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Grading the Pack - Week 3 - Packers vs. Redskins

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Grading the Pack - Week 3 - Packers vs. Redskins

I think the vast majority of Packers’ fans had week three against the Redskins chalked up as a win. Yes it was the first road game of the season and Green Bay was coming off of an emotional tie with the Minnesota Vikings, but the Redskins haven’t exactly been one of the top teams in the league under coach Jay Gruden.

I had some concerns going into the game, primarily because I thought Green Bay would have trouble getting pressure off the edge. Green Bay’s edge rushers had been really bad the first two weeks and now they were set to matchup against one of the best tackle tandems in the NFL in Trent Williams and Morgan Moses. If the Redskins offensive line could provide time for Alex Smith, I knew there was a chance he could pick away at Green Bay’s secondary.

Unfortunately it was worse than just about anybody had expected. Green Bay allowed 28 points in the first half and could never get in a rhythm offensively. It was also Aaron Rodgers’ worst performance since he came back from injury against Carolina last season. Ultimately it was a game riddled with drops, penalties, mistakes, and missed tackles. Unlike the tie against Minnesota, Green Bay thoroughly deserved this loss against Washington.

Top 3 Offensive Players

David Bakhtiari +2.65
Corey Linsley +1.65
Jamaal Williams +1.05

Top 3 Defensive Players

Kenny Clark +1.20
Blake Martinez +0.85
Mike Daniels +0.60

Bottom 3 Offensive Players

Jason Spriggs -2.15
Justin McCray -1.40
Lance Kendricks -1.00

Bottom 3 Defensive Players

Kentrell Brice -2.05
Josh Jackson -1.20
Nick Perry -1.05

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers +0.1

This was a bit of a mixed bag for Aaron Rodgers. On one hand he once again battled through his injury, was able to make some plays with his legs, and was ultimately plagued by huge drops by Randall Cobb and Lance Kendricks that killed drives.

On the other hand, Rodgers didn’t see the field very well, missed a lot of open receivers, threw behind Davante Adams on a key third down, and had opportunities to complete big passes and was unable to. It was an uncharacteristic game from Rodgers and it would seem that the injury itself, and his inability to practice throughout the week, really affected his play.

Running Back

Jamaal Williams +1.05
Ty Montgomery +0.65
Aaron Jones +0.55

Jamaal Williams has been such an intriguing player to grade. Personally I’m not a huge fan of Williams’ overall skillset. To me running back is a playmaker position and Williams isn’t a playmaker. That said, when you analyze Williams closely, he does just about everything right. He generally reads his blocks well, he’s fantastic at picking up blitzes, and he’s a solid receiver out of the backfield. There are few plays where he grades in the negative. It’s not difficult to see why Green Bay has a high level of trust in him.

All of that said, we once again were given a glimpse at just how explosive and shifty Aaron Jones can be. Green Bay has to find a way to get the ball in his hands 15+ times a game because he absolutely is the playmaker that Green Bay needs and he should be able to take some of the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers.

Wide Receiver

Randall Cobb +0.00
Geronimo Allison -0.05
MVS -0.05
Davante Adams -0.9

I’m not going to lie, I’m bracing for impact a little bit as I post these receiver grades. I get it… Allison finished with 2 catches for 76 yards and a huge touchdown, Adams finished with 7 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, and Cobb finished with a measly 4 caches for 22 yards on 11 targets, had two huge drops and basically a game ending fumble…yet he’s the highest graded receiver…

Let me start by saying I had a huge negative grade on the fumble and significant negative grades on the two dropped passes. These were game altering plays. Cobb also didn’t have any big play on offense to help counteract these. However, Cobb was consistently the only receiver who was getting open all day long. Rodgers missed him multiple times for what could have been huge plays if not game changing touchdowns. He was crisp in his routes and was active all day long. It wasn’t Cobb’s best day by any stretch of the imagination, and he was a big reason why they lost this game; but if Rodgers could have found him when he was open, he also could have been the reason that they won it.

Geronimo Allison, outside of his touchdown, really struggled to gain separation from Washington’s corners. Meanwhile this was the first time I’ve ever graded Davante Adams in the negative over the past 19 games that I’ve graded. Adams simply didn’t have it this game. He was slower out of his breaks than normal and just didn’t have the same effort that you almost always see out of him.

I won’t be offended if you disagree with my grades here, but just know if you go back and watch this game in total, Cobb was the only weapon on offense that was consistently gaining separation and finding space. Of course it would have helped if he caught the ball and didn’t fumble.

