Kinglsey Keke Among Packers Who Must Take Next Step in 2020

The Green Bay Packers in 2020 are set to be a good team. Whether or not they can build on their NFC Championship Game appearance of a year ago and reach a Super Bowl is dependent on the steps forward that young players on the team take.

Entering the offseason, most fans and analysts would have pegged the team's two biggest areas of need as wide receiver and defensive line. In a rather surprising move, the Packers essentially punted on both of those positions this offseason, which means the pressure is on guys already on the roster to develop into qualtiy starters.

On the defensive line, that means the microscope is going to be on Kingsley Keke in particular.

In a unit full of known commodities, Keke might currently be the only mystery. Kenny Clark is a blue-chip stud who is going to get a big-dollar extension very soon, and a well-earned one at that. But outside of Clark, there's not a whole lot of reliability.

Dean Lowry is a solid role player who earned a nice little extension last year, but is never going to be a player you want on the field for every down. Tyler Lancaster was repeatedly taken advantage of in 2019. Montravious Adams was a big disappointment after an offseason in which a lot of fans and analysts hoped he'd take some big steps forward.

The ship hasn't sailed on these guys yet, but there's a general sense that the Packers know what they have in them. But with Keke, there's still a lot to learn.

Keke only saw the field for 94 snaps in 2019, meaning he was on the field for fewer than 10 percent of the team's defensive plays. But coaches have raved about what they've seen about him so far, both in games and on the practice field. Said defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, "He was a guy that as the year went on he got his opportunities in there, he was productive for us. That's somebody that we're looking forward to having a much more increased role." 

The Packers did add Gerald Willis and Treyvon Hester to the rotation in the offseason, but there's little reason to believe they'll be anything other than rotational players. This means Keke is going to be afforded every opportunity to come in and make a statement.

Keke has put on some weight over the last year and a half since his combine appearance, and this year will be playing around 295 or 300. His size and athleticism could make him a valuable presence in the run game, which was a major deficiency for the Packers in 2019 (to say the least). 

From my perspective, the Packers should have done more to address the run defense, particularly the defensive line, in the 2020 offseason. The Packers are relying too heavily on Keke to make big strides in his second year as a fifth-round pick. But there is certainly a lot to like about what Keke can produce for this team, and I would not be surprised to see him rise to the challenge.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (66)

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cuervo's picture

June 22, 2020 at 12:36 pm

The Dean Lowry signing is looking like it was a mistake. Allocating almost 7 mil/yr for a player of Lowry's caliber is a major swing and miss. Because Lowry is so pedistrian, Keke better step up cause there aren't many other options. .

To be clear, Lowry's an "ok" player, but he's a vet minimum guy, not a 7 mil/yr guy.

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Coldworld's picture

June 22, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Based on last year it looks like it. Prior to that it he looked like a keeper. I’m a little dubious of the write off of Willis and Hester. They aren’t likely stars but one has considerable upside if he clicks and the other has proved solid when called on. Unless we are talking Clark, one or both could help potentially.

KeKe came out expected to need to add lower body strength and having slimmed down. Excited to see him this year.

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wildbill's picture

June 22, 2020 at 07:47 pm

You can never have enough quality defensive bodies to rotate, we just need a couple to step up and force the double teams off Clark and make a number of splash plays over the year

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 22, 2020 at 09:55 pm

He can rush the passer, but (i) would move him away from the run game. They can be multiple with the Elephant and let him cause chaos. The guy to hold Edge as a five tech is still not on the team.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 22, 2020 at 09:57 pm

I like Willis. He should respond if he can motivate himself.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 22, 2020 at 01:43 pm

In order for your opinion on Lowry to be correct, you have to assume that Gutekunst was wrong and Murphy was wrong and Ball was wrong.

You also are going to have to explain to me how the 2nd best DL in the 9th best defense could be pedestrian. Do we really have that many superstuds on defense that we could achieve this despite such a handicap?

Then I'm going to ask you if you notice how Lowry sacrifices himself to create lanes for the Smiths, or causes QBs to double clutch by getting his arms up? How he's always available?

