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Grading the Pack - Week 1 - Bears vs. Packers

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Grading the Pack - Week 1 - Bears vs. Packers

Football is back. The Packers are back. Aaron Rodgers is back (we hope). And Grading the Pack is officially now back as well. What a week it has been. From the insane comeback victory over the Bears, to Aaron Rodgers’ injury concerns, to seemingly everyone in the world wanting to ship Clay Matthews to the Raiders and the island of misfit veterans; it has been one hell of a week!

I’m not going to lie to you; I completely forgot how much of a grind this feature is. But I absolutely love it. The work that goes into these articles every week sets up all the work I do throughout the year. For those who aren’t familiar with this feature, I go through every offensive and defensive snap and grade every single player on a scale from -2.0 to +2.0 and everything in the middle. There are quite a few plays that I will watch upwards of 12-15 times to make sure I’ve captured what the team and player are trying to accomplish. Like I said, it’s a grind! For those who are interested in how I grade, you can read my breakdown at the bottom of the article.

For those who are skeptical of grading plays, I get it. I don’t know the play call, the assignments, or everything that’s going on during the play. A player could make an interception but have completely blown their assignment and I may never know it. These grades aren’t perfect and nobody’s will be. What I’m looking for in these grades are obvious gradable plays. When a corner and a receiver are matched up one on one, when a quarterback has a receiver open downfield and either hits him in stride or overthrows him, or when a defensive lineman is obviously going one-on-one with an offensive lineman to try and get to the quarterback. These are obvious, gradable plays, and the more you watch the team the more you get a sense of what they are trying to accomplish.

So without further ado, here are this week’s grades. Enjoy!

Top 3 Offensive Players

Aaron Rodgers +2.85
Geronimo Allison +1.85
Randall Cobb +1.7
David Bakhtiari +1.7

Top 3 Defensive Players

Jaire Alexander +1.6
Mike Daniels +1.3
Tramon Williams +1.3

Bottom 3 Offensive Players

Justin McCray -2.2
Jimmy Graham -0.9
DeShone Kizer -0.75

Bottom 3 Defensive Players

Clay Matthews -4.35
Nick Perry -1.3
Kyler Fackrell -0.65

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers +2.85
DeShone Kizer -0.75

This will go down as one of the most memorable games of Aaron Rodgers’ career and he is unquestionably the MVP of this game. If Rodgers doesn’t come back out from that tunnel I’d put decent money on Green Bay losing by 30+ points. Instead he comes back and helps Green Bay pull off the incredible comeback to put Green Bay at 1-0 in the standings.

That said, this was not one of Aaron Rodgers’ best games by a longshot. I’ve seen a lot of people lambast PFF and ESPN’s QBR for giving Rodgers a low rating but I don’t necessarily disagree. Yes, he’s my highest rated player on the team this week, but a good chunk of that grade was the ridiculous pass to Geronimo Allison that started to turn the game around. Rodgers had a negative grade for me until he started turning things around with about two minutes left in the third quarter. The comeback was magical, but Rodgers struggled to find a rhythm in the first three quarters of this game.

As for Kizer, I probably could have rated him even lower but he had a couple of bigtime completions that actually kick started the offense when he first came in. The fumble was absolutely on him but while I gave him a fairly significant negative on the interception, I didn’t crush him for it. This was an awful play-call by McCarthy and a great play by Khalil Mack. Yes he shouldn’t have thrown it but if you look at Kizer’s view when he throws the ball I’m not sure other quarterbacks wouldn’t have thrown the same pass. You just don’t expect Mack to peel off him man and make that play in that scenario.

Running Back

Ty Montgomery +0.7
Jamaal Williams +0.5

As runners neither Montgomery nor Williams were anything special, although I’d give the slight edge to Ty. Where Montgomery and Williams made their grades was in pass protection. Once the game broke down and Green Bay was playing catchup, running the ball went to the wayside and protecting Rodgers was of the utmost importance. Both Montgomery and Williams were great in this regard.

Wide Receiver

Geronimo Allison +1.85
Randall Cobb +1.70
Davante Adams +1.50
Marquez Valdes-Scantling +0.0

This was a really impressive performance by the wide receivers. It took a little time to get in rhythm but all three showed up with huge plays in this game. Allison not only had the big play to separate for the touchdown but had another play early in the game where he separated deep and Rodgers just didn’t see him. Cobb was getting open consistently and kept making plays on third down, while Adams had the big run after catch that would eventually lead to him scoring on another play in which he was able to show off his run after the catch ability. Overall this was a very promising start for the Packers’ wide receivers.

