Packers Vs Vikings - 3 Plays That Make You Go Hmmm

Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from the Packers' game against the New Orleans Saints

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

In case you are new to this series, I try to pick some not-as-obvious things to highlight. There was so much bad football played Sunday, I decided to focus on some things that weren't so bad, and lo and behold, who could have predicted it would be the special teams! Replaying all the special teams plays from the game - a few things are obvious - quite a few roster decisions were made strictly with special teams in mind. Nixon, Leavitt, Galeai and Davis all made this team specifically for special teams. Rudy Ford being brought in will be a big boost for the coverage teams - he is relentless.

Kickoff Coverage

The first three players to engage the kick returner? First, Keisean Nixon takes a running shot at him, then Rudy Ford forces him to redirect, and he and Galeai chase him down and force him right into Stokes and Tyler Davis. Perhaps the best part of the coverage was the lane discipline. Stokes and Davis stayed on the right flank, Douglas and Winfree manned the left flank (with Winfree guarding against a change of direction his way) and the central players did not leave any large gaps. Great execution all around.

 

Punt Return Team

This particular play was a setup for a return, with four players immediately racing back to get into blocking position downfield. Winfree and Nixon handle the gunner, while Stokes and Leavitt head back into blocking position. Amari Rodgers fields the punt cleanly, as he did all game. Stokes picks up a player late, but Leavitt is indecisive and ends up getting run over by Rodgers. If Leavitt blocks the player coming to his right, Rodgers may have squeezed through for more yardage. Overall, a solid effort. 

 

Punting team

Here you see a fine job on the coverage, with Rudy Ford first to the returner, as he was all day. Ford is immediately in the returner's face, but Reagor slips away. Ford doesn't give up, however, recovering and sprinting to the ball carrier and gets in on the gang tackle late. Behind Ford, the coverage is well organized, with Deguara and Davis maintaining outside positions to force Reagor into the congested middle where he was met by Galeai and McDuffie, with Deguara and Ford then coming in late. The protection still needs some work, as Barnes is slow to react and allows some inside pressure - always a non-no as we sadly saw in last year's playoff game.

Overall, not perfect but some real reasons for optimism!

 

__________________________

"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 (41)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Johnblood27's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:10 pm

Well Al, this week your play selection makes me go Hmmmmm...

I like that no glaring mistakes were made on Wefense, but there were certainly more deserving Hmmmmm plays on both Offense and Defense.

It wouldn't surprise me if one week (real soon) your 3 plays were all coaching decisions... just sayin...

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JerseyAl's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:24 pm

I gave them a one game pass and tried to come up with something positive.

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Swisch's picture

September 13, 2022 at 05:57 pm

A good strategy by Al, in my opinion.
Though it's worth taking copious notes of the debacle against the Vikings for future reference, it's hard to draw much in the way of conclusions from those notes until we have at least another game in the books, and better yet the next three (which is about a quarter of the season).
After all, last season we won seven straight games after the clunker in the first game.
Overall, not too high, not too low.
***
Having said that, I don't understand the assumption that we're going to easily run over our division rivals, and so I'd watch out for the Bears this week.
The Vikings and Lions and Bears, oh my, are presumably mad about the Packers winning four straight division titles, and so highly motivated to beat up the Packers in the process of trying extra hard to beat them on the scoreboard.
After our QB shouted out that he owned the Bears last season during a game, I'd advise that QB to get the ball out of his hands quickly in the passing game, and to give our running game plenty of handoffs to see what it can do (both of which are generally good ideas, anyway).
I may be critical of that QB, but I'm still rooting for him, and looking out for him any way within the power of a humble fan (including prayer).
***
While I'm at it in my advocacy for Aaron Rodgers, I'd advise him to show more encouragement and positive emotion on the field and on the sideline for the rest of the season.
We all know the rookies and other new players are going to make mistakes -- as will everyone else, no matter how long with the team -- so correct your teammates discreetly, and pat them on the back overtly.
Rally the troops, Aaron, and they'll be more likely to follow you in good times and bad.

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Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2022 at 08:19 am

My dear Swisch... you are pissing into a very stiff breeze wishing for AR to show positive leadership traits. He is an arrogant, know-it-all, passive aggressive bully and nothing more.

I am ashamed to have his personality on my favorite team. I have reached the point where his abilities with a football do not outweigh the negatives of his personality.

All I want for Christmas is the Jordan Love era.

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Swisch's picture

September 14, 2022 at 09:59 am

Jb27, I'm supposed to be the hard one with regard to Rodgers, but you almost make me look soft.
I guess where we mainly disagree is that you write there is "nothing more" to Rodgers than his negatives, while I still hold out hope that there is something more.

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Coldworld's picture

September 13, 2022 at 06:13 pm

If it was a skillful end around, it’s also an appreciated window into an aspect drowned out by the many other topics of discussion. Appreciate the insights as much as the body swerve.

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Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2022 at 08:16 am

Al, You are a voice in the wilderness, crying out for a positive from that debacle.

Good on ya Al, you know I love ya!

