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Packers In Line for Biggest Snap Increase

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Packers In Line for Biggest Snap Increase

Roster turnover is inevitable in this league.  The salary cap has created a league in which teams that draft well and establish talent that is coveted by other teams will ultimately have to make a decision on at least some of their talent.  Players will inevitably move on to lesser squads with more cap space (read: Vikings).  

The Packers are not immune to this by any stretch.  Ted Thompson certainly places an emphasis on keeping his own, but ultimatley it becomes impossible.  Roster construction 1-53 is important and Green Bay has been a remarkable model of consistency during his tenure.

When players leave, it creates opportunities for other players, whether those are new additions or players that have served time lower on Green Bay's depth chart.  I've identified four players and a few dark horses that will see a significant increase in their snaps.

1.  Jayrone Elliot

136 defensive snaps in 2016

This one is pretty obvious and has been discussed in a previous CHTV post.  Elliot is going to be part of the pass rushing depth that the Packers are going to have to dip in to after the departures of Julius Peppers and Datone Jones.  Elliot has proven to be more of a playmaker than a pass rusher in his young career.  His increase in snaps should bare out whether or not Elliot's success in small doses is a flash in the pan, or if he's needed a jump in playing time all along.

Projected role and snap count: Elliot should get the first shot at the second team ROLB position, with the longer Fackrell (we'll get to him in a second) in line to play on the strong side.  Datone Jones played right between five and six hundred snaps.  I think Elliot comes in on the low side of that depending on the development of Vince Biegel.  2nd unit pass rusher: 500 snaps

2.  Kyler Fackrell

161 defensive snaps

Another player from the pass rush piece on CHTV, Fackrell figures to factor in to 2016 in a big way.  After reportedly putting on playing weight in the offseason, Fackrell appears ready for a bigger role.  Fackrell is a player that needs to produce in his first contract.  He'll be 28 years old when his first contract expires and will need to show the Packers right away if he's worth a deal into his 30s.

Projected role and snap count: Fackrell will likely play LOLB in the second unit unless Capers decides to use the lengthy Dean Lowry in that role on early downs.  They'll need to fill that role immediately.  Vince Biegel is more of a ROLB in my opinion and should cut into Elliot's playing time more than Fackrell's.  Fackrell will be a key in keeping Clay Matthews healthy.   2nd unit pass rusher: 550 snaps

3.  Kentrell Brice

261 defensive snaps

It's entirely possible that you'll see a large number of plays this season with only one true linebacker on the field in Jake Ryan.  Green Bay seems to view both Morgan Burnett and second round pick Josh Jones as S/ILB hybrids.  If Burnett and Jones have more permanent positions in the box it will effectively make Brice a starter in the back end with HaHa Clinton-Dix.  I've mentioned before that if the Packers are able to effectively play single high coverages, Brice would be a tremendous younger version of Kam Chancellor.

Projected role and snap count: Brice came on late in the year into more of a full time role in the dime defense, but I believe he'll see more time that we think in nickel (effectively Green Bay's base formation).  If this is accurate, you'll see Brice play more like the ~700 snaps Quinten Rollins played than the 500 you might anticipate.  Sub Package Safety: 700 snaps

4.  Blake Martinez

438 defensive snaps

Word out of the early part of the offseason is that Martinez has taken a big step in the right direction.  Martinez had a promising debut as a rookie but had a rookie season largely marred by lower body injuries.  If Green Bay chooses not to use their S/ILB hybrids in nickel (they will in dime) and roll with Martinez and Ryan. Martinez will see a significant increase in snaps.

Projected role and snap count: not only is Martinez the likely starter alongside fellow young linebacker Jake Ryan, he's likely Ryan's replacement if something should happen to the third year player from Michigan.  According to the Packers roster, there are two inside linebackers on the roster who weigh more than 235 pounds, Ryan and Martinez.  The SILB position is not something for Joe Thomas or any of the safeties to have to do on a long term basis.  Martinez might be more important to the defense's 2017 success than most realize.  Starter: 700 snaps

Dark Horses: Dean Lowry is now a very unique body type in Green Bay.  Not only will he have 5-tech responsibilities in the base defense, but he might be asked to play in some of the spots Green Bay used Julius Peppers in over the course of the last two seasons.  Trevor Davis has a chance to make a second year jump as a deep threat.  Jeff Janis has proven that he's not the answer down the field and Jordy Nelson is going to eventually move to the slot and work the middle of the field.  Ty Montgomery has a somewhat obvious jump from his 392 offensive snaps coming.  He's the starting tailback.  Jason Spriggs definitely doesn't have an obvious path to playing time, but I can't shake the feeling that there's a chance Spriggs is the backup at all four offensive line positions that aren't center.  Maybe not for a game, but if a long term injury struck one of those spots he might be plugged in or at least plugged in at tackle with Bulaga playing guard.  

