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Grading the Pack - Week 3 (Defense)

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Grading the Pack - Week 3 (Defense)

Much like the offense, the defense played much better in the second half than they did in the first. Green Bay didn’t have some of their key playmakers in this game and it showed. Playing without Nick Perry and Mike Daniels really hurt Green Bay’s pass rush productivity and their propensity to get quick pressure on the quarterback.

While Green Bay was without two of its bigger stars on Sunday, they may have found a new one in Josh Jones. Jones won’t be a star until he stacks success, but this was a starring performance on Sunday. In preseason Jones flew around the field with reckless abandon. On Sunday Jones flew around the field with incredible anticipation and amazing instincts. His growth in such a short period of time should have the Packers and their fans salivating. Jones is the real deal.

While Kevin King graded lower in this game, I’d overall grade this as a passing performance for the rookie. Facing A.J. Green in his second career start and third game is no easy task. King held his own and is only going to get better with more experience.

Take away the seven points from the pick-six and Green Bay’s defense held Cincinnati to 17 points in over four quarters of play. Their three and out in overtime setup the game winning drive by the offense.

Top 3 Performers

Josh Jones +3.1
Clay Matthews +1.3
Morgan Burnett +1.1

Bottom 3 Performers

HaHa Clinton-Dix -1.15
Kevin King -0.9
Marwin Evans -0.8

Defensive Line

Kenny Clark +0.45
Montravious Adams -0.2
Ricky Jean Francois - -0.2
Dean Lowry -0.6
Quinton Dial -0.7

Green Bay missed Mike Daniels but the defensive line especially did a great job of keeping the linebackers clean. Josh Jones, Morgan Burnett, and Blake Martinez often had free lanes to the backfield because of the defensive line’s propensity to keep them clean.

Lowry continues to be a bit of a disappointment after such an impressive preseason. Hopefully he gets it turned around this week.


Clay Matthews +1.3
Ahmad Brooks +0.95
Chris Odom +0.4
Kyler Fackrell +0.0

I really came away impressed with Ahmad Brooks this week. If he can continue to play at this level, Green Bay will have found themselves a suitable rotational player at the edge position. Odom looks like he can be a player who can set the edge in the run game and rotate in on early downs.


Blake Martinez +0.25
Joe Thomas -0.45

Martinez and Thomas both got caught out of position on play action on Sunday and need to get that cleaned up. That said, Martinez looks like a new man in the run game this year and has certainly added some physicality to his game.

For more on Martinez from Zach click here:


Josh Jones +3.1
Morgan Burnett +1.1

Jones and Burnett were the glue that kept this defense together on Sunday. Playing all over the field they both were quick to make reads and were flying all over the place. Both played well against the run, as blitzers, and in coverage. The Nitro defense has had its ups and downs so far but it deserves some more time to see if it can become something special. If it gets Jones on the field more it’s probably worth it.

For more on Jones & King from Cory click here:


Damarious Randall -0.1
Quinten Rollins -0.2
Josh Hawkins -0.2
Kevin King -0.9

Another lackluster day from Green Bay’s cornerbacks. If Dalton had more time he would have been able to take advantage of Green Bay’s leaky secondary. There were multiple times in cover-2 where outside receivers came open and found holes between the corners and safeties. Green Bay has to tighten that up because against better offenses they will get exposed.


Marwin Evans -0.8
HaHa Clinton-Dix -1.15

Evans had an ok debut as a starting safety and played better as the game went on. He may have come out of the locker room just a bit too hyped up.

I’m struggling to explain Clinton-Dix’s recent poor play. Part of me wonders if he’s just trying to do a bit too much in disguising the play. I think he might be better off set when the play starts so that he can view the full field and better react to the play. Either way it’s been a bit of a rough start for HaHa thus far and if Green Bay wants to see their turnovers increase, Clinton-Dix will have to play better.

To find an updated, running total of the grades throughout the season, click here:

How I Grade

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

Please feel free to ask questions or comment below!


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 (5) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Qoojo's picture

You might consider adding another metric like Grade per Play, in other words average grade per play. That would add some scope to final scores in my opinion, and would not add to much burden to producing final results.

Because one can look at the CB scores and think at first King was at the bottom, but he played a lot more snaps than the other CBs. So an average per play seems like it would help => -0.9 (-0.018), where the average is in parens.

Mojo's picture

I'm declaring Josh Jones for real. Your Jones reading Dalton the entire way clip put me over the top.

flackcatcher's picture

Andrew, Capers does a lot a presnap deception. Unless you see whole field it's hard to know for us fans. Even on the all 22 it tough. Two quick points. Perry and Whitt like combo coverage this early in the season. Clinton-Dix is playing 1 high while both corners are either man up or in the trail. Capers will go to 2 shell, but usually in the second half, after he see the other teams route package. Even then, he prefers man coverage. Still too early on Jones, but what natural talent. Why did the other 31 pass on him. Burnett is the packers MVP so far. This defense does not function at a high level if he is not on the field. He jams at the line, takes away the seam routes. He is a Man out there. At some point, the packers will have 5 SS out there. Then we'll see Capers in full Mad genius mode.

Finwiz's picture

Capers mad genius mode? You've been hitting the game day kool-aid I see.
Geriatric Dom will be in genius mode when/if he can get this defense into the top 5. I won't be holding my breath.

4thand10's picture

For this Bears Game Capers would be foolish to not use 3 DL in a base 3-4. But I'm still holding my breath. For strong running teams I'm not even sure we have enough DL on the roster. Hope I'm wrong .

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