Will the Run Defense Be Any Better in 2020?

After what happened at the end of last season, have the Packers done enough to not have a repeat in 2020?

May is almost over and the Green Bay Packers run defense isn’t any better since they surrendered 285 yards on the ground to the San Francisco 49ers in last season’s NFC Championship game. It was arguably the team’s biggest weakness last year, but the team appears to be ok with not doing much about it.

In 2019, the defense looked better than it had in previous years, however, their ability to stop the run remained a huge problem. Green Bay finished 23rd in defending the run and allowed 15 rushing touchdowns, which was 22nd in the league.

For the most part, the Packers were able to get by despite a shoddy run defense last year. In week four, it appeared the Philadelphia Eagles found a blueprint to defeat Green Bay as their offensive line bullied the Packers’ front on the way to 176 yards rushing. Thus, handing them their first loss of the regular in the process. Ultimately, the 49ers executed the Eagles’ blueprint to a T to end Green Bay’s season.

After that game, everyone knew the Packers had to get tougher if they wanted to beat San Francisco in the future. It's hard to argue against the possibility if they added a more well-rounded linebacker to replace Blake Martinez and another playmaker to play alongside Kenny Clark. Fast forward five months and the Packers may think they have accomplished these tasks, however, it’s hard to get excited at the moment.

Green Bay signed a cheaper option in Christian Kirksey via free agency to replace Martinez. Despite being one of the most efficient run defending linebackers in the NFL, the team believed Martinez fell short of the requirements for a second contract.

On top of being the inexpensive choice, Kirksey is more athletic and an upgrade as a coverage linebacker. However, with all the things Kirksey does well, he doesn’t do much to improve the run defense. His production as a run-stuffing tackler is inferior to that of Martinez in recent years. Also, while Martinez’s best fit is as a mike linebacker, Kirksey fits best as a will linebacker who uses speed to make plays from the weakside. Of course, whatever role the Packers have planned for Kirksey next season remains unknown.

They did add a little help by drafting bruiser linebacker in Kamal Martin during the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Martin is a strong prospect that could one day anchor a defense, but that is asking too much for his rookie season.

To bolster the defensive line and hopefully take some of the load off of Clark's shoulders, Green Bay didn’t utilize the draft all. Instead, they signed a couple of lower-tiered players that were available in Gerald Willis and Treyvon Hester.

While it is certainly possible Willis and Hester can provide meaningful snaps in 2020, it is also plausible that neither is a part of next season’s team at all. Then the Packers are back to square one relying on jumps from Montravious Adams, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster, and Dean Lowry.

Green Bay’s top brass must have a different vision for how next year’s run defense will look because to the naked eye it looks like they haven’t done nearly enough as far as player acquisition to correct the wrongs of last season.

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

NFL Categories: 
8 points

Comments (89)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lare's picture

May 18, 2020 at 06:31 am

On paper it doesn't look like the Packers did anything to improve the run defense. Opposing teams will just run the ball until the Packers show they can stop it. If they can't, every week will look like a repeat of the 49ers game.

+ REPLY
6 points
9
3
D.D.Driver's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:23 pm

But the games won't be played on paper. They will be played in empty stadiums with crowd noise pumped in for dramatic effect.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 04:20 pm

They can't play them all in Detroit...

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
CoachDino's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:48 pm

outloud laugh!! Thanks

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
gkarl's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:21 am

On the surface it does appear very little has been done. DL and LB upgrades have been areas of concern from most fans and very little was done through the draft and FA in that regard.

Personally I was hoping for DL help. If you can't keep opposing OL off your LB its hard for them to make tackles. Seemed like LY it was way to easy for OL to get to the second level against us.

Still I'm hopeful. It's not like we don't have any talent in the front 7. LY the main focus was getting after the QB. If the scheme/priority changes to stopping the run a little more TY I think the Smith's, Kenny, Gary and the boys can get the job done. You get what you focus on, given talent, and I we have the talent to stop the run it just wasn't the priority LY.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:29 am

Yep, on paper it doesn’t look much better however;

*the Packers were terrible controlling the ball on offense last season which meant the defense was on the field A Lot! MLF is committed to changing that with a more run heavy/play action scheme moving forward.

*Pettine’s defense is about penetrating and disrupting which they were good at. Affecting the QB into turnovers and sacks which in today’s NFL will win you more games than lose if your offense can capitalize.

*There wasn’t a linebacker or d lineman at #30 that was going to fix the issue, developing the players they have is the key. Keke, Adams, Lowery, Clark, Lancaster in the DL, Kirksey, Martin, Burks, at ILB these are solid guys who still are developing and hopefully take another step forward in 2020.

*The Packers have chosen to put their resources into CB, OLB and Safety which they are extremely talented at and in today’s NFL that will usually get you where you need to be. It’s hard to have it all in the NFL especially when you are paying your QB big Money, you have to pick your poison so to speak.

*There is still time for the Packers to sign a “fat boy” in the middle like snacks Harrison or a two down run thumping ILB like they did last season with Goodson to appease the non-believers but we all know that isn’t going to fix anything and they would have to cut a couple of promising young and cheaper players that might develop into great players if the team would have just stayed the course.

*Patience lads, it’ll be OK

That is all...

