Cory's Corner: Martinez Telling Us What We Already Knew

 
 
Blake Martinez just said what we all knew already. 
 
“I think the way (the Packers) value the inside linebacker position especially in that defense, it wasn’t as valued as other places I guess in my opinion,” said Marinez to the New York media, who averaged 128 tackles at inside linebacker in four years in Green Bay. 
 
The Giants offered Martinez $10 million a year to become the quarterback of the New York defense. Martinez was a solid player and an excellent leader, but there’s no way he deserves that much per season.
 
Ted Thompson never thought inside linebacker was worth a large contract — he was more interested in quarterback, left tackle, edge rusher and defensive back. And in today’s pass happy NFL that saw 14 teams pass it over 60 percent of the time last season, maybe Thompson was on to something. 
 
Thomas Hobbes said it best in 2015, who wrote for AllGBP.com: “From a schematic point I do see where he’s coming from; in the modern era of passing the football and the shift towards the spread offense, more and more defenses are playing a large proportion of the time in sub packages like the nickel and dime defenses.”
 
The case study for the devaluation of inside linebackers is Brandon Chillar. The most money Thompson spent in free agency on an inside linebacker was in 2009 when he gave a four-year $21 million deal to Chillar. After only playing eight games in 2010, he was released that summer, even though the Packers could’ve easily placed him on the physically unable to perform list. 
 
And then there’s Martinez. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. There were five inside linebackers taken ahead of him, including Nick Kwiatkowski, who was taken just three spots before Martinez. The dynamic Kwiatkowski signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Raiders two weeks ago. 
 
Martinez was anything but dynamic. He had trouble in coverage and in space and often got exposed. However, he was an excellent leader and won over the entire defensive unit. However, the Packers just needed more juice at inside linebacker and may have gotten the same player in Christian Kirksey, but for a lot less. 
 
Martinez knew coming in that the Packers devalued the inside linebacker position — lots of teams do. It was his job to change management’s mind while he was here. Obviously, they loved his consistency, having played in 61 of 64 games. But his lack of speed wasn’t just concerning, it was alarming and it became even more apparent in the big games. The 49ers ate him up with plenty of speed and it was clear after getting blown out 37-8 in the first meeting that Martinez just couldn’t compete. It may sound silly to boil down a future contract to just a pair of games, but after winning 13 games this past season, it’s clear that San Francisco is the team Green Bay is chasing. 
 
Martinez will get exposed in New York whenever he’s asked to cover a running back on a wheel route or a tight end in the seam. The Giants thought they were paying for stability, but they are getting a linebacker with a governor on his gas pedal. 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (107)

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Coldworld's picture

March 31, 2020 at 06:59 am

If I understood correctly, what I got from the interview was that:

Pettine wanted Martinez to read and react in both passing and running situations

Martinez wanted a specific assignment

Martinez didn’t feel comfortable reading and reacting and is happy to be away from that.

That Martinez knows he isn’t at his best in that style,

That the Packers didn’t value Martinez at the value NY did

That the Packers either didn’t value Martinez or the position as he does.

It is clear that Martinez was slow as a reader and reactor, but play speed predates Pettine. It is fair to say that Martinez May be better in NY, but there were plenty here who thought him average before the current system.

What I don’t know is whether GB continue to place a low value on the position as opposed to a lower value on Martinez in the context of the current system. I suspect a little of both, but maybe Gute sees his departure plus Kirksey as an opportunity to retool in the mold currently sought.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 31, 2020 at 08:40 am

He will be playing for Patrick Graham again, so maybe something was lost in translation btw. 2018 to 2019? He could shoot gaps for the blitz ,but expecting him to range across the entire front is unsound. If you want to run an effective 3-4 ,you need to secure 4 good LBs. A big safety inside will be washed out

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MITM's picture

March 31, 2020 at 08:57 am

Exactly. You should be 2 deep at all 4 LB spots

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:40 pm

No matter how good the ILB is, if the DL doesn't play w/ any gap responsibilites an ILB has no chance to be successful.

From Matinez' presser...
"There wasn’t any gap responsibilities for me, it was just, ‘Hey, play off Kenny (Clark), play off Za’Darius (Smith), play off Preston (Smith), play off Dean (Lowry),’ play off these guys and basically make them right. They were able to do whatever they wanted to do and then I would go make the plays depending on that."

It wasn't so much a matter of personnel, tho that should be upgraded, it was a matter of scheme and what the DC chose to prioritize.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:07 pm

I agree with the D line, but they have to be Players. You don't extend a guy like Lowry, although his strength is as a pass rusher. No attempt to bring in a big body from free agency. No interest in signing Pennel. ??

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Coldworld's picture

April 01, 2020 at 08:42 am

Some history with Pennel of course. But leaving that aside, NT types that aren’t a passing threat are late draft and FA fodder typically.

If that is all you want, wait and they will be available as late as cut down day based on history.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 01, 2020 at 11:24 pm

Fotu and Benito Jones are 3rd to 4th round targets. Clark should be playing more three tech, as you know I'm not a fan of Pettine's scheme.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 01, 2020 at 02:29 am

THIS^^

No gap responsibilities is the single most important comment Martinez made.

