Grading the Pack - Week 11 - Packers vs. Seahawks

Coming off of a bye in week seven, Green Bay knew they had their work cut out for them. Going to the west coast to face the Rams, all the way east coast to face the Patriots, back home for one week against Miami, and then all the way back west coast on a short week against Seattle was an absolutely brutal stretch of games.

The Packers knew they’d need to take care of Miami at home in week 10, but they also knew they’d need to steal at least one win from the three tough road games. The Packers had their chance in every game—up by one late in LA, tied with the ball in Patriots territory to start the 4th quarter in New England, and up by four with eight minutes left in the 4th in Seattle.

Green Bay couldn’t close any of those games and went 0-3, putting their playoffs hopes in serious jeopardy. The Seattle game played out like so many of their games this season—close, frustrating, and with major signs of hope, but with way too many mistakes to overcome.

The grades this week actually weren’t too bad. The team, for the most part, played well enough to win. But there was too much interior pressure, Aaron Jones didn’t get going (or the opportunity to get going) in the second half, and an awful fourth down decision after an equally awful third down throw doomed the Packers to a losing performance.

Top 3 Offensive Players

Aaron Rodgers +2.45
Aaron Jones +1.50
Davante Adams +1.25

Top 3 Defensive Players

Kyler Fackrell +1.05
Kenny Clark +0.90
Dean Lowry +0.20

Bottom 3 Offensive Players

Byron Bell -2.00
Marquez Valdes-Scantling -1.25
Equanimeous St. Brown -0.95

Bottom 3 Defensive Players

Josh Jackson -0.60
Raven Greene -0.35
Reggie Gilbert -0.30

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers +2.45

Aaron Rodgers was a major point of discussion this week and I’ve been pretty tough on him over the course of the past two weeks (+0.3 combined grade). But to me, this game wasn’t on Aaron Rodgers. He played by far well enough to win this game and put points on the board, but a few key plays came back to haunt him.

On the second drive of the game he underthrew Davante Adams on a play that probably should have gone for a touchdown. Instead the drive stalled out after the big play by Adams, and Crosby would go on to miss the field goal. The last throw of the game was also one that will haunt Rodgers and the offense. On a play where MVS was wide open for the first down, Rodgers threw it at his feet on one of the worst throws you will ever see from Rodgers.

There was also the talk of missing his check-downs and taking too many sacks. Both are legit concerns but when I watched a lot of these plays from the end zone angle I understood why Rodgers made the decisions he did. The interior pressure, especially coming from Byron Bell, was a lot to deal with and to try and overcome. Rodgers often had to drop his eyes to try and focus on the rush that was coming at him from a variety of different angles.

His receivers also didn’t help him a ton. Davante had another great game but MVS and EQ really struggled to get open and his tight ends didn’t help much either save for the big play to Tonyan. Rodgers’ play should be brought into question and he has a lot of areas that he could improve on, but I thought this was a pretty solid overall performance from QB1.

Running Back

Aaron Jones +1.50
Jamaal Williams +0.05

The offense goes as Aaron Jones goes. When he’s on the field and either running well or drawing attention from the defense, the offense clicks. When he’s off the field or not getting the football the offense stalls. Aaron Jones needs consistent touches and frankly I don’t care how many players are stacked in the box—feed Aaron Jones.

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams +1.25
Equanimeous St. Brown -0.95
Marquez Valdes-Scantling -1.25

This was the biggest example all season of Rodgers and the Packers missing their veteran receivers. Both MVS & EQ struggled to release from coverage or find gaps in zone coverage with any level of consistency. Both struggled as run blockers as well.

Davante Adams had another really positive performance, especially considering how much attention he received, but he can’t do it all on his own. Both MVS and EQ have shown some serious flashes of ability this year, but until they can prove they are capable of getting open on a consistent basis the offense will struggle to find a consistent rhythm.

