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Grading the Pack - Preseason Week 1

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Grading the Pack - Preseason Week 1

I’m incredibly excited to announce a new feature that I’ll be writing this year: Grading the Pack. Every week I’ll be breaking down film and providing grades for players. This involves watching every play (multiple times) of every game for every week. I fully understand that this is a challenging, frustrating and, at times, contentious task but I’m up for the challenge nonetheless.

At the bottom of the article you can find a quick run-down of how I grade each play.

Top 5 Offensive Players

Taysom Hill +2.15
Davante Adams +1.1
Michael Clark +1.1
Lucas Patrick +1.1
Don Barclay +1.0

Bottom 5 Offensive Players

Kyle Murphy -2.0
Ty Montgomery -1.7
Adam Pankey -1.2
Robert Leff -1.1
Bryan Bulaga -0.75

Top 5 Defensive Players

Marwin Evans +2.1
LaDarius Gunter +1.6
Kyler Fackrell +1.5
Lenzy Pipkins +1.3
Blake Martinez +1.15

Bottom 5 Defensive Players

Josh Jones -3.5
Morgan Burnett -1.4
Clay Matthews -1.4
Quentin Rollins -1.25
Donatello Brown -0.95

Quarterback

Taysom Hill really shined when given a chance in the fourth quarter. His escapability showed and he had a beautiful deep throw to Deangelo Yancey. His back shoulder throw to Michael Clark for a touchdown capped off his impressive night.

T. Hill +2.15
B. Hundley +0.7
J. Callahan -0.1
A. Rodgers – DNP

Running Back

Devante Mays graded the highest based on a forced missed tackle on a big 4th down conversion to keep a drive alive. That said Williams was the most impressively consistent back throughout the game and he really ran hard behind his pads.

D. Mays +0.75
J. Williams +0.5
A. Jones -0.1
K. Phillips -0.1
W. Stanback -0.2
J. Kerridge -0.55
T. Montgomery -1.7
A. Ripkowski – DNP

Wide Receiver

McCaffrey was the player who impressed me most in this group. He had a really nice night and should have had another big catch if Callahan hadn’t missed him after a beautiful double move. Yancey had the one really nice deep catch but struggled outside of this play.

D. Adams +1.1
M. Clark +1.1
M. McCaffrey +0.75
J. Janis +0.6
M. Dupre +0.3
M. Crockett +0.25
R. Cobb +0.2
G. Allison +-0.1
D. Yancey -0.3
T. Davis -0.4
J. Nelson –DNP
C. Pearson – DNP

Tight End

None of the tight ends had a particularly strong evening but Peck struggled the most. He didn’t bring anything to the table in the pass or run game.  

M. Bennett +0.2
L. Kendricks -0.3
E. Byrd -0.4
A. Peck -0.7
R. Rodgers – DNP

Offensive Line

Kyle Murphy really struggled with speed off of the edge while Lucas Patrick performed well in all facets to help solidify his spot on the roster. Patrick looked natural at both guard and center. Geoff Gray was the player that jumped off the tape the most with a few impressive blocks in the run game.

L. Patrick +1.1
D. Barclay +1.0
G. Gray +0.9
K. Amichia +0.4
T. Evans +0.3
C. Linsley +0.1
D. Bakhtiari 0.0
J. Evans -0.2
J. McCray -0.35
L. Taylor -0.4
J. Spriggs -0.5
B. Bulaga -0.75
R. Leff -1.1
A. Pankey -1.2
K. Murphy -2.0
 

Defensive Line

Dean Lowry didn’t have the wow play to vault him into the top five list, but he was solid on every snap he played. He had eight plays in minimal playing time that graded out above average. He and Kenny Clark have really taken a step this year.

