Five Packers Who Are Off to Disappointing Starts in 2020

While it’s only been two games and there is still plenty of time to turn things around, some players have gotten off to a disappointing start to the new campaign. 

The Green Bay Packers had high expectations coming into 2020 fresh off a 13-3 season a year ago. The Pack is off to a strong start this season and many players who the team was counting on to take a step forward have made a strong first impression over the first two games. This is a big reason for Green Bay’s strong 2-0 start.

While it’s only been two games and there is still plenty of time to turn things around, some players have gotten off to a disappointing start to the new campaign. Here is a look at five Packers players who have not met expectations early in the 2020 season:

1. TE Jace Sternberger

The Packers viewed Sternberger as the favorite to become the primary receiving tight end after he put together some good blocking performances late in the regular season and started to catch some passes in the playoffs last year.

Unfortunately, Sternberger was on the Covid-19 reserve list to start training camp and it really does seem to have set him back.

His run blocking has been effective, but he has had trouble holding onto the football and has yet to catch a pass this season.

Sternberger is now third on the tight end depth chart behind Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis. Through two games, he has been on the field for only 28 offensive snaps.

Look for Sternberger to see the field more often as he regains his strength and gets more comfortable in the offense.

2. ILB Christian Kirksey

The Packers signed Kirksey as a free agent from Cleveland and hoped he would be an upgrade over the departed Blake Martinez in Mike Pettine’s defense.

Kirksey has been on the field for all the Packers 111 defensive plays through two games. The good news is he leads the team with 24 tackles. Unfortunately, like Martinez before him, Kirksey has struggled to make impact plays. He does not have any tackles for loss, quarterback hits or pressures according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Most of his tackles are coming downfield.

In coverage, opposing quarterbacks have completed 9-of-10 passes for 96 yards when throwing to receivers covered by Kirksey.

So far, Kirksey has not graded out as a big improvement over Martinez. He is a pro and hopefully will be able to overcome this slow start to the season.

3. S Darnell Savage

The Packers were looking for Savage to make a second-year jump after a promising rookie season that saw him make the NFL’s All-Rookie Team.

Thus far, the Maryland alum has made nine total tackles in two games. In coverage, Savage has been OK, but he continues to take questionable angles to the ball carrier on running plays and that has been a disappointment for the coaching staff.

Savage is still young and will almost certainly pick up his game as the season progresses, but he is not off to a great start in 2020.

4. S Adrian Amos

Amos is more of a veteran and his early-season struggles are more of a surprise. In two games, Amos has made three solo tackles and been in on five total stops.

Opposing quarterbacks have targeted receivers covered by Amos twice and completed both passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Like Savage, Amos has also taken some poor angles on rushing plays although that is not at the top of his job description as a free safety.

Expect Amos to return to his steady self over the course of the season, but thus far, he has not played his best football in the opening two games.

5. OLB Preston Smith

Outside linebacker Preston Smith had a career year in 2019, recording 12 sacks and making 56 total tackles. He also recorded 23 quarterback hits and 11 tackles for loss last season while recording 34 quarterback pressures.

So far this season, Preston has 0.5 sacks and two pressures and has made only three total tackles in two games.

Preston has not gotten the steady pressure on opposing quarterbacks that he got last season when he was a consistent force.

He has also struggled when asked to drop back and cover receivers and has been average when trying to stop the run.

Quarterback sacks often come in bunches, so one or two good games can easily turn things around for Preston Smith. It is far too soon to panic or even worry, but his first two games were not up to the level of play he set last season.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (67)

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Since'61's picture

September 26, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Four of the 5 players mentioned are on the defensive side of the field. This is not a good sign for the defense. Although Kirksey is at least doing his job.
Preston Smith has been nearly invisible and this is a concern until he gets going.
Coming into the season I had expected our safeties to be an area of strength for the defense. This has not yet been the case. I don’t know if it’s Pettine’s scheme or a lack of talent or poor coaching or all of the above but our safeties need to improve over their performance in the first 2 games. What is the DB coach doing about this?
As for Sternberger catch the ball or stay off the field.
We cannot afford to have these weaknesses exposed against a team like the Saints. They are better than our first two opponents talent wise and they are also better coached than our first two opponents. This is the Packers first real game this season. We’ll soon find out how good we really are. Thanks, Since ‘61

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dblbogey's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:57 pm

It would be great if Rashan Gary becomes the real deal, maybe begin replacing Smith. Sternberger has been my personal most disappointing.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

September 26, 2020 at 03:26 pm

It's scheme with the Safeties.
The NFL is going through an offensive explosion not seen since the West Coast Offense.
I think GMs are looking for tweeners now--as they are in MLB and the NBA--and trying to play more positionless and improvisational/reactive. It's why Pettine went with one NT and the rest a bunch of guys who were too big for LBs and a bit too small for the DL.