+ REPLY
15 points
19
4
murf7777's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:53 am

“*The Packers have chosen to put their resources into CB, OLB and Safety which they are extremely talented at and in today’s NFL that will usually get you where you need to be. “

Great comment! too many here think you can Excell at every aspect of the game and you fail when you cannot. The SC, especially with a seasoned QB, won’t allow that. Have to fix the sieve, but stopping the pass and creating turnovers is key IMO. BTW, that theory with a first year O and 2nd year D with many new starters got us to the NFC Championship game, albeit they of course were lucky to get there~~~.

+ REPLY
3 points
5
2
13TimeChamps's picture

May 18, 2020 at 09:15 am

Just curious as to why you think they were "lucky to get there"?
They won 13 games, as well as a tough Seattle team in the playoffs.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:40 pm

The Packers won an inordinate number of one score games (8 pts or less) last year. Well above the norm. Chances are that will return to the norm this season. Which translates to more losses. By most metrics the Packer last year should have been a 9 or 10 win team, not a 13 win team.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:28 pm

And yet, I’ve always believed that winning close games....like the Ice Bowl....was a hallmark of a good team.

The Patriots haven’t returned to the norm for 20 years. How come we have to return after one year?

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:14 pm

Yeah it can be. But it can also go by luck. How many years did the Packers have bad luck w/ injuries? They had almost None last year. A great QB can also be the difference in winning close games. But going by the difference of pts score and pts against, they were not a 13 win team last year. If you want to ignore it, go ahead, you seem to like doing that anyways.

+ REPLY
-4 points
0
4
Packers0808's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:42 pm

They won 13 games but they didn't? Personell or not they won 13 games no getting around it no matter how much you so called knowledge says no!

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 04:23 pm

Every single team, every year, has some games that could go either way. However you'd like to parse it, the Packers were the second best team in the NFC.

Undefeated in the division. One of the top teams in the red zone, one of the best in turnover differential.

As to injuries, most were too busy discussing who our #8 WR should be to discuss the training protocols that were instituted last season with the stated goal of injury reduction. Is there a chance that worked at all?

Good teams get lucky. I've observed that in many sports at many levels over decades. And they overcome bad luck.

I'm not ignoring anything. If point differential means something to you, fine; it doesn't mean much to me.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:22 pm

All you need is a point differential of +19 to be undefeated SB champs.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
CoachDino's picture

May 19, 2020 at 08:03 pm

I never cared for the downgrading value of wins. It is the ultimate measuring stick for a season. I also think we are way too quick to dismiss points made such as the value of winning close games, winning games maybe you shouldn't have, limiting errors so to require teams to beat you instead of a team beating it self. All great attributes of a winning organization.
That said - - There is no doubt the Packers had breaks go their way (it's about Time!!!) Injuries are huge. Packers had limited injuries but keep in mind they handled the ones they did so well that we forget. Raven Greene, Lane Taylor, OT missing games/snaps. Some DB injuries and not to mention Devante.
There's one guy who didn't get hurt or banged up to bad - that;s AR who by far is the most important. That alone is a positive break
Played teams missing players - happens all the time but the Packers had a few and did take advantage.
Controversial calls. They went to the Packers this year after years of being on the other side.
Also missed was the true value of ARs season. He did what he needed to in order to give this team the best chance to win. No turnovers!!!
I would like to see another year like last year when it comes to these points, every year. It's not like other teams don't have the same things go for or against them.
So ya - I do expect the record to drop (they also play a much tougher schedule after winning the division. That's not luck or bad luck it is the consequence of success).
The only spot the team didn't either gain or stay the same as far as talent is a RT.
So I look forward to another competitive season and hope for the best when it comes to the uncontrollable. The team is talented and improved on paper so it should be interesting.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
murf7777's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:36 pm

I was being sarcastic which is why I put ~

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

May 18, 2020 at 09:08 am

Excellent post Nostradamus. This article was evidently written with the glass half empty.

For me the key line was describing Martinez as one of the most efficient run stopping ILBs in the NFL. I think it is now pretty clear that the Packers disagree strongly on that point, at least in this system.

Fans have been arguing about Martinez for a while. For me he provided the answer ( I had been in his camp) when he talked about his discomfort with being asked to read and fill gaps. That is the system we play. That discomfort and resulting delay in filling holes is a major negative.

Kirksey is no bottom feeder. Health aside he performed very well in exactly this kind of system. Adding a competent player that fits could make us more effective alone. If he stays healthy, we likely improved just for that reason.

I would have liked more. Though I do have high hopes for Martin, as a rookie he will take time. As to the line, the signings include at least one high upside who dropped for possibly resolved personal issues, but the key characteristic is that they are lighter and mostly primarily penetrative types.

That is the head scratcher. I can only assume that either some roles and body mass are changing or that I and others do not see what Pettine wants to do. When there is a pattern so clearly established, no point ignoring it just because one does not know what it means.

Gute has recruited Players through non draft avenues as a central part of his roster building. Lazard, Sullivan, Redmond come to mind. It would be very surprising if that doesn’t continue into this season. It may well be that DL is one beneficiary: where he thinks greater talent will be available to add. That would not be unusual in that role. It could be that he knows Lancaster was hampered or other player developments. I see this as an area open to flux and Pettine’s strategy as yet to become clear.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:00 am

Don’t sleep on DL Gerald Willis III, that kid has some serious talent If harnessed and developed properly.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
greengold's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:08 pm

Man, this is so well said, Coldworld.