D. Lowry +0.9
C. Ringo +0.85
K. Clark +0.55
I. Lunsford +0.1
B. Price 0.0
M. Daniels -0.15
R. Francois -0.15
M. Adams – DNP

Edge

Fackrell had one of the best plays of his young career, even if it was a preseason game. Gilbert had an up and down night but his +0.75 overall grade is nothing to take lightly. He seems like a 2nd year practice squad guy to me but if anyone ahead of him gets hurt he’s next in line for a roster spot.

K. Fackrell +1.5
R. Gilbert +0.75
J. Elliott 0.0
J. Letuligasenoa 0.0
D. Talley 0.0
N. Perry -0.1
J. Calvin -0.3
C. Matthews -1.4
V. Biegel – DNP

Linebacker

This was a fairly non-descript night for the linebacking corps but Martinez had a couple nice plays in the run game and a big forced fumble.

B. Martinez +1.15
J. Thomas +0.65
D. Mathews +0.2
J. Tripp +0.15
J. Ryan +0.1
C. Heiman 0.0

Cornerback

LaDarius Gunter was always around the ball when he was in the game and really graded out nicely in the slot. The player that stood out most was Lenzy Pipkins, though. Pipkins had thirteen plays that graded positively to only one slightly negative play. If Pipkins can play like this in his final three preseason games he will make the team.   

L. Gunter +1.6
L. Pipkins +1.3
K. King +0.55
D. Randall +0.1
D. Holmes 0.0
J. Hawkins -0.2
R. Pringle -0.3
D. Brown -0.95
Q. Rollins -1.25
D. House – DNP
D. Goodson – DNP

Safety

Josh Jones has been the talk of camp, but on this night he had a lot of learning moments. The good news is from a scouting standpoint, Jones’ athleticism and aggressiveness still jumped off the tape. It will take Jones some time to learn when to play safe and when to play aggressive but this was as good a time as any to take his lumps. Meanwhile, Evans and Whitehead both looked fantastic. Green Bay could have some really tough decisions at safety.

M. Evans +2.1
J. Whitehead +0.55
K. Brice +0.1
Clinton-Dix +0.2
A. Taylor -0.3
M. Burnett -1.4
J. Jones -3.5

 

How I Grade

  • Each player starts by getting a zero or neutral grade on a play. If they performed as expected on a play, their grade stays at zero.
  • For a slightly above or below average play, the player gets graded -0.1 or +0.1. The vast majority of grades on the vast majority of plays are graded -0.1, 0, or +0.1.
  • The highest and lowest grades on an individual play are +2.0 and -2.0 respectively. These would be large, game-changing plays.
  • I won’t grade a play negatively if I cannot tell which player was at fault.
  • Most of the time it’s impossible to tell the play, so I’m not grading on the execution of the play call as an NFL coach would.
  • The goal of this exercise is to grade every snap over the course of the season to get a long-term view of which performers are performing well and which are not meeting expectations. This is very similar to what Pro Football Focus tries to achieve. Is it perfect? No. But what you are getting is a consistent grader who is watching specifically Packer games and putting multiple hours into every week to breakdown film and assign grades.
  • Grades are for offense and defense only (including two point conversions). Special teams does not factor in.
  • Preseason does not have All-22 film which makes this exercise even more challenging than usual
  • Bigger plays in the game such as a 4th and 1 or a two-point conversion are weighted higher than say a normal 1st and 10 play to start the game.
  • Lastly, the grades do not necessarily reflect who the best players are on an overall basis. As an example, this week Morgan Burnett is going to grade almost two full points below Jermaine Whitehead. Does this mean that Whitehead is the superior player to Burnett? No. It means that given the opportunities each player was given, Whitehead performed at a higher level for this individual game.

Please feel free to ask questions or comment below!

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (37) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

CJ Bauckham's picture

Love it. Thanks for puttin' the time in!

dobber's picture

Agreed!

Turophile's picture

Great job, Andrew, stuff that makes you feel smarter for having read it. Loads of stuff to chew on, and I really like the dedication it took to grade so many players, and I am certainly looking forward to more of the same.