Tight End

Robert Tonyan +0.55
Lance Kendricks +0.20
Marcedes Lewis +0.05
Jimmy Graham -0.20

One of the more frustrating aspects of the offense over the course of the past two seasons has been the lack of a plan for the tight ends. The tight ends are consistently an afterthought and no real plan exists to find mismatches. Most offenses across the league are predicated on finding mismatches, especially with tight ends or running backs matched up against smaller or slower linebackers or safeties. The Packers haven’t followed suit.

So many of the routes by the tight ends are flats or check-downs and until the Packers find a consistent plan of attack and work to use their tight ends to the best of their abilities, the grades will continue to look ugly.

Offensive Line

David Bakhtiari +0.70
Corey Linsley +0.15
Bryan Bulaga -0.15
Lane Taylor -0.15
Byron Bell -2.00

David Bakhtiari mostly snapped out of his two game funk, but he still didn’t have his usual +1.0 or better performance. The rest of the offensive line was below average, and as mentioned Byron Bell struggled once again. Right guard has been an absolute nightmare for the Packers and is by far the biggest issue on offense. The play of Bell is not only hurting Aaron Rodgers, but is hurting Aaron Jones as well.

If Green Bay could get better play at the guard position it would help both Aaron’s out and potentially open up the offense. It should be a position that is addressed both in free agency, and early in the draft in the offseason.

Defensive Line

Kenny Clark +0.90
Dean Lowry +0.20
Mike Daniels +0.05
Montravius Adams -0.10
Tyler Lancaster -0.20

Kenny Clark had another solid performance and after a slow start Dean Lowry played much better in the second half.

While he scored -0.10, Montravius Adams is a player that has caught my eye over the course of the past few games. Adams flashed in preseason and in training camp, but up until a couple weeks ago always had struggled in regular season action. Over the past three weeks he’s looked much more confident and has held up better at the point of attack. He’s an even 0.00 over those three weeks but he notched his first sack and overall I have liked what I’ve seen. He and Tyler Lancaster will need to step up big with the loss of Mike Daniels for the next few weeks.

Edge

Kyler Fackrell +1.05
Clay Matthews -0.25
Reggie Gilbert -0.30

While this wasn’t Fackrell’s first three-sack game of the season, it was his most impressive overall performance. It was so impressive that by the end of the game I was looking to make sure Fackrell was on the field because Green Bay wasn’t the same without him. Kyler not only had the three sacks, but was active in run defense, spied Wilson from time to time and even held up well in coverage. It was an impressive performance from beginning to end.

Meanwhile Clay Matthews started the game with the huge forced fumble, and then never really made an impact through the rest of the game. He did have one tackle for loss later in the game but struggled to get any pressure as a pass rusher.

Linebacker

Antonio Morrison -0.15
Blake Martinez -0.25

Neither Morrison or Martinez had a horrible day by any stretch of the imagination, but as you can imagine, when the opposing team runs 35 times for 173 yards, your linebackers probably played a part in that. I’ve liked the aggressiveness that Morrison has played with lately and he had a hit this game where he absolutely obliterated the ball carrier. He and Martinez pair nicely on early downs.

Cornerback

Jaire Alexander +0.05
Tony Brown +0.05
Bashaud Breeland -0.05
Josh Jackson -0.60

Josh Jackson is beginning to get a target on his back, especially during big moments in the game. There were multiple times in which Jackson was targeted on third down and Seattle was able to either convert the first down, or in one instance score a touchdown.

Jackson is coming off a season at Iowa in which he played predominantly off coverage in a zone scheme. Moving to an NFL defensive system where he’s asked to play man-to-man, sometimes from the slot, is a completely different ballgame. The transition hasn’t been easy and Jackson has struggled. He’s by no means a bust, but he needs time to put everything together and Green Bay may need to look to different options so that he can get a full NFL offseason under his belt.

