Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Sep 2014

Audibles Opening Night Special 2014

compiled by Andrew Potter

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

Today we have a special Audibles on the opening night game between the Packers and Seahawks.

Aaron Schatz: Are you ready for... a pop concert, followed by some football?

Rivers McCown: Well, it's already ahead of last year's prime time entertainment, "Ryan Seacrest desperately tries to fill time during a rainstorm."

Cian Fahey: This is the benefit of being a foreigner, my pregame is Die Hard 2.

Tom Gower: Die Hard 2, what's that? I only remember two Die Hard movies, the first one and With a Vengeance. There's a nasty rumor they made more movies after that one, but I'm sure no such thing ever really existed.

Cian Fahey: It's the one where Bruce Willis is a cop.

Scott Kacsmar: Is it Vine where the video can only be 10 seconds long? NBC can archive every Hines Ward analysis segment on Vine.

Aaron Schatz: Great play by Zach Miller to prevent an interception on a pass meant for him, but I think even better play by Sam Shields to jump in front of him and deflect it in the first place. Shields really read that one.

Scott Kacsmar: With the Vikings in 2012, Percy Harvin had 81.4 percent of his receiving yards come after the catch. That's unheard of for a wide receiver. I'm not saying he'll do it again, but the way Seattle's started this game with the screens and jet sweep looks very familiar to Minnesota. I've always said Harvin gets confused for a big-play threat because he's a great return man, but his catches usually aren't big gains. Still, very effective for the offense as long as he's in one piece.

Mike Kurtz: What an embarrassing start for the Packers' special teams. First a running into the punter to prolong an eventual scoring drive, followed by a burned timeout to avoid another drive-prolonging penalty when they had basically half the team on the field for the field goal.

Cian Fahey: Very pass-oriented first drive for Seattle, don't expect that to be an aberration this year.

Aaron Schatz: Right, especially because in our modern world, so many passes are really runs from a strategic point of view. Screen, screen, screen, la la la la la.

Andrew Potter: Very sloppy start for Green Bay on special teams. On the field four times so far: kick return from five yards deep in the end zone only gets to the 12, drive ends with a 29-yard punt, running into the punter to gift Seattle a longer drive, and now a timeout spent when defending the resultant field goal. Failure in four different aspects.

The more things change...

Aaron Schatz: Well, hey, both teams could be sloppy. Although I guess, "Earl Thomas doesn't feel like calling for a fair catch" isn't really *sloppy* per se.

Cian Fahey: Love pretty much everything Seattle do, but Earl Thomas returning punts is one of the dumbest moves from any team in the league. Don't care that he's supposedly the best option, he's too valuable to their defense.

Aaron Schatz: Seriously, what's the marginal value on Thomas returning punts compared to whoever is the second or third option? Twenty yards on the season? Thirty?

Cian Fahey: To make it even worse, they have Doug Baldwin, Harvin and Paul Richardson who should all be more than capable, probably better.

Rivers McCown: I dunno, I'm not prepared to backseat drive on special teams usage. How many years did Rob Gronkowski play on specials before he got hurt? You can't keep 20 special teams specialists. Maybe Pete Carroll thinks Thomas is worth much more than 30 yards over the course of the season.

Cian Fahey: I don't have an issue with him playing special teams, but I think it's slightly different when you're the returner because you're taking hits.

Aaron Schatz: It's a lot easier to get hurt fielding punts than playing on the edge on the field-goal blocking unit. And honestly, is Thomas really a better punt returner than Paul Richardson?

Rivers McCown: I'd assume Pete would know that better than I would. Of course, Harvin would probably be the best returner of all...

Pop pass, y'all. That's gonna be hard to stop.

Cian Fahey: If Ha Ha Clinton-Dix can't tackle Ricardo Lockette in the open field because of Lockette's quickness, he'll miss a lot of tackles this year.

Aaron Schatz: Fake read option, pull up and throw. So beautiful. Completely caught Sam Shields.

Tom Gower: How fitting that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would miss that tackle, though I believe he was on the other side of the field when Auburn got their touchdown off that play.

Justin Britt's had some rough moments, but through 18 minutes of the game Corey Linsley seems to have been playing pretty darn well for Green Bay. They used that one timeout in the and-goal situation, but other than that things seem to have proceeded smoothly enough for a first game in a hostile environment, and he's blocked well.

Ben Muth: The first Seattle touchdown was a great play, but Max Unger was 4 or 5 yards downfield when it happened. Ineligible man downfield has to be a point of emphasis as packaged plays become more prevalent, otherwise the offense/defense balance will be thrown off.

Mike Kurtz: Seattle really isn't getting much pressure on Aaron Rodgers, which in turn is allowing the Packers to stretch the defense vertically and open up a lot of passes underneath. It was working pretty well up until Rogers, as one commenter put it, turned into Bad Jay Cutler.

Cian Fahey: At halftime, it appears that the Packers have played about as well as they possibly could have on offense. They simply lack the offensive line talent, similar to how the Broncos did in the Super Bowl, to expose the Seahawks' run defense. Eddie Lacy has played well, but not getting much support upfront.

Scott Kacsmar: Is Richard Sherman really good enough to not challenge him once? I like the concept of putting your worst wideout on him as long as your offense has multiple weapons, but it's still limiting your offense's range. I just think of his metrics from our charting and the part that looked the best was the fact that he wasn't being tested much. When he was targeted, it's not like he didn't give up plays. With a quarterback like Rodgers who can fit the ball in windows as small as anyone, I'm going to be really surprised if he doesn't go there at all tonight. I think that's too much respect for Sherman.

Cian Fahey: In short: Yes, he is.

Ben Muth: I know it's halftime of Week 1, but I think these are two really good teams. Green Bay's offensive line looks improved (I've really liked David Bakhtiari, and it seems like the Ohio State kid is a legit NFL player) and Seattle looks like a team that won the Super Bowl last year.

Tom Gower: Through two quarters of play, I'm looking forward to learning this season just how much of the first half is J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter are that much better, and how much of it is Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk.

Vince Verhei: I may be in the minority, but I am not a fan of the wideout screen overdose the Seahawks suffered in the first half. I think two of those in a half is plenty. Felt like Seattle ran four or five.

It's funny, but I like Harvin a lot more as a runner than I do as a receiver.

Mike Kurtz: I think everyone does, Vince, but he would last about four weeks taking all his snaps in the backfield.

Aaron Schatz: A guy like Sherman is going to have not-spectacular charting stats (adjusted yards per pass and adjusted success rate) because quarterbacks only throw in his direction when they are very confident their guy is open. The lack of targets thrown in his direction does matter. Especially since it isn't like his charting stats are bad, or even average. 29th in Adjusted Success Rate last year, 8th the year before. A little worse than that in adjusted yards per pass.