There are a ton of circumstances at play that many of us fans are unaware of in terms of how a player may or may not be developing. I really like our DL coach, Jerry Montgomery, who was handed the reigns only last year after Trgovac left, but has been with the DL staff for 5 years, and helped to make Kenny Clark who he is today.

Pettine's not going to show his hand until the games start. I suspect they've been very direct is acquiring talent that meets their specific needs at every position on this team. That goes for ILB and DL too. They've added speed as a premium, as well as diverse skill sets. Both ILBs added show themselves to be quite good at BOTH run stop and in coverage. Same with the DL added in Willis and Horton, along with Keke entering his 2nd season. All 3 players are proficient at both rushing the passer AND stopping the run. They are well rounded players.

Again, we'll all just have to wait and see how they develop in Mike Pettine's Year 3.

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:45 pm

The Packers let Martinez leave because of his deficiencies in pass D, not because he wasn't a good run D player! Martinez is actually a really good run stuffing ILB, he was terrible in pass D. Do you really watch and follow the Packers?! This is pretty common knowledge.

+ REPLY
-3 points
2
5
Jbesh@catt.com's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:43 pm

I disagree with the statement -There wasn’t a linebacker or d lineman at #30 that was going to fix the issue

ok, maybe at 30. but we moved up and could have drafted Queen or Brooks.
And, I believe Gay in 2nd round would have helped as well.

+ REPLY
-3 points
0
3
nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:09 pm

Help maybe fix no

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:17 pm

The run D is NOT a personnel issue! Its abouth the scheme! No one player (save Reggie White maybe) is going to make the Packers appreciably better at both run D and Pass D! Its about the scheme Pettine likes to run. Pressure QB at all costs, including run D!

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Tundraboy's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:42 pm

Excellent points. Nostrodamus. Made me think as well that after last year's end it almost has to light the fire in a lot of these players. And that will help with the bringing the talent along. Still another big heavy load on the line wouldn't hurt.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
GBPDAN1's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:43 am

I can't believe BG did nothing to fix this problem. I almost threw up watching our D getting pushed around and completely run over in the NFC championship game. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in Packers history. 280 or so yards rushing .....completely pathetic. They got man handled so bad the niners hardly threw the ball

And to anyone who's going to try and make a statement that it was a good year and I'm just whining and being negative, go read some Vince Lombardi books . Coach Lombardi wouldn't see anything but failure and the will of lesser men being pulverized by the will of greater men. In the biggest game of the year, our defense was exposed the most. Nobody on D stepped up to fight back

It all starts with some more beef up front, which was ignored

+ REPLY
5 points
9
4
murf7777's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:59 am

Come on Dan, Lombardi, as great as he was, didn’t have to deal with the salary cap, its apple vs oranges. I won’t disagree with need more beef and hopefully they will get better!

+ REPLY
-2 points
2
4
GBPDAN1's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:08 am

The point I was making is our run D is not good and BG did nothing to shore it up even after watching his team get steamrolled in a championship game.

When I brought up this horrible performance in the past, others on this forum commented that I was to harsh and that I should just be happy that the Packers went 13-3 last year. Well, I am happy they went 13-3, but getting shredded when it counted most was unacceptable. It wasn't even a contest. This is why I bring up Lombardi and his standards to those who lean on the 'I should just be happy about 13-3'

+ REPLY
1 points
5.5
4.5
fordguy's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:02 pm

It's crazy how when players are asked about the season they always say that anything other then a SB victory is a failure. But if a fan uses the same mindset we're called haters and should be happy that they made the playoffs.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
Tarynfor12's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:27 pm

Been getting hated on for this exact sentiment for years here. If the goal is the SB, anything less is a failed season. The problem is too many think this discounts team improvements, it doesn't, The goal is never the Division or wildcard, it's the SB or bust, period. It's just that each year, the possibility of that SB may change but the goal remains the same regardless.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
AmericanJackal's picture

May 18, 2020 at 05:34 pm

Preach it sister

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since91's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:22 am

Beef is great but not everything!
Mindset is more important
In the last game there was a lot of quit as the game progressed
We were soft that night! Mindset...You have to want to do it!

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
GBPDAN1's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Exactly

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:25 pm

In the last game, the memory of the prior meeting still weighed heavily on their minds, and the quit wasn't that they didn't want it, but the reality that they couldn't do it, and begs the question of the players and coaches being able to erase that failing going forward. The 13-3 record alone will not erase that, as many here seem to have fallen back on to be the blindfold of denial.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:23 pm

Yeah, but at some point, having a guy 50 or 60 pounds heavier slamming into you over and over diminishes a person’s resolve. I’ve seen it. I’ve caused it.

Looking at the defense that the Vikings will probably put on the field in the opener. They’re kind of tiny compared to the guys we’re lining up on offense. We’re going to run right over them, IMO.

+ REPLY
3 points
3.5
0.5
scoonie_penn's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:53 am

After seeing what was done in the draft and what has transpired during FA, it's apparent (to me) that MLF and Gute don't believe GB is as close to winning a SB as most fans think. The draft felt like the start of a rebuild and transition to a different type of offense. The obvious ignoring of the DL and LB positions in the draft also leave a lot of question marks. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

+ REPLY
-2 points
4
6
Duneslick's picture

May 18, 2020 at 11:48 am

They are not close to wining a SB. After the draft they are reforming their offense which re evaluates offensive personnel and takes a step back before implemented

+ REPLY
-3 points
0.5
3.5
Slim11's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:35 pm

I think the defense is closer than we realize. Forgotten in the LB discussion is Curtis Bolton. He was showing some potential during the 19 preseason. Burks is a piece of the puzzle but I'm not expecting much from him.