Safety

Tramon Williams +0.05
Ibraheim Campbell +0.05
Josh Jones -0.10
Raven Greene -0.35

Had it not been for a rough pass interference penalty by Raven Greene it would have been a pretty solid day overall by the safeties. Tramon had a couple plays that he wishes he could have back, but overall the safety position has improved since Williams, Greene, and Jones have been in the game. The combined score of -0.35 isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s a position that was once losing games for the Packers, and that hasn’t been the case with Williams/Greene/Jones patrolling the back end of the defense.

2018 Grades: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/grading-the-pack-2018-regular-season-totals-547

Friday Film Room: 

Listen to the Friday Film Room 9:45am every Friday at http://www.thefan1075.com/

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 is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and owns & operates the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Andy has taken multiple courses in NFL scouting and appears weekly on 107.5 The Fan in Green Bay to breakdown film. This past season he was an analyst on Green Bay Nation on WFRV TV in Green Bay. Andy grew up in Green Bay and is a lifelong season ticket holder; follow him on Twitter at @sconniesports.

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Comments (34)

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Guam's picture

November 23, 2018 at 08:27 am

That fact that Bell continues to start speaks volumes about our depth (McCray and Patrick). Not only do we need a veteran starter in free agency, but we need a couple of mid-round draft choices to replace the current back-ups. Let's hope Taylor and Linsley don't get hurt or QB1 might not survive the season.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 23, 2018 at 03:47 pm

I doubt that McCray has been healthy enough to play at all this year. To my eyes it looks like he started against the Bears because Bell was not up to speed with the play book. For various reasons, the guards in camp were not good enough, or left as in the case of their draft choice, for personal reasons. Every team has their own personal problems of one sort or another. Mostly it is the offense tackles, which are the hardest position to fill on a pro football team. Packers know what Bell is when they picked him up. Outside that, all one can do is hope the O line suffers no more injuries for the rest of the season.

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Since '61's picture

November 23, 2018 at 08:40 am

Andy - great job with the analysis of the Seattle game.
I've been posting for a weeks now that our Guards are killing us and your videos this week prove the point. I have also mentioned that MVS and EQ show promise but have not been getting open/seperation.

Rodgers has consistently been accused of holding the ball too long and/or missing receivers but we can see that is not always a fair or accurate observation. As I have said before after Rodgers, Adams, Bak, Linsley and Jones our offense needs better players. I realize that Cobb isn't the player he once was but Rodgers misses him, especially on 3rd downs.

On defense we're getting there but it is the same issue. We need better players at OLB, another ILB, and safety. When our CBs are healthy we're good, but we have too many injuries in the secondary right now. With Daniels hurt our DL becomes a question mark but we still have Clark and Lowry at least.

The Seattle game is one of many reasons why I hate TNF. The Packers were exposed to more injuries and were not rested enough to finish the 4th quarter. If that game had been played on a usual football Sunday the results may have been different.
Chuck TNF! Thanks, Since '61

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The TKstinator's picture

November 23, 2018 at 09:49 am

Do you think GB could go forward with 50 and 42 starting at ILB? Or do you want more depth?

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Since '61's picture

November 23, 2018 at 09:54 am

More depth, always. Thanks, Since ‘61

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dobber's picture

November 24, 2018 at 06:49 am

42 has been mostly pushed off the field by J. Jones and Morrison since the Pats and Rams ate him up.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 24, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Also, “starting” is difficult to measure.
Starting in the base 3-4?
More like the nickel D is “starting”, and I don’t even know who that includes. Or maybe it’s just a whole lotta packages and variations.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 23, 2018 at 09:51 am

I wouldn't be opposed to drafting a safety as TWill insurance, but I think there is also promise in the Raven Greene and Josh Jones pairing. I also think there's promise in Martinez and Burks. We need time to see who Burks is - he has the measurables.

Other than RG, I disagree with you regarding offensive personnel. MVS, EQ, and yes, even Moore have a lot of talent. What they need is reps. They're going to make mistakes.... No, What we need is a new system that caters to younger players. It needs more misdirection, less checks at the line, and more options at all levels of the secondary in the passing game. MM has to go. His offense is stale and ARod isn't buying it anymore.