I think this has also changed the dynamic at the back end. Coverage is more important from ILB and S because of high motion offenses that use backs and TEs extensively. Savage has been good in coverage, which should rank him as one of the best players on this list since it's more in line with his assignment. Amos is probably also supposed to be the clean up guy and is not getting much play because it's either stopped earlier or we get beaten badly.

Preston too seems to have a different role, one that is designed to play off of the block the NT gets, he tries to take out as much as he can then, and Gary and Z are free to attack the QB based on what is cleared in front of them. He's now helping others get numbers and his don't show up (just as Gary gets credit for hurries but not being part of the 2 INTs he created with those hurries).

Jace will figure it out.

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mbpacker's picture

September 27, 2020 at 04:31 pm

Peston's role has changed. He seems to be replacing Kyler Frackrell's role.

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Guam's picture

September 27, 2020 at 08:27 am

I would add ESB to the list of disappointments. I thought he might grab the #2/#3 WR spot given his play late in his rookie year, but he is back on IR this year. Availability may be just as important as ability.

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TheVOR's picture

September 26, 2020 at 12:24 pm

I keep thinking it's early yet, but I have thought the same things around Savage and Kirksey.

Think we have too many TE's vying for playing time. It again has players getting to few snaps, that when they finally do, and they brick a pass catch or 2, it looks really bad.

I would add MVS to this list, while he's made some big plays, he continues to drop footballs, and dropped footballs get you beat eventually. He'll brick one with a game of playoff game at hand. Thats not going to fly. Too many dropped balls in general.

Preston Smith IMO semi gets a pass because I think the Packers as a team defense have (as so many teams do over and over) forced their #1 draft pick onto the field. I think it horked up the chemistry that the Smiths had, in trying to get Gary on the field. I think Gary is a talented athletic football player, but the constant pass pressure/rush they had last year has suffered as a result of him being on the field, or certainly at the expense of Preston Smith.

This team clearly doesn't get the constant pressure it did last year from the pass rush. The harassing pressure hasn't been there yet.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:30 pm

Gary is better than P. Smith. The defensive front is not keeping the LBs clean and we saw both Smiths get washed off the Edge vs the 49rs. They have to maintain technique and fortify the run stop before launching to the QB. Otherwise they get schemed and trapped out of their gaps.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:56 pm

P Smith is playing coverage as was always anticipated given the departure of the only other player capable of that role in the off-season.

If you are disappointed in MVS then you must have expected a heck of a lot. If he just keeps doing what he has done thus far all season, I for one will call that a win.

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calabasa's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:04 pm

“Gary is better than P. Smith.”

Just the fact that no one is disagreeing after 2 games is a win for us. Stoked to see him continue to rise.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 26, 2020 at 05:55 pm

I disagree in part. Gary might be better than Preston Smith but it is mostly because Preston has had a couple of rough games. They have different functions, but Preston gets the money because he is supposed to be able to play the run, cover and rush the passer. He's not doing that well right now. Gary can't cover but otherwise his play is better than last year. He looks like he belongs in the NFL.

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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2020 at 07:49 am

TGR, did you manage a positive Gary comment buried in there? Champagne moment.

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Stroh's picture

September 26, 2020 at 08:53 pm

They don't get as much pass rush because they are playing with more gap discipline. One comes at the cost of the other.

If you hsve to hesitate to play your gap, it slows you down getting to the QB. This is like grade school football. Come on people!

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 27, 2020 at 12:17 pm

I haven't analyzed the snaps but at least one of Gary's big plays came when he was paired with Preston Smith. Also, Z was manning the middle a bit last game with Kenny Clark sidelined. So I'm not on board with the idea that the Packers' decision to force playing time on Gary has mucked up some magical chemistry of the Smith Bros. That is just waayyy too simplistic.

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nostradanus's picture

September 26, 2020 at 12:26 pm

You are spot on with these 5 Gil.

Sternberger- most disappointing for sure, I am still expecting big things from 87. It’s early but the bothersome thing with Jace is the injuries(and Covid)that seem to be slowing his development.

