Green Bay Packers Bye Week Status

Andrew Garda takes a look at some of the issues the Packers have as they get ready to come back from the bye week.

The Green Bay Packers head into their weekend off with a 2-1 record that, for some fans, feels like 0-3. While the Packers finally seemed to round into form last week in a 34-27 win over the Detroit Lions, the loss to the Vikings the week prior and the struggles opening week in the win over Jacksonville have frustrated fans.

So where does the team stand, three games in? What is working and what isn’t?

Let’s take a look.

Passing offense

Suffice to say that for two of the first three weeks things looked grim. It’s not that the offense was playing badly—it’s that the offense still didn’t look quite right.

Last week was the first week things began to seem normal. Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers were finally in sync and Eddie Lacy finally saw a full load of carries. Still, there are holes, as Randall Cobb continues to struggle, Davante Adams is consistently inconsistent and the tight end position never lives up to the hype.

Most of what seemed to be the issue for Rodgers and Nelson (which sounds like the law firm in the Netflix show Daredevil) centered around having not worked together much in the past year. Cobb, Adams and the rest are something else.

At this point, it seems as if Adams will always be what he is now—a talented receiver who can make a great catch or a huge drop depending on what way the wind is blowing or what sign of the zodiac is in flux. In other words, you will never be able to fully depend on him.

Cobb is another problem, and the concern is that he has backslid so much. Last season it was easy to write off his issues as stemming from being a poor fit as a traditional No. 1 receiver. This year? He’s not getting open, or finding a way to separate and he’s not giving us much after the catch. That’s odd, and one has to wonder where it’s coming from.

Cobb has to get right for this unit to really hit on all cylinders. Right now he’s at 132 yards over three games and that’s way off his mark from previous seasons where, even if he wasn’t piling up yards, he was scoring.

The pass game seems to be trending upwards, but it needs more from Cobb.

Play Calling

There will always be people who think head coach Mike McCarthy is doing something wrong. Most of the time it’s ridiculous, but there are a few things he and offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett do which are worthy of criticism on a weekly basis.

We’re hoping last week was the sign that he is finally going to start giving Lacy a full load of carries. Eddie Lacy appears healthy and ready to go, so it’s baffling that he’s carried the ball more than 15 times just once in the first three games.

While Minnesota is a stout run defense, it’s still one he could have worn down and there is no reason for Lacy to have had just 14 carries against Jacksonville. He needs a full load of reps and when he gets that, this is a team which can pour it on late.

Of course, you need to actually have your foot on the accelerator in order to pour it on late and as we saw last week, McCarthy eases back on the throttle when he should be going harder.

McCarthy’s tendency to be overly conservative—especially in the second half of games—has cost this team before, in playoff games no less. While he’s certainly not reading what I write here, thinking “Hey that dude is on to something!” one hopes he is looking at his tendencies this weekend and making some changes.

Between throttling back late and underutilizing Lacy, McCarthy has already made this season harder than it had to be. Hopefully that changes after the break.

Defense

According to Football Outsider’s DVOA metric, the Packers are the tenth best defense in the NFL.  That and having them rated as the best run defense in the NFL would constitute the good news.

The bad news is the pass defense is ranked 21st. They have allowed 922 passing yards to date, or an average of 307.3 yards per game through the air. They have also allowed six passing touchdowns over three games, tying them for seventh most in the NFL while generating just two interceptions.

Back to the good news—the Packers have amassed 10 sacks, tying them for third most in the NFL.

Matt Stafford dropped 385 yards and a trio of touchdowns on them last week, while Sam Bradford—in his first game with a new team after just a week and half with a playbook—was 22 of 31 for 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Back in Week 1, Blake Bortles dropped 320 yards and a touchdown on this unit.

Last season the defense basically held the line while the offense largely floundered without Nelson. This year, when they should be improved, they have struggled against the pass.

As they come out of the break they will face a Giants team which can throw. So this week had better result in some changes to help the team contain guys like Odell Beckham Jr and Sterling Shepard.

