Packers Vs.Bucs - 3 Plays that make you go Hmmm

Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from Sunday's game against the Saints

After re-watching the Packers game, here are three plays that made me go hmmm, for various reasons.

1) This play became a lightning rod for critics of the Packers' defense, as it appears Pettine went one step further than the hated three-man rush and actually called for a two-man rush, normally reserved for an opposing team's hail mary attempt. Well, there's a lot more to this play than that. First of all, it wasn't a two man rush, it was a blown assignment. Watch the defensive line and you'll see Kingsley Keke and Kenny Clark, lined up next to each other, both drop back into coverage to the same general spot. One of these guys made a big mistake. Since Clark is rarely used in this manner, I'm guessing he got it right and Keke got it wrong. But wait... there's more! Raven Greene is a versatile player and can do a lot of good things as a hybrid S/LB, normally near the line of scrimmage. But tasking him to one-on-one coverage against one of the best WR's in the league? Why???

 

2) There's little doubt Aaron Rodgers was not the same after the second interception. Could one reason have been the hit he took near the end of the play from Shaq Barrett? It was a hard hit, pretty clean, although there's a chance there was some helmet to helmet as well. At this point, Rodgers' body and confidence were equally bruised. He got roughed up by the Bucs and didn't like it at all.

 

3) This is something that goes back to the Capers' days and has continued with Pettine. It's also something most of us have NEVER been able to understand the WHY of it? I'm talking about defensive backs giving big cushions on third down situations, especially third and relatively short. And this brings us to this play. THIRD and TWO. Alexander is seven yards off the LOS. Savage is 10 yards off the LOS. Brady had a choice of either the WR or the running back for an easy first down. As Brady is want to do, he took the safer of the two choices for a super easy third down conversion. The score was 14-10 at the time. If you make any kind of successful effort to prevent the first down, you hold the Bucs to three points and you're feeling ok at 17-10 with six minutes left in the 2nd quarter. Instead, after the Bucs get the first down, three plays later the score is 21-10.

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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Comments (19)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:16 am

"Alexander is seven yards off the LOS. Savage is 10 yards off the LOS."

I recall reading that the Players set their drops. I just have a hard time believing that though. I wonder if Nagler would be interested in specifically asking. Because dropping that low in 3rd and short is just a failure strategy.

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nostradanus's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:44 am

Just an example of coaches outthinking themselves, it happens all the time in the NFL. That’s why sometimes the best defenses in the NFL are the simplest, but you have to have the players to execute those simple schemes and they don’t.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 20, 2020 at 01:05 pm

I agree. A big cushion on the WR’s implies that the defense expects the receivers to go deep and “trick” our defense. It’s a hope that they can make up ground if the ball is thrown short. Also, I can’t see our DB’s ever mugging a receiver at the line. King has done it a couple of times but Alexander relies more on his quicks.

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Razer's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:47 am

This is like 'groundhog day'. The pain of the loss doesn't want to go away and the ghosts of the past hang around. Chronic positional weakness, miscommunication and soft schemes seem to be our heritage.

Thanks Al for using Capers and Pettine in the same sentence and giving me flashbacks to 4th and 26.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 20, 2020 at 03:55 pm

4 and 26 is what got us Dom Capers and a Superbowl. Just saying... (The ghost of Dom Capers. Forever haunting the nightmare of Packer fans :-)

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Tundraboy's picture

October 21, 2020 at 12:22 am

Oh God, your right. Can we please find a Defensive guru to give this D some Identity,an edge and a purpose. One more suited to our heritage. The flashback games must end.

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splitpea1's picture

October 20, 2020 at 11:21 am

There must be a communication problem in #3--the RB is standing right there on the LOS, and no defender is paying attention to him. It's hard to believe he was purposefully unaccounted for.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 21, 2020 at 08:42 am

2. that's for sure. When I saw that play,I said surely without even thinking about Suh or anybody else the team is going to rise up to defend our quarterback more than they did. Would have been worth the penalties to punch Tampa Bay in the mouth at that point and the fact that they didn't opened up the floodgates on Rodgers.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2020 at 11:29 am

2. I do wonder if that hit affected Rodgers. After that play his timing in the offense was off. His throws were off. Everything seemed to change after that play. It obviously wasn't only on Rodgers, but he did appear to be off after that.