Before looking at your gradings, I thought Josh Hawkins was getting targeted and failing to do much, so I was surprised at his grade.

I am pretty confident Clark and Lowry turn out well. Interesting to watch Ringo scooping a fumble - if he's still (as listed at) 295lbs, I'll be amazed, he looks 310 or more.

I was very encouraged by the play of the two backup centers (Barclay and Patrick), given that Linsley seems to be injured fairly regularly. Also very happy Gray is continuing to look good this camp - now if only he can learn to play another position.....

The opposite is happening at tackle. I thought Spriggs and Murphy in their second years would be much more solid than seems to be the case (though I admit the sample size is very small so far).

Acme Shellacking Co.'s picture

Now that is dedication. Great job! Looking forward to reading it each week.

dfarmer's picture

Great column, looking forward to reading this year...

Mojo's picture

This is the kind of stuff Daddy likes.

EdsLaces's picture

Good Lord that Martinez play ...he shed 37 blocks...

Tundraboy's picture

37?

EdsLaces's picture

I'm estimating ..

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Since Mr. Herman is making a pretty large commitment here in what promises to be very interesting articles, lets remember to be respectful of his grades even when we disagree. McGinn used to do something similar, but he got paid.

croatpackfan's picture

With this I agree! ;-)

Jersey Al's picture

Great sentiment!

Tundraboy's picture

Yes. A lot of work. Well done and I for one appreciate the commitment and quality and have yet another reason to enjoy this season. Thanks. Also, proof positive why CHTV is the best.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Especially given that this is a lot of work.

Handsback's picture

Lot of work in looking at the game film. I can't argue, just hope the Packers bust out a running game this week. Would also love to see some pass rush....

Bill Atkinson's picture

Don Barclay (+1) did remarkably well, considering that he never played in the game.

Denver's picture

Then who was that guy getting helped off the field after injuring his ankle?

Awesome stuff, Andrew; looking forward to checking it out every week!

SconnieSports's picture

Bill,

He played about a quarter before being carted off with his injury.

Denver's picture

I will admit there have been a few times I wished Barclay was invisible out there.

Jersey Al's picture

ha!

Since '61's picture

Andrew - your efforts are much appreciated. I will look forward to your weekly analysis. Years ago when I had much more time than I do now I also graded players performance on each snap. My scale was simpler than yours, just a +, - or 0. Back then teams played their starting 11 on just about every play both offense and defense. As a close follower of the Packers I could usually figure most players assignment on a particular play. In today's game with rotational players, sub-packages, nickels and dime defenses, plays called at the LOS and numerous other packages I genuinely respect your ability to figure it all out on every play. I'm confident that your sophisticated approach will be more accurate and thorough than any attempts I made at grading players. Your analysis will become a valuable asset to this blog and will be a significant contribution to our discussions of the games. I wish you the best of luck. Thanks, Since '61

Klincker's picture

Nice article Andrew. Looking forward to reading it during the season.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Really like this as well Andrew. 3 points to make:
1 - THANK YOU especially for the O-line/D-line breakdown. i was watching closely as well, but not to the depth you brought. I will state that your assessments of Patrick, Barclay, J Evans, and Murphy mimicked my own, but I did not have a chance to look at Gray and some others. Impressions for the individuals on the D-line were similar too.
2 - I feel Matthews, in particular, disrupted a lot more than your grade may provide (but I admit, I did not watch every play for him specifically). If you note the play where you are highlighting, Clark, Matthews strings out the run, fights through two blocks and helps make the tackle too...Impressive! Is disruption part of your grade?
3 - Would love to see your assessment of special teams down the road. THANKS!

RobinsonDavis's picture

I will also point out that this is a far better assessment to the actual game that was played than many other articles I have read from some of the seasoned writers that cover the Pack currently. Thanks again.