Cian Fahey: @hawkeyegamefilm made a great point on Twitter: "Why football is hard to quantify: that INT by Rodgers was result of an off target throw, but if it were a worse throw it's an incompletion."

Aaron Schatz: Going around the edge against the Seahawks is really not working for the Packers' running game.

Tom Gower: I don't understand these toss plays to Lacy any more than I understood why Seattle keeps throwing the ball in the second half. The goal-line series before they kicked the field goal to make it 20-10, in particular.

Pack go for it on fourth-and-5, and Cliff Avril roasts Derek Sherrod. A long-term Bryan Bulaga absence (he's out for this game and then who knows) looks like big trouble.

Ben Muth: I think most of the tosses to Eddie Lacy are designed to hit between the tackles (this is known as the LSU special), but I agree with everyone that I still hate them. Just hand the ball off if you want to run it. When you have Aaron Rodgers the longer the defense thinks he might throw it, the better chance you have at running it.

You know what I said about the Packers OL? That doesn't include Derek Sherrod, who has been a catastrophe since replacing Bulaga.

Mike Kurtz: Catastrophe is not a strong enough word.

Scott Kacsmar: "Sherrod Charades as Protector" works as a headline. Absurdly tough spot to come in off the bench though. Bulaga just hasn't been able to stay healthy.

Ben Muth: It's easy to bang on Sherrod and the Packers for not having a better third tackle than Sherrod, but there's like 60 guys who can play tackle at a competent level in the NFL. It's just hard to find them, so when you can get two of them you build your game plan around having two decent guys, then when one gets hurt, it's hard to adjust your pass pro schemes in the middle of the game and the new guy looks even worse than he is.

Aaron Schatz: I wonder if Sherrod was always this bad, or is the issue that the injuries sapped him of his talent... or perhaps that because he basically lost two years to injury, he never was really able to develop that talent past the potential the Packers saw when they took him in the first round.

Cian Fahey: By the sounds of it, Bulaga has a serious knee injury. That's probably the end of his career so Sherrod is going to get an extended look with Barclay also out for the year.

Scott Kacsmar: This is the complete opposite of what the NFL wants to hear, but it would have been better for Bulaga and the Packers if it was a concussion/head injury like Michaels originally suggested instead of another knee injury.

Tom Gower: Definitely a fair point by Ben. Seattle's plan tonight seems to have been to drop guys into coverage and never* blitz, so I understand why the Packers haven't and probably don't want to keep an extra guy in. Now, though, it seems like they have to, and they had enough trouble throwing the ball when they weren't down three scores in the fourth quarter.

Aaron Schatz: I dug out my PFW 2011 Draft Guide. They ranked Sherrod sixth among OT, behind Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi (oops), Nate Solder, and pre-cancer diagnosis Marcus Cannon. Upside: "Excellent arm length... understands leverage and balance... fluid moving to the second level." Downsides: "underpowered lower body, will struggle with NFL power... struggles to cut off the wide rush... plays with a soft temperament and lacks the grit desired inside."

Rivers McCown: Feel like Eddie Lacy could run for 1000 yards behind a whole line of Sherrods.

Aaron Schatz: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth keep mentioning the loss of B.J. Raji but A) he wasn't that great last year, and B) he wouldn't really help when the Seahawks run great plays that completely fool the Packers defense, like the fake jet sweep/screen to Marshawn Lynch or the play-action keeper bootleg by Wilson.

Cian Fahey: I'm trying to think how many players in the NFL can be used the way Harvin has been tonight. Aaron Hernandez would have been one, but for obvious reasons he doesn't count. Cordarrelle Patterson is another. I'm not sure there is a third.

Scott Kacsmar: Raji -- Hell, one of the interior lineman for Green Bay had excellent penetration on a play on this drive and the Seahawks still turned it into a positive gain. Raji's not making a difference tonight.

Tom Gower: After mentioning him at halftime, I feel obliged to note with the second half (or at least the first 26 minutes thereof) indicate that Brad Jones might really struggle that much this year.

Aaron Schatz: This game is going to be Darrell Bevell's audition reel when he interviews for head coaching jobs next year.

Vince Verhei: I understand why Harvin doesn't get more carries, but I like what they do with the fly sweeps and fakes more than the screen stuff.

I agree with Aaron about how great Bevell's game plan was. Between Bevell's design and Russell Wilson's decision making (which I don't think he gets enough credit for), it seemed like they had an answer for everything Green Bay tried.

RE: Sherman and charting stats: I think it's pretty clear that targets per snap played (or something similar) is the best way to measure cornerbacks statistically. You can give up 20 yards a play, if they only throw at you once a game, that's great.

As for Sherman (and Earl Thomas) here are two stats that tell you how well they played tonight:

  • Playing against a top-level quarterback with a deep receiving corps, Sherman was targeted zero times in 36 passing plays.
  • Five different Packers caught passes tonight. All of them averaged less than 10 yards per reception.

The best development for Seattle was how well James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy played on the interior. It has been a long, long time since Seattle has gashed a defense with that kind of consistency on the ground.

The worst development for Seattle, of course, was the punt return unit. All that hype about competition at that position this summer, and we get THAT.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 05 Sep 2014

137 comments, Last at 23 Sep 2014, 2:14pm by

Comments

1
by bubqr :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:57am

"Cian Fahey: I'm trying to think how many players in the NFL can be used the way Harvin has been tonight. Aaron Hernandez would have been one, but for obvious reasons he doesn't count. Cordarrelle Patterson is another. I'm not sure there is a third."

Damaris Johnson would be one. I am not sure sure the result would have been the same ones though.

10
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:37am

Rick Spielman has a pretty good chance to be due huge credit for trading Percy Harvin for a younger, cheaper, and (hopefully) healthier Percy Harvin. It's really interesting how similar Patterson is.

122
by andrew :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 12:37pm

Technically he didn't trade Harvin for Patterson's pick.

IIRC the pick he got for Harvin was used to take Xavier Rhodes. Then he traded (with the Patriots, who turned the pick into Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, Josh Boyce and a pick which was traded to Tampa and then back to Minnesota who took Everett Dawkins) back into the first round to get Patterson.

He took some heat for not taking Keenan Allen. I agree Allen is a better route runner and classic receiver, but given the state of quarterbacks at the time Patterson had the kind of game that can still contribute, whereas Allen needed someone like a Rivers IMO.

As far as other players like them... its not about pure speed, there are plenty of burners in the NFL. Its like a combination of the vision and a knack of knowing how to read the flow of the defense and find the right moments to cut across it. Its why both make good kick returners as well.