Tight End

Lance Kendricks +0.25
Marcedes Lewis -0.15
Jimmy Graham -0.9

Don’t get too hung up on the negative score for Jimmy Graham. This was a result of the Bears paying him a lot of attention in the passing game and Graham not being an especially astute blocker in the running game. Graham’s impact was opening more of the field for the receivers. When I did a film review on Graham earlier in the year, I noticed that Graham is a rhythm player. If you remember when Brett Favre needed to settle down and complete a short pass just to get going, it’s not all that dissimilar with Graham. If he gets a nice 5-10 yard pass over the middle at the beginning of the game he starts to build momentum and can take off from there. Give Chicago credit for never allowing him to get in any sort of rhythm within the offense.

I’ve been tough on Lance Kednricks but I really liked him in the H-back role and I am hoping to see more of that going forward.

Offensive Line

David Bakhtiari +1.7
Lane Taylor +1.5
Corey Linsley +0.95
Bryan Bulaga +0.25
Justin McCray -2.20

Justin McCray started off just absolutely awful in this game. He definitely got better as the game went on but this seemed to coincide with Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman slowing down as the game went on. Credit McCray for being able to get past his early errors and settle down in the second half, though.

I know a lot of people were concerned about Bryan Bulaga but he was coming off a torn ACL and was consistently matched up one-on-one with Khalil Mack throughout the course of the game. Overall I thought he held up ok. Green Bay didn’t give him a ton of help which was impressive and while he’d like to have a couple of plays back, I give him credit for not beating himself. When Mack made a play he earned it. I also wouldn’t put the strip-sack of Kizer on Bulaga but rather on Kizer for trying to escape a pocket that he had no reason to escape from.

Bakhtiari and Taylor picked up right where they left off a season ago and Linsley was solid, steady, and consistent. Like McCray, Taylor and Linsley were both buoyed a bit by the Bears defensive tackles slowing down in the second half.

Defensive Line

Mike Daniels +1.3
Kenny Clark +0.85
Dean Lowry +0.4
Mo Wilkerson +0.3
Montravius Adams +0.05

Mike Daniels started the game out on fire but didn’t get quite as many snaps later in the game and slowed down just a bit. Meanwhile Mo Wilkerson was the exact opposite. Wilkerson really struggled at the beginning of the game but continued to get better as the game went along. He had a couple of really nice stops against the Bears’ running backs.

Dean Lowry gets the benefit of not having to play a ton of snaps and then come in fresh against tired offensive linemen. I’m sure he’d love to play more but this is a good spot for Lowry and he showed he can make some plays when he’s fresh.

Edge Rusher

Reggie Gilbert +0.05
Kyler Fackrell -0.65
Nick Perry -1.30
Clay Matthews -4.35

This was about as ugly as it gets. Reggie Gilbert was ok but outside of him the edge rushers really struggled to get any sort of pressure or hold up at the point of attack. Green Bay failed to keep contain on the edges, they missed assignments, and ultimately couldn’t get to the quarterback with any consistency.

Clay Matthews was the most egregious example. Clay played with no passion and honestly at times looked completely out of ideas. There were plays where he didn’t hustle to the ball (his calling card), and worse was the bone-headed penalty that easily could have cost Green Bay the game. It’s one game and Clay can bounce back but last Sunday he hurt his team much more than he helped them, and that was a stark contrast from a season ago.

Kyler Fackrell managed one of the worst three grades on defense in just four plays…

Linebacker

Blake Martinez +0.75
Antonio Morrison -0.45

Give credit to Antonio Morrison for being ready to play with such a short amount of time with the defense. He was up and down but as advertised. In a phone booth he’s a really good player who isn’t afraid to get physical. In space he has some real limitations. He can have value but Green Bay needs to use him wisely.

Blake Martinez started slow, and still struggled to get off of blocks at times, but he was flying around in the second half and played much better as the game progressed. My biggest issue with Martinez is that I want him to take that next step into becoming a playmaker.

Overall it was a great game from Martinez and what doesn’t show up in the stats or the grades is how many times he was able to help the players around him get in position and be successful. As the lead play-caller on the defense he had no issues getting players lined up and ready to play pre-snap.

Cornerback

Jaire Alexander +1.6
Tramon Williams +1.3
Josh Jackson +0.95
Kevin King -0.45

It’s tough for me to hold my excitement in watching these cornerbacks play football. After watching the corners struggle immensely over the past couple seasons, watching these four on tape was a complete joy and a stark contrast from seasons past. Alexander is going to be great. Not good, not solid; GREAT! His ability to mirror receivers is unbelievable. He was my highest graded player on defense in his first game as a pro. His size hurt him in coverage on the big completion to Allen Robinson, but his coverage and technique were fantastic. It’s scary that he’s going to get even better over time.