Overall the Packers have a ton of talent though they have not played to their potential. Hopefully a week off will allow them to make the adjustments they need to get back to the level of play we all expect.

 

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Comments (45)

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NickPerry's picture

September 30, 2016 at 05:51 am

Cobb's production or lack of is concerning, even last week once Nelson starting "looking" more like Nelson, Cobb still caught one pass for 33 yards. Cobb has always been the guy where when Rodgers starts to move, Cobb positions himself in Rodgers line of sight to keep moving the chains. That was exactly what happened Sunday on his only reception.
Lots of Cobb's TD's over the years have been when the Packers are in the Red Zone and/or when Rodgers is moving around down there. My guess is Cobb is watching lots of film over the Bye to find out what he can to different to start to help this club. Hopefully Cobb breaks out week 5 and never looks back, especially if McCarthy starts using 4 or 5 receiver sets again.

The Pass Defense is another issue. Other than Capers first 2 seasons, he hasn't been able to field a defense that can stop the run and the pass at the SAME time. Seems CB's are always turning receivers loose expecting help which isn't there. It seems they always have issues with communication and they definitely are this season too, at least so far. I still love our young CB and feel both Randell and Rollins will be solid players. The Packers really miss Shields (Understatement) and when/if Sam comes back this pass defense will improve a lot.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 30, 2016 at 08:05 am

I'm not to concerned with Cobb yet.
That play your talking about from Sunday, we saw a similar play against the Jaguars, but Rodgers threw to high and Cobb had to jump to catch it. If he would have made a good throw, Cobb would have easily had a TD.

I think as they find themselves on offense again we will start seeing Cobb's production go up.

It seems like our defense under Capers has always had issues with zone coverage. I don't blame Capers for playing more zone against the Lions, with the amount of young players playing. But I think as a whole they are better playing more man then zone.
Getting Shields back definitely will help.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:14 am

I think you're absolutely right. Cobb is not creating separation--even Adams is creating more (!). I would like to see Cobb get fewer downs so he can look for bigger production per play. It's time for more Abbrederis and Montgomery in the slot. I believe Cobb will play some good football and do it soon, but I see no reason to keep Abby and Monty on the bench all game when a steady rotation could spice things up.

My biggest concern on offense, however, is James Starks. He looks awful--just awful--and that needs to change. Running Eddie into the ground by mid-season is no recipe for playoff success.

In the secondary, I have one big question: Who really is our 2nd-best CB--Randall, Rollins, or (don't yell at me) Gunter?

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NickPerry's picture

October 01, 2016 at 05:58 am

I'd like to see more of Abby and Monty on the field. I really believe Cobb will turn it around, but it wouldn't hurt getting those guys some snaps. Just keeping the number of receivers they did and not use them is strange, especially when the player ahead isn't producing.

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BELIEVER's picture

October 01, 2016 at 08:20 am

It is time to move Cobb to the bench. I don't know what his time in the 40 is but he looks slow. TT paid him way too much. He will never be a #1 receiver maybe a 3. I don't know, I believe there is better sitting on the bench. I thought when all the hype in the preseason about how deep the receivers were in talent, I said where. There is only one true #1 in Nelson, who is coming off an ACL. Rodgers has taken a lot of heat and rightfully so. Lets get him some help by playing the better players and not who is a higher draft pick or who is getting paid the most.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

September 30, 2016 at 05:50 am

Its about what I see, Cobb is the surprise I do wonder if he is playing scared or hurt. What happened at the Arizona game might be have affects still.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 30, 2016 at 06:26 am

So you want Lacy to get more carries while at the same time admonishing MM for easing back on the throttle.
Just curious what that's supposed to look like.

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andrewgarda's picture

September 30, 2016 at 07:21 am

He should get the ball plenty, but the Packers should ALSO attack the red zone harder. They aren't mutually exclusive you know.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 30, 2016 at 04:09 pm

Ok, so, what does "attack the red zone harder" mean?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2016 at 01:07 pm

I think the notion that MM was too conservative in the 2nd half against Detroit at any rate has been pretty thoroughly debunked on this site. I agree that Lacy should be getting more carries, in my mind particularly in the first half of our games.