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

dobber's picture

"Elliot is going to be part of the pass rushing depth that the Packers are going to have to dip in to after the departures of Nick Perry and Datone Jones. "

Nick Perry is gone? Taryn will be so relieved!

Tarynfor12's picture

Actually I'm relieved he is still around as the moans of why he was retained will be music to my ears. Some simply must learn the hard way. Though a play here and there will have hope renewed, his invisibility will forever be the final verdict in regard to Nick Perry. : )

Bearmeat's picture

You are wrong Taryn. 11 sacks don't happen by accident. Nick is a good, not great, player. When healthy. Of course, that's been the problem. If he stays healthy, he has a good year. Better than CM3, I'd guess.

Dave Van Allen's picture

You said: ". . .and roll with Martinez and Ryan Martinez . . ."

Missing a comma? Or are there two guys named Martinez on roster?

Handsback's picture

The article makes a valid point on who's going to see the extra snaps. Injuries make me nervous, Green Bay doesn't have the best track record with keeping their players healthy....have to think depth, depth, depth!

stockholder's picture

For Defense- I like your Dark Horse Lowry. I'm expecting him to make the biggest jump. On Offense I'm taking Randall Cobb.

Ross Uglem's picture

Biegel was mentioned but not as a guy who's going to see an increase of snaps because they all took zero snaps last year. I don't understand what you're getting at.

Ross Uglem's picture

Jones and Burnett (definitely Jones) don't play the same position. Not a depth chart issue.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Ross, I don't understand your comment. If you're suggesting that Burnett and Brice are SS, but Jones is a FS, I by and large agree. I don't think Jones will replace Burnett when Burnett moves to the hybrid ILB/SS position. Under that scenario, since I expect GB to use more SS/ILB hybrid, Brice's snaps go up.

But I can also see Jones simply beating out Burnett as the hybrid SS/ILB. That would mean Burnett doesn't move from SS, and Brice's snaps go down, or perhaps stay the same. If Brice plays 700 snaps, and Burnett and Dix are healthy, I don't see Josh Jones getting much playing time.

dobber's picture

I think Brice will likely garner more than the 260+ snaps he played on defense last year, but remember the walking M*A*S*H* unit the secondary was a year ago asking players to play roles they might not normally play?

It's hard to say just how much more he'll be used given the addition of House, King, and Jones, and given the (fingers crossed) health of Randall and Rollins. The only real loss from later in the season was Hyde. There are a lot more contributors coming in than going out. My expectation is that Brice will remain a key ST contributor, but I don't see him playing a much bigger role in 2017 if the DBs stay--by and large--healthy.

RCPackerFan's picture

"I do think some packages will have 4 Safeties on the field, w/ Jones and Burnett both lining up as ILB or coverage on TE's."

I am actually looking forward to seeing this package being used. I don't know how much we will see it but seeing those 4 Safety's together on the field at once could be an exciting package for this defense. It will give them a lot of versatility and options for what they can do.

Ferrari Driver's picture

The Packers simply don't have the superstars that put the fear into quarterbacks and offensive coordinators these days.

The elite guys like Khali Mack; Von Miller; Brandon Graham; and Joey Bosa are found in the top half of the first round of the area the Packers simply don't get to see when the annual draft comes around.

Additionally, when a team lands one of these guys, they simply don't let them go.

We are forced to be creative to put on a pass rush and cover receivers the best way we can and hope our offense scores enough and holds the ball long enough to mitigate that deficiency.

With a Rodgers behind center, we continue to do pretty darn well.

RCPackerFan's picture

I agree that on offense that Davis could be a dark horse to have his snaps increased. Another one is Janis.
If the light goes on for either player they could bring some much needed speed to the offense.

On Defense I think we will see a big increase in play from Clark, Lowry, Elliott, Fackrell, and Martinez.

Clark was emerging late in the year and looks to take a big step in year 2. Lowry flashed a lot of talent and ability.
Elliott and Fackrell will get more playing time simply due to Peppers and Jones leaving.

Martinez has the ability to be a 3 down ILB for the Packers. If he takes a step he could become the 3 down ILB they have been lacking.

PatrickGB's picture

The best way to beat "light in the pants" ILB's is with a heavy run game. Eddie Lacy type RB's could run right over 200-220lbs "hybrids". The game evolves and responds to matchups. There will always be a role for the Ryan size ILB's.

Bearmeat's picture

Fackrell has looked downright bad this camp. Extremely disappointing - although not unexpected. Elliot has done nothing. Extremely unsurprising.

If 1100 snaps are going to be played by these guys, the defense is in BIG trouble. Coverage should be better and run stopping will probably be fine. But CM3 and Perry HAVE to stay healthy for this defense to be average. Period.

Chino's picture

Pack signs Quinton Dial

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