Meanwhile Tramon Williams looked like he hasn’t aged a day. His technique in off-coverage is something to behold. Jackson would have graded even higher if it weren’t for his missed sack when Pettine schemed him free and Jackson missed the tackle and flew by Trubisky.

King didn’t grade out great but it wasn’t a horrible performance by any stretch. He has some things that he can cleanup but he made some big tackles and had solid coverage throughout the day. I have no doubt that he will learn from some of his mistakes on Sunday.

Safety

Jermaine Whitehead +0.7
Kentrell Brice +0.45
HaHa Clinton-Dix -0.15

Mike McCarthy had very high praise for Kentrell Brice this week saying he was their highest graded defender from week one. Make no mistake about it, Brice was really, really good in this game but he did also have some missed tackles and some completions against him. It wasn’t perfect but he was a revelation at safety in comparison to last season. If he can fly around this season, like he did on Sunday, it’s a huge win for Green Bay.

Whitehead graded out better than Brice but Brice had the tougher overall assignments. Whitehead had a great pass breakup in this game and played solid throughout.

Lastly, HaHa Clinton-Dix was markedly better than a season ago and showed steps towards getting back to his 2016 form. He’s not there yet but he was solid and that’s an improvement. He still plays way too passive for my liking but he also had the huge third down stop and showed flashes of playing more aggressive. It may take some time for Pettine to coach the Capers out of him.

Final Thoughts

Overall it was an ok start from Green Bay considering they basically punted on preseason and had two new coordinators in town. Green Bay found their rhythm offensively and defensively in the second half and were able to pick up a huge win in the process. I have some concerns on how Green Bay played offense in this game and a better performance by Trubisky wins this game for Chicago. Minnesota will be a much tougher game this week and will be a good measuring stick for Green Bay overall.

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 difficult 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.

__________________________

Andy Herman is an avid Packers fan and season ticket holder. He has graduated from National Football Post's and Sports Management Worldwide's NFL Scouting courses and is the owner of the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find him on Twitter @sconniesports.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (66) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I love these Cheesehead writers who keep moaning about those of us who called for cutting Cobb--while ignoring the context.

For the millionth time, here goes:

Most of us--myself included--expected Cobb to have a big year in this offense. But as I've written endlessly, I'm focused on our cap and 2019, not 2018.

Thus, I called for releasing Nelson, Matthews, and Cobb. This would have freed up about $30 million to be moved forward and applied to upcoming extensions--including Rodgers.

While I love the work Gute is doing, I simply don't believe 1 offseason is enough to overhaul the low athleticism roster Ted built. It takes 2 good offseasons.

Hence to get the most out of Rodgers's remaining 6 years, I called for shedding salaries of players with no roles--or lesser roles--going forward.

Okay, got that? It's purely a cap and roster development thing.

Once, just once, I'd like to see a Cheesehead writer provide context before taking shots.

Oppy's picture

I know cap was your angle, Andrew, but there has been a loud out cry from many people for the last two years to axe Randall Cobb for a number of reasons related to his perceived inability to gain separation (a false narrative, btw) and his being injury prone. I'd say the overwhelming majority of people who have been calling for his exit from GB were not citing cap space as the primary reason.

Andy Herman's picture

I'm not sure why you are posting this here... all I said about Cobb is that he played well and was big on third down...

Andy Herman's picture

Ah, it's in Dusty's tweet... I honestly didn't even realize that was in there. Either way this article wasn't about whether or not Cobb should have been cut.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Dusty's tweet.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"Most of us--myself included--expected Cobb to have a big year in this offense. But as I've written endlessly, I'm focused on our cap and 2019, not 2018."

What does 2019 have anything to do with Cobb? He's a UFA in 2019. Anyways, maybe you where wrong about Cobb, maybe he falls off a cliff and your not, so what?

We're all wrong from time to time. I hope I am wrong about Dix and he puts it all together. I really, really hope to be wrong about Clay Matthews and he has an awesome season. Being wrong does not make you a bad person. Admit mistakes, learn, and move on.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

His 2019 status is precisely the point. Barring an unlikely extension, Cobb has no role for this team going forward, and I don't see 2018 as the year we should be spending big dollars. I think we should have saved the $30 million and moved it forward.

And how was I "wrong" about Cobb?

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"And how was I "wrong" about Cobb?"

Really?

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Yes, really.

I said he'd have a big year, and he had a big first game. I said my main reason for wanting him, Jordy, and Clay cut was to move cap savings forward for upcoming extensions.

Nothing has changed.

Really.

