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Here We Go Again: Packers Out-Thinking Themselves

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Here We Go Again: Packers Out-Thinking Themselves

When Atari Bigby saw extensive action against the Cowboys, I assumed it was because the Packers were comfortably ahead in a blow-out. It seemed like a great opportunity to get Bigby, who hadn't been active all season, some valuable playing time while getting starting safety Charlie Peprah some rest.

How wrong I was.

Apparently, the plan was to split snaps between Peprah and Bigby all along and that plan will continue tomorrow.

From Bob McGinn:

Against Dallas, Peprah started and played about 21 snaps. Playing his first game after ankle surgery Aug. 6, Bigby replaced Peprah in the fourth series and ended up with about 27 snaps.

The plan against the Vikings is similar: Peprah starts and goes 10 to 12 plays; Bigby enters and goes 10-12 plays; Peprah returns for 10-12; Bigby returns for 10-12 and so forth.


Charlie Peprah is no All-Pro but last I checked he has been playing very good football since Morgan Burnett was lost for the season during the Lions game. In fact, he's been an upgrade from what the rookie was giving the defense. He has provided a consistent physical presence against the run, and outside of the one deep pass play that resulted in a touchdown for the Redskins, he has not proven a liability in coverage.

And the Packers want to screw up his rhythm so they can get Bigby on the field? What on Earth for?

Last I checked, Bigby was shutting it down in a playoff game and chosing to spend the summer pouting about his contract status. And even before that happened its not like Bigby was Ed Reed back there. Far from it, he was the definition of pedestrian.

Yet now the Packers seem hell bent on getting him back on the field. What's worse is Bigby seems to think he's somehow owed the opportunity. When asked if he was OK with not being the starter, his reply was:

I don't know. Let's just see what happens.

Sorry Atari. The correct answer to that question is "I just want to help the team any way I can. After missing all summer due to my Drew-Rosenhaus-induced bout of stupidity, I'm just thankful  to be playing football again."

Or something to that effect.

Look, I'm happy Bigby is back and in the mix. I think he provides good depth at the safety position. But forcing him into the lineup reeks of the Packers out-thinking themselves.

Yet again.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (53) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremy's picture

You just wrote exactly what I think. Peprah's earned his spot. The MM accountability talk is like a submarine, surfacing and submerging whenever it's convenient.

PkrNboro's picture

Agreed ( excellent simile, BTW).

We've seen the double-standard/double-talk before...

Clifton: medical issue
Quarless: needs to get his butt on the field

Aaron Rogders's picture

There is no reason for Peprah to lose any snaps right now... this is ridiculous. His support against the run is huge and is much more aggressive than I have ever seen Bigby play. I would guess Peprah already has more tackles for loss than Bigby from just this year alone so far.

I guess all we can hope for now is that they both play at out of their mind in a attempt to keep the starting job.

JohnRehor's picture

Just when it seems like they have it figured out, this is announced.

One day, one year, McCarthy will get it right for a whole season.

PackersRS's picture

I honestly thought he would never get it right for a full game, but alas, against the Cowboys, it happened.

c.d. angeli's picture

Spot on. Bigby has proven zilch since 2007. I like Peprah who, like Shields, has shown enough promise to prove it.

Nick's picture

Couldn't agree more. I would like to see Bigby in the mix because of his previous physical play but this feels way too rushed. I say if Bigby wants play time, he needs to earn his way back into the mix, not have it given to him.

Chad's picture

Perhaps some more insight as to the Al Harris release.

Would he really have been OK with playing the dime back, or would he be not-so-subtly dissatisfied as Bigby seems to be?

PackerT's picture

Once again Im glad you arent making decisions for the Packers...these are NFL coaches and staff that make these calls. Maybe TT and MM should call you before they do anything with this team....this is the closest Ive seen to ..."trash journalism"!!

briandevil78's picture

”trash journalism”

Since you must be new to the site I will inform you that Mr. Nagler is no journalist. He is a fan just like everyone else here who is giving his point of view as a BLOGGER so if you don’t like it that is fine but please don’t confuse it with anything else then that

PackerAaron's picture

And NFL coaches and staffs have never, ever, made mistakes. Ever. (rollseyes)

greenbowlpacker's picture

Peprah has played very well, much better than most expected....for all the reasons mentioned in this post....but he doesnt seem to have great speed, who's faster in space bigs or pepper? My guess is bigby... i think the packers got it under control... they need to hang with those sucky Bears.

