The Packers’ Cornerback Conundrum

There is little depth behind oft-injured Alexander and Stokes. 

The time has arrived on the NFL calendar when everything is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Just listen to the coaches … Everyone looks great! Everyone’s ahead of schedule! Everyone’s exceeding expectations! But we need to talk about the cornerback position.

It’s become axiomatic in modern professional football that all things being equal, the offense starts with an advantage over the defense, slight though it might be. It’s like a casino’s edge at the roulette wheel: the seemingly trivial addition of double zero gives the house a small leg up, and over thousands of spins that adds to up to real money. 

An offense’s advantage derives from two things: First, it knows what the play is, and second, it can manipulate numbers in one portion of the field. Flooding a zone with receivers, or moving the O-line in a direction, forces the defense to respond, leaving other parts of the field under-manned. Play action, RPO and other pre-snap motion serve this purpose as well.  

Defenses respond, of course, with moves and subterfuge of their own, and it’s a constant chess match, because it’s virtually impossible to have everything covered at once. Over time, certain schemes gain favor and others fade. But in the largest sense, the universe for defenses splits into two overarching approaches: 

A) Minimize numerical disadvantages — and explosive plays — by playing back and keeping everything happen in front of you. The theory is that by forcing the offense to move in small chunks, long sustained drives are required, during which there are more opportunities for stops or turnovers. We’ll call this Joe Barry World.

B) Exert max pressure on the quarterback, thus reducing his time and ability to move the ball through the air. Forcing offenses to be more one-dimensional, this theory goes, swings the advantage to the defense. This is Jeff Hafley World.

Lots of variants exist in each. Some teams blitz relentlessly, while others rely on the defensive front for QB pressure, for example. Or a hybrid of the two. In Hafley World, according to the man himself, pressure will come from all over the place … linebackers, safeties, edge and interior linemen, depending on the defensive play call. It’s a refreshingly aggressive posture, and the draft certainly aligned with this idea. Brian Gutekunst chose three safeties and two linebackers known for their rush prowess as much or more than their skills in coverage or run-stopping.

The logic is compelling. Backfield disruption means the QB has to get rid of the ball more quickly, which reduces the threat and success rate of deeper pass plays that require more time to develop. Bring enough pressure and you also force the defense to keep a running back or tight end in to help with protection, removing a receiving weapon from the equation.  

In theory, this should take pressure off the outside corners, which helps explain the Packers leaving the position virtually untouched during the off-season. Sure, Green Bay has two first-round selections at the position in Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes, but neither has been consistently healthy. In Stokes’ case, he flashed for a few games in his rookie season but has been mediocre on the rare occasions he has played since. Beyond them is Carrington Valentine, a seventh rounder in last year’s draft, and Corey Ballantine, a free agent signed to the practice squad in 2022. 

Valentine, forced into service last season, garnered a less-than-stellar  PFF grade of 57.5. He was targeted 61 times and allowed 35 receptions. 

Bottom line, there is little depth beyond two players with injury history, which is why many of us were clamoring for a corner in the early rounds of the draft. Gutekunst waited until his very last pick, and the third-to-last in the entire draft, to nab Kaylen King of Penn State. King is an interesting case, having played so well in 2022 that he was considered a borderline first rounder at the time. Instead he imploded in 2023 and nearly fell out of the draft entirely.

The reality is that while something always have to give, having solid corners is a necessity no matter what scheme you play on defense. Offenses and their QBs have means of getting good receivers open and getting them the ball, even if the number of opportunities for those kinds of plays is minimized somewhat. Just look at how badly Detroit, Minnesota and Philadelphia suffered from poor CB play last year, and how they went hard in the off-season to address the problem. 

Perhaps Gutekunst is hoping for someone he likes to come available when roster cuts begin. And Hafley’s reputation as a DB whisperer is encouraging; maybe he can get King back on track. Or maybe the soft-tissue guru Green Bay hired can help resurrect Stokes’ career. Something needs to happen. GPG.