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LeotisHarris's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:38 pm

Hol' up! Who died and made JB Arbiter of Plays That Make You Go Hmm? If we all went Hmm at that same things, what a boring world this would be. I'm fine with Al's Hmm, as well as your angst over whichever Hmms you felt were more deserving. If Al chooses to not put on his grumpypants for another week, so be it. However, you should take yours off for a bit, JB, they're for sure chafing you.

One cannot put Hmmness in someone else's Hmm. Can't we all just get along?

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JerseyAl's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:52 pm

haha. Grumpy pants coming tomorrow in polluted mindset...

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PeteK's picture

September 13, 2022 at 06:32 pm

You guys are a bunch of square pants. LOL

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Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2022 at 08:15 am

Don't be so Crabby!!!

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Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2022 at 08:22 am

My dear Leotis, I don't even to pretend to tell Big Al what to do, I simply supply my opinion. His Hmmmmm's are all of our Hmmmm's, but my Hmmmmm's are also Hmmmm's as well as your hmmmmm's being yours.

Hmmmmm.... what did I just try to say?

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:24 pm

So a little acknowledgement for the SPT Unit for NOT putting themselves in the position to have blaming fingers pointed at them for the loss.

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Coldworld's picture

September 13, 2022 at 06:14 pm

In its own way a small miracle in GB.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:25 pm

It's boring but I would've had Kenny Clark doing Kenny Clark things as one of the overlooked positives.

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splitpea1's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:28 pm

I loved the Ford signing, and to be honest, I was surprised the Packers weren't beaten to the punch by another team who needed another reserve safety like the Steelers. I'm glad Gute pounced on him because we badly need a player like this.

Play 1: Consistent lane discipline has been a problem for a while, so let's see if we can keep it up.

Play 3: Even though Reagor eventually breaks loose, Ford still holds him up long enough so that his teammates can get downfield and corral him.

Glad to see something worthwhile could be gleaned from this game; otherwise I don't want to think about it anymore.

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Fubared's picture

September 14, 2022 at 02:57 pm

I feel sorry for Ford but he will get a needed pay check. Would love to be there when Barry tries to explain his screwy defensive scheme. I can see Ford asking himself how bad he needs the money?

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zoellner25's picture

September 13, 2022 at 03:36 pm

Hey at least we aren't Nate Hackett.

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Cubbygold's picture

September 13, 2022 at 04:25 pm

Am I wrong that this punter holds onto the ball a half second longer than average? The blocking on that play wasn't great, but he nearly had two others blocked because of his little hesitation he does on each punt. Maybe that's by design, but I don't know why.

Looking at the video - he catches the ball to his left with both feet planted, steps with his right, steps with his left and kicks with his right. I grew up playing all different positions in baseball - never punted in my life - but why isn't it the same concept as catching a fly ball in the outfield or turning a double play at second... meaning - your position your body to catch the ball and get it out as fast as possible...

Shouldn't he receive the punt, step with his left and kick it? Why would your first move be stepping with the right foot?

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Leatherhead's picture

September 13, 2022 at 06:04 pm

There's more than one way to skin a cat, or punt a ball, but I agree with you that I'd like to see that punt out of there faster. What you're describing there is what I've always called a "rocker" step....catch, step with your left, punt. (there's video on Youtube) I'd much prefer a quicker punt, even if shorter, to a blocked punt.

He sure does have a helluva strong leg.

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T7Steve's picture

September 14, 2022 at 10:12 am

During the game I thought, maybe they were doing it to let the gunners get down field, but, thought it would probably cause a lineman to get a flag for being down field. I didn't notice the footwork. Good eyes!

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Starrbrite's picture

September 13, 2022 at 05:26 pm

Well—ok Al —-hmmm…tsk tsk.

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Packers0808's picture

September 13, 2022 at 05:48 pm

All I know is I wish Rodgers would throw the ball and not try to hatch it!

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Spawny's picture

September 13, 2022 at 07:24 pm

Things that made me say hmmmmmm.

Hmmmmm. #1
Joe Barry playing zone coverage defense 51% of the time. We have heard ad nauseum how good our secondary is. Guess what Joe, the secondary doesn't play zone well. It is your job to put your players in a position to succeed. Playing passive zone defense is not putting your players in a position to succeed. You have one of the top three cover corners in the game. Try using him to blanket Jefferson. Your track record prior to last year was feeble at best.. Don't overthink the process? Use Alexander the way he was meant to be used! This is Packer football, not Lions football.

Hmmmmm #2
Matt Leflure. The reason you don't get votes for coach of the year is simple. You are not!
The offensive game plan was woeful at best. When you have a right tackle who has trouble blocking a pass rusher, move Mercedes Lewis to the right side.
Stop drinking you own Kool-aid. You aren't special. You are only as good as your MVP quarterback allows you to be. Haven't you realized Rodgers can't throw from his back. If Watson burned the Vikings secondary on play one, why didn't you do deep again. Like the next play Mr. WIZARD of offense.
This will be your last year as head coach when you choke again in the playoffs. Try drinking some Jim Jones Kool-aid after you get bounced a fourth time. The game is too big for you.