Kirksey- He hasn’t played a lot of football in the past

two years and of course he’s on a new team. With that said at least he’s been a good solid tackler. I have a feeling he will start making plays this Sunday!

Savage - It took Nick Collins all of three years to become a great player, The poor tackling angles and bad tackling in general is bothersome though. He still hasn’t shown that special play making ability showed in college.

Amos - Not sure what happened with Amos, he’s usually very solid. I don’t have any worries here. He will be OK.

Preston Smith - Smith has been a little little sluggish but again I have no worries here.

Lowery - Dean would be my addition, with his sizable contract extension and lack of depth in the DL I would put him in the Sternberger category of biggest disappointment! Dean we need you to step up man, get on it!

Thank you

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:55 pm

They need to let Savage loose and keep Amos back with Redmond.

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Lare's picture

September 26, 2020 at 12:31 pm

Everything is cyclicable in the NFL, after a good year teams have several months to review game film and develop plans to thwart a player's abilities. You would hope that good players are also working with their coaches in the offseason to develop new moves and wrinkles to keep their performance at it's peak.

You can expect to see the performance of younger players level off after an early year, what hurts is when a team invests $27 million of the cap in veterans like Smith, Amos & Kirksey and not have them be productive.

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Tabin's picture

September 26, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Preston Smith seems like he has a different role this year, Z and Gary are the ones going after the QB all the time while Preston has some coverage duties and some gap assignments to let the other two focus on rushing the QB.
Kirskey is not playing bad, the DL play is not helping, other than Clark. Lawry is playing very bad so far and Lancaster and Keke not very good either. Adams has play very few snaps, I lost hope on him already.
Amos is not playing at his best but is ok, Savage needs as discuss in other articles improve his angles and don´t over react.
Sternberger runs good routes still hope he will improve his catching.

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dobber's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:46 pm

"Preston Smith seems like he has a different role this year,"

He's getting a lot of responsibilities that Kyler Fackrell picked up a year ago off-ball. Neither Z nor Gary is well-suited to do it.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 05:18 pm

I’m kind of surprised that that is a surprise to anyone given the general assumption that that would be his role, the lack of a non rookie alternative in coverage and the amount of snaps those three have got, as well as what he is doing on most of the snaps I see.

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Minniman's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:54 pm

Agree with you and Dobber on this one.

Go back and watch the Vikes game - if Preston Smith doesn't pinball the attempted block back into Dalvin Cook (to effectively stuff him) on a goal-line stand, then Cook hits the gap that Barnes is late to and scores. That was an elite level play...... it just didn't appear on the stats sheet.

....... Also, Z lining up as a Nose Tackle (albeit as an occasional stunt) ..... really!...... Lowry, Keke, Lancaster and Montravious need to have a look in the mirror if that's happening.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 26, 2020 at 03:24 pm

Za beats them with his quickness to split the G and Center, just like Alan Page played it. Bruce Smith was a guy who could go inside/out also. This can be Gary's strength and his hand-in -the ground technique at UMich helps him with that gaming.

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Minniman's picture

September 26, 2020 at 04:50 pm

Thanks for that jannesbjornson. Not sure how well that will go against NO's Erik McCoy this week but I guess that it's an option to either change the point of attack - or feign it.

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Brad.S's picture

September 26, 2020 at 07:34 pm

Tabin, I completely agree with every one of your points! Thanks. I'd add that I think Chandon Sullivan is playing pretty well, esp. game 2. In his limited snaps, Krys Barnes has seemed much better than I would have expected for a non-drafted rookie when I've seen him play.

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stockholder's picture

September 26, 2020 at 12:47 pm

I still think the biggest disappointments are the positions we didn't draft. ILB, DT, TE. The ILb and Te can change. But I'm still looking at the Lions 1st Quarter. Had they not abandoned the run. This defense would have needed an over haul.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:52 pm

We did draft at TE Deguara. Drafted at TE last year too Sternberger.

We drafted at ILB and he showed promise but got injured.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:05 pm

And Krys Barnes on board is another guy with potential. A guy who played ILB his entire college career, not a rover/safety without technique to leverage on Linemen.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 06:18 pm

Lol, why the negative vote? Far exceeded my expectations and it is likely the teams on cut down day over 2 games. I’m willing to bet he will get better if he plays more. How much remains to be seen,

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stockholder's picture

September 26, 2020 at 03:43 pm

DeGuara was not drafted To be a TE at this time. And yes, the promising ILB did get hurt. Still the lack of play at both positions still exist. The Free agent isn't the answer either.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 06:16 pm

Deguara is a Hback or Fback as LaFleur calls it. It’s a position that is part of that scheme and therefore, while not a true TE, it’s meaningless to consider the TE contribution in the sense you use it without that.

