Grading the Pack - Week 12 (Offense & Defense)

Every quarter, every game, and even every season has its own individual identity and its own individual character. You may think you know the outcome of a game or a season before it starts but there are so many moving parts that it makes football impossible to predict. That’s what makes football so incredibly amazing to watch and be a part of as a fan. I’m sure there were very few people who expected Brett Hundley to go toe to toe with Ben Roethlisberger for four quarters in a fairly epic shootout on Sunday Night Football, but that’s exactly what we were treated to.

While each quarter/game/season can have its own identity, one thing that has been difficult for me to understand is why for so many years it feels like the entire team can’t play at the same level and be on the same page. In the Baltimore game the defense graded out ok and probably played well enough to win. In Pittsburgh the offense graded out very well and absolutely played well enough to win. But of course the opposite was true in both of those games as well. Green Bay’s offense couldn’t do anything against Baltimore while Green Bay’s defense was but a bump in the road for Pittsburgh’s high powered offense.

It has felt few and far between when the offense and defense have both put up great games and played at the same level. There was a 35-14 win against a poor Bears team earlier this year, but outside of that one of the units has struggled in pretty much every game. Obviously the defense was without some very key players such as Clay Matthews and Kenny Clark, but that’s life in the NFL. Pittsburgh was without its top right tackle and number two receiver. In this league, you have to find a way to get it done and Green Bay’s defense didn’t on Sunday. The result was another loss on a night when the offense did more than enough to win the game.

Top 3 Performers – Offense

Brett Hundley +2.70
Davante Adams +2.10
Jamaal Williams +1.05

Top 3 Performers – Defense

Damarious Randall +0.65
Mike Daniels +0.65
Blake Martinez +0.60

Bottom 3 Performers – Offense

Jason Spriggs -1.30
Lance Kendricks -0.80
Richard Rodgers -0.80

Bottom 3 Performers – Defense

Josh Hawkins -1.70
Nick Perry -1.55
Quinton Dial -1.05

Quarterback

Brett Hundley +2.70

What an incredible bounce back performance by Brett Hundley and a true stepping stone for the young signal caller. Hundley made mistakes in this game and can still get flustered in the pocket; but there were massive signs of growth from a week ago. Hundley stepped up in the pocket more often and especially kept his eyes down field more. Let’s not pretend that the offense didn’t change and water down for Hundley, but he executed the game plan and did what he was asked to do more often than not. Kudos to Mike McCarthy and the offensive coaching staff for the game plan on Sunday. This was the most I’ve seen them scheme open receivers in a long time. As Mike McCarthy would say, now it’s time for Brett Hundley to stack success.

Running Back

Jamaal Williams +1.05
Aaron Ripkowski +0.2

There is very little that is sexy about Jamaal Williams’ running style but it certainly has shown to be effective this season and especially on Sunday. Like Hundley, Williams executed the game plan against Pittsburgh and showed that he has the ability to take plays to the house from distance. It was also nice to see Aaron Ripkowski have one of his better games as well. The fall off for him had been steep this season and it would be nice to see him getting back to playing at last seasons’ level.

More on Williams from Zach: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/rb-jamaal-williams-doing-it-all-for-packer...

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams +2.10
Jordy Nelson +0.6
Randall Cobb +0.1
Trevor Davis +0.05
Geronimo Allison -0.35

What a difference a couple years has made for Davante Adams. Just two seasons ago fans were clamoring for his dismissal and thought that he would never amount to anything. Adams has not only catapulted himself into the best receiver on the team, but is now entrenched as one of the top five players on the roster. Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and Davante Adams are the new core of the Green Bay Packers. There is no longer a debate on whether or not to pay Adams, the new debate becomes how much to pay him.

Tight End

Lance Kendricks -0.8
Richard Rodgers -0.8

Tight end is in one hell of a fight with safety over most disappointing position this season. It could come down to the wire.

