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Handling The Cardinals' Blitz

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Handling The Cardinals' Blitz

The Packers can expect to see a healthy dose of blitzing from the Cardinals on Sunday which, believe it or not, favors the Packers. That's right. The way to beat Rodgers is to rush from a base set and play coverage with numbers in the secondary. The problem for the Cardinals is, outside of Darnell Dockett, they don't have anyone up front who can provide consistent pressure from their base. When the Cardinals have been successful applying pressure, its been with the blitz.

Enter Brandon Jackson.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - this kid is having just a lights-out season in pass pro. It's shocking considering just how terrible he was at it as a rookie. But the guy has clearly made it a priority to get better and has made it one of the best parts of his game.

Take a look at the play below from last weeks game. Notice how the Cards are showing an overload into the A Gap. Also notice that Jackson is lined up to Rodgers' left. Only two of the three rushes come from the middle and are picked up nicely. The safety bails out into coverage. Now, a lot of backs would stick in the middle or scan the side they are on, in this case the formation's left, and not notice the blitzing backer from the right. But Jackson just does a fantastic job of crossing the formation and picking it up.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a big-time play.

Showing the  pressure up the middle in this case is meant to concentrate the offense and distract from the blitzing linebacker, but thanks to Jackson, Rodgers has the time needed to step up and throw a strike for a first down.

We've seen this kind of thing before, most notably in the Pittsburgh game, where Dick LeBeau sent a ridiculous amount of pressure from all sorts of different personnel packages and alignments. And, after the first series, the combination of Rodgers, Jackson and center Scott Wells handled it all beautifully.

I expect more of the same on Sunday against a Cardinals team that needs to blitz to have any chance.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

CSS's picture

I hope you're right, Aaron. I hope they blitz like mad. Rodgers QB rating of 107 against the blitz is second in the NFL and higher than his QB rating without teams blitzing him.

The bigger issue is how they hide their coverage like they did against Favre and the Vikings. Rodgers legs may decide this game if they choose to come at him up the middle and move the pocket outside.

MCS's picture

If Rodgers is better against the blitz and Jackson does a good job picking up blitzers, why blitz?

Smart play is to rush four and wait for Green Bay's OL to breakdown.

CSS's picture

GBPG article highlighting A-Rod and Warner vs. blitz:


eqfan592's picture

MCS, because typically when you just sit back and try to "wait for the OL to break down" you end up giving the receivers too much time to find an opening. A QB like Rodgers will rip you to shreds in that situation, especially with the improved OL play as of late.

nypacker's picture

This is the advantage that Rodgers has over Warner, the ability to be mobile in the pocket. Warner would rather tuck the ball than scramble out for a gain.

jerseypackfan's picture

Speaking of blitzing. Anyone see the NFL Films video on Kevin Greene? It is fantastic and a must see.

Kevin Greene has molded Clay Matthews into a faster version of himself. This is why I wanted Clay on this team. Just for the simple fact Greene was going be our linebacker coach and we needed a future star at linebacker.

Dog Rush One Baby! Dog Rush One!

IronMan's picture

Thats an awesome play. Thanks for posting it.

Oppy's picture

This doesn't have to do with the topic, but I felt this is a great 7 minute video clip on Kevin Greene that Packers fans will LOVE to view. It's posted up on, here's the link:

Really makes you feel the warm and fuzzies, feels like the Packers got a good coach out of a great player.

bomdad's picture

Sacks started to decrease when Ahman came on board. The Dallas game, he crushed a middle blitzer. I think he's rubbed off on both the other two. Oh, and screens are more successful too.

Oppy's picture

Brandon Jackson has been being heralded for his pass protection by McCarthy and Bennett since the start of the season, and that's why he's been relied on to be the 3rd down back whenever he's been available to do so this year. Jackson has been extinguishing blitzes since the preseason. Green burying a blitzer in Dallas has little to do with the improvement in sacks allowed since the 4-4 start. What does have alot to do with the change in sacks is continuity on the offensive line- both in terms of personnel and performance. Plus, the odd thing about the Packers' sack woes is that a high percentage of them came when the opponent wasn't sending a blitz, but rather when a lineman lost a one on one battle during a 3-or-4 man pressure.
I Love the fact that Ahman Green is again/will retire as a Packer, as much as the next guy. But I don't understand how everything under the sun is being credited to the man. I'm sure he's been a positive influence on the running backs, etc and so forth, but by all indications Edgar Bennett has done a wonderful job with his RBs and I think it's kind of a slap in his face when all improvement to this RB corps (not to mention the improvement of the O line) is credited to the arrival of Green. Just my opinion.

CSS's picture

@ Aaron Nagler - Would you consider starting a, 'pre-season item I was wrong about' thread/post?

Me: Completely wrong about Barnett's ability to function in the 3-4 and Completely wrong about Wells ability to maintain a high level of play throughout the season (I thought he would drop weight and gas against the large NT's the schedule presented.)


Steve in Mpls's picture

The redbirds can blitz all day,just like most of the teams we've faced. With three
wideouts, Green or Jackson in the backfield,and Finley to chip and go...kind
of opens the field with a three step drop.
And we all know about yards after catch with our angry running receivers.Everyone
have faith. The PackAttack will prevail.

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