I have to wonder if it is true. One would think that Clark might have permission to free lance, but even if he could one would think it was not on a consistent basis. Lancaster and Lowry should have been saddled with gap responsibilities.

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Stroh's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:35 am

I don't think Martinez would just make that up. And watching the defense it was pretty clear they weren't focused on stopping the run (or playing w/ gap discipline). The DL and Edge rushers were only concerned about getting pressure on the QB. Stopping the run was not a priority. The Rex Ryan/Pettine scheme is predicated on pressuring the QB. They did that on every down. It takes the entire Front 7 to play w/ gap discipline or the whole scheme is blown. You can't allow one freelancer and expect the others to play w/ gap discipline and be able to stop the run.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 01, 2020 at 11:22 pm

L and L were pretty much manhandled vs the run all season.

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dobber's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:32 am

"maybe Gute sees his departure plus Kirksey as an opportunity to retool in the mold currently sought."

I think of Kirksey as being more of a placeholder...less expensive than Martinez, but on a contract that lets the Packers out if they find a better option. A little more athletic, great locker room guy, not quite the run defender but likely not a meaningful downgrade. I don't see it as a significant move in philosophy.

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Coldworld's picture

April 01, 2020 at 08:50 am

I see him as an example of an instinctive ILB with cover traits. In the context of this discussion, I believe that that is a significantly different player type.

I agree with you on the placeholder, though if he plays well he could be part of the solution as well. I disagree that this is merely a gap fill, cost efficient near like-for-like.

Kirksey represents a type of player that makes sense in the D Martinez described. It tells me Martinez was not ( he has always struggled in the areas Kirksey suggests Pettine values).

It’s not a change in philosophy, it’s the roster starting to catch up to what we have been trying to play.

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flackcatcher's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:50 am

Agree. Nice overview and analysis CW.

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Yes we all know Matinez' lmiitations and what he can and cannot do. But your missing the bigger point altogether, as is the writer.

"There wasn’t any gap responsibilities for me, it was just, ‘Hey, play off Kenny (Clark), play off Za’Darius (Smith), play off Preston (Smith), play off Dean (Lowry),’ play off these guys and basically make them right. They were able to do whatever they wanted to do and then I would go make the plays depending on that. "

How is Martinez supposed to know where to go if there is no semblance of gap discipline? He has no idea where the holes in the D are going to be on any given down or play. So he has to wait to see where that is, since there is no gap responsibility. He has to try to figure it out on the fly. He can' attack the LOS when he has no idea where he's needed.

Its also the reason the run D was poor. The DL and front 7 (or front 6 really) in general didn't play w/ any discipline. They rushed the QB every down and went for penetration and disruption. Playing the run on the way to the QB is no way to stop any running game!

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Packer_Fan's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:04 am

I am not sure if devalued is the best term. But it sure does charge things up. Based on how poorly the DL and OLB had gap control, Martinez could not be a down hill type of linebacker. The first MInnesota game showed that. And probably because Pettine's scheme valued pass defense over rush defense, it all make sense what Martinez say. I wish him luck. And the Pack has a few holes left to fill and more work on rush defense.

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murf7777's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:30 am

I think devalued is the correct term, (read my write up below for explanation) with the salary cap and limited top draft picks you cannot value all positions the same. I’m fine with them valuing the ILB less then any other position on D. That doesn’t mean you don’t try to improve it, it just means where you put your SC and draft resources.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Blowing deals on Spriggs, DaMArious, the basketball player, Jones and potentially Jackson take picks away from the D line, LBs and the offensive playmakers. Gutedkunst recovered a couple years of negative selections with 2019's free agent class. Now he has to catch up with a solid draft in three weeks.

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Timeout's picture

March 31, 2020 at 05:56 pm

A first round and 4 second round picks that amounted to very little. 3rd rounders Burks and Adams could be joining them. I agree, a lot of blown deals..

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Daren726's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:12 am

Unfortunately, having a small defensive line contributed a lot to exposing Martinez’s weaknesses. If we had had a line like the 49ers, I don’t think anyone would’ve realized the shortcomings of Martinez as much

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stockholder's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:33 am

DL- Stats don't Lie.

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:52 pm

It wasn't the size of the DL , it was that they weren't forced to play w/ any semblance of gap disciipline! Matinez said as much is his presser.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:49 pm

Hard to have gap discipline if they are getting driven out of their gaps due to strength and size issues If ZaDarious is going to pick and choose to attack a gap that was not designated in the play call, then the leverage changes for everybody else and the ILBs are easy targets for pulling linemen.

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Stroh's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:14 am

They weren't driven out of their gaps or blown off the LOS due to a lack of size or strength. They had free reign to do one thing and that was to get penetration into the backfield. They had no gap responsibilities. The essence of the Rex Ryan/Pettine defense is penetration and disruption, getting pressure on the QB before anything else.

Do you not know the Packers schemes??!