Offensive Line

Corey Linsley +0.95
Lane Taylor +0.9
Jahri Evans +0.1
Ulrick John +0.05
David Bakhtiari -0.7
Jason Spriggs -1.3

It’s really tough to make an argument that the lowest rated player on offense made a big jump this week but Spriggs truly did. He was absolutely abysmal a week ago and while he wasn’t exactly an All-Pro on Sunday night, he showed signs of improvement. Spriggs actually had some plays in the run game where he was out blocking his peers. It’s still not great, but at least there were some positive signs. Oddly enough this was a less than stellar performance from David Bakhtiari. He struggled with power on the edge and wasn’t able to generate much movement in the run game.

Defensive Line

Mike Daniels +0.65
Dean Lowry -0.5
Montravious Adams -0.6
Quinton Dial -1.05

So Mike Daniels +0.65 may not look like much and probably doesn’t seem like a super strong performance on paper. But consider it this way… Nobody else on the interior or edge graded out better than -0.5. The rest of that group combined graded out as a combined -6.05. Not to mention that of those eight edge and interior players, Daniels saw the most double teams. Ahmad Brooks had a couple nice plays and Fackrell and Lowry weren’t brutal but this was an awful performance from a pass rushing standpoint. Nick Perry did next to nothing and Biegel looked out-muscled the entire game. Quinton Dial was a warm body and Montravious Adams has a LONG way to go before being NFL ready from a technical standpoint.

Edge

Kyler Fackrell -0.5
Ahmad Brooks -0.85
Vince Biegel -1.0
Nick Perry -1.65

The first thing to note here is that the edge rushers weren’t even facing Pittsburgh’s tackles at their absolute best. Steelers’ offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert was suspended going into this game so Green Bay, on paper, had a favorable matchup here. The way the game played out would say otherwise. There is no sugar coating it, this was an abysmal performance by the Packers’ pass rush, highlighted by the poor performance of the edge rushers.

More on the pass rush in this weeks’ Railbird Central: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/railbird-central-podcast-need-more-pass-rush-332

Linebacker

Blake Martinez +0.6
Jake Ryan -0.8

Martinez was one of only three players who graded positively for Green Bay on Sunday and he did so by staying active and hustling on every play. He’s still going to struggle (like Ryan) when blocked by linemen on the second level but Martinez’s instincts are improving and he’s getting to ball carriers quicker. He was finally paid off for his efforts with the tipped INT thanks to Ahmad Brooks’ efforts.

More on Martinez from Michelle: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/green-and-bold-blake-martinez-is-for-real-210

Cornerback

Damarious Randall +0.65
Davon House -0.6
Kevin King -0.85
Josh Hawkins -1.70

It’s still very early in the career of Josh Hawkins but the early returns are not promising. Hawkins really struggles to stay even close to his man when matched up one on one and doesn’t have the instincts or technique to stay with above average NFL receivers. You can see some of the potential there but he’s at least a season away from being able to do what Green Bay is asking from him. Unfortunately Kevin King can’t stay healthy enough to keep Hawkins off the field. Meanwhile Damarious Randall continues to have quite the turnaround and certainly seems to have a future on Green Bay’s defense as their nickel cornerback.

Safety

Marwin Evans -0.1
Morgan Burnett -0.2
Jermaine Whitehead -0.2
Josh Jones -0.5
HaHa Clinton-Dix -0.8

Morgan Burnett had a mostly successful return to action even with a -0.2 grade, but HaHa Clinton-Dix continues to have a season to forget. After a preseason in which almost all the safeties showed so much promise, this has really been a disappointing year. I do believe that part of the problem is the lack of top end corners and a non-existent pass-rush but there are still plays that need to be made on the field. If Green Bay can upgrade at corner and get to the quarterback faster it would allow their safeties to be much more aggressive than Dom allows them to play right now.

More on the Packers’ secondary from Chris: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/packers-secondary-facing-yet-another-tough-test-439

To find an updated, running total of the grades throughout the season, click here: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/grading-the-pack-regular-season-totals-454

Note: In these articles I often add tweets from Ben Fennell, Zach Kruse & Dusty Evely. All have been gracious enough to allow me to do so and are phenomenal follows. Please make sure you are supporting and following each of them! Thank you!