WKUPackFan's picture

Why does a CHTV writer owe you context for anything?

And again, you never said that Cobb will have a big year this season. You were always in the "he's overpaid, too slow, too often injured" camp. Just like you were in the "Allison is not athletic enough" camp. That's why you've posted 20+ comments about Allison being "cheater" trying to justify your incorrect opinion, instead celebrating a big play in the comeback.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Me be wrong? That's unpossible!

Fordham Ram's picture

Alpi I can see by the way you write your an intelligent person and care for the team but where's your logic on this? A GM's job is to gather the best 53 man team in any given year without killing the salary cap. He's doing that.

Cobb has all the incentive in his contract year to put up big numbers and he's healthy. Allison too, let the season play out you'll be on his side in due time after he catches a few clutch first downs and makes a few more acrobatic grabs. I don't think this year or even next any of our rookies being better than Geronimo Allison.. As Mr. Hermann commented the guy is "legit".

dobber's picture

By this measure, any player for which a team does not have a clearly-defined, long-term role should ever be allowed to finish a multi-year deal if there's money to be recouped...regardless of the impact they would have in their final year. Is this ultimately what you're saying?

Jonathan Spader's picture

JJ, I feel like ALP has eaten his fair share of crow. This wasn't one of his mistakes. He said Cobb could be good I 2018. He just doesn't think the Packers are SB bound in 2018 and thinks we have a better shit in 2019. I agree with him there. Look at the difference in athleticism and coaching on the defensive side of the ball between 2018 and 2017 in the short window we've seen.

It's not that we can't win the SB in 2018 with Rodgers at QB it is absolutely a possibility. All ALP is saying is that with another Gute draft that includes 2 1st rounders how excited are you for 2019? Cutting Nelson, Cobb, and CM3 would have given us more cap space to sign more FAs and our own players in 2019.

Bottom line what's done is done and we roll with it. We enjoy Cobb in 2018 and hope CM3 recovers from his performance. We hope that McCarthy and Philbin show the 2nd half scheme we saw for Rodgers and not the 1st half. We hope they actually use TEs against MN and we see more Lewis. We hope the defense continues to improve. Most of all we hope Rodgers stay healthy. Lastly we hope for 2019 if 2018 doesn't work out.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Nobody asked him to show up and eat crow though. Nobody called him out in this thread or article. He showed up to tell us all how he could never have possibly been wrong.

And guess what? Nobody cares. Except ALP. Why? Because the Author referenced a tweet about something he claims he never even said and he's worried someone thinks he was wrong.

Guess what he'll do next? reply to this about how I got him all wrong and he's actually always correct in his posts to AndrewLloydPethTV.com

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"A GM's job is to gather the best 53 man team in any given year without killing the salary cap. He's doing that."

I don't think that is a GM's entire job. A GM needs to think both strategically (long-term) and tactically (short-term). If a GM decides that his team has an insufficient amount of talent to compete in the short term, then he needs to cut some players with high cap numbers if they don't fit into his long-term outlook. Depending on the GM's talent evaluation, candidates for deletion under that viewpoint (ALP's) were CM3, Jordy and Cobb. By extension, it probably means not signing one-year rentals like Wilkerson, and arguably, aging, expensive vets like Graham.

It appears to me that Gute perhaps thought GB has enough talent to compete in the post-season (at least given health to multiple important players), so he adopted Fordham's view and acquired the best talent without killing the cap. Note that Gute so far has spent every nickel of the $177.2M cap and has probably dipped slightly into the piggy bank provided by the rolled over cap space.

flackcatcher's picture

As you say TGR, it's how one plans for the future that counts. IAMGUTE move to stock future high draft choices while remaining in the championship hunt with the current free agent signing was impressive, to say the least.

Matt Gonzales's picture

When your QB is 1/5 of your cap and you consistently draft at the bottom of the order, every year is a crapshoot to make the Super Bowl. The system is set up to create parity. Rodgers, by design, has to tilt the field. Going cheap on the cap and further stacking the deck against Green Bay sounds like tanking, and you don't tank or set yourself up for future droughts when you have the best QB in the league on your roster and his window is still open.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Flak: great point. Gute didn't kill the cap, AND he also stocked the future draft capital by picking up an extra first, and a sixth.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Andrew Lloyd Peth says:
June 05, 2018 at 09:31 am
I'd rather not see Cobb in too many roles this season. Focus on the slot.

He's little threat in the backfield, and we have a real threat in Aaron Jones, so don't get cute. Give Aaron the rock, and let Cobb work the slot, creating separation.

And please don't try working Cobb outside against elite corners. He's not built for that action, and frankly, it's painful to watch.