PackerAaron's picture

Sorry, but I disagree. Bigby was almost always a step late last year. And look at the big hit from Peprah that broke up a completion at the end of the Jets game. We hadn't seen that from Bigby since 07. Peprah, right now, is the better player.

Aaron Rogders's picture

Yes, I would definitely bet on Peprah in a race.

SpiderPack's picture

Peprah as it looks, I mostly agree Aaron, especially with regard to disruption of Peprah's "RHYTHM," which is specifically important at this juncture. Lets hope he or esp. Bigby doesn't lose us the game on a big play. HOWEVER, we must remember that a)We have not seen Big in nearly a year, b)We are not at practice nor have we seen him & his attitude when working out, c)He has been injured through a lot of his performances these past 3yrs.

Also, MM can "CAN" Bigby at any point if he fucks up & doesn't perform.

DAWG's picture

I agree-Pep earned it. I can see in a blow out giving Bigs some work (BUT), why stir the pot in the backfield.

Patrick Duprey's picture

Great post as always, Aaron.

In the NFL, you ride what is working. When Tommy Maddox got hurt, the Steelers went with Ben Roethlisberger and never looked back. The NFL is a business; you ride what's working. Few, if any, players are owed the luxury of maintaining their job during leave, regardless of the circumstances.

Bigby was NFC Defensive Player of the Month in December 2007 and was all over the field in the divisional game against Seattle. But what has he done since? Charlie Peprah has stepped in and done in an admirable job, which nobody expected of him. As I said earlier, in the NFL you ride what's working, and right now, Charlie Peprah is working for this team.

JimR_in_DC's picture

AN sez: "Look, I'm happy Bigby is back and in the mix. I think he provides good depth at the safety position. But forcing him into the lineup reeks of the Packers out-thinking themselves.

Yet again."

Yep, this is further evidence (along with his sometimes insane play calling) that convinces me that talk of McCarthy as coach of the year is pure lunacy (or homerism).

Tarynfor 12's picture

Let him get his "highlight shot"and show us he is a "one hit and I'm out wonder" and lose him again and forever.This is the type of player that is always going to play havoc with your starting 45.Send him to Miami.

FITZCORE1252's picture

That's just F'ing stupid. Charlie's been a pleasant surprise... played very well. Since the Arizona game, I don't care if Bigby ever gets the job back.

Like you said, you gotta let these guys AND THEIR TEAMATES get in a rhythm/flow with each-other. Just like Kuhn and Jackson splitting carries... hard to get a good lather built up.


Lords_of_Thelema's picture

I was talking up Peprah back this summer when they first brought him back and everyone was saying he was a scrub. I didn't think he'd light it up like he has, but the dude has always been solid, imo. Only just moreso (like everyone and everything) with Capers.
HOWEVER, there is a perception among veterans that TT and the Packers are generally biased against younger players. This started when TT had to weed out all the old guard players who were more loyal to Favre than the coaching staff. Guys who would go along with Favre changing plays or whatnot, such as William Henderson. Now we see it continuing with guys like Al Harris. There is a reason why Tauscher was asked to stay and travel with the team even though he's IR'd. Clifton getting the nod over Bulaga earlier this year could be another instance of this. To his credit, Cliffy has stepped up to the task. Donald Driver is another upcoming sensitive issue. We have yet to see how that will play out.
So if MM and TT want to practice a little diplomacy, I guess I'm not gonna tweak on it too much. They are more aware of the atmosphere in the locker room than we are, thank god. That's not always the case with GMs and coaches.
If Capers can make Peprah look this good, how good can he make Bigby look? And if Bigby DOESN'T look that good, he can sit down and STFU. Because then it's on HIM, and not TT or MM.

Lords_of_Thelema's picture

Jesus I meant biased FOR younger players, against veterans. This perception was Favre's parting gift to the franchise.

RickyBobby's picture

but isn't peprah only a couple of months younger than bigby?

this has noting to do with age - one way or the other.

Lords_of_Thelema's picture

Not sure but Bigby's moreso the established veteran there.

Nononsense's picture

I do agree that they should pick one guy and stick with him. Peprah has played well and deserves the job right now but you do realize the last time Bigby's ankle was 100% healthy was 2007.

I think they just want to see what he can do now that he is completely healthy(which I assume he is).