SconnieSports's picture

Robinson,

Clay got downgraded pretty significantly for the missed sack on the touchdown. He didn't make any significant plays to makeup for that. Outside of that play he would have graded our pretty neutral.

Disruption is absolutely part of the grades!

I'll take a look at special teams down the road but probably not this season.

Thanks for reading!

GBPDAN1's picture

Thank you for the hard work. This is informative. I too play the game back several times and watch individual players. But now I wont have to... lol

Savage57's picture

Quite an undertaking. Something I hope you take much pride and satisfaction from and the readers here gain valuable insights.

But I gotta be honest, when I go to bed tonight, I'm going to say a prayer of thanks I'm not you.

Nick Perry's picture

Andrew...Thanks this is great stuff. Obviously this takes a lot of time and I appreciate it. I'm curious about one player in particular and why you gave him such a good grade.

Jason Spriggs was downright awful. Could you explain how he was graded at -0.5?

SconnieSports's picture

When I first watched the game without looking in depth I thought the same thing. Spriggs actually had a handful of really nice plays. His issue was 1) inconsistency and 2) a few big negative plays. When he had a bad snap it looked really bad. Thankfully it wasn't quite as bad as it looked but he still needs to improve his consistency before he's a viable option at tackle.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Andrew,
How do you take "strings" into consideration in your grading? For example, Hundley going up against starters, Callahan going agsint 2nd and 3rd string players, Hill going against 3rd and 4th string? Elliot looked great when he had 5 sacks in his rookie year but hasn't shown the same kind of production against a higher quality player. Is there any way to really measure that in a grading system? I really appreciate all of the effort you put into the article. Keep up the good work.

SconnieSports's picture

Jonathan,

Thanks for reading. I do not take into consideration the talent of the player playing across. If I did something like that I'd have to consistently factor in on every play the player who they are playing against. If you are playing Denver and you're playing against Von Miller you're likely going to grade worse than the other tackle who isn't going against Miller. It just is what it is. At the end of the day you're graded on the play regardless of who you're playing against.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Andrew,

Thank you for responding. How do you take special teams into consideration? I thought that Gunter's block on Davis' return for a TD might have factored into his +1.6 grade.

SconnieSports's picture

At this time special teams is not factored in. Trevor Davis would have graded much better otherwise : )

Spock's picture

Andrew, impressive first article. That was a ton of work. I think we will all be looking forward to this feature this season! I admire your dedication to doing this kind of analysis. Thank you.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I was curious, so I went back to my comment in Who Stood Out. I noted Marwin Evans (+2.1), Lowry (+.9), Kenny Clark (+.55), Fackrell (+1.5), Elliott (0), Max (+.75), Tripp (+.15), Price (0), Kerridge (-.55), RJF (-.15) and M. Clark (+1.1) as having nice games.

I thought Hawkins was solid with a few hiccups (-.2), so that's not too far off. I had Pringle (-.3), Pipkens (+1.3) and Brown (-.95) as OK, so off both ways on those three. I thought Mays (+.75) showed quick feet and J. Williams (+.5) looked faster than I thought he was. I gave Davis a big plus, but it was based on his punt returning.

I failed to notice a bunch, but I try to focus on players who interest me rather than just watching the game, so I am going to not notice some guys. Off on Kerridge, and sort of off on RJF, Price and Elliott. I wrote on a different site that Phillips (-.1) didn't look like he belonged in the NFL, so that is far different from his grade. I'd have to watch the game again to disagree with Andy's grades: I am just noting where I am off from his assessments.

Thanks, this will be fun. I can see where I am all wet. I seem to be shaky on assessing CBs.

PackerfanAuggie15's picture

Thank you Andrew. Hope its a labor of love for you cause I love your labor!
Looking forward to each of the upcoming articles!

donnyanderson44's picture

Thanks for doing this. The game is so fast it's hard to analyze individual performances. Your work in this area will be very insightful and hopefully provoke discussion. Hang in there, it will be a long 16 games.

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