Tight End

Jimmy Graham -0.45
Marcedes Lewis -0.75
Lance Kendricks -1.0

The big play here was of course the huge drop by Lance Kendricks. I know a lot of people have been asking for Lewis to get additional snaps from Kendricks but the truth is Lewis hasn’t been very good in his limited snaps this season. He has had at least one big whiff while blocking in every game this season. He’s been very hit or miss and it certainly could be due to him not getting enough playing time; but he needs to be better when he does get in the game.

Offensive Line

David Bakhtiari +2.65
Corey Linsley +1.65
Lane Taylor +0.50
Bryan Bulaga -0.05
Byron Bell -0.15
Lucas Patrick -0.40
Justin McCray -1.40
Jason Spriggs -2.15

First of all kudos to David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley who had really fantastic games. Bakhtiari was solid from beginning to end while Corey Linsley was incredibly active and easily had his best performance of the season.

Bryan Bulaga and Lane Taylor were up and down. Taylor had a handful of negative plays that he’d like to have back but was incredibly consistent throughout the rest of the game. Bulaga was very similar. He was bull-rushed way too easily at times and also was slow against faster players off the edge. Like Taylor, however, he also had a good chunk of positive snaps.

Justin McCray continues to be the weakest link on this offense as he had another bad day before leaving due to injury. Jason Spriggs subbed in for Bryan Bulaga and continued his maddening play. There are plays where he looks like a legit starting right tackle. But there are always four to five plays in every game where he either allows immediate pressure, holds, or has a false start penalty. His most consistent trait is his inconsistency.

Defensive Line

Kenny Clark +1.20
Mike Daniels +0.60
Mo Wilkerson -0.35
Dean Lowry -0.45
Montravius Adams -0.9

It’s been a disappointing start to the season for preseason star Montravius Adams. It looked like Adams had made that year two jump and was ready for significant playing time this season. That hasn’t been the case as Adams rarely sees the field and when he does he really struggles to hold up at the point of attack.

Kenny Clark started this game slow but picked up his play around the second quarter and never looked back. Mike Daniels was a bit of the opposite. He came out of the game playing fantastic but seemed to wear down as the game went on. Green Bay received solid performances out of Clark and Daniels, but could have used more pressure from the interior as a whole.

Edge Rusher

Kyler Fackrell +0.1
Clay Matthews -0.05
Reggie Gilbert -0.75
Nick Perry -1.05

I’ve been with just about everyone else who has been calling for a replacement for Kyler Fackrell, but in limited snaps and rotating in, Fackrell may actually be the least terrible edge rusher on the team so far this season. Nick Perry has done absolutely next to nothing outside of his strip sack to end the Bears game. Matthews has improved every week but has still graded in the negative in every game. Gilbert just hasn’t been the spark that Green Bay had hoped for and his physical limitations have held him back so far this season.

Linebacker

Blake Martinez +0.85
Korey Toomer +0.05
Oren Burks -0.05
Antonio Morrison -0.9

I’m not sure exactly what the question is, but I know Antonio Morrison isn’t the answer. He’s been a step slow to diagnose on defense and just hasn’t seemed comfortable out on the field. At this point he’s hurting more than he’s helping.

Oren Burks flashed in a couple of the snaps that he received, and he really should be getting all of Toomer and Morrison’s snaps going forward. He’s simply too talented and athletically gifted to keep off the field.

Martinez is having a really, really nice season but I’m still waiting for him to take the next step to become a playmaker and start forcing turnovers.

Cornerback

Tramon Williams +0.4
Jaire Alexander -0.3
Davon House -0.5
Josh Jackson -1.2

For the first time, Jaire Alexander wasn’t the top graded defender. Alexander certainly wasn’t a liability in this game but unlike Chicago and Minnesota, Washington was able to have some success against him and of course he was involved in the bomb to Richardson early in the game.

The surprise here might be Josh Jackson who quietly struggled throughout this game. It didn’t seem to matter if he was playing man or zone; he was having trouble quickly diagnosing plays and sticking with his receiver or tight end. Jackson is a solid player but he’s still thinking too much and his lack of top end speed does hurt him at times.

Safety

HaHa Clinton-Dix -0.15
Jermaine Whitehead -0.55
Kentrell Brice -2.05

For the second week in a row, Kentrell Brice was the lowest graded player on defense. Brice struggled in all aspects. His ball skills, coverage, and tackling all graded poorly and he needs to start playing up to the level that he’s capable of. After a solid first week Brice has put two disastrous weeks together back to back. Hopefully he can turn it around against the Bills.

