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TC Takeaways: Adams, Biegel and New Pass Rush Potential

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TC Takeaways: Adams, Biegel and New Pass Rush Potential

While it’s true just a week into training camp that the Packers’ third and fourth 2017 draft selections are nursing injuries, the losses require some context. Neither third round rookie defensive tackle Montravius Adams or fourth round outside linebacker Vince Biegel were likely to be heavily leaned on to start their careers. 
This isn’t so much a silver lining as it is a statement of fact. Though defensive line and edge rusher are areas of speculative concern—the latter most warranted—neither Adams or Biegel should be (or likely were) thought to be linchpins at their respective positions. 
The defensive line and outside backer positions are lighter with the offseason departures of Julius Peppers and Datone Jones, as both spent time as rushers inside and out in the team’s sub-packages in 2016. Add it up and the Packers have to replace 1,132 snaps from a season ago, and those losses trend more heavily damaging to edge rusher as Peppers and Jones only occasionally lined up inside. With Adams’ stress fracture early in camp, the Packers lose important reps for an intriguing, explosive prospect but not likely a player they’d have to depend on for significant snaps early on.
Biegel’s absence is less of a surprise with the health issues nagging since rookie minicamp, which at least leaves the Packers better prepared. 
Most important for Green Bay’s defensive line rotation is the offseason maturation of both Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry. Together they figure to be in line for the most snaps next to stalwart Mike Daniels. Add in free agent acquisition and reliable veteran Ricky Jean Francois and reserves Christian Ringo and Brian Price and the Packers’ D-line depth has the numbers and the potential. 
The margin at outside linebacker is thinner, but the way the team is building the remainder of their front seven and slot defenders could provide a remedy at pass rush … 

Rookie hype for Jones fuels potential pass for rush elixir

Pencil in Josh Jones as the most hyped-up rookie and don’t expect the narrative to retreat anytime soon. 
The uber-athletic defensive back is turning heads so far regardless of where he’s lined up. A few of those early splash plays have come off the edge in blitzing situations, an apt allocation of the 220-pounder’s 4.4 speed. It’s all too early to tell, but it would seem that the Packers are positioning their defense to be an aggressor off the edge in 2017—and the defensive backs are a big part of the equation. 
Morgan Burnett tallied three sacks in 2016, getting home twice more than Datone Jones—who the numbers support was one of the Packers’ most productive rushers. Burnett, Jones and third-year corners Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall should also figure in as blitzers this season. If the continued development of safety Kentrell Brice holds, then defensive coordinator Dom Capers will have extra chess pieces to deploy in getting after the quarterback. 
On a per-snap basis, the Packers were an effective pass-rushing unit a year ago. When they failed to generate a rush, though, the results were disastrous
Speed and versatility are traits that figure into aiding the attack in 2017. 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

pooch's picture

Enough now about the loss of Datone Jones,he was a 1st round bust

flackcatcher's picture

Datone Jones was an vastly underrated player in the front seven. His ability to hold the edge and taking up players freed Nick Perry to press the edge. No one gets to the QB in this league alone. That said, the mental mistakes alone were enough reason for the Packers not to resign him. In this NFL it's pass coverage that call the tune, making combo players like Jones expendable.

porupack's picture

Improving pass rush with base d was nearly as important as improving the CB coverage problems. Whether GB counted on Biegel and Adams to come in and be 'linchpins', GB needs linchpins on the d line besides Daniels. And if they don't get them in free agency....then they have to get them through the draft. So now we're already realizing GB has to go to Plan B, and rely on the blitz to get pressure? Way too many times last year, the d couldn't pressure the QB when it mattered, so I don't care about stats when it comes to my belief that GB has a soft rush and dline, and has to turn to tricks to get it done. So, David, I am more pessimistic after reading this article. I guess you're point is that they weren't the short term linchpins. Oh well. we'll turn our hopes on Lowry and Clark.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I am surprised that you're more pessimistic after reading the article, since my impression is that you're a pretty realistic person. Did you really expect a rookie 3rd round draft pick to make a splash this year at DL? I expected perhaps 150 snaps out of M. Adams this year and hoped for a few flashes. I expected less out of Biegel's rookie season than we got from Fackrell's rookie year. BTW, we are now 11 weeks post surgery for Biegel, and it sounds like he's still a few more weeks away. Perhaps you were overly optimistic about Adams and Biegel. I am pretty optimistic about Jones (my draft crush), and reasonably optimistic about King, and I'm quite confident that House will play at a decent #2 CB level.

porupack's picture

You make fair points. Let me correct my post: not really pessimistic but, less optimistic.
All offseason, many believe we were thin on Dline. Picking up Jean was good for depth, but no one has argued he will be the second "linchpin". Not sure I heard anyone argue it will be Lowry. Most have given up on Guion. So, we all hoped the draft gives us our optimistic scenario; a gem that establishes himself by end of season as a 'linchpin'. Of course I agree with you that it is a low-odds proposition. But afterall, optimism is hoping for the top half of normal. You present a normal expectation, and you'll probably be very right. My optimism has diminished a bit, but their emergence can still happen. Injuries heal.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm one of those rare exceptions who has big expectations for Lowry. I see him as a critical piece in our D-Line rotation, bolstering our pass rush.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Porupack: Very true, but I was surprised by some of the quotes from veterans like RJF who sang praises to Adams' ability to contribute in year one. IDK, but maybe he would have been, and still might be, the exception to the rule about rookie DL. Now they are saying 6 weeks, or about September 11 or so. We play game one on 9/10 and game two on 9/17, so maybe he misses only 1 or 2 games. It will be interesting to see what GB decides to do with him - will they carry him on the roster for those couple of games?

The other reason though is I agree with ALP: I expect big things from Lowry and indeed from Clark. I think the DL has at least adequate talent, and it might be better than adequate.

Tundraboy's picture

Exactly. Except for one game against Minnesota, he was nothing to talk about.

Point Packer's picture

Kung Fu Jones was garbage. Watch the Pack's 2016 playoff run and key in on Jones. He was completely invisible. A first round bust. I don't buy the "disruptive" "held the edge" crap. If he was so good, why did TT let him leave for a relatively cheap deal in MM? Answer: he sucked.

Nick Perry's picture

As it stands now the Packers have injuries to exactly half of the defensive draft picks from this past draft. I didn't expect "Huge" things out of Biegel or Adams their rookie seasons, I did expect them to hopefully be able to contribute at some point this season and more importantly get some experience in the defense. 3rd and 4th round picks surprise all the time in the NFL so it's not completely nuts to have hope they could have too. Biegel still might make it back but Adams quite possibly could be put to IR depending on his progress. Can we ever catch a break???

RCPackerFan's picture

Much like BJ Raji's rookie year Adams sustained an injury very early. Raji really didn't have a great rookie year after his ankle injury. He was much better the following year.
Hopefully if Adams can come back he will be able to factor in later in the year.

Tundraboy's picture

We do catch breaks, stress fractures.

RCPackerFan's picture

Jones sounds like he is the real deal.

His ability to play ILB and S will allow so much flexibility in our defense.
The part that I like about him playing ILB is we now have an 'ILB' running in the 4.4's. He has been said to have perfectly timed blitzes. In real games those could be game changing plays.

I can't wait to see our 4 Safety lineup with Jones and Burnett playing the ILB role, with Clinton-Dix and Brice playing S.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Jones could possibly be our 4th best defender this year, aftet Daniels, Perry, and Clinton-Dix.

He's a human missile on a defense of clydesdales and "technicians."

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