Packers Vs Chiefs - 3 Plays That Make You Go Hmmm

Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from the Packers' game against the Kansas City Chiefs

After re-watching the Packers game, here are three plays that made me go hmmm, for various reasons.

It felt obligatory that I focus this edition of three plays on the defense, so here we go.

 

Who are these guys?

I could have picked multiple plays to make this point, but this is not the typical Packers defense we've grown accustomed to. For all the lip service applied to "flying to the ball" the last decade or so, Joe Barry has seemingly brought it into existence. Here we have a fourth down play that in the past would have seen no one out there to stop the receiver before he got an easy first down. Look at the hustle from Savage and Barnes, and the cavalry coming in right behind them. No one standing and watching.

 

Rookies Stepping up:

When Kenny Clark goes down in the second quarter, you would be forgiven for thinking the interior of the defensive line would take a big step backwards. But it didn't happen. Rookie TJ Slaton came in and did as good a job as you could possibly hope for. There were a couple of plays where he got washed out, but hey, that happens to Kenny Clark too. The clip below shows two consecutive plays where Slaton just dominated. First, he stands up the guard, controlling him with an eye on the running back. As soon as he sees where the RB is headed, he disengages, get's a strong arm out to stop his progress, and then gets an assist from fellow rookie Jack Heflin. On the second play, he stands up a double team, fights it off and again makes the tackle. Slaton was a steal of a draft pick.

 

Doh!

To be fair, not all was perfect for the Packers' defense. Here the Packers stop the Chiefs running back at the goal line on two consecutive plays. On third down from the one yard line, I immediately said, "they're going to Kelce off of play action." You likely said the same thing. It was so obvious what the Chiefs would do in this situation. And yet, somehow, the Packers forgot to cover Kelce. You could blame the play design, which was a good one. Or a missed assignment, maybe.But if I'm the DC, I'm dedicating a player to Kelce on the goal line. Wherever he goes, you be on his hip. Maybe this is too simplistic and isn't really done in the NFL, but that doesn't change what I would do.

 

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

14 points

Comments (32)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
wildbill's picture

November 09, 2021 at 07:02 pm

Good job Al. I can’t remember the last time I walked away from a loss with a smile on my face. I’m a defense first guy and was so impressed with ours in this game. We get some All-Pros back and we can be special

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 09, 2021 at 07:07 pm

I appreciate the you are focusing on the positive this week.

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PeteK's picture

November 09, 2021 at 07:52 pm

A goal line defense cannot let a great TE like Kelce release without getting smacked at the line of scrimmage.
I keep waiting for this D to come down to earth, but now believe that they are for real. It's not like they haven't played some good offenses. All of this with two all pros on IR for most of the season, who would of thunk it.
The league just fined the Pack 300 grand and Rod and Lazard about 15 grand each.

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Bitternotsour's picture

November 09, 2021 at 08:27 pm

I keep thinking about how Rodgers essentially lied to everyone in the media room. If the media guys had any stones they'd wait for Rodgers next press availability and walk out on him, or at least turn their backs.

Masks are warn primarily to not spread the virus. Rodgers lame-ass interview essentially saying he was in the room with vaccinated people and they should chill was insulting.

Aaron Rodgers narcissism put reporters and their families at risk. He owes that room a HUGE apology.

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Coldworld's picture

November 09, 2021 at 08:37 pm

Lazard gets the same fine as Rodgers? Seems a bit rough. I’m sure it hurts him a little more.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 10, 2021 at 03:24 am

The fine is set in stone by the Covid Protocol negotiated between the NFL and the Union. The NFL can't deviate from it. The fine schedule has to be prominently posted as well.

As for the press conferences, I think you'll find that many players failed to wear a mask even though they were unvaccinated. Kirk Cousins comes to mind. There is a least some gray area in the language of the Protocols and arbitrators have been unkind to the NFL over the years, usually holding ambiguities against the NFL as the supposed author of the agreements.

I also think the NFL would find many minor infractions if they reviewed the film for each team. One could create a whole industry of opposition research if they brought the hammer down on every team for every misdemeanor. Not a look that the NFL wants, and not a look the Union wants, either.

As for the unequal effect of a $14,650 fine on AR versus Lazard, welcome to the NFL, and really, to the United States, for that matter. Every fine ever levied has disparate impact on players who make the minimum versus players on lucrative contracts.