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__________________________
Jonathan Krim grew up in New York but got hooked on the Packers — and on hating the Cowboys — watching the Ice Bowl as a young child.  He blames bouts of unhappiness in his late teens on Dan Devine. A journalist for several decades who now lives in California, he enjoys trafficking in obscure cultural references, lame dad jokes and occasionally preposterous takes. Jonathan is a Packers shareholder, and insists on kraut with his brats. You can follow Jonathan on twitter at @Jkrim.

__________________________

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7 points
 

Comments (77)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Gman1976's picture

May 14, 2024 at 03:25 pm

Right now CB seems like the Achilles Heal of the defense.

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Turophile's picture

May 14, 2024 at 05:48 pm

Alexander could revert to his pro-bowl form. (75%)
Valentine could make the 2nd year step-up in play (65%)
Stokes could be over his soft tissue injuries with the new S&C guy. (50%)
The main Packers CBs all stay fairly healthy in 2024. (33%)
King might blossom fairly quickly. (20%)

Quite a few moving parts here.

6 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 15, 2024 at 02:00 pm

Alexander is actually an all-pro which is the real deal, vs pro-bowl which is a name recognition award.

But yes, and Gutey found Rasul Douglas. Maybe there's another guy like that out there on someone's practice squad.

2 points
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TKWorldWide's picture

May 14, 2024 at 07:15 pm

Pun intended?

2 points
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Heyjoe414's picture

May 16, 2024 at 07:17 am

Can't argue the point Gman. I really thought Gluten was going to trade up to take one of the top CBs in the draft. He went in the opposite direction but did address S, OL, and other areas. And who knows what King is capable of.

Even so, it's strange he waited until the 7th round. He knows more than we do, so I'm trusting Stokes and JA will be back in good form.

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Coldworld's picture

May 14, 2024 at 03:49 pm

Starters: Backups

CB: Jaire/ Stokes: Valentine, Ballentine, Rochell

Slot: Nixon: King, Green (+ Williams/Bullard)

I’m not sure if and where Zyon Gilbert fits, but I’m not worried about that.

If Green and Gilbert don’t make the roster there’s plenty of depth at slot where there was none last year. Valentine and Balentine got us to the playoffs last year, yet neither likely starts and Rochell may surprise a few here and push up the chart.

Nothing to worry about unless we get injury decimated. That’s a risk at any position.

6 points
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Heyjoe414's picture

May 16, 2024 at 07:34 am

Good summary, thanks. Who is Rochelle? Not familiar with the name or where he came from. Thanks.

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Coldworld's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:20 am

Small school (Central Arkansas) freakish athlete who was drafted by the Rams in the 4th round in 2021. 6’ 193 Lb corner who runs a 4.39 40, scored a 43 inch vertical, 3,98 shuttle and a broad jump over 11 feet. Just turned 26. Picked up by Gute in season last year.

Very raw, but nevertheless pressed into starting as a rookie.
Did pretty well but got injured and played limited and then out. The Rams then invested heavily at DB in the 2022 draft, with 4 draft picks. Rochell got lost in the mix.

After playing 223 snaps and being targeted 20 times as a rookie, Rochell was on the field for only 27 snaps and a single target in 2022. Released at final cuts in August 2023. Bounced around a couple of PS squads before Gute picked him up in October. Resigned in March this year.

0 points
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splitpea1's picture

May 14, 2024 at 04:04 pm

If we have injury issues with our top two guys again, there's going to be a problem--no how much pressure is generated on the opposing QB. You're really not sure how Valentine and Ballentine are going to hold up in non-Barry-esque coverage. That's why I was throwing a fit when Gute traded back from 41: suddenly there was a run on CBs with Kool-Aid, Lassiter, and Melton right after he did that. So I hope the player we did draft next, Cooper, is going to turn out to be a good one, because we're kind of playing with fire by nearly ignoring this position. I would consider King to be nothing more than a flyer at this point; finding another CB steal in the seventh round that proves to be serviceable would really be something.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 15, 2024 at 07:26 am

Ballentine perhaps, though his time in New York suggests that it suits his physicality—it was using him in the slot out of need but against type that derailed him there. Ballentine was a small school press outside corner who needed to make a jump in level and technique but ended up being thrust inside and struggling.