FWIW in regards to why not let Harvin return punts... he never returned punts in Minnesota either even when he was a top kick returner. I'm guessing part of what he needs is to keep his eyes on the defenders, and with kickoffs he can kind of do this and have time to then focus on the return, whereas with punting you often have to focus more on the ball and then quickly shift your focus. SOme of his migraine problems used to occur when he would suddenly look up or down again if I remember right.

15
by rich006 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:00pm

Brandin Cooks in New Orleans.

2
by killwer :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:12am

A few guys pop to mind, like Desean Jackson (he had a recieving, running and return TD in his first 3 years), Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead. Tavon Austin would count if he didnt play for Brian Schottenheimer.

9
by Sportszilla :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:33am

Teams aren't running fly sweeps for Woodhead or Sproles, neither is fast enough.

40
by killwer :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:05pm

There is other plays than just the fly sweep who defines players such as woodhead and sproles. Difference is Patterson, Harvin, Jackson and Austin is that they are WRs first so a running play is a change up, where for Sproles and Woodhead it would be a passing play like lining up in the slot and run an option route

3
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:15am

I may be stepping into the gauntlet here, but I just wonder...what did Russell Wilson do last night that, say, Alex Smith could not have done in the same position? Bevell's play-calling was brilliant, and virtually everything ran through Lynch or Harvin. I think Wilson is an excellent player for sure, but it seemed to me there were about three plays last night where he had to "make a decision".

6
by Sportszilla :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:29am

Besides the plays running with the ball? Smith is a good athlete, but I'm not sure he has the ability/willingness/freedom to make those plays.

I tend to think that it comes down to the details on some of the play-fakes. The "pop play" that everyone's talking about is an example: to make that play work, he first has to sell the handoff to Lynch, and then the threat of him running. Seems simple, but it's a play that not many quarterbacks can make.

8
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:32am

Sure, but Smith is pretty mobile, and if Reid wanted him to scramble or run on designed plays I'm sure he could. It was a fantastic play, but I guess I don't see the brilliant "read" in a corner totally leaving his man uncovered on the sideline.

Overall, just seems like I can't get a real read on Wilson's full quarterbacking ability until they're down two touchdowns or something and they have to break away from the controlled run scheme they have. Of course, Seattle is so freaking good that they're never down two touchdowns.

11
by Sportszilla :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:47am

He was really, really good in that exact situation against Atlanta in the Divisional Round in 2012 (well, technically 2013), bringing them back from down 20 in the fourth quarter to take the lead late in the game against the Falcons. Of course the special teams/defense didn't hold, but that's no on Russell. He also had a big comeback against the Patriots capped by an absolutely perfect deep touchdown to Sidney Rice to win the game that year. It didn't happen much in 2013, because the rest of the team was also really, really good.

65
by Kal :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:42pm

One place where he did do it last year was vs. Houston, where they were down 20-6 at the end of 3 quarters.

69
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:58pm

Well, one of those TDs was a Schaub...

77
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 3:56pm

They also came back 21 against the Bucs, 10 against the Niners, and 14 against the Redskins.

81
by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:19pm

Wilson had six fourth-quarter comebacks in 2012 and 2013. Only Andrew Luck and Tony Romo (seven each) had more. Tom Brady also had six.

http://pfref.com/tiny/YL8kh

42
by killwer :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:06pm

Reid used Smith on a lot of read option plays last year, so yea Smith can do it (he was also Urban Meyers first spread option QB at Utah)

47
by formido :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:21pm

Alex Smith doesn't stiff arm someone to convert a running first down up the middle inside the 10 yard line. Alex Smith is a good athlete, but not enough to collapse the defense for that pop pass TD.

And Alex Smith would have been destroyed by Seattle's horrific pass blocking last season.

This isn't a serious question.

113
by ansum :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:07pm

this

4
by jklps :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:21am

1. I realize Seattle is loud and he is playing his first game, but Linsley is from Youngstown, Ohio and played at Ohio State for three years. He is not an instant pro bowler, but I don't think the situation is that out of reach for a guy like that compared to all the talk on tv.

2. Why give Harvin carries when up by 10 or more late in the game? He is an injury waiting to happen.

3. Why not flood Sherman's side with more guys, he can't cover all of them at once.

Green Bay did not seem like they were playing to win in this one...

106
by rrsquid :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 8:05pm

1. They need something to talk about for hours, and this point is low hanging fruit.
2. Agree. But this also seemed like a let's get a lot on tape for other teams to worry about. While they were having success try the read option handoff, keeper and pop pass. What does a defense focus on now?
3. This is because Seattle doesn't run a straight up zone like a lot of people say and all of the DBs are pretty good.

The 4th down attempt, no hurry hurry-up, etc and I don't know what GB was trying to get out of the game. Did they think they had a 5th preseason game?

109
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 9:31pm

1. It still had an actual effect on the game. Green Bay wasted several timeouts in the first half because Rodgers couldn't communicate the snap to him, and so they were left with zero timeouts on Seattle's last drive. They started from their 18, so the Packers could've gotten the ball back with good field position had they forced a three-and-out.

What's so bad about the 4th-down attempt? People complained when Denver went for it on 4th-and-2 in the Super Bowl (the decision and play-call were fine) and they complained about the punt on 4th-down later in the game (again, the decision worked out great; Denver forced Seattle into its only punt, and got the ball back with great field position). Going for it is absolutely the best choice Green Bay could have gone with, considering that they weren't exactly having much luck stopping Seattle and a field goal would've been 59 yards.

If Green Bay was running a no-hurry no-huddle offense, I don't see anything wrong with that either. A no-huddle offense's main job is to prevent the defense from substituting, so how long the offense takes to snap the ball is irrelevant. Theoretically, going hurry-up is supposed to also tire out the opponent, but I think it's far more likely that continually converting first downs tires out the opponent much more than the pace of the game; you see defensive players with their hands on their hips looking tired, but that's just because they're frustrated at not being able to get off the field. Plus, as I said, Green Bay wasn't stopping Seattle from scoring, so a hurry-up offense would tired their own defense out more (when they take the field after the offense either scores quickly or punts the ball away) than Seattle's.

5
by oaktoon :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:26am

Packer fan here-- and kudos to FO for opening my eyes to a huge problem for GB that was evidenced again last night (why I thought final score would be 31-13 and game would play out as it did, Bulaga injury or no Bulaga injury).The horrific numbers put up by Flynn AND RODGERS in the 23% of GB plays defined as "under pressure" tell me that GB's skill position players-- WRs and TEs-- have declined. Cobb was out last year, and maybe that PI big gain in the 1st half shows he will make a difference. But the TEs are very average without Finley; Boykin disappeared vs. Sherman but I wonder if he isn't "just a guy"; Rodgers has already vented about the young #4 and #5 WRs-- and I'm not sure if Jordy Nelson has th ability to break a defense, and certainly not a very good one. A formerly great offense isn't anymore.... And a mediocre (at best) defense still is... 9-7 (Maybe).

