Grading the Pack - Week 17 (Offense & Defense)

So it’s been a really slow news week in Green Bay and I know you’ve simply been waiting on bated breath for the grades from last Sunday’s epic matchup with the Detroit Lions to be released. Well the wait is over, your grades for the last game of the season are posted!

Before even jumping into the grades I want to sincerely thank any and all of you who have read these articles throughout the course of the season and especially to those who have been so kind to post your feedback in the comments section. Including the preseason I’ve graded all 20 games this year and, at times, it was an absolute grind. Your feedback and comments made the late hours staying up watching Kyler Fackrell tape worth it!

The other thing I want to say is that while I feel very strongly about the grades I’ve posted this year, they will always be incomplete. I don’t know the plays, the assignments or the coaching that these players were given throughout the season. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all of these players, regardless of the grade they received. Justin McCray is a great example of a player who was thrown into a tough position, battled all year and got better as the season went on. He graded very poorly for me but I appreciated his effort and improvement throughout the year. He has a chance to make it as a solid guard in the seasons ahead and I’ll certainly be cheering for him to succeed.

Without further ado, here are your final grades of the season:

Top 3 Offensive Performers

Randall Cobb +1.40
Trevor Davis +1.35
David Bakhtiari +0.50

Top 3 Defensive Performers

Mike Daniels +1.05
Clay Matthews +0.55
Jermaine Whitehead +0.40

Bottom 3 Offensive Performers

Justin McCray -2.55
Lucas Patrick -2.25
Lance Kendricks -1.65

Bottom 3 Defensive Performers

HaHa Clinton-Dix -1.40
Blake Martinez -1.10
Kyler Fackrell -1.05

Quarterback

Joe Callahan +0.2
Brett Hundley +0.0

Much like a week ago, Hundley’s struggles were by no means a result of just his play. The offensive line really struggled on the faster turf this week and there was once again little to no running game to keep the defense honest. There were also drops, routes ran incorrectly, and receivers not able to break free from tight coverage. Hundley has about 1-2 plays per game that give you pause and make you think maybe he has a chance to be something. Unfortunately those plays are too few and far between and the need to water down the offense for him was disappointing.

Running Back

Devante Mays +0.25
Aaron Ripkowski +0.2
Jamaal Williams -1.6

Jamaal Williams had an absolutely abysmal game and the second lowest grade for a running back this season. His drop on the opening drive that lead to the interception was really a momentum changer early in this game. After pulling off the surprise onside kick, Green Bay was marching down the field and on their way to another first down in the red zone if Williams can make the simple catch. Instead he bobbles, Detroit intercepts and the game was never the same. Williams also struggled to find the correct hole and wasn’t as decisive as a runner as he has been over the last month.

Wide Receiver

Randall Cobb +1.4
Trevor Davis +1.35
Geronimo Allison +0.1
Jeff Janis -0.9
Michael Clark -1.1

If there was one player who took advantage of their increased playing time in a meaningless game on Sunday, that player was Trevor Davis. Davis played arguably the best football of his career and ended the day with 3 catches for 56 yards on 3 targets. Davis was quick out of his breaks and pressured the defensive backs with his speed, something he hasn’t always done in the past. This was a really nice step in the right direction for Davis and hopefully he can carry that momentum into 2018. Cobb had a solid day with the lone touchdown of the afternoon while Michael Clark came completely back down to earth and looked slow and sloppy in his routes.

Tight End

Emmanuel Byrd +0.4
Lance Kendricks -1.65

It may not be hyperbole to say that Emmanuel Byrd flashed more speed and playmaking ability in his very limited time Sunday than any tight end at any point in the season. I’m not saying Byrd has a future on the team but he had an extra gear that Kendricks, and certainly Rodgers & Bennett don’t possess. His ability to take a quick flat for 29 yards was ultra-impressive considering that Rodgers usually takes those for 1 yard gains at best. He may be worth keeping an eye on in the offseason.

Offensive Line

David Bakhtiari +0.5
Ulrick John +0.2
Lane Taylor -0.1
Corey Linsley -0.35
Lucas Patrick -2.25
Justin McCray -2.55

I came away from the Viking game excited about the prospects of Lucas Patrick and Justin McCray competing for the right guard position next season. I left Sunday’s game feeling a lot less comfortable with either being the starting guard in 2018. I still think McCray has a chance at guard where he’s a much better fit than at right tackle. Both struggled with speed and their high grades against Minnesota likely were aided by the slower field conditions. McCray ended the season as the lowest graded player on the team.