With Valentine I think that the change will suit: it was press coverage that got Valentine noticed. He was known as a physical press corner coming out.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

May 15, 2024 at 07:57 am

One of the two picks needed to be a cornerback, or at least by the third for a perimeter guy. Maybe Bullard is flexible enough to go slot in a pinch?

2 points
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nagawicka's picture

May 15, 2024 at 03:48 pm

Pick only one of Derrick Mayes in the 2nd round or Donald Driver in the 7th.

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HarryHodag's picture

May 14, 2024 at 04:46 pm

Some assumptions in the article:

1) Neither Stokers nor Alexander can overcome injuries. It's possible both could play well once again, true?

2) Stokes is a bust. No one thought he was a bust his first year. The second year didn't start so well for him then he was injured. Ignored in the article is both corners were playing in Barry's horse-poo defense.
Randall Cobb broke his leg early in his career. He came back from that serious injury to play well once again. Stokes can do the same.
3)Valentine played pretty well subbing for Alexander and Ballentine was adequate on the other side. With a year of experience under their belts you would think they would be better.
4) King just might work out...too soon to tell.
5)The Packers don't seem overly concerned, why should we?

10 points
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Grandfathered's picture

May 14, 2024 at 07:01 pm

In addition to regaining health Stokes has a huge incentive to perform well and stay healthy, so I'm more optimistic than most. I'm with you on all points Hodag. I have not yet heard how or why King did not do well in 2023. Was he distracted from football or lose interest? Did he have an attitude? Did he have a bad coach or scheme? Did he get in trouble? Did he just not get the same stats in tackles or passes defensed? Something caused the fall and the teams must know what it was, and if they all passed, it's probably not good. I think of King like the lottery.

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Oppy's picture

May 14, 2024 at 06:29 pm

Stokes played in 3 games in 2023.
Alexander played in 7 regular season games in 2023.

I'm not disagreeing that the Packers could stand to improve their depth at CB, but what I am saying is we've seen the depth they do have play extensively and they were serviceable to promising.

Ballentine and, specifcally, Vallentine proved up to the task and showed some promise.
We've added Kalen King.
Hopefully, improved safety play over the top and a new D-co who hopefully plays to his players' strengths (I stress hopefully).

These are the things that make me feel less concerned about our CB room.
Yes, it should be improved upon.
No, I do not believe we are in for a disastrous season if Jaire or Stokes go down for extended time.

6 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 16, 2024 at 09:30 am

That's' 2023. Over the last 3 years, Stokes has missed 23 games, Alexander has missed 24. I'd actually like to know how often they've both lined up and what the results were.

0 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 14, 2024 at 06:39 pm

Well Gutey did find Rasul Douglas when we needed a CB before. Maybe he'll find another diamond in the rough like that. Gotta wait and see how these things play out. From what I've read both Alexander and Stokes are full participants in the brief OTA work and said to be ready to go come training camp.

7 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 14, 2024 at 07:01 pm

29 of Purdy's 39 passes in the Divisional playoff went to the middle of the field. Teams will most likely continue to lean that way until the Packers prove the changes they made are effective, but even then most plays are between the hashes. As long as Alexander is healthy they can shade help to the other CB. The depth might not be outstanding but it's workable, the bigger concern is getting all the new middle of the field defenders on the same page and clicking ASAP.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 14, 2024 at 07:08 pm

When the season ended, the Packers took at look at their CB situation. They like Alexander and Stokes as starters, they like Nixon in the slot. They like what they saw in Valentine enough to trade away Rasul Douglas. They acquired Rochelle and drafted King, and brought back Ballentine. We often keep 6 on the 53. We're already at 7.

10 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 14, 2024 at 07:26 pm

I wouldn't be feeling too comfortable if I was Nixon. All three safeties they drafted played a lot of nickel. Gutey said ideally they'd like the three positions to be interchangeable and I think we'll see some D formations with three safeties on the field this year. From PFF:

"Bullard is a fiery competitor in the secondary who brings a mentality every NFL team will gravitate toward. He was a starter in the slot in 2022 and at safety in 2023. His best work came from the slot, where he played confidently in press coverage and showed off his willingness and effectiveness in run support.