As for returns, NO WAY. Not Cobb, who is fragile enough without gunners targeting his knees, and not Jaire Alexander, who is far too valuable at CB.

We have a quality return man, and his name is Trevor Davis. He's gaining experience in when to catch and when to let it go, and he presents a scary threat on those incredibly rare occasions when one of our special teamers actually blocks.

Cobb is a quality Slot WR. Leave him there.

Andrew Lloyd Peth says:
June 26, 2018 at 11:05 am
This is part of the reason I wanted Cobb cut.

He's fragile--too fragile for that big cap hit. We desperately need the money going forward, and Cobb clearly has no role on this team after 2018. Cutting Jordy helped, but it wasn't enough. We need every dime pushed forward.

Now, I still think Cobb can heal up and have a big year, but I also believe Montgomery could have a big year if moved to the slot. He's less skilled, but more physically imposing (honestly, I'd hate to be the slot corner tasked with covering Monty).

Sharing downs with the superior Aaron Jones is a waste of Monty's abilities, but that's what we're left with after Gute made the bad, 2019 cap-hurting decision to keep Cobb.

Why can't Packer GM's just make tough, wise decisions? Keeping Cobb limits Monty and makes our 2019 team about $10 million worse.

Cap is King, people. Obey the King.

Andrew Lloyd Peth says:
June 27, 2018 at 08:14 am
I see your point, WKU, except for one thing: Cobb is no longer an established star. He is a guy whose athleticism appears to have been sapped by injuries. His burst is no longer constant. Even when "healthy," Cobb's production has become erratic, feasting on weak slot corners one week and getting dominated by better DB's the next.

That is the Randall Cobb of today, and I honestly don't think he's $9 million better than Ty Montgomery. I say save the cap cash and keep building a better team emerging fromTed's ashes.

WKUPackFan's picture

A perfect amalgamation of ALP doublespeak. One reference to "thinking" Cobb "may" have a big year "if" he heals up, wedged into multiple statements about injuries sapping his athleticism, feasting on weak slot corners, production becoming erratic, being fragile, etc.

This mash-up definitively disproves ALP's statement above that his sole agenda in wanting Cobb cut was cap savings. It shows that his true agenda is attempting to include contradictory points in multiple posts so that he can try to deflect any criticism.

And let's don't forget those 20+ posts referring to Allison as a "cheater". Does a true fan refer to one of the team's player as a cheater? Or is that someone who is more interested in justifying his previous erroneous opinion?

GBPDAN1's picture

Horrible grades for our inferior OLBs ! We would be SB bound if we had elite edge rushers.

Can't wait for next years draft that's loaded with edge. Hope New orleans keeps giving up a ton of points this year like they did against Tampa. Our pick we obtained from them could be higher than first thought

Oppy's picture

The throw on the Khalil Mack pick is horrendous. Take Khalil Mack out of the picture entirely- erase him from the frame- and you have a throw that forces the RB (Montgomery) to stop his lateral trajectory cold (He was running towards the right sideline and had to abruptly stop because the pass would have been thrown behind him otherwise) and the trajectory of the pass also forces Montgomery to turn and square off to the LOS, dig his heels into the turf, and would have eventually had to pick the ball out of the air at roughly ankle-to-knee height, because the ball was under thrown.

Khalil Mack's instincts were tremendous. Kizer's throw was horrendous.

Despite my minor grievance, Great break down as always, Andy.

BTW, I hope you keep a file for every player with their weekly grades and notes on their game performance while it's fresh in your mind. Will be invaluable for easy retrospective later this year, or even years from now.

Andy Herman's picture

Oppy,

You are correct, the throw is really bad; I still graded it really bad; I just didn't crush him for it as much as I could have. That's also what I gave the disclaimer for that grade so that if you believe it was worse than I did you can adjust the grade for yourself accordingly! Thanks for reading!

-Andy-

Oppy's picture

The reason I brought it up is because of this statement:

"...if you look at Kizer’s view when he throws the ball I’m not sure other quarterbacks wouldn’t have thrown the same pass."

I would contend that while other quarterbacks would have definitely thrown the ball in this situation, Kizer's throw was a particularly bad one and a better throw probably does not end with Khalil Mack making a play, much less a pick 6. There was a strong screen in place, with room for a throw that led the receiver both towards the sideline and up field.

I appreciate your labor and love what you do here at CHTV. I hope my interjections are not taken as criticisms.

fastmoving's picture

great stuff Andy, thanx you for put all the work in there.
And I did not see any kind of shots at all..............just facts.