HaHa Clinton-Dix also wasn’t good but his nice play on the interception helped his grade out. Yes the ball was thrown right to him but he also did a really nice job of reading the play and putting himself in a position to make that interception. That said, he still was way too passive and had huge periods of the game where he didn’t look like a starting NFL safety.

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

Friday Film Room: 

Here are the players we will focus on during the Friday Film Room:

HaHa Clinton-Dix -0.15
Kentrell Brice -2.05
Nick Perry -1.05
Clay Matthews -0.05
Aaron Jones +0,55
Randall Cobb +0.00

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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (41) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Royalty Free GM's picture

Speedy corners are baiting our slow WRs.

RCPackerFan's picture

Geronimo looked really slow running down the seam.

Go watch Zach Kruse's twitter timeline. Packers WR's were getting open. Rodgers either didn't throw to them, or didn't get the time he needed to get them the ball.

RobinsonDavis's picture

I saw this too, RC. Not his best game, but the rest of the team did not help Aaron either. Meanwhile, Mike and Aaron abandoned the run-game even though it was working. Despite this, we still could have won this game with a couple of key catches and some help from the D.

Bearmeat's picture

So, once again we suck at OLB and both safety spots. ARod had a bad game = we lose. (not shocking).

And Bulaga is wearing down.

Thanks for the article. It's awesome work. But this team's spots are pretty obvious IMO.

dobber's picture

The Packers are again near the bottom of the league in third down percentage allowed (27th at 45.2%). They were right at 45% for all three games played.

Something's gotta change here.

RCPackerFan's picture

Having an injured Rodgers doesn't help.

But also, how many 3rd down conversions have they had to get called back due to penalty? Thats a hidden sidenote that no one will look at.

Off the top of my head, I can think of Graham's TD against the Vikings, where they called holding on the Taylor pancake block. In this game they had at least 2 taken away. Montgomery converted and they had the holding call on the WR. They had another one where Rodgers ran for the first down at the 5. Instead the holding penalty made it 3rd and really long.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Agree Dobber. Look at Andy's replay concerning Perry above. The whole line has no "get-off" or push on an obvious passing down. I don't get it....where is the effort? Maybe nobody wants to sack a quarterback these days? Bottom-line, the Packers will not improve this percentage until they improve the pressure on the QB....in fact, it will likely get worse.

GBPDAN1's picture

Until we get some quality edge rushers, we will not win a title

Tarynfor12's picture

" But this team's spots are pretty obvious IMO."

Talk about being late to the party. I RSVP'ed these spots long ago but as usual, my response was ignored,denied or flat out lambasted as non Packer fan trolling.

I think I already here Dandy Don Meredith in the background,,,can you or others here him or me now? : )

Bearmeat's picture

No. You were an insufferable know it all long ago who has shrunk from that to troll status gradually since 2014.

Go away.

EdsLaces's picture

***Hear x's 2

The TKstinator's picture

Damn those homophones, full speed ahead!

dobber's picture

HEY! Let's try to be a little more tolerant around here.

Turophile's picture

Well, when I said a few weeks back that it would be much more fun for Andy, grading the team this season (now Aaron Rodgers was back and slinging the pigskin), this weeks game was not what I had in mind.

As the grades reveal, it was the kind of performance where many players were below what they have been in the past. Very possibly the post Vikings let-down was a part of that.

Extra kudos to those that still played well (J.Williams, A.Jones, Bakhtiari, Linsley, Martinez), and those that overcame a couple of bad plays (Cobb) and the weight of referee frustration (Matthews).

With MVS's few plays, and Allsion's struggles to get open, there may be a swap on the depth chart at some time, but MVS must learn the hands and consistency, that Allison brings each week, to supplant him.

Every week you can see the potential of the young corners, King (injured this week), Alexander, Jackson ............ but as good as they look, the safeties working with them are poor enough to warrant a high draft pick there (in the first three rounds).

Bulaga's injuries and Spriggs inconsistencies suggest an early dip at OT might be another early pick, and since it has been neglected for much too long, a good edge rusher is almost mandatory (and most likely the Packers first of two, round one picks).

Andy could also have graded that referee's backpedal when MM blew up. The way he stormed at him, I thought he was going to steamroller right over the poor zebra (roughing the ref penalty, ejection..........heh). Mike generally keeps his cool fairly well (compared to some other head coaches), but when he blows up, you better watch out.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do think the 5 quarters of football against the Vikings slowed them down for this game. Vikings also came out really flat.