7
by Sportszilla :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:32am

As a Seahawks fan, I'm not sure if you can look at this game and fairly discern just how good the Packers are. It's the toughest road environment in the NFL, and it's possible that at full strength (which they are now), the Seahawks are just in a class by themselves in the league. That doesn't mean that the Packers can't be a very good team, but they just might not be good enough to win a game under those circumstances.

Doesn't mean Seattle will stay healthy all year, or that this isn't just a particularly good game, but it's hard to find many weaknesses on the roster right now.

19
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:09pm

One game against the NFL's best team, in the NFL's toughest road venue, isn't a big enough sample size to worry yet, IMO. The Packers kept shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and mistakes (looked very familiar to this Lions fan) throughout the game, yet were still within a touchdown into the third quarter. At least 3/4 of other NFL teams would have been down 3 scores minimum at halftime given the same circumstances.

What I saw is still a very good team with best/2nd best quarterback in the league that had an off night. On the other hand, if the Packers struggle (relatively speaking) to beat the Jets at home, and/or lose to the Lions on the road, then it's time to start predicting less than double digit wins.

32
by The Ancient Mariner :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:41pm

Eh, ET's performance as the punt returner balanced out a lot of that, I think.

12
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:56am

Green Bay got hammered for 207 rushing yards. In a league where everyone is supposed to be pass happy that simply cannot happen. Fundamentally rush defense is about effort and leverage. Green Bay was abysmal in about every way possible last night in both.

Just really tough to watch as a fan. Seeing your team get shoved around like it doesn't belong on the field.

14
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:59am

Dom Capers has no idea what to do against a mobile quarterback.

18
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:08pm

Packer fans were carping about Seattle linemen being illegally downfield on pass plays, but all I saw was a team half-filled with Erik Waldens.

Matthews and Shields were the only guys on defense who did more good things than bad last night.

Brad Jones was a laughingstock. And given how Guinon was manhandled I suspect that will be the very last time that Mike Pennel is not active for a game this season. Talk about an error in judgement.

20
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:18pm

Erik Walden...this Colts fan weeps.

29
by Steve B :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:38pm

I actually thought Peppers had a better game than Matthews.

33
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:42pm

I'd have to go back and look for it in detail, but my impression was that Peppers' play declined significantly in the 2nd half.

48
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:27pm

It seemed like half of the running plays Collinsworth was saying mentioning how Peppers was getting abused.

43
by killwer :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:08pm

Well, the pop pass TD, the center was 4 yards down field which means he was 3 yards futhere down field than what he is suppose to.

107
by rrsquid :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 8:18pm

The rulebook has this as a legal play. I forget the rule number, but it says an OL player in contact within the first 1 yard from scrimmage can block down field.

17
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:03pm

It's the worst. Vikings teams, like the 2007 and 2008 group, which had real deficiencies that made getting to the playoffs a battle, but which would wade in and slug it out for 3 hours, were always a lot more enjoyable for me to watch, than some Vikings teams which were very likely to get to the post season, due to being able to pass extremely well, but were fundamentally pretty soft.

13
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:58am

One needs to guard against overreaction, and Seattle in Seattle will make a lot of teams look this way, but Green Bay once again appears to be a somewhat soft football team (especially after Bulaga left) which is hugely dependent on extremely high level play from its quarterback. If Matthews gets dinged again, to say nothing of Rodgers, forget it, they're done. Matthews is really great, by the way. Collisnworth, who seems to be on the decline, completely blew the analysis of good Packers red zone defense sequence, by yapping about the smart play of some Packers db backs and linebackers, while failing to mention that it was Matthews' superior play which forced the issue.

I'd like to see an analysis done of QB dyar, divided by the percentage of cap space taken by a qb. No, Wilson isn't great, but he is really damned efficient and smart, and he doesn't (yet) cost a lot of money. Rodgers is great, but he consumes a lot of cap space, with the result that the rest of the roster is a little soft. A somewhat soft team with great qb play just isn't built to consistently compete against a team which is as effectively violent as Seattle. You need some large people who are really good at slugging it out for three hours. Green Bay, New Orleans, and Denver, as good as they are, just don't match up all that well.

Anyways, a Vikings fan must root vicariously, so I enjoyed seeing Kevin Williams batting down a pass, and getting at least one tackle. Much like seeing another possible or near HOFer, Matt Birk, get a championship after ending a long career in Minnesota, I'll root for Williams to do the same, and this time it won't be leavened with the fact that a lazy fat tub of lard like Bryant Mckinnie is also getting a late career bonus.

16
by Sportszilla :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:03pm

It'll be interesting to see if, in fact, the same basic fate befalls the Seahawks once Wilson gets his inevitable massive extension. It seems that you CAN win a Super Bowl with a high-priced QB, but only when the rest of the roster stays healthy/is really good, and that's much harder to do with a QB taking up a sizable chunk of the cap.

21
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:18pm

It just kills me that the Vikings used a number 12 pick overall to draft The Ponderous One in 2011, while Seattle picked Wilson at the number 75 spot in 2012. I suspect ownership ordered a qb selection in the first round, despite 2012 being a better year for qb prospects.

53
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:46pm

Could be worse Will. At least you don't root for a certain team in Northern Florida that made the Anger-inducing move of drafting a punter several picks before Russell Wilson.

37
by Steve B :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:55pm

When you're paying your qb what the Packers are paying Rodgers, it makes the draft even more important and the Pack have spent high picks on players who've either been complete busts (Sherrod), can't stay healthy (Sherrod and Bulaga) or have been okay but aren't really living up to expectations (Neal and Perry).

Also, while he was drafted before Rodgers got his first big deal, if you're going to spend that high of a pick on an ILB, he better be Kuechley or Willis and not what A.J. Hawk has been.

Finally, I think their D is still feeling the effects of Nick Collins early retirement.

45
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:11pm

I keep hearing that explanation and if remotely true then reason enough to fire Capers

If your entire defense is predicated on having a Pro Bowl safety then your defensive philosophy is too rigid to be effective long-term barring having that type of player on the roster.

And trust me, Morgan Burnett ain't that guy

59
by dank067 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:03pm

Nick Collins was great around the ball and had a pretty good number of INTs, there was actually one season ('09 or '10?) where it also seemed like he dropped as many as he caught. So he really stood out for that part of his game. However, his presence didn't stop the Packers defense from getting roasted by plenty of good QBs in 2008 and 2009 (Kurt Warner, ugh). Maybe it just comes down to a lot of guys having career years in 2010? Maybe Capers hadn't been "figured out" to as much of an extent yet?