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 01, 2020 at 11:28 pm

Like getting washed out by the 49rs? They have Edge responsibility vs the run. Pettine was whining about Matthews not holding point last season.

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stockholder's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:23 am

No job apreciation in Green Bay. Check. Pettine didn't prepare his players against SF. Check. TT could have drafted a better ILB. Check. Gute: These aren't the numbers were looking for." Move on! " Check! Blake Martinez isn't worth 10 mil. Check. Blake knew what he was doing, but others didn't. Check. Martinez will suck in Ny. Check. Changing Managements mind. Good Luck!

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MITM's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:30 am

You get my vote for top post

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hobowilly's picture

April 01, 2020 at 12:38 pm

excellent and entertaining post, thanks! May i add: getting rid of McCarthy. check. Hiring the best available head coach. check. Gutey works the roster very hard and by in large, doing a fine job. check.

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MITM's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:29 am

"A lot of teams devalue the linebacker position" True, although I wouldnt necessarily say ALOT do. But a decent amount.

Coincidentally none of those teams have top defenses either.

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murf7777's picture

March 31, 2020 at 08:09 am

Since there is a salary cap you cannot highly value all positions. You must decide where to put your capital and it will leave a weakness somewhere on your team. All teams have weaknesses. So, just looking at defense, I believe TT and Gute are looking at it correctly and that is the MLB in a 3-4 D is the least valued position. If you disagree, please share which position you would devalue the most?

Over reacting to our lack of run D last year would be a mistake. It is still a passing league and pressuring the QB is most important. We need to remember Pettine was in his second year with 5 new starters on the defense. If Pettine doesn’t put the D in the top 10 this year thou, he must go.

We need to do the following:
* Emphasize and Build D Lineman (diamond in the rough may fall in the draft from a run on WR and OL)
* Build a cohesive, well trained D
* continue to add playing speed to the D
* take advantage of the strength of the draft and select multiple WR and OL in this draft and build a stronger O. By doing this, it will help the D from having most of the onus to win games.

For 10M Martinez was over valued for GB, but he is a very good player and worth the money for the right team. I wish him well in NY.

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MITM's picture

March 31, 2020 at 08:55 am

First off I agree Martinez wasnt worth the 10 mill per year. And for the last time i will say Kwiatkoski was a steal for 7 million a year, and even that didnt entice the Packers.

The Packers by title are a base 3-4 defense. The problem with that and this argument in particular is that they are probably in a base 3-4 the lowest percentage of any look.

But to answer your question about which position is less valuable than an ILB in a base 3-4, it certainly should NOT be ILB. If you look at the best 3-4 base defenses of the past decade and a half - you think Steelers and Ravens immediately( and some patriots/49ers willis and bowman years as well) And they all had 1 thing in common usually always. They were 2 deep MINIMUM at every LB spot all 4 spots, and had great safety play/line play. If you asked me which position they valued the least I would say corner.

Its not THAT much more of a passing league than it was when these teams were up against high powered offenses such as Mannings Colts etc and they still had great defenses.

Ignoring the ILB spot for 10 years has done the Packers literally no good

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 31, 2020 at 08:46 am

Spot on.

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murf7777's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:23 am

1st off they haven’t ignored it, they have put less value on the position. You never mention what position or positions you would value less in today’s passing league. I would argue that solid DL was more important then their ILB with some of those teams mentioned. I would agree if you have a difference making ILB that will enhance your team. I’m just saying I would take that difference maker at another position over ILB if given a choice. IE: give me Aaron Donald or JJ Watt over Wills, Bowman, Kuechly or any recent top ILB in the passing league today. If you have a great DL the ILB will look better because of their play.

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MITM's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:46 am

I did. I said corner. Pass rush helps corner so does talented safety play, a special type of player I expect a guy like Savage to become helps corner.

On the flipside, having good corners doesnt help you stop the run. The most important positions in a 3-4 are the NT, and the 4 LB spots. If you can relentlessly run on a team you run out clock and wear a defense down way quicker than if youre passing. And we dont need a guy like Jaire Alexander playing 15 yards off a receiver and dropping interceptions. We could have anyone back there doing that while we also arent stopping the run.

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murf7777's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:50 am

Sorry, I missed you stating corners.....my bad! I don’t agree but enjoy the debate.

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The_Justicar's picture

March 31, 2020 at 10:31 am

I agree with your post except I don’t think any team was, is, or can be two deep with great talent for all four linebacker positions. No way can a team pay 4 back ups / keep four bench players with great talent with the salary cap.

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MITM's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:52 am

Not GREAT talent but the 2000s steelers absolutely were always 2 deep at all 4 spots. They were drafting Lawrence Timmons Round 1 when they had Farrior and Foote they were drafting Woodley when they had Porter and Haggans and Harrison and so on and so forth.

They were always prepared to replace a very good player who was leaving for FA with another player that ended up being equally effective

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dobber's picture

March 31, 2020 at 01:16 pm

Levon Kirkland...that dude was a beast. I've never seen a guy with those dimensions move like he did.