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BELIEVER's picture

October 01, 2016 at 08:28 am

In the Lions game when the Pack was running out the clock in the second half, MM was accused of letting up. It's not that, the team takes his approach or whatever it is. Poor coaching maybe, I've seen it way too much in second halfs of games of the Packers. Until that changes this team will struggle to win when the shit hits the fan.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 30, 2016 at 06:37 am

Again back to "conservative play calling"?
Eddie Lacy did not get enough ball? After he carried ball for more than 100 yards? Do we consider that humid and hot weather may influence his asthma? Or that he was little banged up against Vikings D?
But, no, Mike McCarthy and Dome Capers are guilty... I can imagine what might Rex Ryan do with this team or (put any name not Bill Belichick). I'm sure Packers would be at least 3 season in the row 19:0...

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:17 am

Sorry to nitpick, but I thought Lacy should have gotten a couple more carries in the 1st half, and a couple fewer in the 2nd.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 01, 2016 at 05:09 pm

But you were telling about all 3 game, or I, maybe, misunderstood you...

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Lphill's picture

September 30, 2016 at 07:16 am

The key in the Giants game will be pressure up front , don't let Eli get comfortable in the pocket plus he is not that mobile.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

I agree, and tighten the man coverage too. Allow the big play rather than wearing out our pass rush by giving up so much cushion underneath. There will be big plays, but I'm more worried about sustained drives against loose coverage.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 30, 2016 at 08:01 pm

I took extreme dislike to the 73 yarder just before the end of the first half.

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holmesmd's picture

September 30, 2016 at 07:20 am

Lacy has asthma guys! You can't expect a 235 lb back to get 20 carries when it's a 110 degrees with "rain forest" like humidity!? I'm certain that limited his carries. Whenever Starks and Lacy are splitting time, I think it's largely a function of Lacy's respiratory status. Just a hunch:) Defense could be special in a few months! Offense needs to keep rolling. I'm not at all happy about Cook's high ankle sprain!:( Could be Monty 2.0 from last season and miss a large portion of the season? If so, that really sucks because it's another lost opportunity to develop game chemistry with #12. What a friggin bummer!!

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egbertsouse's picture

September 30, 2016 at 08:12 am

235? Lacy hasn't been 235 since high school. He's 260 at least.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

260? Doubtful. Looks 245, 250 tops to me.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

September 30, 2016 at 04:19 pm

Hi likes food and my guess is that he will become fatter than the contract some GM gives him after this season

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Bearmeat's picture

September 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

I'd guess 250.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

October 01, 2016 at 07:32 am

Maybe not 260 but he's one night at the Sizzler away.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 30, 2016 at 08:23 am

Yeah, the Cook injury definitely isn't good for building chemistry with Rodgers. And especially when they were starting to find ways to get Cook more involved in the offense.

Hopefully he won't miss a lot of time. That being said, if he was to miss time, now would be it. I would rather have him for a playoff run, then early in the season.

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rdent's picture

October 02, 2016 at 11:52 am

I read 4-6 weeks for Cook,ever since TT signed him we all have been waiting to see what he could do for the offense and now he may not be back until game 9,disapointing,could use that size and speed at TE, nearly anyone on the opposing defense can catch and cover R Rodgers

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Finwiz's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:04 am

Rdent, where did you see that? If this is the case, that will go down as another free agent bust, maybe along the lines of Joe Johnson.

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rdent's picture

October 02, 2016 at 11:43 am

High ankle sprain, 4-6 wks that's what Montgomery had last year,perhaps a bit worse and took him out for the season, Adams had that also,came back too soon reinjured it and affected the rest of his season,hope Cook can make it back sooner but I don't think they will rush him back after what happened to Adams and Montgomery

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:21 am

I say look out for our 3rd TE. Gets open and makes catches.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2016 at 01:47 pm

Finwiz, even if Cook is out 4-6 weeks, that doesn't mean he is a bust. As long as his injury doesn't rupture into season-ending, he will have time to come back and help this team. If he doesn't help this year, it would be a very modest swing and miss by TT.