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

__________________________

Andy is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and owns & operates the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Andy has taken multiple courses in NFL scouting and is an Editor for Packer Report. You can find him on WFRV's Green Bay Nation and every Friday on the Friday Film Room on WDUZ . Andy grew up in Green Bay and is a lifelong season ticket holder - follow him on Twitter @AndyHermanNFL!

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Comments (11)

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jclombardi's picture

December 01, 2017 at 08:24 pm

Great balanced analysis! Keep it up!

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lebowski's picture

December 01, 2017 at 11:28 pm

"Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and Davante Adams are the new core of the Green Bay Packers." I'd add Blake Martinez to that list, in hopes this season isn't an anomaly. The rest of our linebackers are vanilla. I am beyond sick of going into EVERY draft hoping to God we find a pass rush.

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Turophile's picture

December 02, 2017 at 06:37 am

Looking at this week and the collective grading scores, here are several things that interest me.

Linsley has a very good cumulative score (+9.5). I wondered how he would compare to Tretter. I thought both were good players - Linsley a touch stronger but more position-specific (probably 'stronger' was simply better technique, as they weighed much the same), while Tretter was a little more athletic and versatile.

I really like that Randall seems to be improving (+1.55 this week). Everyone seems to be saying his best position is slot corner, not outside (Packers need another solid outside guy). I liked Rollins too, when he was drafted, but it seems he just doesn't have NFL speed.

Montravius Adams is not there yet (cumulative score -1.3). I hoped he would be better straight out of the box, but that was a bit unrealistic. It takes time for those big D linemen to learn what they need to do, to play well. I'm just glad he is getting some reps - that will help him in the future, because he gets to know what level he needs to be at, to succeed.

I think if the pass rush could be upgraded (plus one more solid outside corner), this defense could really take a jump.

Finally, is Jordy Nelson almost done, or will he have a renaissance when it is Rodgers throwing the ball to him - I just don't know.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 02, 2017 at 08:27 am

Look at our players vs. PIT's. We just don't have the player quality. Without ARod, our roster is a .500 roster at best, and that's assuming Hundley plays up to the level of an average starter eventually.

This is not a Super Bowl roster. We have MASSIVE problems at OLB, TE, and CB. Problems that can't be fixed with one draft. Still. Once again, I'm not sure that making the playoffs is in the best long-term plans for this team.

Ted needs to go.

And yet, we have not been getting production out of the players we do have. Not at all. Not where they should be.

Dom needs to go too.

And if Mike doesn't want to fire Dom, Mike needs to go.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 02, 2017 at 10:42 am

"Without ARod, our roster is a .500 roster at best, and that's assuming Hundley plays up to the level of an average starter eventually."

And that's some sort of issue or failing?

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Turophile's picture

December 03, 2017 at 07:57 am

Speculating on the roster without Air Force 1 (ARod) is really meaningless, because it depends on how good his replacement is. A no.1 QB has such a large effect on a team they are critical in determining how good the team is........... well the offense, anyway.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 02, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Yes, it is.

How much draft stock has been spent on the defense since 2011, and has it changed a damn thing???

Look at PIT. Their defense is the strength of the team. And that's with 3 killer offensive players. Their defense was worse than ours 2 to 3 years ago. It's now far better. That's on the personnel and coaching staffs.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 02, 2017 at 03:52 pm

Very impressive analysis! !

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flackcatcher's picture

December 02, 2017 at 06:46 pm

Pitt is a far better team than you think Andrew. Their offensive line is seriously underrated and their defense front 7 is extremely stout. That the packers line units played these guys to a draw says a lot about them and the defensive staff last week. Green Bay took advantage of a young and inexperience secondary that is Pitts only real weakness, just as Pitt took advantage of the battered Packers secondary in the last 30 seconds. Big Ben still has it when needed. The Gunter release is coming back to bite this team in a big way. Overall, nice job Andrew.

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Vrog's picture

December 03, 2017 at 02:33 am

I look forward to this article every week

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Archie's picture

December 03, 2017 at 08:40 am

The BUCS and BROWNS are among the dregs of the NFL this year. How they do against these NFL weaklings should end the debate over exactly what kind of talent we have w/o 12. Anything less than 2-0 and it's time to clean house for sure. I'm already there and have been for several years.

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