Tonyan had a touchdown last week and has blocked well. While Sternberger needs time, Deguara looked interesting the previous week. His back up, Lovett, is still learning the role as a former QB. Looks to have some receiving potential. He won’t do all the things Deguara might do yet.

This game is one where TEs and FBs might well be a valuable tool. Let’s hope Tonyan or one of the others seizes the opportunity. Either way, it’s early and they are young apart from Lewis, who has a defined role.

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splitpea1's picture

September 26, 2020 at 12:48 pm

It's kind of strange that our CBs are off to such a nice start but our safeties aren't, especially Savage. You mentioned the bad angles on running plays, but he also got burned pretty badly by Thielen on a TD in the first game. So Gray will need to work with him to get these matters corrected.

As far as the TEs go, I'd really like to see more of Deguara in a major way, but unfortunately he's been sidelined. Sternberger needs to make the most of his opportunities; you find yourself third on the depth chart if you drop a well-thrown ball on a perfectly designed play, even if you are a promising young player. At any rate, we need one of these guys to become major contributors, if for no other reason than to punctuate this string of unproductive third-round draft picks.

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frankthefork's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:27 pm

No need to argue. Thanks Gil. Add all D-linemen but Clark.
I would expect more out of players drafted in rounds 1-4...it's early, but aren't these guys called pro's; or the best of the best?
So far, I like the offense, but see no improvement on defense.

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Duneslick's picture

September 27, 2020 at 10:58 am

Number 1 will not play for three years if at all. Puts the team a little behind for those years until he does.

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fordguy's picture

September 27, 2020 at 01:03 pm

Are you the same person that does the videos from Michigan?

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:42 pm

Montravius Adams was a camp hero and yet again remains burried on the depth chart. Bust.

Josh Jackson was said to have made strides in camp. Made 1 good pass break up in a game but has yet to really see the field. Disappointment.

ESB is injured and I was hoping to see him make a jump like MVS this year.

I wanted to see AJ Dillion used for short yardage and goal line situations. He isn't a disappointment but the way MLF hasn't used him for the role I thought he'd play so far in 2020 is disappointing.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:53 pm

I don’t remember M Adams as cited as doing much in camp this year.

Since King and Alexander are healthy, we aren’t going to see much of Jackson now he is solely being used on the perimeter. I wouldn’t call that a disappointment. I want our starters healthy, and when called upon he made a very good play. I see that as a big step forward.

I’d like to see Dillon used to soften up the Saints on Sunday. It’s hard to argue that he has been needed so far however. That will change with better defenses and fouler weather,

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 26, 2020 at 03:27 pm

He was beat out for the nickel spot by Sullivan. He was prepped at nickel all of last season, but can't play it. You expect a two pick to be a regular on the field of play.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 06:13 pm

Nope, the team very clear decided to have him focus on one role, the perimeter mid year last year after trying to make him learn perimeter, nickel and safety ( though the role only became clear in camp). Since perimeter is more valuable, that’s a win, as well as being a smart move away from the everyone can learn it all at once foolishness of the MM years. Some can: most can’t.

Sullivan was always the likely inheritor of the nickel spot after last year. Team has been pretty open on both, particularly Jackson. Jackson is now our #3 perimeter corner.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 26, 2020 at 06:32 pm

Pettine said he was backing Tramon.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 10:52 pm

Pettine has said much on the subject regarding the change in role and approach with Jackson, starting mid last season and most recently last week.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 26, 2020 at 06:44 pm

We haven't seen Pettine's duo nickel yet. (I put nothing past this man. Last week he played a 1-4-6 in most of the second half, and played Greene at ILB and sub Redmon out for him)

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splitpea1's picture

September 26, 2020 at 08:02 pm

Very informative discussion between you guys concerning our defense; all I can say is thank goodness for the waiver wire and UDFAs. It would be nice if the defensive coaching staff, Gute, and the scouting department were all on the same page before some of these high draft picks were made, because they don't seem to be able to get on the field too often.

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Tabin's picture

September 27, 2020 at 02:20 am

The pass break up last week is the best play I have seen from him in regular season since he was drafted. The coverage was very good, he looked back looking for the ball and he used his hand on the receiver in a smart way. This is a key year for him and the team. If he shows enough they will have no pressure to sign King otherwise they will have to choose because I don´t see the Packers bringing back A.Jones, Bahktiari and King, at least one of them will walk.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 26, 2020 at 06:06 pm

Montravius went into a boot during walkthough only days (August 11) and never practiced at all. Might have been a camp hero in 2019? I don't remember.