And certainly Cook doesn't belong in the same conversation as Joe Johnson, who played 11 games for us in 2 years, and produced 2 sacks. Worse, Johnson's $5.5M AAV was 7.7% of the cap in 2002, which equates to $12.01M today. Worse, (quoting ESPN) "Green Bay had to restructure the contract of center Frank Winters -- from a base salary of about $1.5 million to $750,000 -- to create enough cap space to finish the deal [with Johnson]." The cap was just $71.1M in 2002. GB paid Johnson in '02 and '03 (I can't find the cap numbers for those two years) and still had to take a dead money hit of $4.33M in 2004, the equivalent of taking an $8.34M dead money hit this year. This is one reason TT had to clean house when he arrived in 2005: Sherman was a terrible GM and had no cap discipline.

EDIT: Looks like Joe Johnson got $4M in 2002 and $4.1M in 2003 and cost $4.33M in dead money in 2005. Those seasons had Cap limits of $71.1M, $75.007M and $85.5M, leading to a combined $25.58M in cap space in today's dollars devoted to Joe Johnson over those 3 seasons, only 2 of which he played. To be equivalent, Peppers would have had to have been a complete bust yet earned all three years of his contract.

http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/packers/green-bay-packers-count-littl...

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 30, 2016 at 07:22 am

Passing Offense -

Nelson finally looked like his former self against the Lions. It was kind of his breakout game, which is a great sign for the rest of the year.

Cobb while he hasn't shown a lot of production yet, he has gotten open but Rodgers either didn't throw to him or he miss fired throwing to him. Against the Jaguars Rodgers threw really high to Cobb. If he hits Cobb in stride, he runs in for a long TD.

Adams played his best game against the Lions. I think a big reason why is because he was on the field a lot less.. He only played 46% of the offensive snaps whereas he played 84% the first 2 games.

Play Calling -

The Play calling or Game plan - Was a lot better in this game. McCarthy rotated players and mixed and matched personnel a lot better then the first 2 games. Also getting Lacy more touches was better.

Getting more speed on the field should be a point of emphasis moving forward. Davis showed he has homerun speed, and even though he didn't catch the long pass, he showed that he had the speed to burn defenses. Also I would like to see them use Montgomery, Abbrederis, and even Janis more often. They have the weapons who all bring something different, so why not use that.
Moving forward I would like to see McCarthy continue to rotate players more. Mix and match formations more and simply don't make the offense predictable.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:24 am

With Janis's hand healing, what about playing him with Davis and Jordy? Seems to me that would back off some teams.

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rdent's picture

September 30, 2016 at 11:07 am

I read they plan on taking off Janis cast after the bye and I really hope they will play him,at least send him down field to make someone cover him,harken back to the Arizona game when they had to play him because of injuries,he could have been a non factor but instead he lit it up,despite the rap on him it's not rare for players to perform better in games than practice and last year what did they have to lose playing Janis? I think he has earned a little more playing time

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 30, 2016 at 01:27 pm

Rodgers also overthrew Cobb in the Lions game. Beautiful route in the Red Zone. I think it's only a matter of time until he explodes.

You might be right on Adams. I hope the Pack continue to use more of their WR stable. I also think playing him in different positions is paying off. I've always liked his wiggle off the line (especially from the slot) and it really showed in the Lions game TD. The same goes for Nelson. He was all over the place in that game and he was very productive. I figured Jordy would be playing the slot more this season.

I think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this Offense passing game. Cobb will have a big game. Ty will have a big game. Adams will have a big game. As long as the coaches continue to switch up the WRs positions the passing game will continue to progress. Watch.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2016 at 02:00 pm

I agree pretty much, RC. When you write that it was Adams' best game, I suppose you are looking at perhaps his yds per catch and his catch rate: prior to Detroit, Adams had 6 receptions on 14 targets (43%).

Exactly why does playing reduced snaps help Adams produce better?

