

4 points
4
0
PatrickGB's picture

January 22, 2022 at 09:51 am

“ Rodgers also leads the league in passer rating when he has four or more wide receivers. Expect the Packers to spread the 49ers out and make that questionable secondary guard them.”
Keeping them spread out does have advantages. But the one risk is Bosa and company. Sure, if Jones and Dillon have a great game then it’s worth it. Yet to me I would lean more to using the TE’s and RB’s as receivers if they are trying to go all out in their pass rush. That way they can chip before they get the pass. I don’t see them worrying about our RB’s. But I do think they fear Rodgers. Getting the ball out quick and accurate negates a heavy pass rush. Lastly, I hope that the cold weather doesn’t effect our own pass game.

0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:11 am

Yes--expect to see the Packers frequently line up an in-line TE to help in the run game and chip/block on passing downs...a lot of Marcedes Lewis and Tyler Davis tonight.

4 points
4
0
PackEyedOptimist's picture

January 22, 2022 at 07:08 am

There is a lot of talk about how the offenses and defenses are going to do in this match-up, but in the end, I think this game is going to be determined by turnovers. Unfortunately, those are often largely a result of luck (e.g. A Jones rare fumble last year).

The Packers may be more comfortable in the cold, but they also are more likely to pass more, which means more chances for a frozen ball to go through a receiver's hands, etc.

On the plus side, Davante and Cobb both have proven to be excellent frozen ball catchers. I'm less confident in Lazard, DeGuara, and the rest.

I'm optimistic, mostly because it will be a home crowd, but given our special teams and tonight's conditions, "weird" may rule the day.

2 points
3
1
Houndog's picture

January 22, 2022 at 07:41 am

In the 1995 divisional round the Packers went into SF as underdogs, Mike Holmgren's pre-game speech went something like this;

'This is the play-offs, it's no longer about X's and O's, you've been here all year and you all know the X's and O's. Today is about football, it's about kicking someone's ass. Today, on every play, you look across the LOS at your assignment and you kick his ass, you kick his ass! Do that, and you'll win.'

Holmgren later apologized to his mother for his language after the speech somehow went public.
The Packers Won

8 points
8
0
mrtundra's picture

January 22, 2022 at 07:40 am

I think we have seen what SF's game plan will look like.Look for a run heavy offense from the 49ers. They ate us up, with the run, in the past. Look for some trickery with backwards passes behind the LOS to a receiver who then throws the ball downfield, to what they hope is a wide open receiver, in the Packers' secondary. Bet they run that play a few times. I also think their back up QB will play and use his legs to try and move the chains. Also, look for Deebo Samuel, on an end around run, at least twice, tonight, with Kittel or Mostert blocking. Hopefully MLF, and his position coaches, have the Packers prepared for Shanahan's trickery and are ready to bury the 49ers. I feel bad MVS is out, as I feel he would have a big game for us, tonight. Step it up Lazard, Cobb, and the other targets ARod has on this offense. ALL GAS, NO BRAKES!!! GO PACK, GO!!!

2 points
3
1
GregC's picture

January 22, 2022 at 07:54 am

After getting their pants pulled down a couple of times by the Lions, I hope the Packer defense is ready for those trick plays! They need to defend the whole field rather than go for the kill shot.

1 points
1
0
PeteK's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:30 am

The joke will be on them when they unleash a massive explosive fart on their faces

0 points
1
1
stockholder's picture

January 22, 2022 at 08:17 am

The 49ers beat the Cowboys. They start fast. And they hang around and do just enough. Knowing Gould is money. If this game was in SF. Forget the advantage. The packers must Start Fast. The Defense must take it to the 49ers early. So Rodgers can make the 49ers secondary work. Forget the match-ups. The bend but don't break, never works in the play-offs. And hopefully MLF game plan will be more successful then MMs.

2 points
3
1
jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2022 at 12:11 pm

Correct, reviewing last year's possum defense vs Brady was enough to send the Blood pressure to 911 range.
Barry has to show or he will also go out the door just like Pettine. Spags will have KC running schemes with Honey Badger in the slot , on the line ready to disrupt the run or QB. Does that click for the green and gold? 60 minutes, no stopping.

2 points
2
0
Coldworld's picture

January 22, 2022 at 12:18 pm

In part it is up to LaFleur to ensure his coordinator is on message. If he hasn’t learned that after last year, he’s got some answering to do.

1 points
1
0
Coldworld's picture

January 22, 2022 at 12:18 pm

Duplicate deleted

0 points
0
0
MarkinMadison's picture

January 22, 2022 at 08:47 am

At the end of the day it is all about execution. When the Cowboys maintained gap discipline they did a nice job of controlling the 49er offense. The Packers can do the same.

The Cowboys were #1 in penalties against this season. They gave up over 1100 yards in penalties. Shure nuf looked like it last week.

You know who is #1 in DPI penalties against in the NFL this year? The 49ers. They gave up 20 DPIs - the next closest team was Tampa at 14. The Packers had half as many at 10.

Play a clean game. Maintain gap discipline. Get the ball out. The DPIs will come. The interception opportunities will be there. Earn the W.