Hmmmmmm #3
The only other 20 plus yard pass was to Randall Cobb. Give me a break Mr. WIZARD.

Hmmmmmm #4
Mr. WIZARD you have a second deep threat. His name is Doubs and not Cobb.

Hmmmmmm #5
As long as Dean Lowry starts the Packers will give up 4.5+ yards rushing every game. Try something new Mr. WIZARD.

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Packers0808's picture

September 13, 2022 at 07:55 pm

Fun to be love with yourself and opinion of yourself over a head coach of a NFL team. Nice .C'mon man!

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egbertsouse's picture

September 13, 2022 at 08:14 pm

Next week is a home game. Then you’ll see some real coaching from zLaFleur. He’ll be flapping his arms like a flushed pheasant. Maybe he’ll even think about the game plan a little. Nah, he’ll be too busy flapping for that.

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egbertsouse's picture

September 13, 2022 at 08:14 pm

Oops

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 13, 2022 at 08:17 pm

Slaton was more of a problem than I initially realized. Like last year, he is quicker and better able to get into the backfield than I expected, but he isn't a stout or able to shed as well as I expected.

That noted, Lowry got pushed back too often. I agree that he needs to line up exclusively as a 4i or wider lineman. Reed appeared to be better than Lowry, though I guessed he would also be better lined up wide; have to watch more to see where Reed thrives.

Not sure if Heflin is ready for the NFL, but he has been pretty good with his run defense. I am not advocating for promoting Heflin, but I have it on the back burner, so to speak. Slayton was more of a DT. I am just posing some thoughts here rather than advocating for a course of action.

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pacman's picture

September 13, 2022 at 07:26 pm

Since I don't want to reflect much on Sunday's game, I'm using this to do even worse - think about what real ST unit could have done for us last year. Thanks MLF for fixing things when it's too late.

We better beat the Bears on Sunday or I'll get really upset.
GPG!
:)

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Since'61's picture

September 13, 2022 at 07:27 pm

Nice job Al. It could be that our STs will actually be competent this season. It's only one game but at least it's an improvement over their last game.
Thanks, Since '61

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Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2022 at 08:27 am

The special teams will recede back to the mean once Bisaccia is promoted to lead the pack when mlf is dismissed when they are 0-5.

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Since'61's picture

September 14, 2022 at 11:01 am

JB I realize that you're frustrated after the Vikings game but it's way too early to give up on this team. Hang in there. Lotta ball game left. Thanks, Since '61

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Tundraboy's picture

September 13, 2022 at 09:30 pm

Thanks Al, much appreciated. Made me feel a little better.
I still can not bring myself to watch the game. Going to take some time if ever. What little I caught was simply depressing.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 13, 2022 at 11:44 pm

Thanks Al for something positive out of disaster. Disaster from game planning on both side of the ball to execution and changing plays by "supreme authority" of the Packers. Still do not understand why we called 2 time outs in 1 Q of the game...

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Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2022 at 08:31 am

My dear Croat,

What you saw with the calling of 2 TO in the 1st Q was AR asserting his unhappiness with having young receivers and OL on HIS roster.

None of the other players are competent to be on the field with HIS HIGHNESS and the world needed to be reminded that HIS HIGHNESS sees every little 1/3 yard misalignment and has to correct all of the naughty children under him.

Get it now? Passive - Aggressive tantrum at its finest on a grand stage. Show up your teammates and your coaches all at the same time! What a grand statement by our leader.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 14, 2022 at 09:43 am

I agree and for those that don't what other possible explanation can you offer. After all we've seen for I don't know half a dozen years at least. Based on your suggestion I think an experienced No nonsense, at least no excuses like HC ironically is exactly what we need.

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coolhand's picture

September 14, 2022 at 08:42 am

I don't understand why it takes so long for this team to get a play called. They are breaking the huddle with less than 10 seconds on the play clock? This has been going on for too long.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 14, 2022 at 09:22 am

It used to bug me too. But every second that the offense has the ball it’s one less second that the defense has to play. 😉

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croatpackfan's picture

September 14, 2022 at 11:43 am

If you think those seconds will help D to be more rested, you are dilusional. On the other hand you might be sarcastic. If it is that, you're not dilusional at all.

I believe it takes that long lays in waiting play calling, than deciding will he (Diva) play that call, and if he decide not to, he needs time to explain every player his play call in detail.

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Fubared's picture

September 14, 2022 at 02:58 pm

Lets just hope the Bears Offense is God awful or that the coach doesnt spend a lot of time looking at the pass d and comes up with a scheme.
Otherwise we may have a chance to win.

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jurp's picture

September 16, 2022 at 06:53 pm

The sub-head reads "Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from the Packers' game against the New Orleans Saints"

Thought we lost to the Vikings last Sunday.

Funny that no one else seems to have caught this.

No issues, Al - as a writer for years I used old work as templates A LOT. And sometimes forgot to change the placeholder text. :)

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