62
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:28pm

The Packers defense looks to be lacking in talent to me. Other than Mathews and the corners, I wouldn't want their players on my team. I'm not sure there is a DC out there who could get good results. Though maybe some could do better than Capers is.

64
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:37pm

Mike Daniels is a good player. Josh Boyd has shown flashes. It is absolutely true that Green Bay needs guys like Datone Jones and Dix to play to their draft status

Nobody but the Packers coaching staff is a hard core believer in either AJ Hawk or Brad Jones.

68
by dank067 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:47pm

I really like Mike Daniels, but after last night I'm not sure how well he's going to hold up against the run as an every-down defender.

Letroy Guion missing training camp was a shame, because if he had played in the preseason like he did last night, he would have been cut and the Packers may have been forced to at least try to find someone else...

71
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 3:18pm

Guion was another puzzling signing. The fact that Vikings would rather have a 30 year old Fred Evans on their roster, instead of the 27 year old Guion, should have indicated something.

67
by dank067 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:44pm

Yeah. While it's certainly embarrassing to see them get carved up by the read option again and again, no scheme is going to hold up when the interior D-linemen are getting blown off the ball, often by only one guy, and the linebackers are unable to shed their blockers.

23
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:22pm

Definitely felt like Cris was in "Collinsworth Does Collinsworth" mode last night.

24
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:24pm

I've enjoyed his work at times, but good grief he was an annoying babbler last night, seeming to have a script he was determined to read from, regardless of whatever was actually happening on the field.

51
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:33pm

Rodgers might cost a lot, but I don't think that's what's hurting the Packers. They've just been losing talent for years, while Seattle has been stockpiling.

I would say it's more like Rodgers being so good prevents them from getting high enough draft picks to restock.

I'm also starting to think Ted Thompson is not a very good GM. Giving Peppers 10 million dollars after one of the worst front 7s in the league jettisons him is borderline insane.

52
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:44pm

The Packers have had good finds in recent drafts EXCEPT keep losing out on their number one picks.

Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Mike Daniels, and David Bakhtiari are all starters who were recently drafted by Ted Thompson. This does not include undrafted free agent Sam Shields.

If the Packers could have the number ones like Perry, Belaga or Sherrod chip in at ALL the team would be in a much better place.

133
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 11:42pm

Let's not forget that Raji was also a first-round pick who hasn't lived up to his status after that rookie year.

It seems like drafting linemen is a weak spot for Thompson, on either side of the ball.

55
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:56pm

I did wonder what was seen in Peppers' play last year which made him so attractive to the Packers. That said, I did think Peppers looked effective, at least in the 1st half. It wouldn't surprise me if he wears down considerably in the 2nd of the season, however.

58
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:00pm

Peppers workload is one of the reasons the Packers kept so many linebackers. Peppers is not expected to play more than half to sixty percent of the defensive snaps per game over the course of the season

60
by Steve B :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:13pm

Have to think they don't sign Peppers if Perry was living up to expectations

61
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:21pm

Absolutely agree. And there was a lot of chatter that Elliott's great work in camp might lead to Perry getting cut. Instead the Packers hedged against injury

73
by Kal :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 3:34pm

High draft picks are not where you build your team. It might be where you get that one big piece you need, but that's not how the Seahawks have done so well.

A good GM makes their salary from the 3rd round on.

76
by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 3:47pm

.

74
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 3:43pm

Having a high pick means the later picks are higher too.

Top 15 picks making an impact for the Seahawks: Earl Thomas, Russell Okung, Bruce Irving.

Top 15 picks making an impact for the Packers: BJ Raji, AJ Hawk (stretching the definition of impact here).

Swap Thomas and Okung for Raji and Hawk and you don't think yesterday's game plays out any different?

75
by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 3:47pm

Why do I hear the same thing about every great up and coming franchise - that they have somehow bucked the trend? I heard it from packer fans in 2010 - how thompson had discovered the skeleton key to drafting. And now I read comments about how the packers are dangerously undermanned on the lines and poor at finding tacklers.

Do people really believe Schnierder had the skeleton key all along?

86
by BJR :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:59pm

Are you suggesting that drafting all-pro defensive backs in the 5th round might be somewhat down to luck, rather than incredible skill/strategy???

87
by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:02pm

Not sure if you are being sarcastic, but emphatically yes. When no one in the nfl going back to 1978 has shown the ability to do so, I find it highly improbable that the current seahawks are the exception.

91
by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:28pm

Which is why the Patriots method of trading down or into the future to stockpile picks is the best method to keeping a team a contender.

105
by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 7:42pm

Why is this called the Patriots method? Plenty of teams do this, and have done for a long time.

114
by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 1:20am

Sorry, I just think of it being their method because they have been the roadblock to my team winning a division title for ten years running. The Niners definitely do this as well. Not sure who else does it on a regular basis (Rams?)

111
by MC2 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:39pm

I thought the Patriots method was drafting first-ballot HOF QBs in the sixth round.

115
by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 1:21am

As far as them being lucky with Brady, well that luck rubs off once that franchise guy gets his first big contract that eats up the cap. So Seattle has as much right to that right now.

116
by theslothook :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 1:32am

I would still say finding a player the caliber of Brady is rare even if he happened to be the first overall pick. A player of Bledsoe's quality is more in line with realistic expectations.

92
by BJR :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:33pm

Yeah sarcasm. There's a non-zero amount of credit that Seattle's FO is due for drafting these players but it isn't replicable by other franchises.

123
by The Ancient Mariner :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 1:44pm

It's not so much that they drafted All-Pro DBs in the 5th round as it is that they were able to develop 5th-round DBs into All-Pros. They could do that because a) they know clearly what they're looking for in DBs, b) they run a system which allows them (except for ET) to focus on doing a couple things well, and c) they're a very good teaching staff -- Carroll believes in that in a way that many (most?) pro coaches don't -- and thus are able to train guys to play their roles well.

Even at that, it doesn't always work (I was far from the only one who had higher hopes for Mark LeGree than Richard Sherman coming out of that 5th round); what's more, it's not as if PC/JS have the same record at other positions (WR and DL come to mind).

125
by theslothook :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 2:28pm

if they can develop even just probowl dbs, then why bother paying sherman at all? why not let him go and pay positions you cannot so easily develop?

127
by Perfundle :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 3:49pm

One thing I'm worried about is Seattle's drafting philosophy. A Sports on Earth article outlined it, which is to look for those players that have a chip on their shoulders because they weren't picked early, or were low on the depth chart, or grew up in a bad environment, and so on. So you get players like Wilson (too short), Sherman (too tall), Chancellor (poor at coverage), Coleman (too deaf), etc.