Defensive Line

Mike Daniels +1.05
Dean Lowry +0.0
Quinton Dial -0.25
Montravius Adams -0.25
Kenny Clark -0.9

The defense as a whole looked ready to call it a season. There wasn’t a ton of juice or energy on the field and most players, while not terrible, were also by no means spectacular. Daniels had a nice performance to end his season but you could tell he and Kenny Clark were worn down with the amount of snaps they played at this point in the season. Green Bay needs to find more depth along the line so that Clark & Daniels can stay fresh long into the 2018 season.

Edge

Clay Matthews +0.55
Reggie Gilbert +0.1
Vince Biegel -0.1
Ahmad Brooks -0.55
Kyler Fackrell -1.05

Reggie Gilbert had another up and down day but his flash players were still impressive enough that he’s going to get a shot at being a more significant player in 2018. I’ve seen more upside out of Gilbert than any other edge rusher on the team this season not named Perry or Matthews. It’s probably time to move on from Brooks & Fackrell and start developing better, younger talent on the outside.

Linebacker

Jake Ryan -0.1
Blake Martinez -1.1

One of my goals this offseason is to do a deep dive into Blake Martinez. There have been many Packer fans who have felt that Martinez deserved to be a Pro Bowler and have felt that he’s one of the top performers on the team this season. I simply haven’t seen it that way. Martinez has been solid and is often first to the ball, being one of the more efficient tacklers in the NFL (see Zach’s story below). But Martinez also struggles to get off of blocks and has really struggled in zone coverage in particular. His man coverage has been inconsistent as well. I think Martinez is talented and a starter for Green Bay going forward, but I think that he’s a bit over-hyped at this point. Both PFF & I ended up grading Ryan over Martinez this season (although barely) and Blake needs to make more impact plays before he should be considered a Pro Bowl caliber player.

More on Martinez from Zach: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/blake-martinez-finishes-2017-as-one-of-nfls-most-efficient-ilbs-120

Cornerback

Lenzy Pipkins +0.05
Josh Hawkins -0.2
Davon House -0.3

It says a lot about Davon House to play in this game with his injuries even though the season was over. To go out and battle and play the way he did speaks volumes as to how much this means to him. House didn’t grade out as a starting caliber corner but that type of effort and energy is needed on any team. I wouldn’t be disappointed to see him back in Green Bay next year. Lenzy Pipkins is going through some of the normal rookie struggles but the fact he continues to grade well is a great sign for his future. He should get an opportunity to compete for playing time next season.

Safety

Jermaine Whitehead +0.4
Josh Jones +0.0
Morgan Burnett -0.5
HaHa Clinton-Dix -1.4

I appreciate HaHa Clinton-Dix’s fire during his interviews to end the season and am happy to hear he was frustrated with his play and the play of the team. But he will go down as my lowest graded defender of 2017 and if the team wants to turn things around on defense, it has to start with him. This is a Pro Bowl caliber safety who played like a replacement level backup player. It’s imperative that Green Bay finds a way for him to play up to expectations and put him in a position to succeed. On defense, this team may only go as far as HaHa is able to take them.

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.

__________________________

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 (35)

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Mojo's picture

January 05, 2018 at 02:27 pm

"On defense, this team may only go as far as HaHa is able to take them."

That's a scary thought.

Dude had no interest in mixing it up this year, for whatever reason.

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Razer's picture

January 05, 2018 at 02:58 pm

...Dude had no interest in mixing it up this year, for whatever reason...

Yeah, McCarthy defended Ha Ha during his presser citing frustration. He even bailed when pressed about the non-tackle of Abdullah (needed to see the tape). Too me the lack of grit by Clinton Dix is worse than our lack of talent. Complaining about UDFAs and inexperience during his exit interview is bullshit considering he under performed for most of the season.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:05 pm

Ha Ha gets an F- from me for this season. I'm also sick of listening to McCarty's BS like defending him and saying Hundley improved over the course of the season. Does he actually think we believe it? We not stupid and blind.

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The TKstinator's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:45 pm

Fair or not, I consider 21 to be the biggest disappointment of the season. MAYBE he didn’t deserve Pro Bowl recognition last year, but he most certainly fell off the map this year. Was he ever listed on any injury reports this year? I would LOVE to be privy to the team’s evaluation of him this past year because to my naked eyes, he did zilch.

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Coldworld's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:09 pm

I have wondered for a while if the problems stemmed from his role in the scheme. If it were his decision, surely his coaches would have corrected him?

One of my reasons for being finally convinced the Capers years had to end now was the way he seemed to be being used early in the season.

Perhaps scheme as much or more than player? He is one I will be very keen to follow under the new defensive regime.

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The TKstinator's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:54 pm

Right! The coaches know what his assignments were and we don’t. They know if he fulfilled them or not, but I think he clearly regressed as a tackler this year.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 05, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Took more balls for Dix to say that than he showed on the field all season long.