I do think they will be drafting an OT earlier in the draft. Probably 3rd-4th round. Its clear at this point Spriggs is what he is and he is a backup that will struggle.

I do think Edge rusher and S will be top priorities this offseason.

dobber's picture

The Vikings are a little beat up, now, too. Never expected the track meet we saw last night. Both defenses getting beat...

RCPackerFan's picture

Just curious.
How bad are the Packers defense really?

They held the vikings to 21 points and like 300 some yards up until the Mathews BS penalty. After that they gave up like 120 yards and a TD and 2 point conversion. Ended up giving up 480 yards with OT.
Rams last night gave up 446 yards and 31 points to them. The Rams supposedly have one of the scariest defenses in the league.

This is truly a week to week league, but the Rams gave up more yards through 4 quarters and more points then the Packers did.

dobber's picture

Bad enough that they're 1-1-1.

...but good enough to be ahead of the Vikings (1-2-1). ;)

RCPackerFan's picture

Well, *1-1-1... Should be 2-1.. Vikings should be 1-3.
F***ing refs...

Community Guy's picture

really great work.. this is how fans can get better educated on the performance of players.

one additional aspect of the game i am interested in is special teams.. especially, i am focused on how the new gunners are performing.

dobber's picture

There was a piece just this morning on JSOnline about MVS and that the coaches are very happy with him.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2018/09/27/packers-roo...

egbertsouse's picture

Your grading supported what my eyes have been seeing with the TE group. I've not been impressed, even when Graham gets a bunch of catches he doesn't impact the game like the highest paid
TE should. The Packers have spent a lot of bucks on that position the last 2 years with the result being a resounding "meh."

RCPackerFan's picture

I think part of the problem with Lewis struggling is he comes in plays for 1-2 plays goes out. He hasn't gotten into a rhythm. I think a player like him, he needs more reps during a game to get going.

I think if he came in more often and played more regularly he would be better.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Aaron Nagler agrees with you he said the same thing in the last Transplants show. That Lewis has had some bad whiffs on his b and locks but what do you expect when you barely put him on the field? Hopefully they get Lewis involved more and Kendericks less.

PatrickGB's picture

And Tonyan? What ever happened to him? Is he any worse than Kendricks? G-mo is a fourth WR at best. Good because he is where he is supposed to be and Aaron likes that. No speed from the WR group. This team looks good for the future but is showing some growing pains now.

Since '61's picture

Any chance that we can give a score to the officials. For the Redskins game I would with -5.00 at best. Thanks, Since ‘61

arthurl's picture

Way too many positive scores for a team whose overall performance was pretty bad. I just hope that was the one stinker for the season.

Tarynfor12's picture

Keep your gas mask available. There's going to be a few more real stinkers coming soon to a TV near you.

Andy Herman's picture

I think one of the easy things to forget is that on a lot of plays, there can be a lot of positive grades, but one negative ruins the play as a whole. As an example you could have everything blocked up really well, the pass could be perfect, the receivers ran great routes, but one receiver dropping it ruins the play. There could be 8-10 positive grades on that play and only one negative. There was a decent amount of that in this game where things mostly went well but one thing went wrong. The grades as a whole look better due to that. If I were to grade just the play itself and whether it was successful or not, you would've gotten a much lower grade on both sides of the ball.

RCPackerFan's picture

This to me also is a good thing to take from the game.

While the outcome was bad, the overall play of players was encouraging.

If there are more positives then negatives that means that individuals were doing their jobs. Just kind of something positive to take from it.

In this game for example there were a lot of drops or miss throws which ruined the plays. With as many mistakes as they have had made, they still had chances to get back in the game.

My take away from the game was they beat themselves more then the Redskins beat themselves.

Tarynfor12's picture

" My take away from the game was they beat themselves more then the Redskins beat themselves."

I had no idea this was a ' masturbation ' contest !
: )

Tarynfor12's picture

The optimist will say, there were good things during that loss. The pessimist will say, there were bad things during that win.

Both are equally right, hence the half full/half empty bs.

The one who puts more emphasis on boasting the good and ignoring the bad will eventual fall to the bad spreading.

The one who puts more emphasis on correcting the bad instead of fixating on the good will prevent the spread of the bad.