He did not look as comfortable at safety with so much space, and he took overaggressive angles when coming downhill. His in-your-face play style was much more aligned with slot responsibilities."

-1 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 14, 2024 at 11:33 pm

Nixon would cost us cap to cut or trade. He’s going nowhere soon. It’s possible Williams/Bullard/King eat into some snaps/sub packages, but Nixon is going to be here and Hafley seems very happy with that.

2 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

May 15, 2024 at 08:52 am

Until last season, Nixon was mostly a ST player. Pressed into duty at DB, he played the most snaps of his career. The more he played, the better he got.

Packers discovered they had a high ceiling backup DB on their roster who finally got his opportunity. And like most focused, hard working, dedicated players... he responded. And the Packers responded with a big payday.

I think the Packers are ok at CB with Haf's Pressure Defense being installed...with nearly HALF of Gute's draft selections pressure D players and the DL finally being turned loose.

4 points
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PackerBackerAZ's picture

May 15, 2024 at 10:44 am

"The more he played, the better he got. "

Per SI: Of 32 defensive backs with at least 200 slot snaps in 2023, he ranked 16th with a 98.2 passer rating, according to Pro Football Focus. From the slot, his catch rate was 79.4 percent and he allowed 535 yards. Both were among the worst in the NFL, but he allowed less than 10 yards per catch and just one touchdown.

He had 6 passes defensed in 2023.

I don't see him getting better, statistically, by playing more.

He'll be the returner for kickoffs, but might not be starting in the slot.

2 points
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Oppy's picture

May 15, 2024 at 04:28 pm

I agree 100% PackerBackerAZ.

Keisean plays like a stop-gap nickle back. I sure hope the Packers got this one right, because the contract does not fit what I see on the field.

That being said, it's a contract that is easy to get out of.

I am biased against Nixon to begin with, to be fair. I'm not a fan of any Packer player who decides to use his first Lambeau leap on a nationally televised football game in prime time to throw up gang signs.

-2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 15, 2024 at 06:02 pm

Too blackety-black for you. Oh well, you do your culture, he'll do his. I'm sure he's comforted to make more money in a year than you'll make in a lifetime.

-2 points
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Oppy's picture

May 16, 2024 at 06:23 am

I don't have any issues with people of any color. I have family that I love dearly who don't share the same skin color as I do. I freely accept that different folks around the globe have different social norms and cultures that don't necessarily align with the culture I was raised in. I judge people by their actions, character, and what they stand for. Criminal gang affiliation and the promotion of such is something I do not find appealing. It's juvenile, and destructive. It is harmful.

If you think gang affiliation is a defining trait of being "blackety-black" (your words, not mine), just a part of black culture, you're both an idiot and a racist.

To think you believe you just established some sort of moral high ground over me. The irony is how incredibly racist and ignorant your very comment is.

What a unbelievable stupid comment. I wouldn't have expected this from you.

5 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

May 16, 2024 at 10:17 am

Being married to a beautiful woman of color for years, I agree with you wholeheartedly. For someone to so easily throw out a disgusting term like "blacketly-black" while accusing someone else of being racist, is the definition of being tone deaf and ignorant. I'm glad you called him on it.

3 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 15, 2024 at 05:02 pm

What's Hafley going to say, he sucks and they shouldn't have paid him so much? If you went by what Hafley said they're set at every position, will be a top 5 unit and life is filled with lollipops and rainbows. It's off-season coach speak.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

May 15, 2024 at 05:27 pm

Should have drafted Dejean,
is all he has to say.

-2 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:29 am

Hafley seems to have had considerable input on who and what he wanted for the slot prior to the contract from how both he and Gute described it. Hafley seemed very clear about Nixon being a good fit with what he wants in a slot, though not on why, other than his ability in the run game. It may surprise you and I, but Hafley seems to think it’s a good fit and to conceive the slot role somewhat differently.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 15, 2024 at 06:04 pm

Coldworld - While I'm delighted to see you adopt this reasoning, I'm still surprised you can't bring yourself to extend the same logic to Myers.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:45 am

Myers can take a step, but he needs to, now. For a long time I defended Myers after his opening season was largely ended injury, but his play last pre- and season was just more of the same from 2022. At this point he’s never exceeded replacement level. He’s the Dean Lowry of the OL at this point: available and reliable but just not as good as we need. He’s out of contract after this year and, as thing stand, I don’t see him coming back without a big jump.