But sometimes players aren't picked early because they simply suck, and the bad environment helped nurture really bad off-the-field habits. I have a feeling that when coaches have some success, they look for some pattern in that success and think that they've cracked the code, and keep it up even as it stop working. Ted Thompson, for instance, had success by bringing in almost no free agents, but now his draft picks are not producing or are getting hurt. Al Davis famously when for the best athletes, and that eventually went south as well. This has also been Carroll's strategy, what with him touting SPARQ scores and all, so hopefully the team doesn't fill up with athletes with chips on their shoulders that can't hack it on the field because they keep fumbling or dropping passes.

128
by theslothook :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 4:37pm

Or they got lucky? Why is it so hard to accept that some teams get lucky? Think about Bill Polian. He drafted Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Edgerrin James, Dwight Freeney, Mathis, Sanders, etc...a resume that pretty much stacks up against anyone including Schnieder and Seattle. And yet what is his reputation now?

If you follow finance, there's the efficient market hypothesis - which implies that no one can successfully beat the market. Why? because everyone evaluates stocks more or less the same. The same is true for the nfl Draft - all 32 teams evaluate talent players on technique, character, work ethic, etc etc. Obviously, there's some variance, but its likely not that drastic. Its not like some people viewed Peyton Manning as a 1st rounder and some viewed him as a 4th. Similarly, I doubt Seattle saw a 1st round grade on richard sherman or kam chancellor and just gambled that they could get them in the 5th and 6th round.

More than likely, they happened to be the best players on their board in the 5th and 6th round.

129
by Perfundle :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 5:24pm

"Or they got lucky? Why is it so hard to accept that some teams get lucky?"

Um, that was what I was saying. I'm not sure what else you can take "I have a feeling that when coaches have some success, they look for some pattern in that success and think that they've cracked the code, and keep it up even as it stop working" to mean.

130
by Karl Cuba :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 6:14pm

I was listening to an extended interview with Ricky Pointing, the retired Australian cricket captain, and he kept referring to competitiveness as being a key factor. That's it's the guys with the desire to constantly get better and relish the battle when it's joined that succeed.

There another tale of Ray Lewis the year before he left Miami at a gathering of top prospects: the players were provided with a game room and Lewis refused to lose at any of the games. When he did lose he'd demand rematch after rematch until he finally defeated his opponent.

There are some people who, while irritating in many situations, have more drive than others. Did anyone who watched the Falcons on Hard Knocks see that in Hageman? Roddy White and Matt Ryan both showed that sort of desire but even amongst elite athletes some possess more than others.

I've been thinking that Seattle have been looking for that sort of character for some time. Guys like Sherman and Chancellor are exceptionally competitive, Wilson too in a less demonstrative manner.

So I agree that they are probably targeting a personality type more than most teams and perhaps it's true that they've also found another market advantage in looking at prospects with character flags.

131
by tuluse :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 8:05pm

Targetting personality types is probably a good idea. So good, that I'm pretty sure NFL teams have been doing so for about 90 years now. The question is did Seattle find some new way to determine personality types and will be more successful finding the kind of players they want or did they have a run of luck, or is just somewhere in the middle?

134
by Karl Cuba :: Sun, 09/07/2014 - 10:12am

I think they're targeting personality types to the extent that they've Dratted a bunch of guys who are well away from their position's physical prototype.

135
by LionInAZ :: Sun, 09/07/2014 - 6:30pm

If performance over pedigree works, I'm all for it.

132
by theslothook :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 8:42pm

Sorry, I guess I was over reading you there. I'm more inclined to agree with what Tuluse said below.

78
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:04pm

Considering that Rodgers was the 24th pick and Matthews the 26th, I don't see what's so special about using 15 as the cutoff.

82
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:22pm

The Rodgers pick was mostly luck. It isn't very often that the 2nd qb taken lasts until 24.

Actually, I strongly suspect that drafting is mostly random for all GMs.

85
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:42pm

And Russel Wilson was a 3rd round pick. I was pointing out the advantage that Seattle has in personnel because they picked high in the draft.

98
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:37pm

They didn't get to pick Earl Thomas because they were bad; they got to pick him because Denver traded them that pick for a 2009 second-rounder. Okung is good, but not spectacular. Ditto with Tate. And before 2010, only Ryan, Unger and Bryant were contributors last year, and none of them were drafted that high either. I just don't see these high picks that Seattle is benefiting from.

112
by GoDog :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:43pm

The cap space question in regards to quarterback performance is something I've wondered about, especially as it regards to Russell Wilson that will be elevating his pay considerably.

Is there ever a time for a team to go low and not pay the stupendous salary a top notch QB commands under the salary cap limits? For instance, what would happen if Seattle took the position that RW isn't worth the salary of two or three other good positions and decide to let him go to free agency? After the resulting Seattle riots calm down, Seattle would go ahead and get a serviceable QB and sign existing personnel or go out and secure other good position players to make sure the defense stays top rung material. If there is a team that could do well with a "game-manager" style QB, it is Seattle. Let some other team pay the $20-$22 million a year for Wilson.

I don't foresee this happening. The Seattle brain trust of Schneider and Carroll believe they can draft, coach, and sign playable talent and absorb the big contracts. When you see the effects of contracts, such as Flacco's and the Alex Smith contract before going to KC, you wonder if the day will come that a GM says "Nope, sorry, we aren't paying for the elephant-sized contract." and move on.

117
by theslothook :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 1:38am

SO basically, you are wondering whether its easier to win paying all your players and using shaun hill at qb or keep wilson and lose most of your kj wright, byron maxwell, and zach miller's?

I think you nearly always pay the qb because even a mediocre qb needs to have a really really good team to consistently win.

There's also the view of how good RW is and will be

120
by Will Allen :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 10:54am

I've heard it said that Chip Kelly is thinking along these lines; that his goal is to get superior athletes across the roster, and then win games by superior execution across the field, as opposed to having a great qb make up for fairly significant deficiencies elsewhere. I think watching the Eagles might be pretty interesting for the next 5 years.

136
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 09/08/2014 - 4:31pm

Superior atheletes who went to Oregon, more like it.

22
by Guest789 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:19pm

Regarding what Ben said about the Packers O-line - Sherrod isn't their 3rd tackle, he's their 4th. They already lost their 3rd (Don Barclay) for the year. Packers fans are far too used to this story.

25
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:26pm

I was really disappointed at Rodgers public outburst at Linsley last night. The kid was the LEAST of the Packers issues, and it struck me that number 12 lashed out at the person least able to bark back.

If Rodgers wants to yell at someone he could begin with his coaches. Then his special teams. And then maybe himself

The throw on 3rd down with about a minute left in the first half was inexcusable. Rodgers could have easily taken another step for the first down. Instead he flings it five feet over the receiver's head.