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:50 pm

You did notice that when the Ravens had Mosely at ILB they chose not to pay him top dollar and let him leave after his rookie contract right? That doesn't exactly point to a team that values its Pro Bowl ILB very much. Don't you think?

Pitts didn't have to pay Shazier for his 2nd contract either, since unfortunately he suffered a career ending injury. Thomspon really wanted to draft Mosely or Shazier but didn't get the chance and had to settle for HHCD.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 01, 2020 at 03:08 am

I fully agree with you but Mosley is not a good example. The Ravens aren't stupid: they might have paid Mosley top money (who knows given their tight cap situation) but Mosley got stupid money from the Jets.

Mosley got $19M fully guaranteed for 2019. He played 2 games/116 snaps. Mosley got $16M more fully guaranteed for 2020. Mosley got $16M more fully guaranteed for 2021. That's getting close to Cousins' fully guaranteed deal. Mosley ends up with a 3 year, $51M ($17M per year) fully guaranteed deal.

Hard pass on that contract for a guy whose best PFF grade in his career was 76.3.

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Stroh's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:19 am

They could have extended Mosely long before the even got close to FA. They CHOSE not to. Whatever Mosely got after he left is immaterial. The bottom line is they CHOSE not to extend him!

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porupack's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:52 pm

Very sensible assessment, murf; and I totally agree that building the Offense will make big impact on Defense performance.

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Lare's picture

March 31, 2020 at 08:18 am

The bottom line is that teams/GMs do what we do every day of our lives. That is prioritize our expenses vs our available financial resources. If the Packers had $50 million of salary cap to spend then they probably would have kept Bulaga & Martinez. They didn't.

Blake appears to think this was personal and that he is better than he performed. He isn't and it wasn't, it was a business decision based on his performance.

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Handsback's picture

March 31, 2020 at 08:56 am

Just to be clear, Martinez was only part (can't say major but a contributing part) of the problem in the San Fran game. The Smiths (yes both of them) held no edge and the dline was crushed backwards. We could have had Ray Lewis as the middle backer and the result would be the same.
As mentioned above, this is still a passing league, but teams are still going to run when they see a weakness like SF did in the Packers. I would have thought after halftime of that game...the defense would change, and the fact that it didn't tells me that Pettine was out-coached.
So how does this affect the Packers letting Martinez go? First off they couldn't afford him. Second, doesn't matter how much you value a position in the NFL losing a starter is never good and the replacement is an issue that carries throughout TC. Replacing Martinez won't be as easy as people seem to think. He was really good as a backstop and don't be surprised if he really shines with the Giants in another scheme. Is his replacement better? We will see as the season moves forward. The ramifications of Martinez leaving means that Green Bay will have to use a pretty high pick on an ILB when a great receiver/RB/OT is sitting there at their selection. It's not just the player that you lose, but the player you could have selected in lieu of finding a replacement for Martinez.

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MITM's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:47 am

very well said

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Coldworld's picture

March 31, 2020 at 01:08 pm

All of this, as far as it pertains to the ILB debate resolved down to: was Martinez good at what he was asked to do or simply adept at a lot of stable door closing after the horses had fled.

As time went in last year I gradually moved from believing a Martinez was a keeper to believing he was a hard worker but just not intuitive.

He mentions how he likes to know exactly what he us going to be doing on a play. The problem with that is the game is played against an offense that has its own ideas. Any great ILB has to be instinctive. Martinez described a hard worker. That may encapsulate the problem. Pettine’s scheme calls for diagnosis and anticipation. Martinez, however diligent and physically gifted, neither is that or thinks if the game that way. That’s a problem for a player and scheme predicated on read and react as he described.

Based on the above, probably better for both sides to part ways, as they have done.

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Thebuch's picture

March 31, 2020 at 04:46 pm

Ray Lewis would be killer as a Packer.

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packerbackerjim's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:21 am

It makes absolutely no sense in “devaluing” a position, prioritize yes. A shrewd OC or DC will locate the weak link and exploit it. At ILB cover ability and speed should be the calling card. Thumpers May satisfy but unless they can cover as well, they will be beaten.

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murf7777's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:36 am

Semantics, what’s the difference between stating devaluing or valuing vs not prioritizing or prioritizing?

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packerbackerjim's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:51 am

Gute’s draft should clarify.

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packerbackerjim's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:53 am

I value going to games in person; it is a rarity though as I have other ways to dispose of my income.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

March 31, 2020 at 10:27 am

Dollars and cents. We could get an approximate replacement at about half the cost. The only way to win in a salary-cap league is to have players who consistently outplay their contract. There is no way Martinez could outplay a $10MM per year contract here. Maybe he can in NY, but I doubt it.

We all make choices on how to spend our money and get the biggest bang for the buck. For example, while locked up at home I could pay for the newest movies online, but instead I am going to the garage, finding my VCR, and hooking up “Reggie’s Prayer”. Please pray for me in this difficult time.

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dobber's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:22 am

"The only way to win in a salary-cap league is to have players who consistently outplay their contract. "

This is salary cap management in a nutshell.