Pettine expected Montravious Adams to show up last season and he didn't. I hope they aren't expecting much from M. Adams this season. The two free-agent Dl signed can provide depth. I don't expect much from them.

If the plan going into 2020 is remaking the offense to spend more time on the field, then I can expect the defense to improve by having fresher legs and not being gassed in the middle of the third quarter on.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Lphill's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:52 am

It will be all up to Oren Burks God help us, every game will make an unknown running back look like Gale Sayers.

+ REPLY
-5 points
5
10
stockholder's picture

May 18, 2020 at 08:03 am

Green Bay’s top brass must have a different vision. What a great statement! Thats exactly why I question Gutey now. His Intentions No longer match -up to the Teams current weaknesses. His strategy doesn't look right to me. What happen to winning in the Trench? Getting early extensions done. Finding the missing pieces. The Crystal Ball is shattered. How can you draft the future, when your Inside Lbs have been TERRIBLE. This Team Needed them when Gutey took over. And he continues to avoid this DL, with No replacement for Daniels. If the vision is to waste #12, they've succeeded. If they want to run the ball Fine. Changing the image from just passing works. But Defense wins championships. Pettine isn't a miracle worker. The "Bend and Don't Break" will sooner or later, be unfixable. So whats the vision? Padding their pockets. I now question if this franchise is safe? The real deal needs to show up in Green Bay. Where winning came first.

+ REPLY
-6 points
5
11
Packerpasty's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:13 am

Kool aid drinkers don't like this post I see..but it makes a lot of sense...time will tell...

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
stockholder's picture

May 18, 2020 at 11:41 am

The Kool - aid drinkers don't like anything negative. It's been more buddy system since the draft. They believe the lies and the best way to ignore the truth is to down it.

+ REPLY
-2 points
3
5
fordguy's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:20 pm

I'm almost beginning to think they're not going to extend Clarke. Guessing his price range to be 17-20 mil. a year. Is a IDL worth as much as a starting LT? I don't think they can afford both and even then is Clarke worth 20 mil. a year versus getting 2 IDL at 10 mil each in free agency?

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:24 pm

OH, YEAAAAAHHHH!!!!

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
mnbadger's picture

May 18, 2020 at 09:02 am

I have to believe there will be something of a scheme change. Maybe more gap discipline at LOS? If roster doesn't improve, scheme or technique have to or we destined for some embarrassingly painful beatings.

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:11 am

I'm not the first to say it, but having a deficiency and other teams exploiting it enough to beat you are two very different things. That said, the Packers rode the razor's edge in 2019...enough so that several games could have turned against them fairly easily.

It seems that the answer from the front office (and that seems to be agreed upon in the fan base) is a more efficient offense...while this might not mean more big plays, it might mean sustained drives that result in 7s and that tend to wear on defenses. Keeping in mind the Packers were very good in TOP in 2019 and in points scored per possession, there's not a huge amount of room to move up. In the end, though, playing with a lead tends to limit what offensive coordinators will call against you. It's hard to keep running the ball when you're down two scores. Certainly the player moves this offseason argue that they're hoping to score more and only defend half an opponent's playbook.

+ REPLY
5 points
5.5
0.5
PhantomII's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:19 pm

We had A LOT of 3 and outs last year. GB was very shaky on many occasions. 1/2 the 3/O's would be a good start. Play calling from a green coach didn't help. Having Dillon if healthy for a full year will make a better conversion rate, along with Graham gone will help the TE group improve. These offensive improvements will rest the defense a little more so they are fresher. Maybe that's what Gute saw. Tired DL play. I see tired DL play and need for fresh talent.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:03 am

It all begins and ends with studs on the DL. The Packers have one...singular...and some developmental players/complementary pieces. I think the player the Packers really needed in this draft was Javon Kinlaw--a multi-purpose 5-tech bully--but he was out of reach and, of course, was picked by SF. I say Kinlaw because a true run-down widebody didn't seem to be on Gute's radar, either in the draft, FA, or UDFA.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
gkarl's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:43 am

I think DL is the issue as well, unfortunately recent draft capital spent on D went to other positions of need. Kinlaw probably was the player most suited to the scheme. hate to see him in SF. That leaves us hanging our hats on development or late signing FA's. Certainly a gamble no matter how you look at it.

How about this.

Being as GB is the smallest city in the NFL you would think Roger would grant us several competitive balance first rounders each year! That way could address all our needs. I think all would agree. Let's start a petition. LOL.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:11 pm

Haha I’m in :)

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PhantomII's picture

May 19, 2020 at 01:45 pm

Heres another way. If a team does not have a winning season at least once every 5 years they have their franchise pulled and sold to somebody that wants it to win. That way they would not be getting top tier talent and ruining their careers and motivation stuck on a crap team. It would give all teams incentive to produce winning teams.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ricky's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:04 am

The definition of insanity is doing the something that doesn't work repeatedly, hoping for a better outcome. So, the Packers should have more sustained drives to keep the defense off the field? Good idea. Until the defense can't stop the run, and the other team sustains drives to score also. Maybe Adams or Keke will have breakout years. And maybe the other DL men will suddenly stand stout against the run. Or perhaps the new additions will prove to be game changers. What is puzzling is the team seemed to address future needs in the draft while ignoring any present concerns on either side of the ball. Will it work? It's early, so I'll try to remain optimistic. But this strategy doesn't bode well. Maybe if they're getting gouged by run after two or three weeks, they'll add a run stuffing DL, like they did when they added Grady Jackson many years ago. Or Ryan Pickett. Or, of course, the great Gilbert Brown. Anyone for a Snacks?