Then I'm going to ask how many 6'7" , 300+ lb, young, smart veterans with no injury history are playing for the vet minimum, because I'm pretty sure you don't know ( and I do).

Awaiting answers......

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Bearmeat's picture

June 22, 2020 at 01:56 pm

I don't know what kind of analytics site you're looking at, but in 2019, we did NOT have the 2nd best DL. Our DL was hot garbage after Clark last year and everyone in the league knew it. It was a bottom 10 DL. Maybe bottom 5.

Lowry played like a vet minimum guy last year. He played better than that the year before, but he has NEVER played like at 7/mil AAV guy. It was a swing and a miss on Gute's part that Lowry would continue to improve. Instead, he regressed. Could he play better than he ever has in 2020? Maybe. But it's not likely. By year 3, you are who you are usually.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 22, 2020 at 03:45 pm

I didn’t say we had the 2nd best DL.

I said Lowry was the second best defensive lineman on the 9th best defense. Looking back on my original, I can see that might have been worded kind of confusingly.

If you go to pro-football-reference and look up all defensive linemen ranked by tackles, you will see Kenny Clark at 11 and Lowry at 37. That would put Lowry as the 2nd best guy on most defensive lines.

Please give me one example where a young, smart, durable guy with his size who plays for the minimum. You can’t so stop before you start.

Go to spotrac and look at all the guys who make less than Lowry and are better. Really short list, especially if you exclude the guys on their rookie deal

Gutekunst is smart. Murphy is smart. Our defense improved from bad to 9th in one season. Lowry was part of the improvement, just like the architects planned. Give credit where it’s due.
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Tangentially related, I really wonder if the 1265 braintrust doesn’t place the importance of DL as high as you. In three drafts, we haven’t drafted one on the first two days. We released Daniels. Our only FA help was Wilkerson. I have a sneaking suspicion that we won’t resign Clark and will instead play with rookie contract guys and second tier FA vets. That’s certainly the direction we appear to be going on the offensive line.

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 07:01 pm

Your comment was worded just fine and easily understood.

The current regime with Gutey in charge and Pettine as DC prioritzes pass rush in DL. So they will absolutely resign Clark. Lowry is a solid DL and does what is needed but doesn't make impact play. He's not the best scheme fit but a good all around player.

Most fans just don't understand the value of role players, which is what Lowry is.

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Bearmeat's picture

June 22, 2020 at 08:46 pm

An expensive as hell role player. I have no problem with role players. I have a problem with players that take an outsized portion of the cap and don't produce accordingly.

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 10:21 pm

Its not like he's being paid 15M or more like an impact DL does. You just don't understand the value of role players on 2nd contracts. I bet if you compare him to other DL in the same pay range you'd find that he's being paid similarly for his contributions. Thats assuming you look at the player and not his contributions and not just his stats!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 23, 2020 at 05:54 am

I'd rather have Quinton Jefferson ($6.2M), McCoy (6.0M), Maliek Collins ($6M), Denico Autry, Jonathan Hankins ($4.25M), Corey Peters, Lawrence Guy, Billings. I'd be okay with Gholston and Nick Williams, Ed Oliver, about the same but paid a 1.5M to 2M less.

I don't think Gute/Ball/Murphy (why would Murphy be on OS' list?!! Murphy should have absolutely zip to do with Lowry's extension) missed on Lowry but they may have overpaid him. It isn't a whiff since Lowry is in the average player area.

Two things are sort of funny about Lowry's situation. First, his pass rush dropped in 2019 from 14 pressures to 5. His run D was down a bit in terms of TFL, but his missed tackles was better. Second: his AV was 6 per PFR in 2018 and 9 in 2019 even though he clearly had a better year in 2018 (this is because the defense overall was better). AV stinks.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 23, 2020 at 11:37 am

Why did I mention Murphy?

Well, he’s the team president. The GM reports to him. He can extend the GM....or not.

I reject the notion he has ‘zip’ to do with this. Obviously, it’s the GMs call, but it would be a real stupid GM who doesn’t keep his boss in the loop, and discuss what he’s planning to do and why. And then there would be discussions about the players market value, and Ball most likely had answers there by comparing him to similar players. They talked about the structuring.