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Razer's picture

January 05, 2018 at 02:50 pm

Pretty sad output on both sides of the ball. The lack of defensive integrity was telling. Given that Detroit doesn't really run the ball, we had them in the one dimensional offense. Didn't matter as our coverage was garbage. The lack of understanding on D required the dismissal of Capers. I am not sure why our secondary coaches get a pass. Talent is my guess.

The next DC will have his work cut out for him.

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4zone's picture

January 05, 2018 at 03:21 pm

I like the effort Cobb gives. Davis made a great catch up high and had his best game of his career probably (sans the return stuff).

A hard game to watch, let alone re-watch to break down. Hundley has had a lot of passes dropped which would pad his stats and may have changed the outcome of a game or two but when you see how far off on deep throws he is nearly 100% of the time I just can't see him with enough talent for even a backup. You have to be able to stretch the field or everyone is just going to load the box and crowd our slow receivers at the LOS. We have to upgrade there.

The next week will tell the future of the franchise, whether they are serious about making the hard choices that need to be made to ensure we have better talent going forward or not. If Ball becomes our next GM, I think the organization will implode totally within a year, two at max.

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Razer's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:04 pm

...If Ball becomes our next GM, I think the organization will implode totally within a year, two at max...

Read a little about the man and tell me that he isn't Packers all the way. He is a grinder that has excelled at everything he's tried. I have no doubt that he would find good people, organize them and make sound decisions. Tireless worker who is good with people - I think that he would do a great job.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:09 pm

The more I learn about Ball the more I edge toward comfort. Part of me screams to have Wolf or Gutenkunst. But, then I ask myself, "what is it you like so much about the Packers Drafts from the last 5-6 years that you just have to keep moving forward"? And the answer is "Not much!" Honestly a computer program averaging out Mock Drafts could have been just as successful at drafting for the Packers during the time period.

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Finwiz's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:23 pm

That last part of your post is exactly how I feel regarding WHY you don't want to continue with the current philosophy of TT.
Not to mention the fact the coach isn't all that enamored with the talent either.

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Mojo's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:31 pm

Agree with every part of your comment Jeremy. Not sure why you got some thumbs down.

I was listening to Michael Cohen this morning and he mentioned that a number of successful teams are run by people without much scouting background.

And your point about the last 5-6 years drafts is spot-on. What if TT was buying heavily on what Gutenkunst and Wolf were selling him and they sucked as evaluators?. Unless any of us were involved in all their discussions, we don't know. The only people who really know are (and in some cases were) in the GB upper-hierarchy. You'd have to believe Murphy would have access to that info (player recommendations) and as such would heavily factor it into his decision.

As for your comment about a computer program picking selections, it would be very interesting to me someone could go back and look at the major mocks and other assorted lists of colleges top players and I'll bet if you took the consensus players at your spot you'd have done pretty well over time.

Seems like the key is to acquire a franchise QB and not f-up the players around him too much. You could probably do the second part pretty easily with a computer program.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 05, 2018 at 07:38 pm

The real problem with doing it via a computer program is the sample size is so much smaller for football. A data set for an college football player is over 30 games. Well, that's barely to the month of May in one season of baseball. That's why metrics works great for Baseball and flop for Football. It's the unreasonable effectiveness of large amounts of data.

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dobber's picture

January 05, 2018 at 08:22 pm

Metrics work so well for baseball because it's an individual sport played in a team context. The pitcher pitches...the hitter hits. There are 8 guys behind the pitcher who have very little to do with anything until the ball is put into play. There is situational play but that's been eliminated (sacrifice hits, for example) from the equation.

Football? No way. There are too many players on the field and too many random dynamics (to hand-wave it a little) for analytics to really represent what's going on well.

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The TKstinator's picture

January 05, 2018 at 08:33 pm

+1, dobber!

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dobber's picture

January 05, 2018 at 08:52 pm

My WAR is still heavily in the negatives.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 05, 2018 at 09:05 pm

That's definitely a legitimate part of it. But even simple models (the kind you could easily fit to features in football) begin to predict quit well when you feed them enough data. Baseball has an order of magnitude more games every year and it makes a huge difference.

This isn't something I'm just coming up with. I study data science.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

January 05, 2018 at 03:30 pm

They seem to be all over the place in the search I’m not liking what I see. Hope I’m dead wrong!! I just don’t trust Murphy he’s a clown. Would like to see him gone as well as Mcarthy.

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fastmoving's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:28 pm

MM is a pretty good guy.
I really dont know you, but if I see your posts I m sure if you have 10 percent of Murphy in you, you would be 10 times a better guy......just as a human beeing.
and besides of that......he won the SB as a player and as executive. so at least he has some muscles and some brains. thats already a lot for a clown......