Nixon is a guy with less experience and whom Hafley seems to believe is a good fit for a rather different slot role seemingly. I did think Nixon improved later, but Hafley’s enthusiasm at his fit surprised. I’m willing to let that play out and see how the role shaped up and if Nixon lives up to filling it. In the mean time, Nixon seems like a good fit for the new returns, which I have always said that I suspected was likely a big part of his contract.

0 points
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Oppy's picture

May 16, 2024 at 06:37 am

Nixon is here for 2024. After that, he can be axed with little impact.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2024 at 09:28 am

So let's see.....let's sign Nixon to a contract that makes him one of the higher paid guys on the team. Let's structure it so that if we cut him, it creates a bunch of dead money. Then let's bench him in favor of some rookie.

Chesty, if nothing else, you are consistent.

2 points
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Oppy's picture

May 15, 2024 at 04:31 pm

My understanding is Nixon's contract is easy to escape.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 16, 2024 at 10:45 am

He signed a 3 year deal and got over $6 million for that. He's also getting a base salary and roster and workout bonuses that come to about another $2 million.

He gets a large roster bonus if he makes the team next year. For this year, there's no "escaping" this. We're already on the hook for over $6M.

0 points
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Oppy's picture

May 16, 2024 at 05:30 pm

$2.8 M due in 2025 as a signing bonus.
That's a lot of money for a working joe, but that is chump change for an NFL roster management move.

For some context, Bakhtiari is going to be a $19,000,000 dead cap hit for the Packers.

Last year, Dean Lowry's dead cap hit was just over $3,000,000.

Adrian Amos had a dead cap hit in 2023 of $7,950,000.

Overall, the Packers had $57 million in dead cap hanging over their heads last season.

If the Packers decide they have better talent that could be residing in a roster spot, $2.8 M isn't going to stop them from making it happen.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 15, 2024 at 04:59 pm

So if a rookie is better at the slot position they should play Nixon anyway because they paid him? Ok then.

He's a slightly below average to average nickel. He got paid to return kicks, if a rookie outplays him in TC he'll be on the bench when the defense is on the field.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 16, 2024 at 09:51 am

So, the Packers made their kick returner one of the highest paid guys on the team, and they did that on purpose.????

Nixon has been here for years. He's obviously somebody the team likes. If you want to believe that a rookie is going to come in and beat out Nixon,you're hallucinating, or more likely , you're underestimating the value of experience. These rookies might be real good football players, but they aren't going to beat out Nixon unless he's hurt.

A few days in shorts and a couple of practices doesn't put you ahead of guys who've had hundreds of practices, played in games, and played in playoff games.

0 points
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nagawicka's picture

May 15, 2024 at 04:13 pm

“I absolutely adore Keisean Nixon. I have from the first time I went to the Pro Day at South Carolina and watched him run” -Rich Bisaccia You don't have to run around and look under the shrubberies to get a firm grip on what the Packers think of Nixon
https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/a-special-coachplayer-relationship-540

4 points
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PhantomII's picture

May 14, 2024 at 09:40 pm

Trading Douglas when JA was injured was not a positive move....and it still isn't. Douglas was going to age out on our multiple playoff runs in the next several years so I get that point, but it would be nice to not make more holes since Safety was already going to be a massive one to fix. The other thing is Douglas IS a ball hawk and we could have used that against the 9ers instead of multiple drops in the secondary after our team finally went on a run to finish out the season.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 14, 2024 at 11:37 pm

Douglas is turning 30 and is an off and primarily zone player who was not all that good inside. In this system he’d be no better than perimeter CB 3, maybe 4. Time to face reality. A 3rd was prescient given the move for Hafley. As to last year, we actually did better without him. Since he didn’t play safety or slot, I doubt he’d have helped on those specific drops either.