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Tarynfor12's picture

March 31, 2020 at 10:30 am

So essentially, GB drafts or signs ILB's for the sole purpose of having someone to blame when the other guys, DL and OLB's fail.

So now we wait for the response for Pettine etc. However, my early assessment would be that, Martinez did exactly what we told him to do and his reward was being the leading tackler in a scheme where the front, by doing whatever, whenever they chose, and create a defense that would get run over and you would look the reason why over the others, while building their reputations up and being heralded as 'The Guys'.

Can't wait to see Kirksey in the same role where he's a 'clean up guy' on a crew of one.

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Coldworld's picture

March 31, 2020 at 10:46 am

Kirksey has played in a Pettine D and earned a 38 million extension based on that period. That would seem to suggest that a ILB can succeed in that role. So not sure where you are going with that.

I agree that, in the NFL, no team of one (except at QB or a kicker in reality) is going to work. We need depth at ILB and hybrid that we just didn’t have. I assume from the drafting of Burks that the intent was to be able to field two mobile ILBs regularly, not go straight to extra safeties and DBs. If so, expect activity in the draft as relying on Burks at this point is untenable. If he emerges it’s a bonus, but we need to draft on the probability that he won’t after 2 seasons of nothing.

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Tarynfor12's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:20 am

Not sure I'd use Cleveland and their mentality about any position and salaries applied. I also believe that the mantra of having played for someone before is overrated because what a coach could/couldn't do in one place doesn't automatically equate to same in another place, and same for players. Why is there so much regurgitation of failed coaches, of any level, as rampant as it is, save for the few exceptions to those of worthy note, also applies to the percentage of FA's where regurgitation and failure of expectations is the higher rate.

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Coldworld's picture

April 01, 2020 at 08:58 am

Honestly, I kind of expected the Cleveland response. I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you wouldn’t skip behind that smokescreen.

As far as playing before, my point was only that he did and that his having done so suggests it is possible for both him and ILBs of similar skill sets to do so in the scheme we employ.

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Bure9620's picture

March 31, 2020 at 06:46 pm

Because familiarity can potentially breed confidence. Kirksey's learning curve should be flatter as he understands the scheme.

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mnbadger's picture

March 31, 2020 at 10:50 am

BM (no pun intended) was an excellent packer. Gave everything he had.
His guaranteed contract affords him a life without financial worry. He's earned it.
Now he should move on and let BG and MP worry about the Packers' defense and shut his mouth.

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TXCHEESE's picture

March 31, 2020 at 10:55 am

Martinez was Hawk 2.0. Good,smart football player, but pretty much anyone that watched many of the games could see he had reached his ceiling. No sense in paying someone that kind of money, for being smart and just OK athletically. There is younger, more athletic, and yes, cheaper talent already on the roster that can be as good or better than Martinez. Great guy, but there’s no reason to get butt hurt because you wanted more money than they wanted to pay.

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splitpea1's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:23 am

Time to part company with the Ted philosophy on the interior defense--you see where it's gotten us when we're up against the top playoff teams over the past several seasons. If we can't get one of the two top ILB prospects, then we better shoot for one of the top D-lineman, which there aren't many of (and it would be helpful anyway if for some reason Clark doesn't get done). I totally agree with one of the previous comments that we need to be two quality players deep at both LB positions, and if we're fortunate to land one of those top two prospects, it's going to help our defense immensely...hopefully Sooner (nice pun) rather than later.

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dobber's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:34 am

There are plenty of serviceable DL in this draft, just not many that put all the desirable traits in a single package.

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splitpea1's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:39 am

But we already have enough "serviceable".

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Well your not going to find a difference making DL in this draft at #30. Last year they should have taken Simmons at #12 if they wanted a difference maker. No chance this year. I was all about drafting Simmons at #12 last year.

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dobber's picture

March 31, 2020 at 02:04 pm

The Titans got a steal with him in the late teens.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 01, 2020 at 11:36 pm

See how he fairs without Casey next to him in 2020.

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splitpea1's picture

March 31, 2020 at 03:07 pm

Yeah, I know it's looking a little barren down there. So if Plans A and B don't work, they'll probably either use the pick on a WR (not the worst thing in the world), or trade down. I'm just hoping the FO will try their best to address the middle of the defense.

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Coldworld's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:06 am

No we don’t have enough serviceable at stopping the run. That we had to play Lowry in that capacity underlined that. We have one all round guy, Clark and a lot of pressure first types, Adams I think was supposed to be both but he is thus far not good against the run. Lowry is disruption first and KeKe too.

Lancaster was the only run stuffing specialist and he went backwards when called upon in earnest. We need to upgrade it at least push him to a higher level and thus rebalance our D line pool. Frankly, maybe at the cost of Adams if he doesn’t show up fast.

The good news is one can do that late in the draft if your focus is on stopping the run only, as ours is.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 01, 2020 at 11:44 pm

Lancaster is a backup NT. If they want him on the field then go with Clark next to him as a 3 tech and put Gary hand down DE and draft a DE who can hold up in the run game.. The two D linemen scheme seems sketchy at best.