Duke Divine's picture

I've been tough on the safeties but they had some really big plays in this game. I love when Brice fills on a run play! If the safeties are asked to do less deep on the back end due to the cornerbacks having "on an island" cover ability the weaknesses are eliminated and they probably play a little more loose knowing the corners can lock down... Def only gave up 16 points! I see them owning the line of scrimmage vs the Vikings and the Vikes having trouble scoring... 20-17 Pack!

Minniman's picture

Good point re CB's garnering the trust of the DC in manning the deep, allowing safeties to play closer.

In that game the safeties played a number of snaps in pseudo-linebacker roles and were required to seal the edge or play sideline to sideline - a different role to the one that they were playing last year.

I'm interested to see if the inclusion of Burkes this week changes how the Safeties are played by Pettine?

as a side note, there's a lot being expected of more rookies this year. They really are being expected to fill integral starting roles

Minniman's picture

PS Thanks Andy Herman for the article. The detail and effort to analyse and grade each player in each play is herculean!

the real russ letlow's picture

As always - awesome awesome awesome article. I enjoy these evals immensely. Thank you

Turophile's picture

I'll second that. After what must have been very tough sledding for the Hermanator in 2017, grading the Pack when Hundley is 'under center', Andy gets to 'enjoy' grading a team when there are plenty of reasons for a second and third look. It's still a grind, but not quite like last year (so far, anyway).

I remember last season Andy pointing out how Cobb is undervalued....and I believe he then showed some plays to illustrate that. This year, game one happens and you can see what Cobb is capable of. Just remember there were several posters who thought Jordy should be kept over Cobb.

I also remember Andy was keen on Whitehead, I guess the Jury's out on that, so far. Allison was another player many had being waived, to allow the youth movement at WR.

Also relevant is another Andy comment, the more you watch the Pack (play-by-play) the more you understand what they are doing. That also means Andy gets better at explaining that knowledge to us, who lack the talent and/or commitment, to put that kind of work in.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

All good points. The jury though is still out on most of these choices you described. It has been one game. Jordy having 23 receiving yards in his first NFL game with a new team, scheme and QB is about as surprising as Graham's 8-yard effort. Cobb was covered when his initial route failed, he made a second move or scramble, and AR was on the same page and threw it into what Andy described as a "tight window" (means he's not particularly open). Who is to say that Jordy moved to the slot wouldn't have had the same chemistry? Now, Cobb did show elusiveness to score at the end, and IDK whether Jordy gets into the end zone.

Actually, the video showing Allison beating his man even though AR didn't see him and thus it didn't show up in the stats was more interesting to me than most of the other film clips, and gives more reason for me to reconsider my opinion. I haven't forgotten that Boykin had over 60 receiving yards in 6 of the 12 games he played and had a 7th game with 54 yards receiving, yet had just 23 more career receiving yards and was out of the NFL thereafter. Allison's 69 yards receiving as a stat doesn't impress nearly as much as the film showing he can get separation when covered man to man.

PatrickGB's picture

Good stuff. Film and grades that confirmed what I saw on the TV. However, it looked like almost two different games one half to the next. The team got better in the second half. Good adjustments and better play. I like that.

Oppy's picture

While there is no question Clay Matthews was a horrendous POS in week 1, the clip illustrating lazy clay matthews compared to motivated Tramon Williams is not a fair assessment.

In that clip, Tramon Williams looks to be tasked with defending the flat and probably a specific assignment to cover the HB. If I were to guess, it's one of those assignments where if he's absolutely sure the HB isn't going to leak out on a route and is staying in max protect, he probably has the option to blitz the QB. As soon as he sees the HB is definitely in for protection, he starts for the LOS and Trubiski takes off, turning away from the HB. This allows Tramon to fully pursue the QB.

Clay Matthews looks like he's just sitting on a zone in the middle, and he has a reciever in his vicinity. You can see Matthews slightly edging towards the play, but he has to honor his commitment to his zone until Trubiski is no longer a threat to throw the ball- Clay can not vacate his position until Turbiski is past the LOS. By that point, Tramon Williams has already initiated the tackle. He still could have hustled more after the fact, but none the less, that's the reason why Tramon looked so much better than Clay on that play.

Clay was still lousy all day regardless.

Klincker's picture

For my own knowledge, I re-watched the game. Saw where he lined up, left or right side of the formation, what the D-Line formation was, whether he was rushing/dropping back/playing the pass, and the scheme of the defense. It was an eye-opener to watch just one guy and evaluate him. Now, I'm no video expert, I wont pretend to be one. But I feel like I got a little smarter, in watching how all those things I pointed out above, play out. I encourage those who have time to do so.

Also, big thanks Andy for the work you do. I invested about 3 hours just to watch Clay, and summarize what he did/didnt do. Cant imagine the time you took, to do all the players.