If at any point in the process, Murphy had said something to the effect of “that’s too much money for a pedestrian role player”....do you really think the GM would just push it through anyway? Or if Pettine had said “......he’s pedestrian and I don’t really have much use for him..”?

These are decisions that are made at the highest level, and I’m sure there’s ample discussion. It’s not just the GM slinging from the hip trying to make a play.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 23, 2020 at 04:28 pm

I’d rather have Gal Gadot or Olga Kurylenko . That doesn’t mean Mila Kunis is overvalued or pedestrian.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 24, 2020 at 04:49 am

Mila seems like a sweetheart. She went to Scotland with Craig Ferguson - there are some real nice shows they shot there. One can always be wrong about a celebrity's real personality, and I don't know much about Gadot or Kurylenko. I vote Mila, or Alice Eve. Even though Ms. Eve isn't my type, one can make allowances, all things considered.

Good about Murphy. I can blame him for Graham and figure out a way not to give him any credit for Smith x 2. [I need more hindsight before committing myself on Amos and Turner.] I don't believe Murphy had any input into TT's decisions. IIRC, TT reported to Murphy since 2007, but I doubt that Muphy had squat to do with football decisions.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 23, 2020 at 11:03 am

Lowry consumes 2.55% of our cap. 10th. Players on defense who make more are Smith, Smith, Amos and Clark. Savage, King, Alexander, Alexander, Jackson, etc. are all rookie contracts. The new guy, Kirksey, is a couple of notches below. Lancaster is a minimum wage guy, about 750k.

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Guam's picture

June 22, 2020 at 04:50 pm

LH - You've used this nonsensical argument before that if Gutekunst, Murphy and Ball all agree, they can't possibly be wrong. Talented veteran executives don't make many mistakes, but they are not omniscient. TT and company certainly had their share of bad signings (see: Perry, Nick to start) and the current regime will as well.

I think the jury is still out on the Lowery contract. He did not play to his contract last year (I believe PFF had both Lowery and Lancaster rated as below average against the run last year) although he played much better the year before while earning the extension. Hopefully he returns to form this year.

But stop with this argument that the Packer FO is all seeing and all knowing.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 22, 2020 at 04:02 pm

I don’t think they’re all seeing or all knowing. That’s a strawman.. I just think they are much more knowledgeable than anybody on a fan board, and as such, there’s a very strong possibility they are right and the guy watching TV is wrong.

“He did not play to his contract........”. According to what? Did he miss a bunch of games? Was he on the bench because somebody else beat him out.? He was 37th in tackles among all defensive linemen. Along with Clark, that gives us two in the top 37!! That’s better than most of the teams in the league!!

He was 13th among defensive linemen in passes knocked down. He was one of 11 who got an interception.

Y’all should take a fresh look at Lowry. He was absolutely part of the reason for our defensive improvement. He does a lot of things that don’t show up in the box score but helped us win games.

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Guam's picture

June 22, 2020 at 04:49 pm

"According to what?" I believe I cited PFF ratings of Lowery as below average against the run. The problem is you have two subpar run defenders (Lowery and Lancaster) on our DL coupled with a less than stellar ILB pairing. SF exposed that problem.

I did say that Lowery played well a year ago and I have not given up on him. I just hope he plays the run like he did two years ago and not last year. Solid run D plus a performance like last year against the pass and he will be playing to his contract.

I agree that Gute, Murphy and Ball know a great deal more than I do about football, but that doesn't make them immune from mistakes or from critiques. I get irritated when you put down commenters discussion points just because they believe differently from a member of the FO. The opinion of a FO member carries considerable weight, but it does not make them infallible.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 22, 2020 at 05:25 pm

So if a site rates a guy as below average against the run then that means he is pedestrian and overpaid? Even if he’s 37th in tackles, batted down more passes than most of the guys in the league, played in every game and was one of the few DL with an interception.?.?

If you’re going to assert that you’re somehow more knowledgeable than the organization, then you’re going to e to make a stronger argument than that.

