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Thinking About the Defense

Let’s continue our series on thinking, this time with the defense.

-We go back again to Mr. Greg Cosell for this awesome breakdown of how the Giants kind of got to Aaron Rodgers last time around:

“I thought that they mixed things really well, and it’s funny that you bring it up. Obviously, Rodgers had a phenomenal year, and we all love his ability. But I think that over the last month of the season, that offense was a lot more erratic and not quite as consistent as it was through, let’s say, the first 10 games. The Giants game was a good example of that. It’s lost because the game-winning drive was just beautiful, but there were a number of plays where Rodgers was a little tentative and a little uncertain. I thought the Giants did a good job of taking away throws, and there was no sense of rhythm to the Packers’ passing game.”

Rodgers has a reputation, and rightfully so, of not being tentative at all. So the Giants got to him. They brought pressure. Think to the game the Packers lost against the Chiefs. Tamba Hali was wrecking havoc. You have to be able to put pressure on Rodgers or he’s going to eat you alive.

-Matt Bowen of National Football Post does a terrific job of breaking down film and plays for the every day audience. In this diagram, he marks a play that the Pack might use to beat the Giants

So basically, 5 wide. Two slants that occupy the safety, the slot receiver matched up against a nickel corner can take advantage of the soft spot in the zone for a huge gain. The Giants are in Cover 2 Man (two deep safeties with man underneath). Takes away everything but the middle of the field. An issue. How to stop this? Could put Jaicquan Williams in a sort of Tampa 2 role where, acting as the MIKE backer, sort of backpedals deep into the middle of the zone to take away that deep middle. Of course that leaves the middle of the field open on a crossing route, which, on this route, there are two. So that doesn’t help. Here’s where pressure is so important. The slot receiver, Jordy Nelson, is going to beat Amukamara on this route. There’s no question. If he and Rodgers connect, it’s a huge gain. But, if you can get pressure where Rodgers is forced to throw before the route is developed, to roam out of the pocket, or forced to throw it away, then that’s a win for the defense. If you left Rodgers sit back and pick you apart, you are going to lose. But if pressure can come, and come consistently, he will have difficulty.

-I would love to see some exotic blitz packages. Some zone blitzes (basically, linebacker and D-end switch places). Maybe a corner blitz. Mix it up.

-The corners played great man defense against the Falcons and that will have to continue against the Pack. Pressure does so much, and it improves the quality of the corners, but they still have to not let up big plays. I thought Webster and Ross, before he got hurt, played terrifically. You could argue the Falcons two receivers are better than the Packers’. Of course, I think the Packers have more weapons. But keeping the Pack receivers in front of you is of the utmost import.

-I’m really not to worried about the Green Bay running game, and to be honest, there’s not much reason to be. It’s just kind of non existent. This is a passing team, as they should be. Besides, Chris Canty and Linval Joseph do not get the attention they deserve for making it hard for teams to run the ball.

-I think the key player is JPP. He just needs to keep doing his thing, keeping making things happen. He’s the star, he’s the potential defensive player of the year, and it’s a lot for a 22, 23 year old, but his play will dictate a lot.

-Other key player: Michael Boley. So much of the defense runs through him, making the calls. Rodgers can beat a defense pre-snap, and Boley has to match that. He has to be able to diagnose the pre-snap formation quickly and effectively. Boley was hurt during the last matchup. Is he the difference? Hard to tell, but it could be a factor.


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4 Responses to “Thinking About the Defense”

  1. Jason C. says:

    I can definitely see the Pack running a play like that, I mean they do run about 80 slants a game, but then again that’s why Blackburn had that pick a few weeks ago. If they can get consistent pressure and clog the inside, I can see a two/three pick day for Mr. Discount Doublecheck.

  2. 007 says:

    Heh! Good luck with that Jason C. best laid plans and all……….

  3. Big Daddy says:

    I think the idea of trying to cover the Packers receivers will get you in trouble. Jam them at the LOS and do what you can to cover them. But it’s more about getting to Rodgers.

    It’s like any other quarterback, take away half of the field by getting him out of the pocket with pressure from our front 4 and some blitzing. If he sits in the pocket they can score all day.

    So get him out there, spy him with a player so he doesn’t run and make him throw it on the run. He will make some big completions but he will also turn it over with INTs. This is especially important on third downs, we have to get them in third and long as much as possible then really turn up the pressure. We can’t just do it all the time, keep pressure constant with too much blitzing and they will eventually start going to dump off passes that will make chunks of yardage. Mix it up and try to confuse the blocking assignments.

    This will be the Prince’s inauguration, either he becomes a king or the joker. We really need him to step up and cover his man, it might be a better idea to put Ross on Nelson because of the size differential. Or use Williams on Nelson and stay out of the nickel packages, I say mix it up and give them a few different looks and coverages, not too much as to confuse our own players though.

    I don’t like the zone blitz Rodgers will see a DE in coverage and know someone is open. He’s too smart for that. We need our DEs in attack mode and pinching tight to drive him out of the pocket or into our DTs arms.

    Yes JPP does have to make a big impact Sunday. This is the time to see if he can be like LT was in the Parcells days and totally disrupt the offense.

    When it comes down to it, no matter who is playing and in what formation and scheme offensively it gets down to basics. You have to cover the man, you have pressure the QB and you must tackle with proper technique.

    I think if the Giants play their defense in a technically sound way, with good fundamentals they can stop the offense. Please do not go into those soft defenses Fewell has used with the players kind of sitting back. The Giants have the personnel to stop the Green Bay offense as much as a defense can.

    You can scheme all day and make all the strategic adjustments you want, it comes down to just playing good old football and not making mistakes, playing sound fundamentally and technically.

    That diagram looks like the scheme that gets the Giants defense into trouble all the time. The Cover 2, You cannot have Rolle sitting back there, that is NOT what Rolle is about. He needs to be at the LOS making Rodgers account for him in his calls and the blocking calls. That’s when the Giants defense is most effective and Rolle does his thing almost like a linebacker. Let KP sit back in a deep zone called a cover one and go to M2M on everybody else with Boley taking the short cover 2 type zone the MIKE takes, underneath KP. Use Rolle as the spy to sniff out the play or keep Rodgers from running once he breaks out of the pocket.

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