Packers Vs Ravens - 3 Plays That Make You Go Hmmm

Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from the Packers' game against the Baltimore Ravens

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

I wasn't pleased with much of what I saw from the secondary in this game, so I decided to focus on pass coverage concerns for this installment of "3 plays".

Why So Soft - When I saw what was happening here pre-snap, I had some ugly flashbacks of the Mike Pettine Era or Game 1 Joe Barry against the Saints. It's third and seven in the red zone. The Ravens go empty - five wide and the Packers are playing man with a single high safety (and "high" doesn't begin to describe how far back Amos is). Two of the defensive backs start out behind the first down marker and two others step back to it as the ball is snapped. There is absolutely no one in the middle of the field, and yet Sullivan is playing outside leverage. The Ravens know what to do and pick up a gimme first down. Two plays later, they score a touchdown. 

 

Off Track - Yes, Savage had a rough game. In fairness, on some of the other plays where he was victimized by Andrews, he was close enough to make a play, but was just outmuscled by a bigger opponent. A tough matchup, for sure. Here, however, he beats himself. He's running with Andrews, looks back for the ball and does at least one of of these two things, maybe both: loses his connection with the receiver and/or does not track the flight of the ball correctly. The last place you want to be in the back of the end zone is behind your receiver, yet that is exactly where Savage ends up. Had he properly tracked either the ball or the receiver, he ends up in front of Andrews and makes a play on the ball. I've seen this before and I'd say it's the main thing Savage needs to improve on in coverage.

 

Don't King Me - Similar to the first play above, it's a do-or-die situation. This time it's a fourth down and the Ravens are going for it. There's little doubt who the ball is going to, so I locate Andrews pre-snap and then see #20 is in the game and manned up on him. "This will not end well" were the first words that crossed my mind. Sure enough, King is no match for Andrews and the Ravens once again take the easy first down (something I'd love to see Rodgers do more of instead of throwing sideline go routes on third downs and ending drives - but I digress). The next play results in a Huntley scramble touchdown as Johnathan Garvin comes on and Rashan Gary trots off (possibly his mistake?), leaving the Packers with ten players near their own goal line (but I digress again!). Anyway, later on during the Bucs - Saints game, I was left wondering who in the world the Packers would assign the task of covering Gronk should the Packers and Bucs meet up again? The Saints' defense mitigated the issue by getting all over and frustrating Tom Brady, something the Packers were not able to do last year and I 'm not sure they will be able to this year either. I know I'm getting way ahead of myself, but I can't help but wonder.

Which Packer would you have shadow Gronk?

Amos
19% (11 votes)
Savage
2% (1 vote)
Stokes
4% (2 votes)
King
5% (3 votes)
Douglas
53% (30 votes)
Other
18% (10 votes)
Total votes: 57

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__________________________

"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

7 points

Comments (33)

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

December 21, 2021 at 03:26 pm

It was a very strange defensive game plan. Almost as if Barry had decided Huntley couldn’t throw and was prepared to dare him to. I don’t know whether the speed burns of the prior week influenced Barry, but Andrews is their main man and should have had a corner and safety paying attention to him.

In answer to your question, I would have Douglas on Gronk. Bigger corner, agile, lacks elite long speed perhaps, but that is not an issue in a matchup with Gronk. I’d also have safety cover. Asking Savage to become a cover corner on one of the best (and considerably quicker and more agile than Gronk) TEs was an odd move. Douglas will tackle. He’s better at that than any other corner that we have and also has ball skills and short area skills to challenge at the catch.

Against Brady, we are going to need a massive day from Clark and our OLBs. We have to blitz up the middle too. Last year we gave him all kinds of time in the first half. It’s no secret that that’s how to play him. Interestingly, it’s also the recipe against Cousins. Perhaps that will give us an idea of how we will approach it if it comes to pass.

Now, can we please find a punt/kick catcher and returner and stop pretending there is no source of expertise better than Drayton out there and that Drayton can fix it? There is and he can’t. Pay the money and get ST coaching help, even if it’s a lure from retirement.

14 points
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CheesyTex's picture

December 21, 2021 at 03:36 pm

Excellent post.

2 points
3
1
Grandfathered's picture

December 21, 2021 at 06:23 pm

One thing you left out is that Andrews is a huge guy. Instead of a corner and safety, I would say LB and safety. Same with when we face Gronk.

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 22, 2021 at 03:47 am

Douglas is 6' 2.0" whereas Campbell is 6' 3 and 5.8ths inches tall. So, Douglas is 3 and a half inches taller than Savage, who clocks in at 5'10" and change. Campbell is an option since he is also fast (4.58 forty, 1.65 10-yard dash) but Douglas is about as fast and considerably more agile (1.57 10-yard dash) with a better 3-cone.