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PatrickGB's picture

November 10, 2021 at 10:28 am

Yes, there are lots of people who advocate and believe in Covid safety procedures. These include politicians and celebrities. Yet I see many instances where they themselves do not mask. It’s really hard to do all that 24/7, 365. It’s time to cut people some slack. Yes I am vaccinated and wear a mask. But hating on others only makes them defensive and harms the whole point of doing this for the general welfare.

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Hematite's picture

November 10, 2021 at 12:51 pm

I agree PatrickGB🤔

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 10, 2021 at 12:59 pm

Everyone in the press room is vaccinated. So you agree the vaccines don't work because he was putting fully vaccinated reporters at risk.

Here is an "isn't it ironic" issue::

California, Rodgers alma mater, cancelled its game vs USC as CA team is riddled with covid 19. California team is 99% vaccinated.

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greengold's picture

November 09, 2021 at 07:56 pm

Great stuff, Al.

That energy on D is very noticeable & welcome! Man, it’s been a while since we’ve seen that! Nice to see Savage’s progression & development. He’s bringing that energy too. Barnes is really coming on in his year 2 in terms of instincts and tackling. I just wish he’d get some work with Johnny Gray on his coverage.

TJ Slaton is getting some good work and delivering. I felt he was one of the most Pro-ready NTs in the draft, as he has the size you need coming in, which usually takes a year or three to develop. His explosiveness is what really made him the pick there, something you can’t teach. Was surprised he didn’t get more reps earlier this season, but they really have been working w him on technique. Good to see him do a nice job when pressed into action unexpectedly.

We all saw the Kelce play coming. How did they not? Crazy stuff. Thanks for sharing this.
GPG

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Johnblood27's picture

November 10, 2021 at 09:34 am

GG my man, the coaches name is Jerry Gray.

Johnny Gray is a former GBP safety...

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Oppy's picture

November 09, 2021 at 08:03 pm

I had no reason to believe we'd see any progression in the defense coming into this season. In fact, I felt that with the personnel basically the same as 2020 and a new DC coming in, the chances were the defense would slide rather than progress, at least until MAYBE the 3rd Q of the season, if we were lucky.

The interior linebacker group has been miraculously overhauled completely somehow this season, and it's gone from a complete weakness to one of our strengths since the season started. OLB has also been bolstered by in-season acquisitions as well. DL is seeing improved play. Secondary seems impervious to injury-related slumping.

I think a lot of the success is personnel related- and most of those moves have happened in-season- but it's getting harder and harder to discount the likelihood of Joe Barry having something to do with it, too.

Good stuff.

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greengold's picture

November 09, 2021 at 08:20 pm

Well said, Oppy.

Gutekunst has made some really great additions. Campbell & Douglas have been outstanding. Barry has this D playing great ball overall.

8 points
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CheesyTex's picture

November 09, 2021 at 09:38 pm

Good to see Barry getting some love. The D is clearly improved -- and improving.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 10, 2021 at 03:34 am

I didn't like the hire, but I would add that Barry was a linebackers coach. I'd say the big reasons for the improvement are Campbell, who is a veteran in decline prior to this year, plus some improvement by Burks and even Barnes lately. The OLBs, Gary, and Preston Smith (as least as opposed to his play in 2020) are both significantly improved. Otherwise, the only other player I'd say is playing better than last year is Lowry. LB is much improved. With Jaire out, I don't think the secondary is improved, though Douglas has been a godsend.

I do see more discipline this year. I see more hustle and converging on the ball.

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Packers0808's picture

November 09, 2021 at 08:37 pm

Difference in Defense this year is maturity of many men and the addition of some! The D is going to the point of being close to elite! Rodgers is a person of low character as far as his person is concerned!

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Bitternotsour's picture

November 09, 2021 at 08:54 pm

oops

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Tingham's picture

November 09, 2021 at 09:39 pm

Well nothing has gone wrong in the Jabbar family since earlier today. Glad he is so concerned about other people’s safety.
https://timesofsandiego.com/crime/2021/11/09/kareem-abdul-jabbar-son-ple...

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Johnblood27's picture

November 10, 2021 at 09:37 am

Hey, you're Kareem Abdul Jabbar! My Dad says you're lazy.

Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 10, 2021 at 09:39 am

or to be exact...

Joey : Wait a minute. I know you. You're Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Roger Murdock : I'm sorry, son, but you must have me confused with someone else. My name is Roger Murdock. I'm the co-pilot.

