After re-watching the Packers game, here are three plays that made me go hmmm, for various reasons.
I wasn’t pleased with much of what I saw from the secondary in this game, so I decided to focus on pass coverage concerns for this installment of “3 plays”.
Why So Soft – When I saw what was happening here pre-snap, I had some ugly flashbacks of the Mike Pettine Era or Game 1 Joe Barry against the Saints. It’s third and seven in the red zone. The Ravens go empty – five wide and the Packers are playing man with a single high safety (and “high” doesn’t begin to describe how far back Amos is). Two of the defensive backs start out behind the first down marker and two others step back to it as the ball is snapped. There is absolutely no one in the middle of the field, and yet Sullivan is playing outside leverage. The Ravens know what to do and pick up a gimme first down. Two plays later, they score a touchdown.
Off Track – Yes, Savage had a rough game. In fairness, on some of the other plays where he was victimized by Andrews, he was close enough to make a play, but was just outmuscled by a bigger opponent. A tough matchup, for sure. Here, however, he beats himself. He’s running with Andrews, looks back for the ball and does at least one of of these two things, maybe both: loses his connection with the receiver and/or does not track the flight of the ball correctly. The last place you want to be in the back of the end zone is behind your receiver, yet that is exactly where Savage ends up. Had he properly tracked either the ball or the receiver, he ends up in front of Andrews and makes a play on the ball. I’ve seen this before and I’d say it’s the main thing Savage needs to improve on in coverage.
Don’t King Me – Similar to the first play above, it’s a do-or-die situation. This time it’s a fourth down and the Ravens are going for it. There’s little doubt who the ball is going to, so I locate Andrews pre-snap and then see #20 is in the game and manned up on him. “This will not end well” were the first words that crossed my mind. Sure enough, King is no match for Andrews and the Ravens once again take the easy first down (something I’d love to see Rodgers do more of instead of throwing sideline go routes on third downs and ending drives – but I digress). The next play results in a Huntley scramble touchdown as Johnathan Garvin comes on and Rashan Gary trots off (possibly his mistake?), leaving the Packers with ten players near their own goal line (but I digress again!). Anyway, later on during the Bucs – Saints game, I was left wondering who in the world the Packers would assign the task of covering Gronk should the Packers and Bucs meet up again? The Saints’ defense mitigated the issue by getting all over and frustrating Tom Brady, something the Packers were not able to do last year and I ‘m not sure they will be able to this year either. I know I’m getting way ahead of myself, but I can’t help but wonder.
Which Packer would you have shadow Gronk?
“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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