This is the main issue with fans here, they quickly forget the bad as soon as one good appears.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Having more positive grades than negative grades really is Dutch comfort. [For the PC crowd, Dutch Comfort, going Dutch, Dutch metal, Dutch reckoning, Dutch widow, are all pejoratives deriving from the time when the Dutch were enemies of England. They are insults.] Football is a team sport. As Andy points out, there can be 10 positive grades on a play but one negative grade can mean that the play was a disaster, I don't know what ratio would be good, but a bare majority of positive grades probably means your team stinks.

Meeper's picture

Rodgers playing scared. Need to get him some interior linemen. McCray just has not been cutting it. Going to need a RT too. Oh and some edge rushers who can actually get pressure. Some safeties too. Too many holes to win a title on right now unless Rodgers goes on another hot streak. Not exactly a reliable formula.

Gort's picture

A couple days ago I responded to Zachary Jacobsen's "After a healthy start. . ." article. I rest my case.

"The Packers can work with injuries along the offensive line" is the dumbest statement that I have seen by a staff writer since I started following this site. Zachary, did you watch Spriggs? I am no expert, but I suspect that when Andy hands out the grades in a day or 2 the poor performance of the right side of the O-Line will show up prominently.

Gort's picture

Sorry - hit submit twice

flackcatcher's picture

Good article Andy. Nice overview of what turn to be a pretty strange game for this team. As you and the other commenters pointed out, this game turn on the mental mistakes made. While this team was a step slow, they corrected that at the beginning of the second half. This team was...tuned out, pretty strange for a Mike McCarthy team. But par for the course for this NFL season.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I waited a day to comment because some of Zach's grades differed from my eyeball assessments. I looked hard at the highlight reel and noted five running plays for 85 yards that were attributable to OLBs Fackrell and Gilbert losing contain. But then, I "graded" just 5 plays. Since Andy wrote that Fackrell did a decent job holding the edge generally, I'm going to believe him. Looking at grade/snaps:

Bakh: 2.65: .038/snap
Spriggs: -2.15: -.054/snap

Williams: 1.05: .035/snap
A. Jones: 0.55: .032/snap
Monty: .65: .032/snap

Lewis: -.75: -.107
Kendricks: -1.0: -.10

Clark: 1.20: .02
Daniels: 0.60: .012/snap
M. Adams: -0.90: -.18/snap

Gilbert: -0.75 -.031/snap
Perry: -1.05: -.0276/snap

Martinez: .85: .0139/snap
Morrison: -.90: .-0391/snap

Twill: .4: .0067/snap
J Jackson: -1.2: -.032/snap
House: -.6: -.12/snap

Brice: -2.05: -.0336/snap
Whitehead: -.55: -.0367/snap

Best Players per snap:

Bahktiari: (.038)
Williams: (.035)
A. Jones: (.032)
T.Monty: (.032)
Linsley: (.0239)
K. Clark: (.020)
Daniels: (.012)

Worst Players per snap:

Montravius Adams (-.18)
CB Davon House: (-.12)
Lance Kendricks: (-.107)
Marcedes Lewis: (-.100)
RT Jason Spriggs: (-.054)
ILB A. Morrison: (-.0391)
S. J. Whitehead: (-.0367)
S. Kentrell Brice: (-.0336)
CB Josh Jackson: (-.032)
OLB Reg Gilbert: (-.031)
OLB Nick Perry (-.0276)
OLJustin McCray (-.025)

*A personal observation: Andy Herman seems to grade defense more harshly. Andy may disagree with me (and be correct) but it seems to me that good offensive players have bigger pluses than good defensive players. Not as sure about players he grades negatively but I think there is some correlation.

12 players on offense have a positive cumulative grade. 8 with negative grades so far this season, but 4 of them have played very few snaps.

8 players on defense with a positive cumulative grade. 13 with a negative grade so far, with only 3 having played very few snaps.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The Allison grade amuses me. I saw him score a TD on a blown coverage and otherwise have one reception for 12 yards. But we shall see how it goes for him moving forward.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Thank, Andy!

Dave in Texas's picture

I like your grading, Reynoldo.

The safety play looks like the biggest wart on defense. Brice may need to be replaced immediately, even though I think he has outplayed HaHa to this point. But, I can see him holding back and holding back more like HaHa. I believe his missed tackle barrel roll ended up putting Wilkerson on a cart. I would expect Brice will be thinking of that a lot before blasts into crowd to blow up a runner.

Anyhow, that should happen this week with the probable return of Jones. Assuming that happens, I would relegate Brice to STs. Maybe give Green a few snaps at satiety. Breeland might help there after King returns to 100%.

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