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ShawnO's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:41 am

The Packers low balled him on purpose to get rid of him, but they still don't value the position so there's no way they draft an ILB in the first two rounds. The packers are most likely to draft Big guys, (OL or DL) OLB, or CB\S in the first round 99 out of 100 times. With this in mind you can almost guarantee that the Packers take either OL or CB depending on who is available.

2007 Justin Harrell DT
2008 No pick —
2009 B. J. Raji # DT
2009 Clay Matthews III # OLB
2010 Bryan Bulaga OT
2011 Derek Sherrod OT
2012 Nick Perry DE
2013 Datone Jones DE
2014 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix # S
2015 Damarious Randall S
2016 Kenny Clark NT
2017 2nd rnd Kevin King CB
2018 Jaire Alexander CB
2019 Rashan Gary DE
2019 Darnell Savage Jr. S

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splitpea1's picture

March 31, 2020 at 02:38 pm

Go one year further back and you've got Hawk...Yes, I know the current FO "tree" hasn't historically valued the position, but all I'm suggesting is it might be time for a change.

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dobber's picture

April 01, 2020 at 08:53 am

To my knowledge, the Packers didn't low-ball him...they no-balled him. There were never any meaningful negotiations or extension discussions publicized.

When you look at that list of early picks and how those 2011 (Sherrod) through 2015 (Randall) picks have not provided the long-term stability and impact you hope to get from those players, it's no wonder this team has big holes, but it also makes 13 wins in 2019 more meaningful.

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Coldworld's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:17 am

Him or the position? I think nothing clear other than that he said I’m looking at this range to return, they thought well he isn’t what we really want but we need depth, we are in this range .... long silence.

I have been wondering if Martinez really fitted Pettine’s scheme for a while. I now have my answer I think. That doesn’t tell me anything about Gute’s view of the value of the position. Martinez essentially gave us enough to, knowing his traits, figure out why he didn’t fit particularly well and thus had less value to the Packers.

The draft will tell. If we stick at Kirksey/Burks/Summers/Bolton then I would say that they continue to undervalue both the position and depth.

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ShawnO's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:40 am

It's hard for me to see BG spending a first round pick on a position that they don't value especially if the player actually turns out to be a top 5 player in the league. When the players rookie contract is over they are not going to want to pay the player Top ILB money to stay with the team, they just don't want to spend much of their cap space on the position. That's why the hybrid LB\S position is so intriguing, I think they would be more willing to pay top dollar for a really good player that can play some of both positions.

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Bure9620's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:55 am

Yes we knew this, not earth shattering. What I get from Martinez' cleanup comment is he was not trusted in coverage.

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 11:59 am

As usual the real point in Martinez presser is missed...

“The way we ran the defense, at least the last two years, is I’m put into the clean-up crew guy,” Martinez said. “In our defense no matter what it was, since I was the only linebacker on the field, I was taught and told once again, to be the clean-up crew guy. There wasn’t any gap responsibilities for me, it was just, ‘Hey, play off Kenny (Clark), play off Za’Darius (Smith), play off Preston (Smith), play off Dean (Lowry),’ play off these guys and basically make them right. They were able to do whatever they wanted to do and then I would go make the plays depending on that."

Everyone knew Matinez was a marginal athlete and the Packers, have mostly not cared to pay ILB. That wasn't news or even interesting. But the fact that Martinez said what I knew and voiced on many occasions that there was very limited gap resposibility for the DL and front 7 in general explains why the Packers run D suffered and the pass rush flourished. When DL are given complete freedom to rush the QB it puts Martinez is position of just trying to make a tackle, it doesn't put him in position to make TFL or even meet a RB in a hole.

I'm not saying whether its the way to play defense, but the simple fact is, when the DL and front 7 don't have to focus on gap discipline it makes it very difficult to stop the run. Ray Lewis would have difficulty stopping the run when the DL isn't stopping OL from getting to the ILB.

If the Packers want to stop the run, they have to play w/ some, possibly alot more gap discipline, which is likely to decrease the pressure on the QB. You get what you emphasize and Pettine and the D didn't emphasize stopping the run. Its really just that simple! They prioritzed disrupting the QB and the DL played the run on the way to the QB.

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Tarynfor12's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:23 pm

"If the Packers want to stop the run, they have to play w/ some, possibly alot more gap discipline, which is likely to decrease the pressure on the QB. You get what you emphasize and Pettine and the D didn't emphasize stopping the run. Its really just that simple! They prioritized disrupting the QB and the DL played the run on the way to the QB."

Have to make sure those QB sack numbers are there to brag about even though that principle is more a harm than good overall, as witnessed many times in many games and why this team won't achieve or rather be the benefactor of nearly as many wins next season but more likely 6 more losses at least.

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 05:20 pm

Well they did win 13 games last year playing that scheme. And the NFL is a passing league, so it does make quite a bit of sense to pressure the QB and stop the passing game. But you do get what you emphasize.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 01, 2020 at 11:48 pm

2nd or 3rd and short and he has them playing pass sets?