How did Lowry regress? Is that going to be another PFF calculation? And if he regressed, then why was the defense so much improved?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 23, 2020 at 06:24 am

The defense was improved because they brought in four new defensive starters in Z and P Smith, Amos and Savage, (and got 400 to 500 more snaps than usual from Kevin King, as average as those may have been), not because of Lowry.

While few people would attribute GB's defensive improvement to Lowry's play in 2019, I do agree with you that his services were important in allowing that improvement to occur. Though many would insert the word "despite" somewhere in such a sentence, Keke probably needed time to acclimate. Lancaster arguably regressed but I think Tyler was the 2nd best DL in GB last season. I think the biggest issue with the Lancaster/Lowry regression is that Kenny Clark forgot to play the run in 2019.

BTW: Lancaster got 3 AV in 2018 and 6 in 2019 even though he was undeniably a better player in 2018 and played 271 snaps to 381 in 2019. Av sucks.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 23, 2020 at 05:23 pm

I agree on AV.

Your opening paragraph is 100% true, but I’m wondering why you didn’t mention cutting Daniels and extending Lowry in the resurgence.??

All the offseason moves on defense were part of the same plan by the same guys, weren’t they? Or was this different guys with different plans?

Since Pettine and Gutekunst arrived, they spent 3 first round picks on DBs and one 2nd. They spent one first rounder on an edge rusher and two more high dollar FAs. They haven’t drafted one DL in the top 100. They only made one attempt in 3 off seasons to improve the line., with Wilkerson. They released Daniels because they didn’t think he’d be nearly worth the cost and it looks like they were right.

They extended Lowry and exercised the option on Clark so we’d have them for two years. Lancaster earns minimum wage and he is probably worth more. Stays available and plays hard.

I think all those guys were on the field a little too much, but there was apparently a big drop off after them so they had to be on the field.

Overall, I am seeing very little evidence that the 1265 brass prioritizes the defensive line. Just like the #2 WR position, I think it’s a spot where they think they can get by with bargains.. Not like the offensive line where we’ve signed two free agents and drafted a guard in the second.

There is a plan in place that seems to be working quite well, and it’s obvious Lowry is part of it. So even though few people agree that Lowry was part of pretty good plan, I’m glad you recognize that he has been part of it. He’s going toe part of it this season.

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As an aside, if I’m correct about the plan, we’ll replace Kenny Clark with a draft pick next season.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 24, 2020 at 05:11 am

I can't argue with any of that. Love and to a lesser extent Gary look like luxury picks. I loved Dexter Lawrence but the brass passed. I didn't like the DL prospects that much in the 2019 draft so I was fine with passing on them.

I think GB might well have to replace Clark, but my reasoning is (or might be) different. I think GB can probably sign just one of Bakh and Clark, and if Clark's price hits the $16M+ area, it will be difficult to tell if it is by design or simply being broke. If both players price themselves out of GB, then the team could afford one of Linsley or Aaron Jones, and in a pinch if they wanted to shoehorn them in (use bad contract structures that punt the cap hit down the road), both.

I wrote an article on why Daniels had to go. His $8M cap savings was always in their back pocket. It was their cushion, and minus roughly $3M in churn, the remnant formed their $5.3M rollover into this season.

GB desperately needed the cap to increase by at least its usual $10M. Doesn't look like Gute is going to get it. Bad times are coming. Some draft picks have to turn into quality starters fast.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 24, 2020 at 10:03 am

Based on what has happened so far, I don’t think that Clark, Bakhtiari, or Linsley will be resigned. Jenkins will be our our starting center. A running team doesn’t need a $15 million dancing bear at left tackle, and it’s much cheaper to draft a DL who will be on a rookie contract.

Aaron Jones will be resigned if he’s willing to play for a lot less than he could get elsewhere. Dillon will be the main horse by the end of the season and we aren’t going to pay his backup $6 million/year.

If I’m correct about the plan, Kevin King is probably the guy we’ll try to resign if he stays relatively healthy. We have shown a willingness to spend resources on DBs and edge rushers .