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WilsonMaywick's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:06 pm

I'm reading neither Rodgers nor MM want Ball as GM. Should be an interesting weekend.

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Coldworld's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:20 pm

If Murphy gets this wrong, I hope the BOD will show no mercy.

Ball is a high risk candidate for Murphy in my opinion because he is a non-football person who is apparently seen as the closest to more of the same. If true, big risk number one.

If it is also true that MM and Rogers would not welcome it, then the risk for Murphy should be stratospheric because it could be the best way one could imagine to sour the last years of a hall of fame QB or simply end them early or elsewhere.

I don’t know the truth of either assumption, but If true, Murphy would be either a fool or an egotist to appoint Ball.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

January 05, 2018 at 09:23 pm

Fast moving- a pretty good guy does not make him a good executive. He waited way too long to act on TT departing. He even stated that TT could stay in the position as long as he wanted it - Then at the end of the season changed his mind after Ted told him that he wanted to step down and do what was really in his heart being a scout/ talent evaluator.. I’m not buying it I think Murphy was directed to make the move and will never believe any different. And if he did finally wake up and make the decision it was years too long Now that shows hes clueless. IMO but you’re entitled to yours as well. And no you don’t know me. Have a good one.

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Nick Perry's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:39 pm

I don't know about a lot of our readers at CHTV but the thought of Russ Ball as GM is really starting to turn my stomach. I think he's going to be a worse version of Thompson, especially when it comes to FA.

I feel like this decision was made LONG ago when Thompson and Murphy both started to talk about Thompson's departure. Obviously I have nothing more than a feeling to base this off, just like anyone else who thinks he'll do a better job.

Many artivles I'm reading now suggest Ball is even more opposed to using FA in which case the Packers are screwed. This team has far to many holes to try and fix with a draft or even two. If this dude really is TED T 2.0, "Livid" won't even begin to describe how pissed and dissapointed I'll be!!

I think the house cleaning should have STARTED with Murphy and then worked themselves down.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 05, 2018 at 10:14 pm

My stomach is turning as well.

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freddisch's picture

January 05, 2018 at 04:49 pm

Appreciate your analysis. Don't always agree,but at least your grades are based on some in depth analysis

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Coldworld's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:24 pm

Really appreciated this column this year. I hope it will be a permanent fixture in future. Thank you for all the effort, particularly in a season where there was so much that was excruciating to watch even once!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:04 pm

I thought Dusty was harsh towards Josh Jones. What's a safety to do when every receiver is open? Martinez never moves a muscle when the crossing receiver moves behind him. That receiver is completely open about 13 yards downfield with loads of open field if JJ doesn't react. It is the easier throw, and I am not at all sure it doesn't gain as much or more than the deep throw. House is beat but at least he is in the vicinity. It took a decent throw to complete the deep pass.

Late hours to grade Fackrell tape. Thanks!

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Coldworld's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:29 pm

There was so much wrong with the scheme by December that I am amazed anyone can determine culpability half the time. Sometimes I think many of the players have been rated for acting as coached and thus downgraded, but what can the author do?

Here is to a new DC whom I hope will bring in better scheme and thus basis to appraise talent and apportion blame!

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Handsback's picture

January 05, 2018 at 05:59 pm

A recent scout on radio said that Green Bay has no Blue chip defenders. They have maybe a red with Clark and Daniels. The purples were Perry and Matthews. So there you go...LOFT in action!

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Tundraboy's picture

January 05, 2018 at 09:49 pm

 "His ability to take a quick flat for 29 yards was ultra-impressive considering that Rodgers usually takes those for 1 yard gains at best"

Sure hope we do not see RRodgers next season.

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ScaryGary's picture

January 05, 2018 at 10:07 pm

cut clay, wordy, or randall with no resructure

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Turophile's picture

January 06, 2018 at 03:39 am

Many thanks Andrew for the huge effort it takes to grade every player, all year

You took on a monumental task, which is why we don't see this kind of analysis more often.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 07, 2018 at 02:33 am

The best colimn on this site.

I enjoyed every word of this reviews...

Thank you very much Andrew. I hope you'll continue with this...

Regarding Mike McCarthy, I can see he will go to Kansas City, if he will be fired or if he will resign...

And that will be at the expense of Packers ...

Also, I think that KC should sue the referees for the damage and loss of profit...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 07, 2018 at 04:04 am

I've moved up recently to partially correct in your opinion, Croat! Well, I think you are 100% right about Andy's series "grading the pack." I was not nearly effusive enough in my comment. Andy: great job - your articles were a joy to read!

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