3. I will never understand this. Give a player 4-5 yards of cushion. Not 7-10 when its 3rd and 2.
i would love to have someone ask the coaches about this play specifically Why are the players playing 7-10 yards off the ball when its 3rd and 2.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 20, 2020 at 12:08 pm

3. Everybody knows this isn't going to work.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 20, 2020 at 04:13 pm

I asked that same question years ago to Joe Witt? His answer was simple, 3 or 7. At the end of the field coverage boxes are tight, but a blown assignment means a sure touchdown on most plays. In tight games your CB will play press, but if ahead or behind play the percentages. Something else unmentioned. Game officials also have tendencies, teams know them and adjust. Some crews will allow press coverage, others will not. The Packers played mirror most of the game in their coverages, so I'm guessing that the crew was a hands-off one.

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Since'61's picture

October 20, 2020 at 01:45 pm

Al - you picked 3 great examples. You could be right about the hit on Rodgers. I thought maybe the late hit on his non-TD/TD caused a change in his play but maybe it was the hit in your example or a combination of both.

In any case I didn’t understand why MLF kept Rodgers in the game once the score became 38-10. If was unnecessary exposure and a good opportunity to give some snaps to Boyle. On to the Texans. Thanks, Since ‘61

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scullyitsme's picture

October 20, 2020 at 01:51 pm

My 3 things up to this point are that
1, Pettine should be on the hot seat, I think I’ve kinda seen enough. He’s not awful, that’s the best I’ll be able to say about him.

2, Arod just plain had a bad game, he’ll be fine.

3, What happened to all the “I told you so” people from week one and week two that kept patting themselves on the back about how we didn’t need a receiver and anyway rookie receivers suck? Um yeah, not so much. Up till now scheme has made up for lack of talent, sometimes though, wouldn’t it be nice to have both?

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egbertsouse's picture

October 20, 2020 at 05:42 pm

Yeah, I’ve been watching Chase Daniels and that Jefferson kid from Minny sucking for the last couple weeks. I wish our WRs would suck like that. BTW- some CHTV posters need to call Tomlin and Zimmer and tell them it takes 3 years for a WR to make the transition from college to the NFL. I’m alway reading that in the comments here so it must be true.

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PhantomII's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:26 pm

Don't forget Claypool from Steelers. Bigger than Lazard runs 4.42 4- touchdowns the other day. He was my first round consolation at pick #30.

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Guam's picture

October 20, 2020 at 03:53 pm

I guess I am very much in the minority, but I thought the defense played okay with the exception of Jackson subbing for King. The defense only gave up 24 points to the TB offense and at least 7 of that 24 was on Jackson (PI penalty). Further, if someone had told me before the game the Pack would hold the Tampa Bay offense to only 24 points, I would have been calling Las Vegas given our anticipated offensive prowess.

This loss (to me) rests squarely on the offense and and on all parts of the offense. The OL mailed it in, Rodger was off, the WRs and RBs did little and 10 points will win very few NFL games. I think the offensive group needs to do some soul searching this week and develop an attitude.

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Coldworld's picture

October 20, 2020 at 05:53 pm

I look at all these people craving a receiver to fix that game and wonder what on earth they were watching. I look at an O that gave up more than it scored. Outside of Jackson, more than the D gave up and wonder how so many blame the D. Maybe some thought it could carry this team to victory. I did not. It’s there to slow not dominate.

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PhantomII's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:44 pm

The Defense did not cost us the game. Offense did.

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TXCHEESE's picture

October 20, 2020 at 04:31 pm

This was definitely a clunker, but I have a hard time throwing in the towel as some commenters seem to have already done. Very early in the season, and I still think the Packers win the division going away.

Tough way for Clark, Adams and ESB to return to action, but it actually was probably a good thing they got roughed up...should keep them working hard to knock off the rust.

Sometimes you're the hammer, and sometimes you're the nail.

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