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Guam's picture

June 23, 2020 at 04:25 pm

I never asserted that I knew more than the organization and in fact in the previous post stipulated I don't. However I do believe they may have overpaid Lowery given his performance metrics this past year and neither you nor I know whether the organization agrees or disagrees. Just because they signed him to the contract prior to last year doesn't mean they were happy with his performance this year.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 22, 2020 at 10:01 pm

HAMMER HITTING NAIL.....

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 07:40 pm

Lowry is really good role player. He has FAR more value than a vet minimum contract. You just don't seem to understand that fact. He's not being paid like an impact player, which is what Clark will get (more than double what Lowry is making). But he certainly has plenty of value.

This isn't FF where stats are all that matters!

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Leatherhead's picture

June 22, 2020 at 08:31 pm

When you are a starter...and a core member of one of the better defenses in the league....thats more than a role player to me

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Most of the NFL starters are Role Players. THe majority of your roster is Role players! Good starters are role players, not impact players!

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mnbadger's picture

June 22, 2020 at 01:33 pm

Lowery is pedestrian at best. Does anybody know what the cap hit is if we cut him? Lowery, not Taylor, should have been restructured. I'm I'm generally a Gutey fan but IMO, this signing was a miss. Also, I love Tyler Lancaster the person, but it's time to move on to find playmakers. We're trying to win SB's correct? GPG

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 22, 2020 at 10:06 pm

I second, third, fourth and Fifth the motion...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 23, 2020 at 06:42 am

It costs $1.2M to cut Lowry. Cap savings materialize in 2021. GB just paid Lowry a $2M roster bonus (3-20-20), so he is likely here for this year.

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Bearmeat's picture

June 22, 2020 at 01:57 pm

Yeah. We need Keke to step up because after Clark we have bupkus in proven talent. But at this point, Keke is a hope - not a plan. Gute did nothing to augment this (or the WR) unit in the offseason. You can't plug every hole in the modern NFL. That's the beauty/awfulness of a hard cap league.

Also, most agree that the 2019 Packers overachieved. It would be a tremendous accomplishment to even get back where they were in January. It's not out of the question that they miss the playoffs.

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nostradanus's picture

June 22, 2020 at 02:04 pm

I am expecting an increase in playing time and production from Keke though D. Linemen for the most part don’t hit their peak until year 3-4.

Lowery is a solid player, too much attention is being paid to his contract number, which is basically the going rate for a solid DL in his 2nd contract year. He’s not sexy but that’s not his job, he’ll be fine.

The Defense Line mostly did a decent job last season as the emphasis in Pettine’s Defense is to let the OLB do the sexy work while the D. Linemen toil in relative obscurity (along with the ILB according to Martinez).

My sleeper pick is Willis, if this dude can get his head straight he has mad skills as a run stopping force with just a bit of pass rushing splash!

The DL is going to be fine with Clark the Big Stud and the other Big uglies helping him out. The Packers play a lot of 2 DL looks so again, they be ok, have faith Packers brethren!

Out....

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 07:46 pm

Exactly!! At leasg you and I understand what a good role player is!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 23, 2020 at 07:55 am

There is such a thing as role player, but it isn't as prevalent as you suggest. On offense, the five OL, QB, and one or two WRs are starters, not role players. Deficiencies in talent might limit someone to being a role player - some #2 WRs are possession receivers only or can only play the slot. The #1 TE shouldn't be a role player but too often is due to the scarcity of good/complete TEs. Practically all teams have a blocking TE. H-backs and FBs are now always role players. RBs vary with many teams having a committee, and usually a couple having fairly specific roles. On most plays, 5 OL, one TE, at least one WR, the QB (on a good team) are all starters and not role players.

There are more role players on defense, which is why teams often carry 26 defensive guys on the 53. The nickel back is a starter in GB. The top two CBs are starters. The two safeties are starters. 3 of the 4 LBs are starters. The big uglies need rest and get some rotation. There are two starters and a third DL who plays 300 to 650 snaps. In a 4-3, DTs and DEs play 800+ snaps per year. NTs and 3-4 DTs play 650 to 750.