I also hate TNF. If that game was on Sunday, I think we would have won it. The schedule the past month has not been fair to us.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 23, 2018 at 10:42 am

" The schedule the past month has not been fair to us."

Every team has good and bad scheduling and have to deal with it. The Packers have not and reasons why are obvious other than blaming the schedules ' fairness.'

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Bearmeat's picture

November 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

West coast, East coast, West coast, biggest divisional road game of the year. In a 5 game stretch. 4/5 vs the best teams in the league.

That's brutal.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 23, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Play 4/5 best teams based on last season's records,so not true really more so based on those teams getting better and Packers not so much. Traveling is an every team issue. A few years ago the Packers traveled the least miles or close to it...did they deduct a win because they traveled less or where to. Oakland and SD have brutal travel years every season.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

November 23, 2018 at 02:04 pm

If the team was really good, they should be able to overcome this part of the schedule. So far this season, the team can’t even win a road game. My feeling is that, unfortunately, the Packers are exactly what their record says. I’m really looking forward to 2019. Go Pack, Go!

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PeteK's picture

November 23, 2018 at 11:19 am

One week the complaint is not innovative than it's not simple enough. However, I agree TNF has to go.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 23, 2018 at 09:08 am

It looks like when the Seattle defender spins back inside #74 ? Bell moved in the throwing lane where Rodgers was throwing and maybe that's where he might have held it thinking it got stuck in his hand.

Anyways, it doesn't matter now. We lost.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 23, 2018 at 09:18 am

Wonder if Fackerall is better because Matthews may have taught him some things or was it all Fackerall learning by himself?

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 23, 2018 at 10:47 am

Getting stonewalled in one on one could be a Matthews teach...no one does it better than him as often and magical disappearances is all from the Perry handbook.
Perhaps Fackrell just stopped listening to both.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 23, 2018 at 12:29 pm

When I look at Matthews, maybe it's just my mind playing tricks on me but it just looks like he's smaller than he used to be in his early days. Like his arms/biceps shrunk. I remember the opening day in Phili in his 2nd or 3rd season and he just dominated that game and that was with power and speed. His arms were huge when he flexed them. He just seems to have lost both power and that amazing speed he had. I know he's older now but damn, it's almost embarrasing how far he's dropped off from that one game so many years ago. Reminds me of Mandarich in his last year playing for Indi. He just looked like a normal guy in the end. Nothing like his Sports Illustrated "Incredible Bulk" cover. Makes you wonder.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 23, 2018 at 12:37 pm

The does he or doesn't he has been a topic for debate. I surmise he has in the past and the only thing that makes me doubt my own belief is his retaining the Fabio look...isn't hair loss a side effect? So many young guys in the NFL are touting head hair of 50 year olds.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 23, 2018 at 01:28 pm

I am not an experrt on that subject but I do believe for some it is a side effect. Mandarich for sure. Hulk Hogan etc but there's also some wrestlers you can tell are doing it but also have thick heads of hair yet. Matthews' Dad has a thick full head of hair yet so genetically it might help him keep most. It does seem he's losing a little as he gets older but nothing noticeable. To me his hair is his trademark. He probably makes just as much if not more off the field because of his hair than his play on the field so I could see him stopping "that" if he could sense it was a problem. I would also tend to agree with you that he probably has done some in his past especially the first few years. The last five years it appears based on his average to below average play he could have been going "cold turkey". We'll never know I am sure but this debate will go on forever just like who shot JFK.

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Lare's picture

November 23, 2018 at 02:21 pm

I'm hoping Matthews takes his hair elsewhere to play next season. His production is next to non-existent anymore, the Packers need much, much more from that position.

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Guam's picture

November 23, 2018 at 05:15 pm

He is clearly done as an OLB. I wonder if he could still play ILB at a much reduced pay rate. We could use some depth there if the pay was right.

