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Packers Prepare To Face Blitz-Heavy Jets

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Packers Prepare To Face Blitz-Heavy Jets

With the New York Jets having an extra week to prepare, the Green Bay Packers offense is expecting their upcoming opponent to throw everything–including the kitchen sink–at them when it comes to the blitz.

"They are coming off a bye week, so we anticipate potentially unscouted looks, especially when you have a high-volume pressure scheme as the Jets do," said head coach Mike McCarthy. "I think that is definitely the norm. But they do a very good job with their pressures and that is going to be a big challenge for us in New York on Sunday."

Under head coach Rex Ryan, the Jets have become one the most blitz-heavy teams in the NFL. A year ago, their defense could do very little wrong, especially against the pass–a direct product of their blitz packages.

Conversely, the Packers a year ago were a pretty darn good offense facing the blitz. Had this match-up occurred in 2009, it would would have been the immovable object vs. the unstoppable force.

According to STATS, the Jets were the best team in the league in blitz situations against the pass last season allowing opponents to complete only 136 of 280 passes (48.6%) for 1,507 yards with 2 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, good for a 54.0 passer rating.

The Jets have had less success with the blitz this season for a variety of reasons. Chief among them, both cornerback Darelle Revis and outside linebacker Calvin Pace have missed time this season with injuries.

But the Packers know they're still dangerous and can still provide a pass rush without so much as the luxury of a moment's notice.

"They run a lot of crazy blitz packages that we need to be able to sort out and identify fast," said offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. "You've only got–what is it?– 25 seconds to kind of get things identified and the play called in, and it's going to be loud and noisy. So we need to be able to do things and really study the tape hard this week and be able to recognize things quick."

Thankfully, for the Packers' sake, they have a quarterback that's thrived against the blitz. A year ago, Aaron Rodgers was the top quarterback in the league in blitz situations completing 125 of 180 passes (69.4%) for 1,699 yards with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, good for a 112.7 passer rating.

In order for him to replicate that success, Rodgers thinks the onus is on his pass protection, whether it be the offensive line or running backs, to protect his back.

"It starts with the guys up front," said Rodgers, "and I hope last week is the beginning of something special, because the way they protected really forced the defense into just abandoning the rush and trying to jump and tip balls.

"That, as a quarterback, that's your best friend there. When I can wake up Monday and Tuesday and have my body feel that good, that's really encouraging from my standpoint."

While not as blitz-happy as the Jets, the Vikings are regarded as having one of the best front sevens in the NFL, and the Packers held them without a sack.

Pass protection this week will be at a premium as Packers receivers anticipate facing man-to-man coverage and will need every available moment to get separation from the Jets' superb corners, Revis and Antonio Cromartie.

'They do want to play a lot of man coverage," said Rodgers. "They have the personnel to play a lot of man coverage. They're a tough, talented defense and it's going to be a big test for us."

McCarthy credits facing the Packers' own defense in practice for what they've been able to accomplish against the blitz.

It certainly hasn't hurt that defensive coordinator Dom Capers has brought his own creative pressure schemes to Green Bay to give the offense plenty for which to prepare.

"We’re like every other team in the league, we practice against pressure and we have an opportunity to train against our own defense that is pressure-oriented," said McCarthy. "So I am sure that has definitely helped us the last two years."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Brett Cristino's picture

Nice write up, enjoyed it. Like you said, blitz-heavy D's aren't a problem for our Offense, the Cover 2 is. Cover 2 limits our ability to ability to hit the big plays, so it really controls our quick strike Offense and hinders us from producing long drives, especially with MM ignoring the running game to chew the clock. Our Offense is an ideal matchup in our favor when playing against a blitz heavy, pressure oriented Defense like the Jets. I think Rodgers can potentially carve up that Defense, should be a lot of YAC yards this week off screens and dump offs to the backs, TEs, and WRs. I really wish we had Finley this week, because he could go off against the Jets D. Could you imagine stretching the Jets D out with multiple receiver sets and making them put Jim Leonhard on Finley? It'd be a nightmare for them.

This game is HUGE for us, because if we can get this W, we're sitting at 5-3 with the Jon Kitna led Cowboys next up at Lambeau right before the bye. Going 6-3 into the bye would be so big, and would put us right back on track as the lead dogs in the NFC. I think the Jets are actually pretty overrated, sure that D is legit but they have their holes on D. They are 24th on D in 3rd down %, according to FO(football outsiders) they really struggle against multiple WR sets and are the 23rd ranked Pass D overall. Here are their numbers...