Yes, there are guys who aren't very good who play a lot in the league, but that doesn't mean they aren't starters, they are just guys who aren't very good. There are designated pass rushers, dime backs, hybrid ILBs, even a 2nd ILB, who play specific roles by design.

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Stroh's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:17 pm

IMO any player that isn't an impact player is a role player. They don't make plays on their own and only do so on occasion. Playing a lot of snaps, a la Lowry is great but for the most part he's playing his role, whatever that may be. The NFL is absolutely littered w/ role players. Impact players are the only ones teams really prepare for. That doesn't mean that role players arent valuable, they certainly are, which brings us back to Lowry.

The Packers have quite a few impact players (or potential impact players) on Defense. Generally need about 4 to have a quality Defense. Clark, Smith, Smith are impact players. Alexander is on the cusp, Savage, Gary and maybe King have a legit chance. Amos, Lowry and Kerksey are quality role players.

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DenePhillips's picture

June 22, 2020 at 02:06 pm

I want see more of Raven Greene. I really liked him. And of course, his name is cool with his Green shoes.

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jannes bjornson's picture

June 23, 2020 at 07:23 pm

Two ILBs, forget the Rover "idea", the vulnerabilities have to be sealed. There will bee better inside LB play this year. Kingsley knows the gap shooting scheme for Pettine, can he stay Healthy for a full term? Bolton is still on the radar. Martin is a good ILB. bring him on slowly. He willstart by the second half 0f 2020.

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Archie's picture

June 22, 2020 at 02:53 pm

Yes, Gutey seems to be all in on Keke and Lazard. Whereas; with Burks, he seems less sure as he accumulated several options in case he remains what he has been.

Gutey is also all-in on his top 3 draft choices. Rookie RBs tend to produce/perform, QB/TE not so much. So I see Dillon playing a big role in 2020 as well if he shows talent at this level.

I'd throw in TE Sternberger too.

And to give you a five-pack, I'd say CB Sullivan is being counted on to be our new slot CB.

If those 5 young Packers play up to early expectations/hype, the GBP should have a solid year if they stay relatively healthy, especially Rodgers, Bakh, Adams, Jones, Clark, Jaire etc.

Now let's just hope there is a season to play.

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gkarl's picture

June 22, 2020 at 03:49 pm

DL play needs to improve, hopefully Keke will be part of the answer. Clark needs help from somebody. We got killed on the ground LY and the DL took most of the heat for that, but they are not alone.

The OLB's need to be better at helping stop the run. Its seemed like the defense in general was so focused on getting to the quarterback that far to often teams ran right by them leaving our ILB fighting off OL blocks well beyond the LOS.

We have to get better at stopping the run. To win the SB you need to be able to control the LOS on both sides of the ball. For the defense that's going to take everyone to step up their game and also be more assignment responsible.

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 08:00 pm

Getting to the QB is the premise of Pettine's Pettine's defensive philosophy. They really only play run D on the way to the QB.

Getting better against the run will take better gap discipline from the entire front 7. Doing that will result in less pressure on the QB. They have to find a balance not onlh rush thd QB.

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splitpea1's picture

June 22, 2020 at 10:16 pm

That philosophy didn't seem to work out too well in the championship game, did it? Either the philosophy is flawed or the personnel is inadequate, or at least inadequately trained in regards to their gap responsibilities. There's no need to worry about getting to the QB when he attempts EIGHT passes. It might be easier to find clones of Pickett and Raji rather than relying on this unison of gap discipline.

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 10:39 pm

Some schemes work better against certain teams and others don't. Its very difficult to have a Defense that is great vs the run and the pass at the same time. Its not like the Packers have a Reggie White on the team. You play your scheme to the best of your abilities. Do the Packers need to put more focus on gap discipline to be better against the run? Sure of course they do. But lets face facts Very Few teams have the ability to run the ball as well as SF does! You get what you prioritize...

It would be easier to find clone of Pickett el al, but they don't rush the QB very well do they?! So the Picketts, Jolly's and Raji's are great 2 gap players to absorb blockers and hold 2 gaps. Pettines Defense is a One Gap Scheme and each of the front 7 playes has one gap, not 2 like in Capers D.