0 points
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PhantomII's picture

May 15, 2024 at 05:48 am

Nope

-1 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 15, 2024 at 07:35 am

He is about to turn 30, he is best suited as a zone corner but has struggled inside. None of that is controversial.

Believe what you want: when your best response is “nope” I guess belief is all you have.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 15, 2024 at 09:03 am

getting a third round draft choice for a 30 year old whose cap number made his remaining with the team extremely unlikely seems like spectacular business to me.

that the team improved after he was traded, seems is the most important metric. you noticed that right? the team improved when douglas left. how do you explain that away.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2024 at 09:30 am

'''that the team improved after he was traded, seems is the most important metric. you noticed that right? the team improved when douglas left. how do you explain that away''''

There'll be no explanation. Isn't that 3rd round pick the one we used to get Marshawn Lloyd?

0 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 15, 2024 at 10:59 am

stubborn narratives die hard and some hills are worth dying on, as evidenced by your repeatedly returning to math. this will be an interesting season, in theory at least.

we're trading off a lot of certainty (bend not break) for added excitement. we'll reportedly cover tighter for shorter periods of time. i hope the cooks get the recipe right.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2024 at 12:48 pm

''''Stubborn narratives die hard"'''''

I'm going to write that one down in my Book of Wisdom.

2 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

May 15, 2024 at 09:47 pm

It's a Christmas movie!

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

May 15, 2024 at 10:58 am

The GBP did NOT get a 3rd round pick for Douglas.

They sent Douglas AND a 2024 5th round pick to Buffalo in exchange for Buffalo's 2024 3rd round pick.

So the GBP received a less than 2 round jump (69 spots exactly, 160 to 91) in the 2024 draft for Douglas.

The GBP gave up more than Douglas to get that 3rd round pick, number 91.

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 15, 2024 at 11:01 am

In doing so, they got better immediately. The scoreboard is the ultimate determining factor, and the green bay packers improved after Douglas was dumped on the bills.

That they paid us for our improvement seems the work of a 3 dimensional chess genius.

Process that again. We got paid to get better. Explain that away.

-1 points
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Johnblood27's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:09 am

You are a real piece of work, buddy.

My post simply stated the actual FACTS of the trade.

Nowhere did my post say for better or for worse, or that one team got the better of the deal.

You really need an attitude adjustment.

Perhaps an optirectomy is in order.

You know, the operation where the connection between the optical nerve and the rectum is severed so that the patient can lose their shitty view on life...

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2024 at 12:53 pm

Didn't we use that pick to get Lloyd? If he's half of what he's being touted to be, he'll be more of an asset than a 30 year old Douglas would be. Look,I liked Douglas and thought t hat he was a good part of the team. The Packers were still alive for the playoffs and they calculated that they'd be better with Valentine on the field.

You can't argue with results. We got better on the field AND a 3rd round pick, although as you pointed out we also threw in 5th rounder to get it. The bottom line is that this was a good trade for us.

Rasul and a 5th for Marshawn Lloyd. I have a good feeling about th is.

0 points
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GregC's picture

May 15, 2024 at 09:28 pm

The pick that the Packers got from the Bills in the Rasul Douglas trade was #91, which was used for Ty'Ron Hopper.

3 points
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PhantomII's picture

May 15, 2024 at 08:40 pm

The OL that was playing like crap jelled. Our QB1 became more consistent after he was not worried the OL was going to get him crushed. Our RB1 came back from injury. Our CB1 finally got healthy. Our ROOK WR's started gaining confidence in their new system with the OL doing their job and a running game taking some heat off. WR's stopped dropping the ball. That's why we improved...not because we dealt our best performing healthy CB. Douglas #12 CB in 2023 with 81 PFF grade, post trade Bills defense from #23 to #8. Barry is the majority of our defenses problems. If JA can stay healthy for a season as well as Dirty red...hopefully it won't matter. I like the Lloyd pick also, but the ball has to stay in his hands.

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 15, 2024 at 11:16 pm

WIthout Douglas they finished 10th in points allowed. Without Douglas they stomped the Cowboys asses and bottled them up, despite the Cowboys owning the best offense in football. Without Douglas they improved. They fleeced the Bills for a guy that they could no longer afford.