*So they are 26th in the league against #2 WRs and 30th against "other WRs". So that bodes well for our ability to stretch them out with multiple WR/TE sets.

If we don't turn the ball over, we will win this game. It's as simple as that for me, because their D thrives off of creating turnovers. 27-21 Packers.

NickGBP's picture

Our defense is pressure oriented? Hm.

The Jets pass rush when they only rush 4/5 is average at best from what I've seen. Without Revis being dominant there's a lot of potential for big plays there. I think the success against the Vikes D Line can be a huge boost of confidence for our O Line and for Arod. Hopefully he doesn't get jittery though.

bogmon's picture

The Jets are due for a little reality check.

I could definitely see a focused Packers team suckin' the air out of the Meadowlands.

NickGBP's picture

I hope so. I'll be there!

Josh's picture

This is the start of an epic run for the packers I only see us having one loss (Atlanta) the rest of the year...the return of the short passing game and continuation of sound defense will lead this team to the postseason

bogmon's picture

easy there sport...drink too much that stuff it'll stain yer teeth all red...

If the Packers keep droppin' players every week there won't be a decent team left by the playoffs.

I'm takin' it week by week and just stayin' loyal to the team...
All expectations went out tha window two weeks ago.

PackersRS's picture

Amen to that.
We're in a situation where we can't even have the luxury of one game at a time. We must take one play at a time, be focused every single second, and hope players stop dropping like flies.

Ruppert's picture

Very well written, BC.

We need to look at whatever the Vikings did in the 2nd half against the Jets. They went on a hell of a run right up to the end of the game when Favre gagged. They were moving the ball at will there for a while.

You have to think we'll see a lot of screens, particularly the TE screen. This is going to be a heck of a game. I think we're going to win it.

jeremy's picture

That TE screen or a variation that they ran with Donald Lee against the Vikings might work well. The Packers will likely try to target the area of the flat vacated during the Jets overload blitzes. Hopefully Rodgers can stand tall and fire the ball through the chaos. Having Brandon Jackson's blocking ability available on early downs will help too.

WoodyG's picture

A few comments pulled off a Jets forum ...... Hope the Jets players are also feeling abit over-confident..... The entire thread (many pages) was littered with similar comments.

" Their running game shouldn't be too big of a concern. As long as we can get to Rodgers and hurry his throws, which we should be able to do and protect Sanchez ourselves we should win easily. "

" The offense should look fine against their defense. Deal with Matthews, and winning should be easy. "

" I am not worried about Green Bay. Should be a fun game though, but with Revis and Cromartie, a healthy Pace, and a solid run D, could be a long day for GB. "

Brooklyn81's picture

Josh we can beat Atlanta. I will be at that game so Im hoping we pull out a win unlike when I was at the Redskins game. That loss sucked

MarkinMadison's picture

Flipping to the other side of the ball, I'm actually slightly optimistic. The 3-4 defense was originally created first and foremost as a run-stopping defense. The addition of Green at NT will allow the Packers to spell Raji and to kick Raji out to DE in short yardage situations, adding an extra 65 lbs. over either Montgomery or Wynn. If the LB groups was not so depleted I'd be even more optimistic, but I've been left wondering how the D will look every week for the last month, and so far Capers and Crew have turned in a winnable performance every time. BTW, Green does not show up on the Jets' injury report on ESPN for the last few weeks, but neither does anyone else (except Revis). Whatever else the Jets are, or are not, their injury report looks like a page from a learn-to-read book - "See Spot run."

fish's picture

McCarthys press conference on 10-27, Some nerd asks, "Talk about your success and formula for stopping the blitz", Like McCarthy is actually going to discuss how he stops blitzes. Sometimes these reporters ask the most insane questions.

Brian Carriveau's picture

No one expects McCarthy to give away his game plan. But a reporter doesn't have a story if he doesn't have quotes. McCarthy can speak in general terms, that's his choice and there's nothing wrong with that.

bogmon's picture

Yeah, I think McCarthy can answer that question pretty well without giving out specifics.
Not like he's gonna go into real depth on the tendencies of the Jet's defense, just blitz pickup in general.
Anything he mentions will already be well scouted by the Jets because it's all on the tape anyway.

A dumb question would be " You're down late...It's 4 and long...what are you gonna call?"

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