Both are 34 Defense in base, but they are very different in philosophy. Last I checked Pettine's D is better for the vast majority of today's NFL offensive teams. This is basic difference between Capers and Pettine and not so hard to understand. Why are you having such difficulty with it?

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splitpea1's picture

June 23, 2020 at 11:12 am

I understand; you've done an excellent job of explaining it. All I'm saying is this philosophy didn't come close to working against SF in the most important game of the season. Our defense was getting road-graded and we couldn't stop it. When the opposing RB gains supposedly 140 yards before contact, your defense has a serious deficiency.

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Stroh's picture

June 23, 2020 at 04:06 pm

What are you suggesting? Change the whole scheme and philosophy so you have a better matchup for one team vs SF, but then have a scheme that doesn't work against other teams? How does that make sense?

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splitpea1's picture

June 23, 2020 at 06:10 pm

It's up to the defensive coaches and FO to determine what adjustments have to be made. And how do you know that said adjustments won't also work against other teams? Making adjustments is better than shrinking away and hoping you don't have to play the same team that dominates you, especially in the playoffs.

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Stroh's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:24 pm

An adjustment would be putting more emphasis on gap discipline while still playing a One Gap scheme. Not changing to a 2 gap scheme. I'm quite sure that better gap discipline will be the biggest change and adjustment this offseason. But you have to be true to your philosophy, otherwise your talking about changing the DC and starting over on that side of the ball and probably wasting alot of the reasons they signed the Smiths and drafted Gary.

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gkarl's picture

June 23, 2020 at 07:29 am

Stroh

Agree with what you say, especially the balance part and the how Pettine's scheme works. I think what most fans are looking for is the defense to have the ability to stop the run "better" than LY. That will take better gap discipline or assignment responsibility which I believe was missing LY. The defense can't let an offense control the game totally, run or pass, and that happened to us LY in the big games.

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Stroh's picture

June 23, 2020 at 10:57 am

Thanks for agreeing, in reality you just made the same comment i've been saying for over a year. Right now SF just happens to be a matchup nitemare for the Packers, much like Dallas was in the 90's.

Improving gap discipline will absolutely help against SF and other teams. Remember tho that the league is much more a passing league and few teams are as run oriented and committed.

We'd all like to see them play better run D, but that will likely come at the cost of pressure on the QB. Unless a Reggie White falls in out laps your not going to have both a great run D and pass D.

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TheVOR's picture

June 22, 2020 at 04:33 pm

IMO, banking on a year 2 jump, while hoped for, and even expected by some, is a disaster. Teams that do this, like we are with Burks and KeKe? Wow, if this dude is slow to develop, or the game is just too big for him? I don't see "IT". "IT FACTOR" looks like Bradley Chubb's rookie season. We can all hope, but my expectations for this magical unicorn jump by Keke is just not there with me. Same thing with Burks, I just don't see "IT". Keke was exactly a 5th round pick, I typically don't get all cranked up over 5th round draft choices, and if he makes that big jump to NFL football player, we'll all be happy. Not betting on it for sure.

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 08:44 pm

I don't think the Packers FO is banking on the 2nd yr jump from a 5th rd pick. They would hope gor it. The FO might bank on that from a higher draft pick, not a lare rd pick. They would hope some late rd picks make the jump.

IMO your taking what fans are banking on and attribuing it to the FO.

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TheVOR's picture

June 23, 2020 at 11:43 am

But wouldn't you agree that if they ignored the position in the draft, which they clearly have at ILB and DL, that they in fact "are banking on that jump"? I mean, because they clearly must think they're fine, or they would have drafted that need? Just saying, I believe they are in fact counting on these these two players? Or they would have drafted the positions of need? There couldn't have been 2 bigger needs going into this offseason than ILB and DL? Based on the championship decimation of our DL and ILB's? My 2..

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Stroh's picture

June 23, 2020 at 03:58 pm

No i don't agree they are banking on a jump from a 5th rd pick. The fact they didn't draft that position high or at all tells me they don't see personnel as the issue and that better gap discipline will make the run D better.