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ILPackerBacker's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Say what you want about Blake, he did have strong points. He was not used correctly.

Say what you want about playing 1 INLB and 1 hybrid S....it didn't work unless the other team decided to stop running
so in the strategic sense Mike P won
in the tactical sense, when a team decided to run until GB changed Mike P was a disaster and so were the players he put on the field and the players on the roster, he had plenty of input on that

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Lphill's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Just like the QB runs the offense , the inside linebacker runs the defense, Blake was not allowed to do this and was not assigned a gap to fill . Now it’s up to Oren Burks. We may be ranked 32 Nd against the run this season.

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Coldworld's picture

March 31, 2020 at 04:12 pm

He specifically said he made the calls pre snap. Instead of a gap he had to read and react. I do not get what you struggle with or your obsession with a player on the roster bubble even before the draft.

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hobowilly's picture

April 01, 2020 at 12:32 pm

CW: you are so right....Burks on the roster bubble, yet i don't think he makes it only as a special teamer and 3rd string ILB, which is where i've seen him earn..too bad GB wasted such a high draft choice. The worst in my life, Tony Mandrich and perhaps the second was picking AJ so high. he was a great D-1 player but a slightly better than avg NFL player. Maybe third worst a tie between Sherrod and javon walker. That's why an NFL draft team really has their hands full when doing their boards and then a GM has to have an innate ability & the skill. I love what Gutey is doing thus far. His first draft class ('18) might yet produce an all pro (Alexander) yet the only really good choices were Scott, EQ and perhaps MVS-don't forget Hunter Bradley who seems to have found his role, albeit a single one.

Last, the 2019 class has much more potential (savage=eventual all pro, same as jenkins, don't give up on Gary, certainly Sternberger and even Hollman)--that's 2 all pro's, 1 starter and maybe even 2 other starters..not bad!

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flackcatcher's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:37 pm

All in all Martinez earned his contract with the Giants. Playing in system/scheme that pushed his weakness to the forefront, he did well on a team that got to the NFC champ game. He was a good Packer, and I wish him well. That said, he saw the hand writing on wall during the 2018 season, when Pettine was running a stripped down version of the current scheme in the second half of games. Two other points. One. The Packers base defense is not a 3-4 heavy. It's a 3-5 light with a SS/hybrid depending on the scheme they are facing. Two. Pettine likes to play a 2-6 with a second slot (last year that was T. Williams) and having his OLB shooting the gaps in both the run and pass game. It's a gambling defense, but one where the Packers won most of the time in the second half of games last year. Also, it needs to said that both LaFleur and Pettine were playing shorthanded in both the offensive and defensive lines. The need to protect young developmental players in both lines made both groups pretty thin as the season dragged on. It cost them in the NFC champ game. That's what happens to rebuilding teams, cap wise and personnel wise. How the Packers address this, with their tight Cap won't be known until after draft, and we see their roster.

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flackcatcher's picture

March 31, 2020 at 01:01 pm

That is, IF there is a season.... (Quietly curses the CCP off blog.... :-)

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Stroh's picture

March 31, 2020 at 05:26 pm

I would say the defense is a 24 D or even a 23 D. They mostly only play w/ 2 DT and the OLB are the Edge players. Then they use only the 2 OLB and 1 ILB. The hybrid is a Safetey not an ILB. I'm hoping they actually play w/ 2 ILB most of the time this year and eliminate the hybrid S.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 01, 2020 at 04:24 am

Yes I agree. LB and DL rooms are still too thin. I would like Pettine to play more 3-4, but he never had the personnel to play it over the course of a game. Besides Pettine likes playing 2-4 as that gets more hybrids (OLB or SS) in game. So I expect we'll see something very much like Wisconsin runs under Jim Leonhard as he ran Pettine's system as a player. But of course it will depend on the growth of the 2-3 year players and who Gute drafts.

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Stroh's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:29 am

SMH... They could put 3 DL on the field and ask them to play w/ gap discipline. Lowry, Clark and Lancaster could make a really good 2 gapping DL trio. The point is that is not the scheme they CHOOSE to play! The hyrid S/ILB is just another among many indicator that they are focused on stopping the passing game and the DL and pass rushers are only focused on getting penetration and disruption on the QB.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 02, 2020 at 06:50 am

Well, Pettine announced that 3-5 was his base in his first presser at the beginning of training camp. And both the SS/hybrid and how they handled run gaps in the presser and in interviews all season. Pettine was very open....

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Coldworld's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:40 am

I don’t want to see the hybrid vanish. I do want a true ILB option and a good Hybrid type if we are going to play it. Last year we had no appropriate ILB 2 at all except in the most obvious run situations. That isn’t Pettine’s D. Moreover, it wasn’t Martinez’s strength either. As a starting point, that’s a big problem.

At Hybrid, Greene looked promising, but there was nothing behind him. Amos had to step in, which is a waste. Campbell was not good after his return late.