I wouldn't call it lunacy per se' but its really not a good idea to mess with whats working. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

JD's picture

With the way Peprah has played and with Burnett coming back next season, I doubt Bigby is even a Packer in 2011. Wouldn't surprise me if Thompson just let Atari walk.

WoodyG's picture

Once again, the lemmings line up to support another fan based opinion .....

Personally, I'll defer to MM on 'really' having an understanding of how to manage a roster ...... Something to do with 'professional' versus 'amateur' ....

PkrNboro's picture

it's just Aaron -- "sewing" the seeds of discontent.

(snicker, snicker...)

PackerAaron's picture

This is such an asinine argument and it gets used all the time - as if every "professional" who ever walked the Earth was above reproach. When a bunch of cops gang up on a defenseless pedestrian in the street and beat him to a bloody pulp. Woody just passes by and says to himself "Well, they're the professionals"

WoodyG's picture

Is that the best you can do? .....

All I said is that I trust MM over the opinion of AN .... Hell, let's throw in Capers & Perry also ...... The three of them have more years (51 total) coaching in the NFL than you do on this planet .....

It's called playing the odds.

PackerAaron's picture

So did Rich Kotite. Rock solid argument there.

fish n chips's picture

wait really? are you really saying you know football better than Rich Kotite?

I mean, i understand in the context of play-calling and clock management. But are you honestly saying that personnel wise you can evaluate a guy's performance better than a former NFL head coach

you're joking right?

PackerAaron's picture

Where on EARTH did I say that? My point with Kotite is that he will go down as having done one of the worst coaching jobs in history - and he was a "professional" while doing it. Was no decision he made worthy of critique? Come on.

Look, I hold no illusions that what I do is comment from a fans perspective. But the notion that just because someone does something for a living or is a "professional" makes them beyond reproach is patently absurd. I give my opinion, SHOCK HORROR!, on MY BLOG. I don't claim to be anything other than a blogger.

But the "you're not an NFL coach so you can't criticize an NFL coach" card is ludicrous.

WoodyG's picture

Actually, to be more serious .... I don't see anything wrong with getting Bigby up to speed at the safety position ...... He's had no TC or pre-season games & playing STs (only) just doesn't do it ..... As well as Peprah has looked, keeping him fresh an entire game may very well mean the difference at the end in a close game .......

"His rhythm ???" ..... This is the NFL ....... Not 'Dancing with the Stars' ...... LOL.

RickyBobby's picture

This is easy.

They let Bigby play so much LAST week because it was a BLOWOUT.

They plan on playing him a bunch THIS week because it's - again - going to be a BLOWOUT.

prediction: rodgers has got to take a couple knees at the end to keep the score under 50.

F the F'n F-queens.

Please obliterate this f'ing ridiculous purple turd of a team right inside their embarrassment of a stadium directly in front of their own quick- to - jump-ship, non-playoff-ticket-buying "fans".



FITZCORE1252's picture

You gotta get your priorities straight dude.

Pack Attack's picture

This is really disappointing news. Ugh.

PkrNboro's picture

I wonder if its more of an effort to evaluate Bigby -- to see if he should be re-signed, or simply jettisoned at the end of the season ?

ZeroTolerance's picture

I've never liked Bigby, especially since his response to a reporter's question was - "hey, I'm the NFC Player of the Month".

Totally agree Aaron. Why is the team's management playing around with him, while taking hard lines versus others?

Ruppert's picture

I guess I am a bit of a Bigby fan to some extent. I think he's pretty good when he's healthy. Of course, we all know he can't stay healthy and that is a huge issue. But if he's really 100%, I don't have a problem with this.

It was a long time ago, but we know Bigby can play very good, as evidence by his DPOM for 12/07. Peprah has never shown that, healthy or not.

It's all about Atari 2600's health.

PackersRS's picture

To anyone who watch tape regularly:
In Peprah's snaps, did he play almost exclusively near the box, with a 10 yard zone? More specifically, did he ever cover deep?

I ask that, because maybe the management doesn't think he can do it, and they have to limit the playbook to use him. So, bringing Bigby up to speed would allow them to once again use the full playbook...

Just an hypothesis...