Yes, his line play wasn't helpful but that started in the second half. In the first half there was still a chance. And that pointless heave to Nelson that was underthrown versus to the receiver open on the sideline was another example of poor work by a guy who fair or unfaira is paid to be really, really good the vast majority of the time.

26
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:30pm

When did this happen?

27
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:33pm

End of the first half. Apparently Linsley didn't hike the ball when expected and Rodgers had to burn a timeout. Rodgers publicly lashed out at the kid striding towards him and pointing his finger.

28
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:35pm

Yeah, I thought Linsley was ok in a tough spot. I'll mildly defend Rodgers on the the third down throw. Yeah, he had the 1st down if he runs, but the receiver was wide open, and on the sideline. He just blew the throw, while on the run. It happens, even to guys who get paid as if it never happens. I'll agree, however, that Rodgers has played much better than he did last night.

35
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:47pm

Rodgers has developed a disturbing habit of when things are not going well to begin making 'What the H*ll" throws

In the SF playoff blowout loss Rodgers tossed an awful interception on a heave toward the Niner goal line. And I could list several more examples

Not being Bill Simmons but it sure 'seems' like Rodgers is quicker to get frustrated than in prior years. And for reasons known only to him he takes it out on everyone but the guy responsible, Mike McCarthy.

I think it would be healthier for everyone if those two had a 'Come to Jesus' moment be it in public or private.

38
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:58pm

I'm not familiar with the situation; what is Rodgers' reputation for effectively working with teammates in the offseason? The gold standard, of course, is Peyton Manning, but then again it is hard from afar to assess these things accurately, positive or negative. I do know, however, that when the dynamic leader known as Christian Ponder, NFL quarterback, tried to get teammates together in the offseason, even getting phone calls returned was a challenging issue.

46
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:13pm

I don't think this is a 'Rodgers/teammate' matter. My half-witted unfounded perception is that Rodgers thinks his head coach is a poor playcaller. But in the interests of leadership, etc he works to execute what is asked.

But it's building. I think the Packers are in line to experience a qb/coach drama not seen in some time in Green Bay.

41
by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:05pm

Reminded me a lot of Brady in 2012 Title Game not running for what seemed like an easy 1st down and lobbing a terrible pass to the end zone on 4th down. Ngata might have chased him down, but it looked like Brady was going to get there.

In this case I think Rodgers thought he was going to make the throw, but it did seem a little Favre-esque (especially when at first glance I thought he was definitely across the LOS).

Yeah, that was definitely not Rodgers best game. Did anyone else notice that his throws seemed more wobbly than normal. Not in a Peyton way, but for someone who generally throws perfect spirals, a little more flutter than normal.

56
by PaddyPat :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:56pm

I thought there were several throws near the end of the first half that seemed downright hubristic. The one where Rodgers was outside on the right and threw back across the field to try to hit the guy in the endzone... it really seemed to me that he had a shot to run that play--there was one guy to beat. I think it's a mentality issue. Brady had a whole bunch of plays that felt like this in the 2009 loss to the Jets--when his read wasn't open and the checkdown was shallow, he would go for the ridiculously hard throw down the field that also wasn't really open. When you're used to picking up chunks of yardage and suddenly faced with a defense that's only surrendering little bits at best, I think it can be hard to stay disciplined. I would say there were at least 3 plays like that in last night's game. Not many defenses can force that though.

79
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:08pm

Yeah, it looked like Rodgers was really hesitant to run for some reason. I know Seattle often put a spy on him, but often times he seemed to have enough space to at least get some yardage. Seattle has difficulty with mobile QBs who can also throw, and Rodgers is supposed to be the best. Something similar happened in last year's season opener too, when Newton chose not to run it on several occasions.

31
by billprudden :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:41pm

Amen.

Some players are exempt from criticism...

30
by Sportszilla :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:40pm

The other story line coming out of this game, to me, was the success of the Seahawks offensive line. Really the only weakness on the team last year, if they're an average (or better) unit, this offense is going to be really good.

34
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:45pm

Yeah, they were good, but I'll reserve judgement until they play on the road against a team that has a couple of sluggers in the middle of their defensive front.

39
by Steve B :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:04pm

Also looked like the Seahawks can be run on inside. And Harvin staying healthy for a full season is very iffy.

36
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:48pm

GB was getting good pressure on pass plays that was offset by the poor run defending and the terrible penalties.

44
by formido :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:11pm

Sherman had 8 INTs (most in the NFL)--and 2 tips to INTs--on the fewest targets in the NFL last season, but the best he looks in your charting is that he doesn't get tested? I doubt that, or your charting needs to be adjusted. Yes, Sherman will give up big plays, just like every corner ever, but he gave up what, 1 TD last year? Hard to make the case Rodgers was acting irrationally.

49
by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:28pm

It will be interesting to see how the Packer's run defense and offensive line do against the Jets in week 2. I still expect the Packers to win behind 600 passing yards from Rodgers, but how well those sections do against a team that likes to run and has 3 dominant defensive linemen will give us an answer to the questions stated by the Seahawks tonight.

50
by bingo762 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:29pm

Surprised no mention of that terrible end of the first half "drive" sequence by the Seahawks. Seemed like they were undecided between letting the clock run or driving for a field goal. Terrible play calling could have gotten players unnecessarily hurt

80
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:15pm

Fearing that players could get hurt seems like a bizarre worry. Packers players could've gotten hurt on that final drive in the fourth quarter too, and they were hardly likely to score three touchdowns in 2 minutes. I didn't see anything Seattle did that would have increased the possibility of an injury.

54
by big10freak :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:52pm

On a minor note Nick Perry made another play that could have been a 'big' play with that tipped pass down near the goal line

The guy cannot stay on the field and against the run he's incredibly uneven but you can see why the Packers keep him around. Because IF he could stay healthy and used on passing downs he could make a play a game that might make a difference

Lot of 'ifs' there.

57
by Chris West :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 1:58pm

It seems to me like the criticism of Earl Thomas for the muffed punt is a bit overblown due to the "we don't think your star defensive player should be returning kicks!"* narrative. I think the blame should have fell more on Sherman(?) for blocking the defender into Thomas as he was trying to make the catch. If it weren't for the blocking, a defender that close during the catch would certainly have been flagged.

As for insisting that Thomas should have waved for the fair catch? Well, probably, but that wouldn't have changed the outcome of the play at all. He has to catch the ball, or the ball is still live, and the defender was still being blocked into him.

*Unless that star defender is Patrick Peterson.

63
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:32pm

When a player calls for a fair catch, he is supposed to communicate this to his teammates, who are then supposed to stop blocking, for this very reason.

88
by coremill :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:08pm

Even more bizarre than having Thomas return punts is having Sherman out there blocking for him. Maybe Thomas has some meaningful marginal value as a returner given his speed and athleticism. But what additional value does Sherman add as a blocker that justifies the injury risk? Sherman's not even good at blocking! Seattle has the deepest roster in the league, they don't have some backup linebacker that can block on punt returns?

