A new week is upon us once again. What better way to kick it off than talking Packers football?
The Packers enter the week 3-1. There are still many questions to be answered about this team. The defense especially has many questions to be answered after the showing last week against the Eagles. The Eagles had their way as they seemed to run on the Packers with ease. Obviously, this is the biggest concern surrounding the team at the moment, but there are still questions with the offense.
How can the run game improve? Can they be consistent in the passing game? What about injuries?
At this point in the season, a lot of things are still up in the air. I’m going to do my best to answer the questions we had this week and hopefully give a little clarity as to what is happening with the team.
When Burks is healthy do you think he gets the starting job over Martinez
— Rhon (@Rhon86283205) September 29, 2019
The inside linebacker position has not played up to par through week 4. From what I have seen on film, Martinez has really struggled to step up and fill gaps against the run. Mike Pettine has stated that he is committed to running the 3-3-5. Part of this, I believe, is due to lack of depth. Martinez seems to be the only suitable inside linebacker to play in this look. Personally, I would like to see two inside linebackers in the game. Ty Summers had an up and down preseason, so maybe we’ll see him at some point in the season. Martinez looks decent in zone coverage, especially in the cover 3 looks that Mike Pettine is so committed to. The question asked here though is if I think Burks could come in and play over Martinez when he is healthy. To give you a short answer, I’d say no.
As much as I feel like Martinez has struggled against the run, he does bring some good things to the table. He scrapes to the edge very well, reads quickly and flows with ease. It’s hard to really gauge how well Burks will do when healthy, simply because he hasn’t gotten the reps to get a clear analysis. I’d like to see both Martinez and Burks in the game at the same time, similar to what we thought we would see when Pettine was first named defensive coordinator. I like a 4-2-5 nickel look. Another inside linebacker in the game can help account for the cutback run, which has hurt the Packers thus far in the season.
Do you feel their poor run defense is because they play 6 DBs too frequently? If so, are we just waiting for Burks to return?
— Trudem (@Trudem84) September 29, 2019
With the way NFL offenses operate, I feel like you must play 70-80% of the snaps in the subpackage. Football is a game of trends. We see more 3 and 4 receiver sets on first and second down than we did ten years ago. Because of that, the defense must match the offense player for player. Athlete for an athlete. If more base defense is played it can exploit mismatches which give the offense the upper hand. However, defensive backs have to be aware of the run game. We’ve heard more and more about the patented RPO that offenses love to run. They are finding new ways to exploit defenses on both the ground and air. Defensive backs have to be quick to communicate and know their gap assignments pre-snap.
I don’t necessarily think that the poor run defense can be attributed to running more of the subpackage. Defensive backs should be familiar with run fits and sticking their nose in a gap, especially the safeties. Corners play a vital role in run support as well. If edge players are beaten off the snap, the corners must come up in support and force the play back inside. The main problem is the run fits with the front seven, which I partly blame the 3-3-5 for. I’ll be highlighting some of the run game problems this week in my Xs and Os film study here at Pack To The Future.
Do you think the Packers are looking to make any moves in a trade?
— Greg Newton (@NewtonsLaw42) September 29, 2019
Not at this point. We’re not accustomed to seeing the Packers shake many things up during the season when it comes to making trades. There are positions I would like to see improved, such as the guard, inside linebacker and wide receiver. Right now though, I see the Packers improving these positions in the draft. I’m still trying to get a feel for Gutekunst’s style. He may surprise us all and make some moves before the trade deadline. What would the Packers be willing to depart with? That’s the biggest thing that you have to take into consideration.
On a scale from HaHa on the Bears to Favre on the Vikings, how weird is it going to be watching Randall Cobb play for the Cowboys against the Packers?
— thebigcheese (@bigcheese4ever) September 30, 2019
If that’s how we’re measuring it, I’d say it is about like seeing HaHa on the Bears. I really like Cobb and he did some great things in Green Bay, but it’s a business. Favre’s move seemed to be based on seeking revenge, which is what hurt the most. Now THAT felt personal. As much as I can’t stand seeing Cobb in those colors, I’m hoping he has a successful career in Dallas, with the exception of next week.
Jeff from Facebook: “How about asking what they are doing to fix the run defense.”
This is the biggest question surrounding the Packers right now. I think it all boils down to run fits and presnap assignments. I know that there is going to be some adjusting to the 3-3-5, but what I don’t understand is why the wheels fell off in week 4, especially after 3 solid weeks of defense. The Eagles offensive line is no slouch. Part of the problem was being mismatched while the other part was getting players in the right gap. Again, I’m taking a deep dive into the run defense in my Xs and Os article coming out later this week.
Scott from Facebook: “Should that last play have been reviewed by the booth? It was a turnover. Do they look for pass interference on them? I’m not up to date on how the new rules work”
I’m no rules expert, but from what I understand they are only looking for a botched pass interference call when it is challenged. If it were up to some people in the league, I’m sure they’d review every single play. It was a clear turnover, though there were some big-time questionable calls throughout the game. This was one of the most poorly officiated games that I’ve seen in a long time.
That will do it for our questions for this week. I’d like to thank everyone who sent their questions in. If there is anything you ever want to be answered, make sure to tweet me your questions every Sunday night.
The Packers have their work cut out for them this week as they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Let’s hope the they can get back to their winning ways.
Follow me on Twitter: @PTTF_Ben