We need at least 2 players at each position to have a serious chance of the D functioning as it is designed. We have one at each, Kirksey and Greene, and some untested depth. We need to draft or acquire another cover capable ILB and another Hybrid type. Simple as that.

Judging every defensive scheme fairly requires that it has a reasonable set of required pieces. We did not in these positions and it got exploited. Gute had other focuses legitimately last year, this year I see these position as critical ones.

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stockholder's picture

April 01, 2020 at 12:17 pm

I do want the Hybrid gone. Give me 4 good Lbs. If we had Simmons, Pettine wouldn't play the hybrid.

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Since'61's picture

March 31, 2020 at 12:56 pm

14-4 with him, 14-4 without him. He played hard, yes. But he was slow to react, he was too slow at getting off his blocks and he couldn’t cover. If we kept him we would have needed to over pay him and he was evolving into AJ Hawk. We don’t need any more guys who make tackles 5+ yards beyond the LOS.

I’m not saying he is lying but he is saying that it was everyone else’s fault but his. I wonder what the rest of the front 7 would say?

In any case he has his big money deal now. Just say thanks for drafting me and move on. Thanks, Since ‘61

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flackcatcher's picture

March 31, 2020 at 01:09 pm

Yup. Hard but fair...

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Bure9620's picture

March 31, 2020 at 01:50 pm

Agreed, this is why his responsibilities were making the front "right." Kirksey will be used differently as Pettine will not have the hesitation with him in coverage he has with Martinez. Also, with Raven Greene back in hybrid role playing up at the line and playing the run, Pettine's defense will be better.

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Since'61's picture

March 31, 2020 at 09:52 pm

Bure - I think you could be spot on with your analysis utilizing Raven Greene. Let’s hope that we have a season to find out. Stay well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Coldworld's picture

April 01, 2020 at 09:57 am

Greene is likely part of the picture but we need more and more suited depth at both ILB and Hybrid positions to provide options and to sustain them through the season. Burks is not someone we should write off yet, but we also can’t count on him coming on. More depth and more competition is essential.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 02, 2020 at 07:04 am

With the draft numbers I suspect (more likely guess) that Gute will keep all his choices. I wonder who on the existing roster will be shifted to the Hybrid roll. Jackson maybe? Agree on Burks. Man this roster is thin...

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dobber's picture

March 31, 2020 at 02:05 pm

Do we all remember Greg Jennings...the model citizen and consummate Packer until his contract came up and he was let go? All the crap that ensued? Shades of that here, too.

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Lare's picture

March 31, 2020 at 03:58 pm

A lot of these players have been given everything they've wanted their entire lives. When that doesn't happen, most adults accept it and move on with their lives. Most juveniles do not.

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Coldworld's picture

March 31, 2020 at 04:15 pm

Mike Daniels has more inflammatory things to say last year. One could argue Graham implied more about our O. The funny thing about Blake’s comments is that they shed just as much light in his weaknesses as those of our D.

Much ado about nothing.

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Timeout's picture

March 31, 2020 at 06:14 pm

Yes, and he ate a lot of crow wearing his Viking uniform..

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Lphill's picture

March 31, 2020 at 04:14 pm

If Pettine is not making gap assignments a priority then we have a problem.

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Darwins Myth's picture

March 31, 2020 at 07:52 pm

Improvements of the Packers' DL and ILB for next season isn't looking very promising, since high ranking prospects for the DL and ILB are very thin in the upcoming NFL Draft. I just hope that Gute won't feel pressured to take DT/DE Marlon Davidson at #30, when there are more talented prospects available that will still fill big needs, like WRs D. Mims and A. Aiyuk, and OT E. Cleveland. Drafting ILB Kenneth Murray would cover a multitude of needs... I hope he's available at #30. He'll do much better than B. Martinez.

In this order, these are my targets at #30... ILB K. Murray, WR D. Mims, WR B. Aiyuk, and OT E. Cleveland.

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stockholder's picture

April 01, 2020 at 04:42 pm

For fun I used PFN draft simulator. #30 Josh Jones OT #62 RossBlacklock DT #94 Leki Fotu #136 AJ.Dillion #175 Evan Weaver ILB #192 S. Quaterman ILB #208 Jeff Thomas WRS #209 Tyler Clark DT #236 Sean McKeon TE #242 Patrick Taylor RB. Maybe Gute needs to rethink taking a WR and ILB early..

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

March 31, 2020 at 10:24 pm

Sounds like Martinez didn’t love the system he was playing in. But it was a system that took a 4th round draft choice and made him worth $10MM a year. He may want to just take the money and keep quiet.

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stockholder's picture

April 01, 2020 at 12:19 pm

The problem was the Hybrid.

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CoachDino's picture

April 01, 2020 at 06:53 am

Yep

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lowcsp's picture

April 01, 2020 at 01:17 pm

The were green bay values inside linebacker and doesn't like to take wide receiver in the 1st round and how pettine loves to play 3safteys i think alot of people here will be pissed when they draft a big fast saftey before an insidelinebacker or widereciver

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