4 points
4
0
PatrickGB's picture

January 22, 2022 at 09:36 am

DPI often depends on the officials. In my opinion we were hosed by them against the Bucs. It seems to me that, when it comes to DPI and other calls the officials set the tone for how the game gets played. I don’t want the refs to over or under official the calls. This year we are seeing more calls from “NY” that has corrected a call on the field.

1 points
1
0
dobber's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:21 am

The best thing for the Packers would be to get a two-score lead early. That would force the 49ers to become one-dimensional and virtually take Deebo Samuel out of the game as a running back."

The big-play potential and the ability to confuse/take advantage of the Packers defense means that I don't think Samuel runs will fall out of the Niners' play book unless he's hurt.

3 points
3
0
Coldworld's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:30 am

He’s not a high volume runner, he’s a big play one, often schemed open. Stop Mitchell and establish our own ground game to eat time and tire, and the pressure mounts on Jimmy G to find more outlets.

2 points
2
0
slupoman's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:26 am

Maintain eye discipline, & gaps
Pressure garoppolo..
Picks will come
GO PACK GO!
BRING HOME THAT W

2 points
2
0
Coldworld's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:26 am

We have to establish the run. If we come out one dimensionally we will be repeating exactly the same idiocy we saw in the last two playoffs. Blunt the rush, buy time so that we can throw deeper, open space for Adams, Cobb, Jones and help to sustain long drives. Time of possession is important tonight. Their offense needs it. If we can win it, Rodgers can show how the difference between him and Jimmy G matters in this match up. Forget the run and we play to their strengths on both O and D.

0 points
1
1
dobber's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:40 am

I think we see a pretty good mix...and without MVS, I think the Packers emphasize the sideline routes in the short and middle zones to spread the field and force SF to play laterally on defense. Also gets the ball out quickly and keeps SF from pinning their ears back. Agree on AJones--will be an important player in the pass game tonight, and I think we see more of him and Dillon on the field together to keep options open and SF guessing.

2 points
2
0
PeteK's picture

January 22, 2022 at 10:46 am

"Cry havoc ! and let slip the hounds of war"

1 points
2
1
Coldworld's picture

January 22, 2022 at 11:29 am

And so Lambeau “shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial?”

1 points
2
1
LambeauPlain's picture

January 22, 2022 at 11:11 am

Packers will be running into the strength of the Niners. Their D front is a scary bunch. Matt and Rodgers will have to be patient and determined to attack with the infantry before unleashing the Air Force.

Matt has shown a tendency to quickly abandon his game plan strategy to fall back to mostly the pass O. Yes, Rodgers is a weapon but so are the RBs and OL. Use them. Make SF crowd the box then unleash the pass game missiles.

2 points
2
0
Swisch's picture

January 22, 2022 at 07:33 pm

[So far, so good for the offense and defense in their first appearances on the field. Keep it going!!!
Rasul Douglas with the big tackle on the kickoff adds to his legend.]

I hear there's a big game tonight, so I cancelled my knitting club to see what all the fuss is about.
It's time for positivity, and going all in for the win.
***
The defense has to be ready for the 49ers to smash us in the mouth from the start -- so we need to be ready on play one to show physical play, swarming defense, and assignment discipline.
May want to play a little soft on the pass coverage at first to get a feel for the game.
Once we get the run under control, then tighten up the coverage with deep help.
Mix things up. Keep Jimmy G. and Kyle Shanahan guessing. Mix up tight and soft coverage. Mix in the blitzes from different points on the field.
Don't be predictable; or to put it more positively, be unpredictable.
If we give up a big play or two, don't panic. Teams tend to come back if they don't give up.
Don't ask Jaire and Z. and Mercilus to do too much, and don't allow their coming back to confuse the defense: or to put it more positively, utilize these guys in a way to enhance what we already have on defense.
***
Same with the injured guys coming back on offense. Don't confuse things by trying to integrate these guys too much. If Bakh isn't ready, use him sparingly, if at all, and go with Yosh.
We were 13-4 this season with the guys we've had all along, so no need to mess up a good thing if the returning guys aren't ready. The returning guys are a bonus. If they're not ready to fully contribute, they can still help, perhaps, in select situations.
Also the same as the defense, mix things up on offense. Keep the 49ers guessing.
Yes, go primarily to Davante in the air, but utilize the other guys, too. Keep the other skill players involved, and they'll be more alert and ready to contribute when needed.
Pound Dillon as the primary threat on the ground, but find creative ways to get the ball to Jones with handoffs and throws.
Use the jet sweep a couple of times, and maybe a trick play or two; even if they don't work all that well, they keep the defense honest. To put it positively, they could also become big plays!
***
It seems maybe 80% percent of life is remembering things we already know, but tend to forget about in difficult situations.
Don't get too high with a lead, or too low if with a deficit. Don't get down on your teammates, or yourself; or, to put it positively, support each other.
Play it through to the end with hard and smart football. Positivity from start to finish, and a good measure of fun. This is the good stuff for football players, so display a little dash out there.
In that case, there will be no regrets.
***
If the Packers play with intensity and intelligence throughout, I pick the Packers to find a way to win.
***

1 points
1
0