Oppy's picture

Isolating on a single player is a great experience, and the first time you do it, it's amazing what you learn about the difference between what people perceive from watching "the game", compared to what you *see happen* from watching the player(s).

Minniman's picture

Add to that Oppy watching the All 22 for analysis, which (obviously) gives a better view of the "flow" of the game than the telecast. You get a better perspective on the design of a play (O + D).

I still like the telecast for the curated, real-time entertainment - which Packers fan doesn't like the commentators gush over an A-rod driven comeback?

...... I once heard a quote from sporting team captain somewhere that was kind of curious - "there's only one thing better than winning - and that's coming from behind to win!"

Klincker's picture

Agreed.
I think if I do it a couple more times, the game will slow down for me. :)

Handsback's picture

Andy, a great job looking at more than 24 players. Any measure of a player's effort is subjective. So who is to say your method isn't the best?
Many times players are graded so that it can influence their next game's effort. If you think that's BS, check with ex-players.

Bearmeat's picture

Great stuff! Thanks so much!

RCPackerFan's picture

Great article!

I thought Cobb had his best game in a while. At the least it was his most productive game in a while.

I think a huge reason why though is because of Graham. Graham changes the way defenses play them.
But also Cobb is one of Rodgers safety nets. He knows where Cobb will be. That connection is invaluable!

Until teams play them differently I think Cobb is going to continue to put up big numbers.

IF Allison keeps being productive like this game. Defenses are going to really struggle with who to cover. They won't be able to double everyone.

dobber's picture

The interesting thing--and I'm sure I'm not the first one to notice--is that up 'til Cobb caught that long TD, he was 8 catches for 67 yards...8.4 ypc. He was being exactly who he normally is... his use was primarily in the short game and he happened to get help from #81 drawing the safety behind so he could break catch number 9 big. Even if that catch #9 was defended better and he was tackled almost immediately, that's roughly 9 for 80 and about 8.9 ypc.

I think most defenses will be perfectly happy to keep Cobb down around 8-9 ypc as long as nobody else is going off on them. I don't suspect we'll see an immediate change in how teams defend the Packers WR based on this. But if Cobb has a big year, and I also think he will, it will be mostly due to health, volume, and target %, and less due to playing downfield.

cuervo's picture

"I thought Cobb had his best game in a while. At the least it was his most productive game in a while."

No doubt, His best game since signing his contract...which is why many were fine with him being cut...not that he isn't a valuable player, but his production has never matched his contract (other than 1 year). I saw somewhere that he has had 1 play over 30 yards each the last 3 years. Was nice to see him get that done in Game 1 this year...let's hope that continues.

Fordham Ram's picture

Andy, while your at it I wonder if you can include grading a great catch and its level of athleticism and give it a number using your system as part of your piece. Probably not, but I'm curious what grade would you give Geronimo's one arm grab in the end zone. For me, it was a 10. Nice article, keep up the good work. Thanks.

Fordham Ram's picture

Also, I don't know if you were at the practice where Rodgers threw that no look pass to Geronimo in the corner of the endzone. Did you see that play and was it similar to the play we saw on Sunday? Rodgers was looking the other way before he threw it. It couldn't have come at a better time.

Oppy's picture

The no-look pass play during training camp wasn't hyperbole- it wasn't that Rodgers looked off the safety and at the last second whipped his head around to find his receiver on the other side of the field before throwing the ball- he quite literally was looking left for about two seconds before throwing a pass to Geronimo Allison in the deep right corner of the end zone without ever looking his direction. A matter of Rodgers knowing where he was on the field and exactly what he needed to do to put the ball at a specific point in space in the end zone. Pretty awesome.

Tundraboy's picture

Great is right. Always look forward to this article to put last week's game to rest and in perspective. Now on to the Vikings.

PackfanNY's picture

Thanks, Andy. You obviously spent a lot of time with this breakdown. The one big disagreement I have is with your Kiser grade. You even mention yourself that his rating could be lower. I sure AGREE with that part. Here's why. I was talking to a fan at Lambeau seated next to me and we agreed on two words. GAME MANAGEMENT. The score at halftime should have been 10-0. Kiser's careless fumble cost us a FG attempt (10-3?) On top of that he gift wraps the interception to Mack resulting in another 7 points. I don't care who the QB is he should be able to manage a game to give his team a chance. Two brutal mistakes nearly cost us even a chance to win. So I think his score should be MUCH lower.

billybobton's picture

In regard to writers on this site, who was the guy who was raving about Randal at the end of last year?

who was the guy whining about low draft choices being the issue NOT complete misses on draft choices? Who ignored the patriots drafting lower than green bay in the compilation of excuse?

hmmm?
When a writer says he can't grade because he/she is not able to tell the assignment of the DB on a pick on a blown coverage we should all believe him/her.