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 30, 2016 at 07:44 am

Without Sam Shields for two games you have to expect some growing pains. With Burnett out as well, I was just happy to see a win last weekend. Things aren't great on the back end, but Rollins will get better, Gunter played well, and Q still has a ton of upside. Things will look good by week 12.

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HarlanHuckleby's picture

September 30, 2016 at 08:28 am

I think it's premature to write off Adams as hitting his ceiling as far as consistency goes. The list of receivers that struggled with drops going into their third year includes a lot of good ones, including Jordy Nelson.

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NMPF's picture

September 30, 2016 at 08:36 am

Relentless pressure by the front 7 covers a lot of shortcomings in the defensive backfield. 10 sacks through 3 games is respectable but way too often Bortles, Bradford and Stafford were standing in the pocket looking like a young Johnny Unitas picking the DB's apart. D first needs to get healthy, Keep stopping the run and for the love of God quit playing zone. Go Pack!

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rdent's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:42 am

I do not find it far fetched that for whatever reason Cobb may be on a decline and MM and TT see that,my reasoning behind that is they picked T Davis,Adams so far looks more like a flash in the pan than a legit WR,I would not be surprised to see GB get a WR with a high pick next year.At nearly 5 yds a carry for Eddie Lacy,MM does appear conservative merely because he doesn't run Lacy enough.On defense, last year the defense had trouble against the run but so far this year the areas of concern( ILB,DL) are hopefully a thing of the past but at this point the defense seems to have flip flopped,what appeared as a promising young secondary has had over 900 passing yds dropped on it through the first 3 games I hope GB will use this early bye week to iron out these problems

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Point-Packer's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:23 am

Cobb put on muscle, has been oft injured and those two combined, have caused him to lose a step. He's no longer a great option in the slot. He's an under-sized WR/RB hybrid who will never regain his past form. Sad but true.

If McCarthy knew what he was doing, he'd give Abby far more reps in the a slot. Not that he's a speedy Gonzalez either, but he seems to run a much better route than Cobb.

Based on what I've seen so far this seen, I think even Demarious Randall could cover Randall Cobb.

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Finwiz's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:58 am

People are finally getting it. I totally agree, something happened with Cobb after the injuries the last couple of years. I thought he was going to be something special, and a nice quick compliment to Jordy in the slot, but after that 1st year or 2, I haven't seen anything out of him. He can't separate anymore and his route running is questionable. The guy is NEVER open, never any separation, and when they do throw it to him, he has a D-back draped all over him. He's easy to cover because he's so small, so without speed his game is gone. I'm actually a little shocked by what happened with him.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 30, 2016 at 01:48 pm

The guy is NEVER open, huh? Sure about that? You stand behind that?

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EdsLaces's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:55 am

Not worried about Cobb at all....it's not his fault Aaron's man crushes are 17 n 87....

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Tundraboy's picture

September 30, 2016 at 11:27 am

I understand the reasons why they play zone, but when it gets shredded like it does why continue anymore with it. Would rather go with young guys playing man and take our lumps than continue wirh useless zone defense. Doesnt ever seem to work.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2016 at 02:17 pm

There was a tremendous thread at Acme with still photos and a link to video regarding the pass defense. The gist is that while GB was in Cover 2, Randall several times only carried (the vertical threat) WR 3 yards instead of 8 yards or so, and then Randall either jumped an underneath route or passed the receiver off to the safety, who could not possibly rotate over to pick up the WR. There are examples of both Hyde and Dix being far too late to pick up the receiver. See the link below: look for the large photo in the thread about a third of way down.

http://www.acmepackingcompany.com/2016/9/28/13088678/packers-news-9-28-r...

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 30, 2016 at 02:58 pm

Yea, Hyde could have played that better (Burnett probably would have shaded further outside), but Randall can not jump shorter routes. He has to play the down and distance. Even if he had played his WR longer and Stafford threw it to the "uncovered" WR, Randall and/or the closest LB could have made the stop. Worst case scenario should have been 3rd and 10.

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