They've used a 3rd, 4th and this yr a 5th on ILB along with a FA this yr. That's actually alot of resources at ILB in the last 4 or 5 yrs. Especially considering its not a premium position.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 24, 2020 at 05:22 am

Agreed. And GB seems to think they know what they have in Lowry and Lancaster, and if necessary can get by with that tandem.

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Stroh's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:34 pm

The DL is the position that could really use another playmaker. When they drafted Gary, I was banging the drum for Simmons, even thou he was coming off an injury and had the off field issues. That might have been why they went for Gary over Simmons or possibly Sweat. I do like Gary but was surprised they took him, but I only considered him a 43 DE and not a stand up OLB.

The run D needs to improve no doubt about it.

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 06:00 pm

Its ridiculous that people are counting on Keke to improve the run D. He's an interior disruptor / pass rusher. He's definitely not a run stuffing DT. He was drafted due to his athleticism and length both are attributes that lend themselves to becoming a disruptive penetrator and hopefully a good pass rusher.

The issues w/ the run D are directly attributable to the scheme, NOT the personnel. I like Keke's potential and think he might be a good 3 tech DT. Just a diffenent one from Daniels. If he develops he can help the pass rush and give Clark some extra snaps off. But Keke is not a run stuffing DT. The run D has to improve via better gap integrity from each of the front 7 defensive players, not by the addition of a run stuffer.

Lets hope Keke develops and becomes a disruptive penetrating and pass rushing DT, that is what he was drafted for. He's not a run stuffer by any stretch of the imagination!

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CheesyTex's picture

June 22, 2020 at 06:54 pm

Right on, Stroh, when you say "...issues w/ the run D are directly attributable to scheme...". But kudos to Pettine for what he accomplished last year with his defend the pass first philosophy. Hope he has what it takes to adjust scheme and stay one step ahead.

That said, sure wouldn't mind it if Gute could sign either Snacks or Jernigan for $2 mil or less.

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Tundraboy's picture

June 22, 2020 at 09:21 pm

My outlook would certainly improve if we sign a now hungry Snacks.

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Stroh's picture

June 22, 2020 at 10:46 pm

Snacks would still only cover one gap in Pettine's Defense. There are what 6 or 7 gaps that need to be covered. One big space eater isn't going to significantly help the run D. Or are you going to change the entire defensive philosophy just to sign one run stuffing DT? Hint... That makes NO SENSE whatsoever!

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TheVOR's picture

June 23, 2020 at 11:49 am

Well then GB needs to fire their DC, or can his scheme, or ask Guty why he's not drafting to solve the issue? You're basically stating that our entire Defense is conceding the run? That's kind of a incorrect assumption, it's never all the the LB's. DL's in a 3/4 are primarily gap control artists, that yes, can be counted on for pass rush or pocket push, but they're also counted on to control the LOS, and any DL that's not making tackles in the run game shouldn't be on the field. Great teams running 3/4 defenses have dominant DL's that are multifaceted, and make tackles. My 2..

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Stroh's picture

June 23, 2020 at 04:27 pm

Not conceding the run at all. Fixing it will take the players playing with better gap discipline and the coaches emphasizing better gap discipline. Last year neither the players or coaches put enough into gap discipline. But the catch is, it'll result in less pressure on the QB. You get what you emphasize! As McCarthy used to preach.

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DenePhillips's picture

June 22, 2020 at 09:28 pm

Lowry is just an average player. He is not a bust, but just a good back up, rotational player and that's it. Don't make more of him then he already is.

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Stroh's picture

June 23, 2020 at 04:18 pm

First I didn't mention Lowry in thix comment. 2nd average, good? I really don't see a difference. Most NFL starters fit that category.

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Packers0808's picture

June 22, 2020 at 09:28 pm

I think M. Adams is Packer history!

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Stroh's picture

June 23, 2020 at 04:53 pm

I thought he was a mistake as soon as they moment they drafted him. Talented but doesn't play hard or with heart.

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