Randal was a text book example, he sucked. he was rarely where he was supposed to be and nearly single handedly lost three games last year in the finals moments ... yet he had his fans

Randall would now grade as my highest rated cornerback on the team. He has done an incredible job of bouncing back and is playing some of the best football of his career over the past few weeks.

Oppy's picture

Uh... Randall was rough the first 3 or so games of the 2017 season.
Then he turned it around and played pretty good ball for the Packers. Maybe not "great", but solid play.

I don't know what you're basing your summation that "he sucked" on. I'm guessing you got worked up over his early poor play, and never actually paid attention to the rest of his season after that.

billybobton's picture

Reading about Cobb, it is ALMOST as if Cobb had gotten open on his route. you know making great cuts, speed and quickness....you the things that good WRs do.

But he did not. he was NOT open at all. If not for Mack dropping into coverage and ALLOWING RODGERS an additional 3+ seconds to make the throw to a completely covered Cobb there is no play.

Yet here is the homer club now raving about Cobb who as pointed out was 8 ypc without a blown set of defensive assignments and the GOAT quarterback throwing him open.

People see what they want.

dobber's picture

First off: I'm not going to say Mack was completely contained, but he saw Monty peel off from protection and moved to play the screen. You could call that him backing off and that he would've ridden Bulaga back into the QB. You could say Bulaga had him stood up. Or you could say that it was #12 rolling away and knowing that could buy him a couple seconds.

I don't think that one play was an indictment for or against Cobb except to say that he knows how to react when #12 is on the move. He made the adjustment and it DID open up the play on the DB who would've had him if he maintained his route to the far sideline. It gave Cobb a step or maybe two toward the middle of the field and #12 threw to the spot. Cobb went and got it. The DB made a diving play on the ball and missed it. Allison drew the safety and it opened up the far side for Cobb to run.

Any of this is people, perhaps, seeing what they want to see.
Me? I wanted to see a TD...

RobinsonDavis's picture

Catching up on my CHTV reading for the week. Thank you, Dobber!! I see it the same way regarding Mack & Cobb. If Cobb was blanketed, he would have been tackled shortly after the catch. Instead, Cobb broke open and Aaron delivered the ball precisely at the right time, on the correct shoulder to move Cobb into the open space. This was a play where BOTH Rodger's AND Cobb and countless others (including Allison and the O-liine) made the play happen. And, it further demonstrates the chemistry between Cobb and Rodger's.

Oppy's picture

I suggest you re-watch games from the last few seasons and pay attention to nothing but Randall Cobb on every down. He's open more often than not, regardless if the ball gets thrown his way.

4thand1's picture

What a site, ty you guys for everything, you learn something new everyday. The one I did know, CM's sucked.

Samson's picture

Do you even watch the games?
CM3 has been detrimental to this team (aside from just a few games) for awhile now.
Pay attention.

4thand1's picture

Been watching for 50 years, I know about CM's decline. All I know is it would suck to watch a game with you.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Writing this series of articles has to be a grind. It is probably the article I most want to read each week, though there are others in the running. Well done.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Well Stated TGR!...and Yes, THANK YOU, ANDY!! I look forward to the articles and comments from both of you and sincerely appreciate the dedicated hard work and perspective you bring to this site. THANK YOU, again!!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Another thought: As far as I can tell, CHTV through Andy's articles is the only site that grades every packer player after each game for free. That makes CHTV unique.

Oppy's picture

Definitely an asset.

The TKstinator's picture

Andrew,
Thank you for all the time and effort that went into this. I love it!

Pet project: is there some way to track what (I hope) will be a drastic reduction in assignment/communication errors this year defensively under Pettine as compared to previously under Dom??

Andy Herman's picture

My guess is you won't have to track it... you won't see remotely as many communication errors and it will be quite noticeable on its own : )

The TKstinator's picture

Gotta say that is what I’m hoping for/expecting! I think GB has some horses; I’d like to see them running wild and free.
(Gosh, that sounds much more “hippy dippy” than intended.)

RobinsonDavis's picture

Lost in the whole Cobb and CM3 comments, was Andy's discussion about Brice and the clip demonstrating an excellent fill and open field tackle. Brice is roughly 15 yards back from the play at the beginning and stops an obvious huge gainer for the Bears, if he would not have filled or missed the tackle.

More troubling when reviewing the clip is how awful ALL our LBs were at getting off their blocks. Sheesh!!

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