+ REPLY
8 points
8
0
Packerpasty's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:15 am

hope for Keke perhaps but Adams breaking out...hahaha...

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 02:31 pm

Keke has possibilities. As for Adams - the only breakout for him is a new injury - in time for the regular season (and guaranteed salary).

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:15 am

Remember the Packers picked up Howard Green midseason in 2010 to help support their defense...a run-down NT who didn't see a huge number of snaps but filled a very specific role. Those guys will be out there to be had, but they were available last season, too. BG didn't bite.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Lphill's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:50 am

Michael Pierce was available at a bargin price .

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
Since91's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:16 am

Can anyone name the Chiefs front 7 without googling it!? They beat the vaunted frisco boys!

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 02:37 pm

I can't name 7 - how about Buck Buchanan, Curley Culp, Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier. Close?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:26 pm

The Chiefs D improved alot when they got Chris Jones back from injury late in the year. But they beat Frisco w/ offense, not Defense.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Handsback's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:44 am

Green Bay's pass defense is built to be far superior than it's run defense. You don't have two down linemen and expect to stop the run, it's too stop the pass.
As stated better than I, there wasn't a player at 30 who could provide Kenny Clark performance, besides if your looking at QB, you take one when you can. The rounds 2-3 were also around skill positions, so the draft isn't providing relief from running offenses.
FA brought in a new ILB that looks to make a difference at least in coverage and two new DLine guys that have the ability to stop the run and pass rush a little.
So here is what I think, one the scheme has to change somehow. Bring a safety down when you have a 2-man line and make the other safety play single high. Second, expect improvement in healthier players (Adams in particular) new arrivals. Last is wait. There will be a lot of players released that can stop the run and better selection verses what they have on the current roster.
The Packer's can't afford FA spending like last year to fix anything. They have to take what they have and do better with it. Sort of making chicken salad out of chicken poop.

All of this said, if one-on-one blocking is pushing your player off the LOS....better look at why. Injury or LOFT, either one is a serious enough reason to replace them.

+ REPLY
4 points
8
4
PhantomII's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:33 pm

You're right the DL player they needed nor the WR they need was there at #30. Gute didn't move any OL members to free up money in the off season so he could address the DL by free agency. There were no worthy WR's available. Gute did not do what he had to and concentrate on a premier WR top 15-20 by moving up Nor the very best RB in the draft. Or even doubling down and DL free agency and moving up same scenario as WR for premium DL pick.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
greenandgoldguy's picture

May 18, 2020 at 11:10 am

All I know is they have a bunch of powder puffs on the D line and they embarrassed themselves in the Championship game. Get rid of mamma's boys like Lowery and Lancaster and put some mean MF's out there. This team will get their ass handed to them again unless something changes. Pettine's a bum too, throw his ass out of there as well!

+ REPLY
0 points
6
6
greengold's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:13 pm

There you go, Since. Great point.

Brandon, your article makes some sweeping assumptions, ones that I do not agree with. Straight out of the gate, too. How do you know that GB's run defense isn't any better since losing to SF in the NFCC game?

Blake Martinez was one of the most efficient run defending LBs in the NFL? Really? I mean, there has to be 10 or more ILBs who had more TFL and a lower Missed Tackle% than Martinez last season, who had just 5 TFL and a 10.4% miss percentage. Really! C'mon. Cory Littleton had just a 4% Missed Tackles% plus more TFL, and he's not even a run stop specialist.

Have you ever heard of addition through subtraction? Blake Martinez couldn't get off of a block to save his life, and you would know that if you did some film study. Also, his tackles numbers are highly inflated, as most were made well after the opposition had already won the play, gaining positive yards. If you are going to boast about efficiency, maybe look into who the truly "efficient" players are at the position.

Christian Kirksey's run stuffing ability is inferior to that of Martinez's in recent years? WOW. That's a stretch, considering Kirksey was injured most of his 2 seasons prior to signing with GB.

Yeah, we DID add a mauler ILB with both SIZE and SPEED in the draft, Kamal Martin, who is proficient in both run stop and in coverage. That can't be any kind of help, essentially because he's a rookie, according to your logic...

Willis and Hester signings clearly have no value to you because they are, in your words, "lower tiered" players. No mention that Willis was a highly touted Day 2 projection in last year's draft. No mention of the development of Kingsley Keke, nor the continued development of Lowry & Lancaster. I guess nobody from this group could possibly improve... and, we don't develop players with the new coaching staff on board...???? Just because Mike McCarthy failed to develop talent in many areas during his tenure as HC doesn't mean Matt LaFleur and his staff will fail to do so.

WOW.

Hey, I wanted a splash player added to back up Clark, and another alongside him from FA and/or this past draft as much as the next Packers fan. Gutekunst added who he did the day prior to the draft, knowing he still opportunities to add to the position after roster cuts to 53 and via trade. Maybe when Love, a franchise QB in their eyes, fell within reach, Gutekunst's plans changed. Is he not entitled to that? Exercising that judgement for the better of his team? He's not done, but, you seem to consider us so. That's unfortunate and shortsighted, Brandon.