Campbell makes a lot of sense but probably isn't a guy we can spare? If Jaire is back, deploying Douglas on a TE might be a possible answer. I voted for Campbell, but overall defensive scheme might dictate Douglas and some bracket coverage.

5 points
5
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croatpackfan's picture

December 22, 2021 at 04:10 am

TGR, pssssst - Lowry, 2Q 6:02 on clock, bated pass vs Ravens

0 points
1
1
Minniman's picture

December 21, 2021 at 06:50 pm

I too thought that Douglas on Gronk is the preferred matchup. Gronk is a wily vet, but isn't the same speed threat that he was (if ever) - but Douglas seems to play man coverage well, so having him in Gronk's hip pocket makes sense.

2 points
2
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jurp's picture

December 22, 2021 at 08:20 am

If we get Douglas on Gronk, I think we'll also get a pick from Douglas. Given what happened the last time we played the Bucs, any picks had best be pick-6s or they'll be wasted.

0 points
0
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Since'61's picture

December 21, 2021 at 03:49 pm

I have no idea why King was in the game never mind covering Andrews? That was a WTF moment from Barry!!!

On your first play I saw the middle open as well and I knew either Ravens were going to throw there or that Huntley would just run up the middle for the first down. Again, why are we leaving the middle wide open? I don’t get it.

On the TD play to Andrews, Savage took himself out of the play by running behind Andrews. As you correctly point out if he runs in front of Andrews he can make a play on the ball.

Our secondary play was better before the Vikings game. Since then they misplayed or been out of position numerous times and have allowed too many big plays.

Fortunately Rodgers and the offense have been nearly lights out but the defense needs to tighten up again before the playoffs. Getting Alexander back should be a big help. Plus our DL needs Clark. Lowry and Lancaster can’t hold the point of attack.

We have not held an opponent to under 20 points since before the Vikings game. Not a great look for the defense but Rodgers has been at his MVP form so at least we’re out scoring our defense. GPG! Thanks, Since ‘61

4 points
5
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Coldworld's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:10 pm

To be fair, Lancaster did hold up well and got a couple of pressures in the last game. Abdullah of all people also held up in the run game. Keke got pressured but wasn’t good against the run. Lowry was not good rushing or defending the run. Slaton did OK, but Lowry without Clark drawing attention is the Lowry of the last few seasons it would seem.

As to King, I would have played him on the perimeter and moved Douglas inside if I brought him on. Andrews is really their number one weapon and Stokes had their speedster number 2 bottled all game. Huntley seemed to throw only short passes to the outside. Typically on scrambles. Take away Andrews first.

4 points
4
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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2021 at 06:34 pm

Stokes was also delivering some hard hits which was wearing down Brown on the ground and was nowhere to be found by the end of the game. . Sorry got carried away, it just happens sometimes.

5 points
6
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:33 pm

They will have to bring in another safety during the 2022 draft. Savage is regressing. Opening midfield show the inability of the safeties to roll coverage. These voids are inexcusable. Make a greenhorn or any QB work to the outside. Lowry pushed around like he was on skates. Keke with his hands up rushing and gets the pass deflection. Fundamentals.

-3 points
1
4
Coldworld's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:48 pm

Any safety is going to struggle playing against Andrews to do more than bring him down, which Savage did. Collins wasn’t great at man coverage either. Players that are typically play corner, or used to (Woodson). Additionally, Savage is 5’11” and sub 200 lbs, so it’s a lousy size matchup too: Andrews is 6’5, 256.

That’s a heck of an ask of Savage. One I think was somewhat ridiculous unless based upon a belief that Huntley couldn’t throw it accurately (proven wrong if so, at least over the middle and shorter distance).

3 points
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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2021 at 06:38 pm

Ok, but even on the play highlighted , I'm surprised that Savage doesn't close in on the receiver before the ball is in the air. He seemed very tentative. Also, when A TE is destroying you ,smack him off the line of scrimmage.

0 points
1
1
packer132's picture

December 21, 2021 at 05:31 pm

King was playing for Black, as Barry must have felt a taller player would be better. King did not have a good game. Don't hold your breathe on Alexander playing any time soon, as I bet he doesn't see the field until the playoffs.

3 points
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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2021 at 06:40 pm

He's running and doing drills. I think we'll start seeing him on a pitch count by Vikes game.