Gutekunst got him off a practice squad, and they squeezed all the talent they could from him. Then miraculously, they traded a guy who they bottom fed for the 91st pick in the draft. Why aren't you celebrating. Are you Douglas cousin?

-3 points
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PhantomII's picture

May 16, 2024 at 05:45 am

I just explained why our team improved WITH OR WITHOUT DOUGLAS...Your logic is trash. JA nor Stokes have completed a season on the field. King 2.0 better be good...and healthy...that's my REAL POINT.

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:13 am

with or without. the defense rests.

-2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 16, 2024 at 10:04 am

OK, I've read through this twice now.

Phantom correctly points out that the team improved because of a myriad of factors, and that's absolutely true. We didn't improve because Douglas was gone, we improved because various people returned and we started to benefit from all the practices..

And BNS is correct that his absence didn't seem to be reflected in the W/L record. It was an obvious vote of confidence in Valentine/Ballentine and the rest that the coaches felt they'd still be competitive without Douglas.

I'd rather have the rookie linebacker, Hopper, than Douglas right now. Of course, I'm biased against players over 30 drawing fat paychecks.. I just think it's bad business. The Bahktiari contract is Exhibit A.

Above, I detailed the Packers CBs. If they can all survive training camp, we'll have a good group on the 53.

3 points
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Fubared's picture

May 14, 2024 at 07:23 pm

If we have to rely on stokes god help us. He has shown nothing in 4 years

-5 points
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10
packer132's picture

May 14, 2024 at 08:03 pm

Stokes has played 3 seasons starting in 2021 with 16 games played. Injured the last two years and only played in 12 games. Hoping he stays healthy and can contribute with a new DC.

4 points
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Ya_tittle's picture

May 14, 2024 at 07:28 pm

Not a fan of Stokes but I think Valentine is a future starter and King will be working to prove he deserved better than seventh round status.

3 points
4
1
GB@Germany's picture

May 15, 2024 at 01:00 am

Would have expected a CB drafted in the top 100.
It even more surprised me, they didn't reach for Arnold, once he was in the 20th.
So the trust in the CB group seems to be there.
Let's hope our 1st rounders stay on the field and our developement guys take a step in the right direction.

4 points
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ricky's picture

May 15, 2024 at 08:48 am

Who cares where Valentine was drafted, or that Ballantine was a free agent? What matters is what they can do when they are on the field. After all, why are we worried about the cornerbacks? Because the Packers two FIRST ROUND draft picks are injury prone. How you get on the team is irrelevant. What you do once you're playing in real games is all that matters.

5 points
6
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Oppy's picture

May 15, 2024 at 04:34 pm

Underrated comment.

Too many fans just can't grasp this. It simply doesn't matter the second you've signed the contract. It's all about how you can help the team.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:54 am

Once a player proves he can play then draft position is meaningless. The challenge is getting that chance for those who got taken later or had injury or other struggles that led to them bouncing. Douglas is an example, but there are many, Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Donald Driver, Starr, Brady … there’s a good chance Bo Melton may have shown himself to be the next. I think Robert Rochell might turn into another, as might Kalen King.

1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

May 15, 2024 at 09:13 am

"...it’s virtually impossible to have everything covered at once."

Agree. So does Hafley. So does MLF. And so does Gute after nearly HALF his draft was to give Hafley the means to address this problem. 5 defensive players known for playing fast, hitting hard, being disruptors at the snap.

Joe Barry believed he could cover everything at once. Opponents thanked him and gnawed away at the D all game long, exhausted them, and got into position for frequent 4th quarter kill shots.

I expect another CB or two will be added via a late offseason trade or waiver wire.

But with the rebuilt Safety room, studs at LB, and the 4 man DL, the pressure D will relive pressure on the CBs most of all.

4 points
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Johnblood27's picture

May 15, 2024 at 11:00 am

LP, your last sentence is just about as plain as it gets. Good points.