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dobber's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:50 pm

"I wanted to see AJ Dillion used for short yardage and goal line situations. He isn't a disappointment but...so far in 2020 is disappointing"

Only two games in, and the talk out of camp was that Dillon (despite his size) was struggling with his blocking. When teams know you can't block, it tips the offense's hand when he's on the field. Give it time...

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Leatherhead's picture

September 26, 2020 at 09:14 pm

Two games in, our running game is the league’s best and has looked unstoppable at times.. Jones is playing great and we’re pushing people around and running through them. I’d love to play Dillon more but you want Jones in the huddle, especially when you start getting near the end zone because he’s so good at getting TDs.

I can’t use the word “disappointment “ with anyone on the league’s best offense. As long as we keep chewing clock and scoring points we’re a match for anyone. I believe we’re good enough to run through the Saints and I hope we do it over and over.

If Rodgers-to-MSV is ever going to be a thing, this would be a good game to show it. He’s going to see a lot of single coverage. He’s averaging 3.5 catches and 75 yards....I think he’ll go over, especially with Adams out.

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Guam's picture

September 27, 2020 at 08:04 am

I thought Adams had a toe injury and missed much of camp? I agree with the bust part.

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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2020 at 02:04 pm

Adams did but apparently is healthy now. Maybe he will prove us all wrong and that his head has caught up with his body and he can stay healthy.

That would be exceedingly welcome. I think a lot of us would be very happy to eat our hats if he comes out and takes the game by the scruff of the neck. That would be an immense boost.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:54 pm

Preston Smith has been fine but not spectacular, which is not surprising as a cover role seems to be his main usage.

Kirksey hasn’t been great, but he’s faster than we have had, playing with a rookie, without Greene and a D line that’s been poor and then missing Clark. Don’t know who would shine in the midst of that.

Safety is puzzling because it’s both of them. What are they being asked to do? Why the difference from last year?

If you want bad, I will add M Adams (invisible when not absent), Dean Lowry, and Burks (beaten out by a second UDFA in 2 years and this time no health excuse). Sternberger thus far is hard to dispute.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:09 pm

I believe Sternberger will catch up with his game as we move along. He was open and he just needs to relax his mitts and not worry about the hit. The concussion deal can distract from the essential focus. Like a guy with an ACL repairs getting his stride back.

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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2020 at 07:53 am

Sternberger can catch, so I agree. He was focused on running before the ball was secured. Just like MVS the week before. It will improve

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Slim11's picture

September 26, 2020 at 01:51 pm

All five of these players have one thing in common...no preseason games! Sternberger may have been hit really hard by the virus and I doubt we'll ever know the severity for him. I know the rest of the roster also had no preseason games so we might be seeing who did...and did not(!)...take care of business during the off-season.

Several have said the first three or four games would be sloppy and it's showing for these players more than others. Let's revisit this subject after game four.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:29 pm

Didn't we have a TE named Jake Stoneburner who was a turd, but at least an un-drafted turd.

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 05:30 pm

If I recall you damned D Adams with similar disdain long, loud and late. I will take that as an encouraging sign for Sternberger.

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 26, 2020 at 05:38 pm

And you're a turd who has never accomplished anything athletically. Unable to make a comment without name calling? You sound a lot like a certain leather faced commenter on here.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 26, 2020 at 09:18 pm

We were unable to get him matched up against safeties named Stone.

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BeerCheese4's picture

September 26, 2020 at 02:46 pm

I am not yet worried about these 5. Play counts for the D guys are close to what they would be in the preseason and Jake hasn’t even had a preseason game’s worth of plays.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

September 26, 2020 at 03:16 pm

The stats are a little misleading because I think that the NFL is going through a change in style that is as significant as the West Coast Offense was (record TDs on opening day and the good offenses look unstoppable right now).

It's causing huge shifts in thinking about the types of athletes and their sizes needed to play defense (more agile, faster, and coverage oriented, and we're seeing that even up front with the crazy line up Pettine threw out there last week, with a lot of agile tweeners around a NT).

It's becoming positionless football, like the NBA and even MLB these days liking lots of utility types with power.