0 points
2
2
Minniman's picture

December 21, 2021 at 07:06 pm

I too think that he gets snaps before the post-season. It will be an interesting tell of just how banged up he really is.

2 points
2
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stockholder's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:05 pm

Your 3 plays ARE perfect! Savage can't cover TEs. And Douglas is Micheal Hyde. And he could be just as great as Nick Collins. So put him on them. In Fact I'd move Savage inside. Especially if Amos goes down. #2 & # 3- King should not be inside. Period. In fact, I wouldn't even put Sullivan inside. (Always To big of cushion.) And what the heck is Savage standing there for?

2 points
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Oppy's picture

December 23, 2021 at 09:27 pm

Micah Hyde and Nick Collins? Dude, I'm happy about Rasul Douglass' performance in 2021 too, but you might need to pump the breaks a little bit.

0 points
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splitpea1's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:13 pm

After Savage got shoved off the LOS and blown by, he puts his head down trying to catch up--possibly losing track of the ball. But he appears to be looking in the right direction in the end, so I don't know. It's possible he had a mental cramp and forgot he was in the end zone, which would explain how he chose to go behind the receiver...hoping to tackle and prevent YAC?

The Saints did a real good job vs. Gronk (only two receptions and one PI, I believe), with their secondary, who has a couple of Pro Bowlers on it. We might not have to play the Bucs, so I'm not worried about it yet. But if we did, Douglas and Amos are probably going to be our best bet because of their coverage, size, and tackling ability.

3 points
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HarryHodag's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:24 pm

Perhaps the best thing to do is to keep this in mind: the Packers won the game and adjustments will be made.

5 points
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Curt's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:31 pm

I saw the same thing on the two non-end zone plays pre-snap and I'm sure my wife was tired of me screaming at the TV re: the outside leverage and wide open middle of the field. Amos was closer on the TD play, but I too couldn't figure out why you go behind the receiver in the end zone where YAC is definitely not a concern.

4 points
4
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Philarod's picture

December 21, 2021 at 07:18 pm

Yeah, Amos's play on the Andrews TD was just bizarre. Did he lose sight of the ball, or what was he thinking?

2 points
2
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Lphill's picture

December 21, 2021 at 04:43 pm

It was a sloppy game plan from Barry , let’s hope he plans for Chubb because Mayfield might not return until game day with no practice .

2 points
3
1
PeteK's picture

December 22, 2021 at 10:39 am

A rested Clark should take care of some of Chubb's runs and Gary will take care of the left side. Smith might be a different story as he regressed vs Ravens.

-1 points
1
2
Duneslick's picture

December 21, 2021 at 05:03 pm

Does anyone besides me wonder why no one shadowed Huntley. He killed us every time he ran. They should have at least tried it sometimes

5 points
6
1
BAMABADGER's picture

December 21, 2021 at 05:17 pm

I wish opponents DBs would play that far off Adams. WTH is Barry thinking. Learn from this. And for gosh sakes figure how to provide proper TE coverage.

5 points
6
1
Philarod's picture

December 21, 2021 at 07:22 pm

As far as Gronk - or other stud TEs like Kelce, Kittle, Andrews and Waller - they are among the toughest matchups in the league. I don't know that any of these are good matchups for him. (Well, they're good for HIM.) Possibly Campbell?!

3 points
3
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Tundraboy's picture

December 21, 2021 at 08:40 pm

King is absurd. I guess he feels good he made the tackle, albeit in the endzone.

0 points
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1
Tundraboy's picture

December 21, 2021 at 08:42 pm

Or was that Savage. Keystone cops.

2 points
2
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PatrickGB's picture

December 21, 2021 at 09:26 pm

In answer to the question about who should cover Gronk. The answer is Alexander. He has done it before.

-1 points
1
2
PhantomII's picture

December 21, 2021 at 09:32 pm

I'm agreeing Campbell.

2 points
2
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Bitternotsour's picture

December 21, 2021 at 10:52 pm

If Tampa makes it through to play in the snow and cold in GB, you kind of hope that Z and Preston and Gary can get Tom off the spot, and that maybe 23 is back on the field. You don't have to defend Brady for the run like you do Baltimore. So you play zone. And you keep rewinding the Tampa/New Orleans games and figure something out...

You also hope that we still have fans in the stands and that the NFL isn't the NHL or the Premier league in terms of shutdowns.

2 points
3
1
Oppy's picture

December 23, 2021 at 09:35 pm

The first time GB actually attempts to use King in a way that plays to his strengths- allowing him to play press coverage at the LOS- and they set him against a towering TE.

WTF, WTF, WTF

0 points
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