0 points
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nagawicka's picture

May 15, 2024 at 03:39 pm

The Packers value Ballentine and Valentine more than the casual fan recognizes, and both performed well above expectations last year. Kinda good for them and bad for our NFC rivals that both players low-key got their game on without undue hype. .. . and without due hype either. Needed healing time for Stokes and Jaire made a difference, per Gute, you can't rush back to full strength. On both points, Packers aren't worried, or they'da drafted 3 cornerbacks. They'll stick Kalen King at nickel slot and leave him there to master it.

0 points
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1
dobber's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:01 am

Ballentine is a stop-gap, depth player, but I agree in that he earned Joe Barry's trust last year. They brought him back but only on a one-year deal. I think it unlikely he's back in 2025 unless he really balls out. I think his return this year probably meant the Packers didn't go CB mulitple times or earlier in the draft. Clearly they like the players they're bringing back--you can't draft everything every year, and at some point you need to lean into the resources you have.

I'm bullish on Valentine and he was a gamer given where the Packers got him, but everyone's a projection in this new defense. We hope that the CBs are good fits and they all can effectively transition to the defense early on, but I'm sure there will be a couple guys who we thought were risers last year who just can't assimilate or get on the field with the new D. It always works that way.

2 points
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nagawicka's picture

May 16, 2024 at 10:46 am

Same as it ever was. Packers are betting on who they have, showing confidence in their guys. There will be competition. Savvy bets on a half-dozen players and an injury or two won't matter when 3 guys come through. Fans also viewed Nixon as just a guy even though he plucked an INT or two

1 points
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GregC's picture

May 16, 2024 at 07:42 am

I think the main reason people expected the Packers to draft a CB early was that it's a premium position and there seemed to be good value late in the first round. But the same was true of O-line, which was a greater need for the Packers due to their complete lack of depth at the position. Once they got an O-lineman in the first round, it was time to address their most crucial needs--LB and safety. It's also worth noting that the top CBs in the draft all slid, so maybe they were not as good as most of the draft forecasters assumed they were.

I was surprised the Packers didn't take a CB until the 7th round but not surprised that they did not take one in the first or second round. The Packer CBs were pretty good last year, and they've got all of them coming back--hopefully with better health for Alexander and Stokes. Also, the safeties they drafted give them more options at nickel.

1 points
1
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dobber's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:09 am

I'll be honest in that I was thinking CB and OL were sound investments in the face of not-so-thrilling prospects available at other positions (or at positions where the depth is good and young) at that point in the draft. I think the fact that they see options at S who can walk down and cover the slot as taking some of that pressure off the CB room, too. We'll see if that materializes.

Living in a Lions market, I'll say they are patting themselves on the back for doubling up with Arnold and Rakestraw, but they've been awful at CB forever. This means that ultra-grabby and injury-prone Carlton Davis doesn't have to be the pillar of the secondary. They got markedly better at a position of clear weakness. They're still selling Arnold as a guy that they swooped in and stole from the Packers....whatever.

1 points
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GregC's picture

May 16, 2024 at 08:26 am

I would love to know if the Packers would've taken Arnold at #25. They had plenty of ammo to trade up for him when he fell, so I can only conclude that they did not want him as much as the Lions did. The Lions clearly had a much higher need at CB. The Packers already have two CBs who were drafted in the first round, so they may have viewed a third one as a luxury pick. They have not given up on Stokes, and Valentine and Ballentine are good backups. Also, as the author of this article mentioned, strengthening the middle of the defense should take some pressure off the CBs.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 16, 2024 at 09:07 am

Gute implied not when he suggested that they lost interest in trading up some picks before. That suggests to me that it could be that they had interest in Mitchell (21) perhaps, but not necessarily, it could just as easily be Fautanu going at 20. It seems pretty clear that after that, their man was Morgan.

1 points
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GregC's picture

May 16, 2024 at 10:24 am

That sounds believable, and it makes sense. I think Gute is truthful when talking about stuff that happened in the past.

0 points
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nagawicka's picture

May 16, 2024 at 10:50 am

Fans forget they viewed Nixon as just a guy--even though he nabbed several INTs when it mattered. Pack disagreed, Bisaccia "adores" him, and he got paid. Now folks aren't hearing coaches sayin the CBs in the room look good, runnin better than last year, etc. Yet we saw what Valentine and Ballentine could do down the stretch.

0 points
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