The Safety group doesn't deserve the bad rap, especially since Savage has been so good in coverage and Redmond has played well when called upon (again, all over the field, trying to adapt to these high motion and confusing offenses). The Packers haven't given up a huge amount of deep or even medium plays, and the safeties have been solidly in position at the back end.

Preston has been just fine.

Kirksey hasn't been worse than Martinez and at least shows signs of explosion. Coverage has been up and down by the ILB group.

I can agree about Sternberger because the potential of those plays was huge, but I think they are minor issues with focus that can be cleaned up easily.

I hope that a better opponent brings out the best in everyone and we get big contributions from every position group this Sunday. We'll need it.

GPG

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CJ Bauckham's picture

September 26, 2020 at 04:03 pm

if kirksey plays the same as blake for less money, that's still a win for us

i too desire impact plays but am not disappointed with him thus far

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MITM's picture

September 26, 2020 at 04:51 pm

You want to know why Kirksey isnt any different than Blake thus far? Then see Blakes comments about what his role in our defense was when he signed with NY. A mop up guy, Kirksey looks the same because its the same position/responsibilities. Its also the reason why this team invests next to nothing in the position - because its just not important in Pettines trash scheme. Why spend or use high draft capital on a position when all you need is somebody who can drag you down from behind?

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Coldworld's picture

September 26, 2020 at 05:36 pm

If you look at how Pettine used ILBs previously you would possibly understand why Blake didn’t fit. The objective is to decisively shoot the gap if not in coverage. Barnes did that notably well on one play versus Cook. See, decide, commit. Much as I liked Blake, he was more read and react. Scheme did not suit him. That’s why he is not here.

I will reserve judgment on the ILBs until the D line shows it can be at least consistently functional against the run. At this point, it’s a thankless place to play.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 26, 2020 at 08:47 pm

I think we have expectations of our ILB that are borderline insane. The guy needs to be able to blanket the best TEs AND stuff the run With sideline to sideline speed. And ,make impact plays. Just staying healthy while leading the league in tackles doesn’t mean squat, apparently.

We don’t have that guy. But through 8 quarters of football, we had a slow start in one game and we’ve given up garbage time points but overall, we’re 2-0. I wouldn’t call anybody disappointing....

On Sternberger.....this is going to sound harsh....this offense is the #1 offense in the league with or without him. He hasn’t cost us yet. Tonyan has been a pleasant surprise. We’ve moved the ball mostly with our RBs and WRs.

This talk of using Dillon to “soften up” defenses.....I don’t think our running game is designed to make anything softer; we’re gashing teams with the run and short pass, especially with Jones. We’re leading the freakin NFL in rushing and scoring Guys are getting blocked and we’re moving it on the ground. If you can’t stop it, it just chews up the clock and keeps putting up points. No turnovers.

So, until somebody stops our backs, I’d keep giving them the ball.

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PhantomII's picture

September 26, 2020 at 10:36 pm

When our defense can't get 3 and outs off a team with a decent offense is when everyone will see how vulnerable our team still is against the run. Nothing has changed from last years playoff debacle on that side of the ball.

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MITM's picture

September 26, 2020 at 09:38 pm

How Pettine used ILBs previously with who the Packers? Or say when he was with the Jets, Bills or Browns?
Because there are glaring differences but that obviously changes as offenses evolve.

How can anyone in this defense decisively shoot a gap and be successful when the DL alignment leaves gigantic holes even before the ball is snapped? And on top of that in those situations youre the only LB on the field how is the middle man going to ever successfully defend 4+ gaps? Especially behind 2 JAGs from Northwestern?

Barnes was able to decisively shoot a gap there in part because there were 2 ILBs on the field. When Kirksey is out there by himself like Blake was how can anyone be asked to cover that amount of space behind a suspect Dline?

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Lphill's picture

September 26, 2020 at 06:32 pm

No pre season is the cause for some under achievers , as time goes on their play will improve, Kirksey is a cheaper version of Martinez what you see is what you get.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 26, 2020 at 09:25 pm

At some point, you have to get people tackled. I mean, isn't that how you want plays to end...with the defense tackling somebody? So I think we need more guys who get involved in tackles, not less.

We’re going to give up completions, but if we can tackle after the catch it limits the damage.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 26, 2020 at 11:23 pm

Am I incorrect but my understanding was Preston came to camp out of shape? Did anyone read this too?

It takes a long time to lose weight and increase strength & tone.

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mnbadger's picture

September 27, 2020 at 10:49 am

how disappointing has oren Burkes been that Gil and all commenters have written him off or just totally forgotten about him? Pack 34 to 27. GPG

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