Not trying to bust your balls on this, but a look into what Christian Kirksey did while Pettine was his DC in CLE might have been a bit more enlightening and comprehensive? More akin to what we might expect from him in this defense? A little longer look at the run stop abilities of the two DL Gutekunst added in Willis and Hester, or expounding on what another year of development for Keke might do to help in year 2 as opposed to writing them all off completely. No?

+ REPLY
0 points
6
6
dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:30 pm

"No mention that Willis was a highly touted Day 2 projection in last year's draft. "

Willis has been cut three times in his one-year career. Twice by a 5-11 team, and one of those times with 90 roster spots to use. Maybe that will wake him up, but you'll forgive me for not expecting much.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
jannes bjornson's picture

May 18, 2020 at 08:25 pm

He may not ever wake up?

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
greengold's picture

May 19, 2020 at 03:52 pm

Uh, Gilbert Brown was cut too... and he was a 3rd Round pick, right where Willis was projected. I'm certainly not asking you or anyone to expect too much, dobber. Just keeping an open mind with Gutekunst's player procurement. He employs every freaking avenue at his disposal.

Gerald Willis is not a perfect player. Not saying he is. From everything I've read on him he has his flaws:
1 - plays with a high pad level.
2 - because of that he struggles to get off of double teams and is more of a 1-gap 3 tech.
3 - lacks length affecting his ability to extend/leverage.

Most of that stuff can be coached up, as all 3 problem areas stem from occasionally playing too high out of his stance.

He also has some very positive traits:
1 - exceptional hand technique
2 - multiple moves that are well honed: sweep, swim, rip, club, bull
3 - good feet in the "dancing bear" category
4 - good first step
5 - good agility to recover and mirror ball carriers.
6 - high motor destroyer
7 - solid tackler
8 - good gap penetration

As a Senior at Miami in 2018 he had 59 total tackles, 34 solo, 4 sacks, 18 TFL 2 PD and 1 FR. Pretty solid production.

29 teams passed on signing him the day prior to the draft for next to nothing... not the Packers. I'm sure some were still shying away from conflicts he had with staff as a Freshman at Florida. He took a year off of play and people at Miami raved about his turnaround/leadership/work ethic. We'll see what Willis brings to the table.

Just because Gutekunst was shopping out of bargain bins this offseason, doesn't necessarily mean it's all garbage. One man's junk is another man's treasure. Like, Gilbert Brown.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:57 pm

Talking about the run defense is about as enjoyable as rubbing sandpaper on an exposed nerve - it is the team's weakest link (aside from ILB). Really there is only one bona fide starter - Kenny Clark - but he was double-teamed more than any other D-lineman in the NFL. The rest of the starters, Lowry and Lancaster, are just good depth players. Lowry in particular was underwhelming last year (and if someone again parrots that he is a "solid" player - I'll be putting my foot through the front screen door). For 7m/yr. we should see more performance from a "solid" player. As for Montravious Adams, his season begins and ends with the pre-season - then he just puts up his feet and monitors his pay deposits. It's not like management is unaware of this structural weakness as evidenced by Gutie's visits to the Dollar Store - picking up Willis and Hester. If there is any hope for better D-line play - someone like Keke has to supplant Lancaster/Lowry, Lowry has to play to contract and someone has to help take the double team off K.C. Also, scheme-wise, it would probably help if you have more than 2 linemen with their hands in the dirt. However, all things considered, perhaps the best chance for an improved run defense - is to have a ground-control and time possession offence.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
greengold's picture

May 18, 2020 at 11:54 am

Yeah, Alberta_Packer. As fans, we're all pretty aware of the qualities that made the players Gutekunst added, "value" signings. He essentially had to go that value route, and take his best chances with informed choices.

There are a ton of "unknown" quantities at play in the Packers improvement or lack thereof in stopping the run. Saying with certainty it is one way or the other, improved or not improved is pointless at this stage.

All I know is I understand the circumstances Gutekunst faced to improve run D, and the set of limitations he had to work around in order to address that in a positive manner. Thus far, he's earned my trust, and maybe what he's done will work. We'll just have to see.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:11 pm

I think what made Gutekunst change tack goes all the way back to the loss of the 4th round draft pick. Had the Packers been able to retain the pick - they would have their choice of the premier run-stuffer interior linemen - like Hamilton and Fotu - and probably still be able to pick Deguara in the 4th. However, I'm not critical of Gutekunst giving up a 4th - for a potential franchise QB. But draft luck was minimal this year for the Packers. As a result, he has acted accordingly.

+ REPLY
-1 points
2
3
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Lowry is a solid player! And the run D isn't a matter of needing better personnel. Its more a matter of the scheme. You probably wanted Capers and his 2 gap D fired long ago. Pettine has a one gap scheme but he emphasizes pressure on the QB over gap discipline. You want better run D its going to come at the cost of pressure on the QB. Make up your mind which you want. Cuz unless Reggie White falls in our laps, you can't have both a great pass rush and great run D!