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dobber's picture

November 24, 2018 at 06:51 am

Someone will pay him to play on the outside...more than the Packers would/should pay him if they wanted him to play inside. I find myself thinking that at this stage, he's still athletic enough, he could play a couple years on the strong side in a 4-3.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

November 23, 2018 at 09:22 am

Thanks for the breakdown. I really like your grading system, it's so much better than reading articles based on PFF and their ha ha is the best safety logic.

Guard play has been horrible, at best. Bell has been terrible since day one, no idea why so many people have taken so long to see that. Taylor is what he is, if he's your 5th best lineman your probably OK, if he's not your in trouble. When Bulaga is out he's out 3rd best and that's not acceptable at all.

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PeteK's picture

November 23, 2018 at 11:22 am

I thought Taylor played better last season. I guess with new receivers not getting open, Rogers needs more time.

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Lare's picture

November 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm

I hope Gutekunst has better luck fixing the offensive and defensive lines in the future than he did this season.

I know speedy athletes get all the media attention, but they don't do much to help the team win if you're getting beat on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 23, 2018 at 04:04 pm

In some respects Rodgers is spoiled concerning line play. Most NFL QB have between 5-7 seconds from snap to release on passing plays. Anything beyond that is in coverage and second looks. The Packers O line gave Rodgers between 6-9 seconds and that does not include coverage and second looks. That is not happening this year, this line is more closer to the average than those lines of 2016-2017. Yes, having inexperience WR is effecting his release times, but he is so use to the second look, he has not adjusted to the play makers around him. That has become a major problem.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 23, 2018 at 04:07 pm

Who is “Rogers”?

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Gort's picture

November 23, 2018 at 10:00 pm

TKstinator,
Don't understand why your comment got a "thumbs down".
Maybe PeteK was referring to Nick Rogers?

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dobber's picture

November 24, 2018 at 06:53 am

Some artists aren't appreciated in their own time.

A plethora are only appreciated posthumously.

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Gort's picture

November 24, 2018 at 07:05 am

Well, looks like I didn't do enough research.
I should give a "thumbs down" to me for using the name of someone who died too young as part of a joke.
Appologies to Nick's family.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 24, 2018 at 11:25 pm

@dobber: Yeah, either that or after they pass away.

Just doing what I can to prevent the further slide to emojis, text abbreviations, and grunts and clicks.
I’m sure “your” aware that “their” are more “then” enough little transgressions around these “hear” parts. I hate “two” fight a “loosing” battle.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 23, 2018 at 03:28 pm

The Seattle game was a perfect example of the problems that the Packers have had all year, mostly on the offensive side of the ball. Despite Andy's conclusion (nicely done Andy) the offensive line is what this team thought it would be, Outside of Bell, who became a last minute starter, this unit has held up pretty well. The main problem is QB1 is not getting the ball out on time and in rhythm. And yes, not using your checkdowns is a cardinal sin, especially for a starting quarterback. Personal packages and getting them on time is becoming a bigger problem because of the number of rookies Green Bay played Thursday. Personal management is on McCarthy, game management is on Rodgers, those two have no excuses. Notice that the defense had none, I repeat none of those problems, despite being the unit that took most of hits on the injury front. And yet, the Packers still had a good chance to steal one from the Seahawks all the way up to the end. For players and fans, this is turning out to be one frustrating season.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 23, 2018 at 04:39 pm

Very informative and well done. Thumbs up.

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Turophile's picture

November 24, 2018 at 03:19 am

A must-read piece every Friday. I was very encouraged (after the down news of Daniels likely to be out for the rest of the season) by what you had to say on Montravius Adams.

I thought he really looked like a player at the 2016 Senior Bowl and Combine, then...........nothing. I get he was injured, but that is is well in the past, so I guess it's just that he took time to adjust to NFL level play. If he could ever learn to toss guys like Clark does, we could have a tenpin knockdown competition with opposing O linemen.

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