Norman's picture

I'm sitting here watching the 10/24 Packer-Viking game and Peprah's looking pretty good. While I personally would keep playing him until he shows that he's not up to the task, I do trust MM and DC (hey, I just realized Defensive Coordinator and Dom Capers have the same initials--it's like he was pre-ordained to be here!) to do what's best for the team. But I don't know that I've ever seen a platoon at the safety position before, and in fact, other than at running back (and maybe d-line rotation to keep guys fresh), platoons generally don't work very well in my opinion, too hard to keep the players in the flow of the game.

lebowski's picture

When I read that quote by Atari, I just shook my head. What a moron. You want playing time? Play well and stop the bullshit games in the offseason, and maybe you'll earn it. Seriously, why on earth does this guy think he's entitled???

some guy's picture

wait so Charlie Peprah has had what 4 solid games and now he's a guy who's job is secure? really?

folks, the coaches know very well what Peprah is capable of. he's been here for several years ( was gone for a year) and has been a career backup since entering the NFL. There is a reason he was deemed expendable 2 years ago, there's a reason Atlanta let him go and he was buried on the depth chart this summer. 4 solid games against not so great passing teams doesn't change that.

Let's have some faith in the coaches here. theyve done a great job of managing a number of roster moves.

Peprah has been very solid and come up with some terrific plays lately. he also got roasted deep in Washington for a very big TD. i'm more than happy with his contribution but i'm guessing the coaches are doing the right thing considering the years of reps they've seen from Bigby and Peprah.

Oppy's picture

"There is a reason he was deemed expendable 2 years ago"

To be fair, yes, there was a reason. Peprah was injured and released, and the Packers had verbally told Peprah they were interested in re-signing him to practice squad once his injury settlement passed. But he was picked up by another team's active roster- Atlanta. Business is business.

Yes, he was released by Atlanta. But to the point, insinuating he was released by the Packers due to poor play or lack of talent isn't fair. Their were some health circumstances that forced the Packers hand at the time. Either way, he has played mighty fine football for the Packers so far this year. Assignment sure, and has made a few big plays at key moments in the last few weeks.

some guy's picture

Peprah has been let go 3 times and has never been more than a back up. Insinuating a lack of talent and poor play is completely fair, injuries or no injuries.

The Packers hand wasn't forced. if they deemed him a starting quality safety they never would have let him go. he was deemed a marginal player and hence released. Either way, he's back and its all for the best.

we both agree he has played well this year and has been a major contributor. i just think some long-term perspective is in order.

Nononsense's picture

If they are gonna play both guys anyway then maybe Capers should bust out a package that puts 3 safeties on the field together.

I think its called Okie, 3-3-5 base 2-3-6 Nickel 1-3-7 Dime. Something like that. Bigby basically replaces Zombo as the 11 guy and Hawk moves to ROLB.

I wouldn't mind seeing that against the Vikings a few times, get more speed on the field without sacrificing run support much if at all.

Oppy's picture

Sorry, Aaron.

You should check out Bigby's performances before saying he was pedestrian.

The reason the Packers are trying to "Force" Bigby back onto the field is simple:

Bigby, contrary to popular belief, isn't a one dimensional "big hitter". If that were the case, Peprah would have a lock on the job until Bigby forcibly removed him, as Peprah has played every bit as physical as Bigby ever did thus far.

Bigby has one trait that Peprah has not shown any knack for, and it's one the Packers covet in defensive players.

Bigby is a ball hawk.

Yes, Bigby is a ball hawk. More so than he's a "big hitter". The stats don't lie. Bigby goes after, and gets, the ball.

Look, I'm probably one of the few fans who actually supported the return of Peprah before he hit the field. I'm on record as saying he's shown sound and solid- if not flashy- play in preseason games. I think he's played well enough that Bigby shouldn't just be handed his job back. But the fact of the matter is, Bigby has a knack for creating turn overs and snatching the ball out of the air. And Peprah has shown none of that talent. If both players seem about equal in all other aspects of their game, but one is a ball hawk.... Don't you think that warrants paying considerable attention to that guy?

Anyways, as they say, "These are good problems to have."

PackerAaron's picture

"Bigby has a knack for creating turn overs and snatching the ball out of the air" He DID, yes. Last I checked, he had a knack for being told by Charles Woodson where to be to get an interception.

Oppy's picture

Lol, I don't know exactly what that means, but The PAckers just walloped the Vikings, and I love all packers fans today.

Go Pack Go!!

retiredgrampa's picture

Frankly, I'm happy we now have a choice. It wasn't long ago we didn't have any choice at all. Sure hope we don't go back to that.

PackerAaron's picture

That is a good point,

cole's picture

Both Atari and Peprah will be free agents after this year correct?

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