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:48 pm

You can have a great pass rush and a great run D. Just re-watch San Francisco's defence against the Packers last season.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:25 pm

Yeah, they ran all over the Packers. That has nothing to do w/ pass rush. They only passed the ball 8 times, so its not like we saw the pass rush in that game at all. You can want both to be great, but the reality is that's just not likely. Pettine and the Packers clearly are prioritizing Pass D and Pass Rush. Its not about Personnel. The scheme is about pressuring the QB at all costs, including the run D!

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:42 pm

You're omitting the 37-8 regular season loss to the 49ers - when Rodgers was sacked 5 times (and Bosa was having sport with the offensive tackle(s)). I think that qualifies as a formidable pass rush. As I've stated before good defenses can do both - pass rush and run defense.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:21 pm

SF has been picking in the top 10 of the draft for a decade or so. They had 5 DL who were high 1st round picks (most of them were top 10 and a couple were top 5 draft picks). As a comparison the Packers haven't picked in the top 10 of the draft since '09 and the top 5 since '05. So that hopefully that gives you an idea how their DL is so good! But apparently you don't pay attention to or care about simple reasoning! You should know it if you paid attention to the NFL!

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 04:56 pm

Thank you. I think you've just confirmed my point that good schemes + good players = a good defense. San Francisco had a very good defense last year - Packers not so much - lacking both in good schemes and good players. In this snapshot, context and history does not matter - only results.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jannes bjornson's picture

May 18, 2020 at 08:36 pm

Both SB finalists played 4-3 schemes, like Belichick switched over to and secured the 2019 SB. A running team with a solid D will again, create trouble for the Pack with Pettine's scheme.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Everyone wants better player to fix the run D. Why? That is NOT the problem! Better players might help some, but the Main The problem is the scheme. The Pettine/Rex Ryan D is based on penetration and disrupting the backfield (specifically the QB). The Packers had a DC who focused on run D when it had Capers (who Packers wanted gone for years) and his 2 gap scheme. Pettine's D is a one gap, but Pettine doesn't put an emphasis on gap discipline, since he want guys getting in the QB's face. But that pressure on the QB comes at a cost of run D. Pettine can emphasize gap discipline, but that comes at the cost of disruption on the games most important player, the opposing QB.

As McCarthy stated MANY times, you get what you emphasize! Packer fans got their way and Capers was fired and they got a different DC. But now they want him fired. Make up your damn mind. Unless the next Reggie White falls in their laps you can't have both. Do you want more pressure on the QB as we got last year or do want run D at the expense of pressure. Its really difficult to get both! Make up your mind which is more important.

+ REPLY
5 points
6
1
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:43 pm

My guess is that LaFleur may also share some of your thoughts about Pettine's scheme. And I fully expect that there will changes this year to the scheme - which will be more run-focused. Even then there also should be an upgrade in individual talent and performance in concert with any scheme changes. For instance, Tyler Lancaster. Too often he was handled and stymied by a single blocker - which allowed opposing offences to double-team Kenny Clark. Certainly there is a need for a better scheme(s) but also better players.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:33 pm

I'd love the great DL as well, but stopping the run for the Packers is mostly about the scheme. I expect some changes will be made, primarily putting more of an emphasis on gap discipline, but the basis and philosophy is still about disrupting the QB above all else.

Gary is a terrific run stopper. But one OLB/Edge guy isn't going to make the run D great. The entire Front 7 has to be sound in their gaps to be successful vs the run. But that Will undoubtly mean they aren't as free to get after the QB.

Again, Which do you want More? Run D or Pass D/Pass Rush? Reggie White isn't coming back from the dead!

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
jannes bjornson's picture

May 18, 2020 at 08:41 pm

The Smith Bros were washed out on the Edge by SF 49rs and really, Detroit. Fix it. They're getting paid big bucks--do your job!

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
jannes bjornson's picture

May 18, 2020 at 08:45 pm

Lancaster is a backup NT, not a DE. Lowry is good vs the pass, but is stood up and controlled too easily vs the O linemen in the run game. No attempt to pick up a veteran DE/Dt in free agency will come back to bite Gutedkunst. Did not move on Pennell last November to add some muscle and was ass-kicked again in the NFC CH game. Not a good look.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
PhantomII's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:56 pm

In a nutshell we have 1-Elite DL, 2-Elite pass rushers, 1- above average CB, 1- above average CB when not injured.
Everyone else is pretty average at this point. I believe Pettine scheme is lacking a shutdown corner and above average S play. He is flooding the field so of the 6 someone may make a play in the passing game. He has no answer for the run game because it is not meant to do it nor do they have the right players to do it. Our Elite pass rush is the only reason GB was in half the games. SF exposed them with a superior trained offense with great blocking TE play and our Elite pass rushers could not hold the line. SF got beat in the Championship because they could not stop KC's offense and didn't have enough WR weapons /or did not use them enough.

+ REPLY
-1 points
1
2
Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:44 pm

The question we should be asking is “what’s the relationship between stopping the run and winning?” And how are we measuring it?

Yards per attempt? Total attempt? Total yards? First downs? How?

From what I’m able to see, stopping the run doesn’t seem like it has a very strong correlation to making the playoffs or advancing.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
greengold's picture

May 18, 2020 at 02:51 pm

Whoah. It sure stopped the Packers from advancing.

The 49ers RBs rushed 36 times for 243 yds. Deebo Samuel added 2 more carries for 43 yds, and a long of 32. Mostert added another explosive run of 36 yds but rushed for 220 yds himself on 29 attempts. He had 4 broken tackles. Mostert had 127 yds AFTER contact... wow. He rushed for 10 1Ds.