Joey : You are Kareem! I've seen you play. My dad's got season tickets.

Roger Murdock : I think you should go back to your seat now, Joey. Right, Clarence?

Captain Oveur : Nahhhhhh, he's not bothering anyone. Let him stay here.

Roger Murdock : But just remember, my name is...

[showing his nametag]

Roger Murdock : ROGER MURDOCK. I'm an airline pilot.

Joey : I think you're the greatest, but my dad says you don't work hard enough on defense.

[Kareem gets angry]

Joey : And he says that lots of times, you don't even run down court. And that you don't really try... except during the playoffs.

Roger Murdock : [breaking character] The hell I don't! LISTEN, KID! I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night! Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!

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pacman's picture

November 09, 2021 at 09:10 pm

Turns out Joe Barry has actually done something.
ST coach (soon to be history whatever his name is) - not so much.
Gute for switching long snappers? I guess he thought he could pull off another Bojo.
MLF and play calling? As I posted before, I think they planned this to see if Love was ready to take over. MLF could not be that stupid.

Did Love's stock go up or down on Sunday? It certainly didn't go up enough for Packers to let AR go.

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packer132's picture

November 10, 2021 at 08:06 pm

Packers had seen enough of Hunter Bradley's poor snaps. Wirtel was signed to the practice squad on September 2nd and worked with Bojorquez a little with the Chargers. Reporters said the snaps were fine and two missed field goals were on the holder. I would give it more than one game before getting excited.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 10, 2021 at 01:04 pm

Gutey would not change LS if Drayton didn't ask for it. Apparently Matt agreed.

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skyler's picture

November 09, 2021 at 09:59 pm

Hats off to Joe Barry, but also MLF and Gute. TT's defensive talent picking his last five years was beyond bad. It has to be about 10 years seen I can recall a defense with this much gusto.

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Swisch's picture

November 09, 2021 at 10:29 pm

The first highlight shown above of a swarming defense is a thing of beauty.
I'm actually beginning to enjoy watching the defense of the Packers. There seems a new focus and energy that is of such a contrast to years past.
Still a ways to go for this defense, but what a treat it's been this season to watch it grow as a potent force.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 10, 2021 at 02:00 am

Waited patiently for this week's edition and I am not disappointed. Thanks again Al.

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Fabio's picture

November 10, 2021 at 05:30 am

Good point Al!
I am happy to see constant improvements in our D.
The only thing missing is being able to be decisive in the decisive moment. Against the Cards we succeeded (although I think it was more uncertainty in the execution of the game than Douglas), Sunday at the decisive moment, 3rd and 10th, to put Love back on the field and have a chance to win, we allowed a completion at Hill in the midst of three of ours.
When we manage to improve this then we will really have a TOP defense.
I think maybe this season we can get there
Greetings from Italy
GPG

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relleum61's picture

November 10, 2021 at 05:37 am

I like this defense and I like the improvements. However, I am not ready to completely trust this defense. It has created a lot of stops, not so many clutch stops. A clutch stop was there for the taking in AZ at the end of the game on 3rd and long on the AZ end of the field and the defense could not get the stop thus enabling the 1 in a 100 miracle at the end of the game. In the KC game, the defense could not get off the field at the end of the game. We have also been unable to cover tight ends seemingly forever. Kelce was wide open on all of his catches. But it is better and it is close to reaching that point

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NickPerry's picture

November 10, 2021 at 05:44 am

All the comments above are spot on...Not really much to add.

BUT...It is nice to focus on the defense and the positive. These ILB are the real deal and I think a TON of credit goes to Joe Barry who has a history of coaching the ILB position and Kirk Oliviadotti who IMO is a very underrated ILB coach himself.

BTW...Savage is continuing to get better with each passing week just like he was doing the last 9 games of last year. Won't be long before this kid is a perennial All-Pro player.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 10, 2021 at 01:11 pm

I was not a fan of Barry being hired mostly because Jim Leonhard was so close to being DC. Seemed like Matt was negotiating to purchase Mercedes and had to settle for a midsize Ford.

However, I admire how he has the D swarming and pressuring whereas Pettine was all pass D coverage on the back, and minimal pressure up front most snaps.

Also, Barry inherited all of Pettine's coaches...and it seems the assistants are following Barry hand in glove.

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Starrbrite's picture

November 10, 2021 at 08:44 pm

I think that’s a great way to put it—agree!

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