Fundamentals Key To Improved Secondary

Whichever team gets improved play at the safety position compared to the last time the two teams met should have a much better chance of winning this Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.

One thing is plainly evident when going back and watching the 38-35 Packers victory back in Week 13 of the 2011 season:

Whichever team gets better play at the safety position will have a much better chance of winning this Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.

For the Packers part, this of course means needing an increased focus on the fundamentals from both Morgan Burnett and Charlie Peprah. Perpah in particular was targeted by the Giants last month, and quite successfully.

While Peprah is not about to become an elite safety overnight, there are plenty of things he and safeties coach Darren Perry can concentrate on and drill this week in regards to footwoork, both pre- and post-snap. Too often this season, and in that Giants game in particular, Peprah has been caught taking what coaches call "false steps," meaning taking one or two steps that take the defender out of position against the keys he is supposed to be reading.

This problem showed itself early in the game, on the game's first touchdown,  shown below:

There's a very old coaching point when it comes to the defensive secondary that says, except on very rare occasions (when asked to blitz, for example) the first step a defensive back takes should always be backward. Always. Once the DB reads run, then they can start forward. But the first two steps at least should be the beginning of a backpedal.

Look no further than the rest of the secondary on the play above. Every single one of them explodes backwards at the snap of the ball - Peprah's hop forward basically loses the down for him before Manning ever lets go of the ball.

There are tons of little coaching points like this that Perry will be able to point to and hammer on this week (and, hopefully throughout the playoffs) that could help make a difference when the Packers face a pretty potent Giants passing offense this Sunday in Green Bay.

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Comments (11)

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PackerBacker's picture

January 10, 2012 at 09:03 am

Leroy Butler said something similar last week too. Basically he said that you're a safety damn-it, you're shouldn't being the guy making the tackle on a runner anyway, so pay attention to the receiver. You've got 7 or 8 guys in front of you who should be doing that.
He looked like an ass on that play. Much worse than if a running back had gotten 5 extra yards because it took him longer to get up the field and make the tackle.

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cow42's picture

January 10, 2012 at 09:56 am

No adjustments necessary.
The defense is fine.
The defense had a pick six by CMII in that game (caused by late pressure by DJ Smith). This means that the defense played well that day.

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PackerAaron's picture

January 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

Not even close to what I said but enjoy making a fool out of yourself. Again. And again. Oh wait - and again.

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packsmack25's picture

January 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

Aaron, I wish you'd put together a compilation video of the Saints and Giants secondaries trying to cover the Packers. I'm sure it would be a gag reel.

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PackersRS's picture

January 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

Some people can only deal in absolute terms.

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lebowski's picture

January 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

It's getting harder and harder to watch this secondary play without hearing Benny Hill music in my head.

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jeremy's picture

January 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

Shields has had problems with peeking into the backfield and false stepping this season as well. Last season he almost always seemed to have position on the receiver, this year he has spent way to much time chasing guys from behind.

It seams to me that which ever corner is on the right side has been chasing a lot this year. I'm curious if a part of this is related to some of the contain issues Walden has had.

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Ruppert's picture

January 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

Ironic, the part about "no adjustments necessary" following a post that is all about the adjustments Charlie Peprah has to make.

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Bob's picture

January 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

Your article goes straight to the problem from my perspective. Little changes are not happening it is just the same old AM station playing the same old song over and over again. With all the problems they are having getting off the field on defense. Why did they not try to steal from history. As in no pass rush ansd having trouble stopping the run. Why not try an old Tom Landry method. Move your defensive end one yard off the line of scrimmage and give them a chance to read the play before engaging lineman.

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Cole's picture

January 10, 2012 at 11:19 am

You'd think that would be a skill you would be taught in college. Seeing as we give up the most passing yards in history, the last thing you should worry about is jumping up to stop the run.

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Normthe1's picture

January 11, 2012 at 01:33 am

I know the gist of this article is directed more at Safeties, but can I ask a question, as an Australian who has only grown up watching the game, not playing it?

I know what bump and run or a jam off the line means and that it has to happen within 5 yards of the LOS but can a DB 'jam' a receiver to the point of engaging him like a linesmen or can he just bump him and force a reroute or slowdown?

Cheers lads,

Norm

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