Blake Martinez whiffed on more than 18% of his tackles, and combined for a total of just 9 tackles, 6 of them solo. Darnell Savage had just one off of both totals, and that's not good when your FS is having to shut down the run. GOOD ILBs have a Missed Tackle% around 4-6%. Martinez played 95% of our defensive snaps.

Lowry had 1 tackle. Lancaster and Clark had 2 each. Kingsley Keke was the only DL with a TFL, as did Savage, Fackrell and Goodson, all with 1 each.

Conversely, we can't have Aaron Rodgers just standing back there, er... running all over the place for 40 att/gm and expect to get anywhere, while GBs RBs get a mere 15 carries combined.

The mess was big, and the Packers compounded that on offense by throwing all the time, and failing to establish a more balanced attack. The Packers gassed their own with poor play - Rodgers had 3 TOs (2 INTs and 1 lost fumble), and some important players on the Packers D played poorly.

In 84 combined snaps that game, Lancaster and Lowry altogether had 3 tackles. Kingsley Keke had 3 tackles in just 11 snaps. Kenny Clark had 50 snaps, 91% of the defensive snaps, and just 2 tackles.

Savage was on the field for 100% of GB's 55 defensive snaps, and gave up (?) -4 yds in coverage... That guy is a baller.

We needed ILBs who can:
1. Instinctively stop the run
2. Get TFL
3. Create TOs
4. Provide adequate coverage in middle D
5. Shed blocks
6. Range with speed

The Packers had no one who really delivered there. Our DL and OLBs did not show up in run support either. That was just abysmal. Seems the Packers added 2 players who have to potential to check all of those boxes at ILB. The DL additions of Willis and Hester could provide a boost.

Had the Packers shut SF's rush down, we might have gone on to win the whole thing... Run stop is HUGE.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Stroh's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:34 pm

One game or one team doesn't change the fact that stopping the run isn't nearly as important as stopping the opposing QB. That is why pass rushers and CB are the premium positions on Defense! Do you pay attention to the draft, the NFL and how teams win in the NFL? Stop going only by what happened to the Packers and look at the NFL as a whole. This is basic common knowledge. Winning is mostly about stopping the opponents QB and passing game. This is the 2020's, not the 1960's.

+ REPLY
-1 points
2
3
Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 04:10 pm

SF stopped our run and stopped our pass and ran roughshod over us. I think it's quite a leap to pin it all on one thing.

Teams that stopped the run better than us also had their seasons end earlier than us. We won 14 games despite not stopping the run very well. The conclusion I draw from that is that you can give up yards on the ground and still win.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 08:13 pm

More than 150 run yards per game - hardly ever.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
greengold's picture

May 19, 2020 at 06:47 am

There were plenty of other games to point to, Stroh, but that one was the most recent, and happened to be a big stakes playoff game to put the Packers in the Super Bowl. Total loss because we gave up over 250 yds on the ground.

Stopping a QB is a good thing, and we were built for that, but it didn't help the Packers when SF employed a run heavy attack. Think about what occurred there. SF rushed on 38 of their 55 offensive snaps. Dedicated run plays. Doesn't include any of the 4 QB scrambles they had.

Good teams can do both. CHAMPIONSHIP teams can do both. Stop the run & stop the opposing QB.

We were deficient at both ILB and DL. Our run stop was atrocious. Martinez was as big a non-factor as could be, with 0 TFL and just 9 tackles combined, 6 solo. 0 FF. Blake played 53 of the 55 defensive snaps... Lowry and Lancaster were also non factors, with just 3 tackles total between both players who collectively played more than 80 snaps.

Don't go throwing this 60's crap. Look at the Bill Belichick defenses that won 6 Super Bowls since 2001. Do you want to tell me Bill Belichick's Patriots defenses were merely focused on stopping opposing offense's QBs?

wow. "Basic common knowledge..." wow. w o w .

A closer look into Belichick's success has been balanced attacks, from BOTH sides of the ball. Sure, they have employed plenty of great pass rush/DB systems and players over the last 20 years, but they've always had premiere players in their middle D. Adding to that, they've had more balanced offensive attacks, equal parts run & pass, with premiere talents manning key receiving positions, namely the slot & TE, and at RB. They've been as deep in talented RBs as could be.

I've been wanting GB to go to a more run heavy attack for years, decades, all the way back to the Mike Sherman era. I'm convinced the Packers would have added at least 2 more Lombardi Trophies in that span had they done so. BALANCE is paramount to winning Super Bowls. How many times has Brady been injured? Yeah, that's right... he hasn't. That's because Belichick has always had balanced attacks, on both sides of the ball.

Aaron Rodgers tossing it up 40+ att per is not going to do it. Neither will slow ILBs who lack instincts, nor ineffective DL.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
PhantomII's picture

May 19, 2020 at 06:25 pm

It’s getting a 3 and out and putting your offense in the game. If you don’t have the players to do that consistently
You are going to have problems. That is as basic as it gets.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since91's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:31 pm

Last year is over! Teams not in the playoffs last year will make the playoffs this year. Guys who were healthy in the league last year will be injured this year. Too many variables out there to be all doom and gloom. Come on the NFL is weird every year. Let’s hope the Packers get better. Oh and it’s always better to be lucky than good!

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.