93
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:34pm

It would be strange to use a linebacker in that role. Almost every team uses DBs and WRs. Remember they're also jamming the gunner down the field (and in case of a fake, need to be able to cover the gunner).

103
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:56pm

Okay, now people are picking nits with Seattle just for the sake of picking nits. Haden played 30.9% of the special teams snaps for Cleveland last year. Revis? 16.7%. Peterson? 33.5%. Grimes? 11.1%. Byrd? 11.2%. Weddle? 52.7%. McCourty? 38.0%. I don't think you realize how much even elite defensive backs get used on special teams, and Sherman is at the low end of that at 11.2%.

119
by Jimmy :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 10:50am

No they are picking nits because of the clown act punt returning.

126
by Perfundle :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 3:36pm

Then concentrate on that, not on why Sherman participates in the punt coverage. It was Thomas' fault not to wave him out of the way in any case.

66
by schmoker :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:42pm

No matter where you go, there you are.

70
by Ryan :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 2:59pm

"You don't even know what a write-off is, do you."
"Do you?"
"No. I don't."
"....but they do. And they're the ones writing it off."

72
by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 3:30pm

This defense has now taken apart all 4 elite qbs and done so multiple times across multiple seasons. I just can't remember a defense being this good for this long. The must underrated part has to be the linebackers - they are fluid and capable of aptly diagnosing run plays and being sound enough in pass coverage. Oh, and Chancellor is so freaking good. People need to stop acting like its Thomas that makes Chancellor.

Just an aside - this game also shows how there's a crazy media backlash against Peyton. When Brees and Rodgers and Brady all struggle with this defense, people(rightly) acknowledge this as a sign of their greatness. When Manning struggled, once again, it came down to a lack of inner fortitude, toughness, and whatever else Skip Bayless espouses.

83
by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:32pm

I really want to see how Seattle adjusted to Maxwell getting burned again and again by comeback routes. It seemed like the Packers would keep finding some weakness in the coverage, and then suddenly it would disappear. Seattle's defenders start off in pretty much the same place every snap, so it would be interesting to see the chess match developing.

84
by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:39pm

The only routes I saw consistently attempted were back shoulder throws and then mid range post routes trying to time the voids in the zone. My guess is that Maxwell was playing to the outside and directing routes to the inside with the idea that either chancellor was roaming or the linebackers got deep enough and rodgers would hesitate. I think the reasons why they worked on the drives the packers scored on was because those were the drives that the packers run game actually got traction. On nearly every third down, unless Rodgers scrambled to buy time, never was the first read really open.

One of the things I found when rewatching the sb(my god was that painful) - the broncos were able to move the ball when they got protection. They did it by attacking those same voids in the zone - things between outside the numbers and inside the hashes. That seemed to be areas the seattle defenses overall concedes.

108
by rrsquid :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 8:33pm

And those voids are usually short 5-7 yards. This is acceptable to Seattle's defense.

124
by The Ancient Mariner :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 1:51pm

Your guess is correct. That's policy for Pete -- that's how his defense is supposed to work.

89
by LyleNM :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:09pm

Especially when Bobby Wagner can track Randall Cobb for 40 yards only to not stop as quickly as Cobb and commit DPI. Cobb was never really open on that play, Rodgers just threw it up hoping something good would happen.

90
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:22pm

Well, something good often happens when you throw to a good receiver forty yards downfield, when he is being "covered" by a linebacker who has his back turned to the qb. Linebackers really aren't very good at making plays like that generally, so it tends to be a pretty sound choice for a quarterback.

95
by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:37pm

Having flashbacks to Lance Mehl getting beat by Joe Cribbs 30 yards downfield, for the TD and the win.

97
by LyleNM :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:17pm

Except you kind of expect a "good" receiver to have created some separation on a LB after 40 yards....

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by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:36pm

I agree with your narrative, theslothook, but Brady did not struggle to the same amount that Brees, Rodgers and Peyton did. His passer rating was only 79, but his QBR was 70. The Pats were also in control of that game until the 4th quarter, when Wilson lead a comeback.

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by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:00pm

That's true. Interestingly, if IIRC, it was welker who was doing much of the damage against Seattle.

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by l1ndsay11 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:41pm

Marshawn Lynch is still the best football player on the field for Seattle on either side of the ball, but the gap while still wide is being closed by Harvin, Wilson, and Miller on offense. Bevell is considered an effing genius right now, because defenses have to focus on Lynch, and he can play action and gadget off of that over-commitment. The big fella will be the one to lead them back to the SB. The defense looked solid against a good receiver group, very good running back, and the best QB. I don't know that we will face a better offense at home this year until we play GB again in the playoffs. Being a speed defense that plays with a mean streak we match up well against the top shelf clubs, but sometimes I wish we were bigger up the middle instead of quicker. Pete's playing out his vision though and it just works. He's making everyone better, Russell is making everyone better, and Earl is making everyone better. Two head coaches on the field and the best motivational speaker/defensive head coach on the sideline is pretty special. GO HAWKS!

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by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:48pm

They have to play denver and sd...both will presumably be healthier on the dline.

Also, ur dillusional about miller.

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by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:55pm

Agree with Miller somehow being an offensive weapon, but he was amazing yesterday, and not just because of the one-handed catch. It felt like he stymied Matthews one-on-one much better than any of Seattle's actual offensive linemen did, and would've been even better had he not picked up that bogus holding penalty when Matthews flopped on yet another jet sweep by Harvin.

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by l1ndsay11 :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 7:23pm

Not delusional about Miller he isn't elite as a receiver, he is good, but as a run and pass blocker he is absolutely unafraid to hit OLB's and DE's, he'll knock the sht of you just like Lynch. Pete puts football players on the field, most other teams field players playing positions. I enjoy watching highlights of fantasy football hero's as much as the next guy, but you aren't getting through Seattle with a skill team.

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by theslothook :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 9:36pm

You aren't beating any great team with just a "skill team." I think Peyton Manning has shown that most of his career.

Miller is a fine player, but he showed his value when he was on oakland - mainly an after thought on a team woefully short on talent. He's a complimentary piece, not the way say Lynch or Harvin would be on a different team.

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by Perfundle :: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:51pm

You know, with all the praises being sung of Harvin, Lynch and Bevell, it's amazing thinking about how badly Favre deteriorated in 2010 when he had two of them to work with and an improved version of the third.

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by t.d. :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 2:56am

Yeah, but he was special with those guys in 2009

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by Will Allen :: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 10:58am

The Vikings o-line really went south in 2010. Bryant Mckinnie especially seemed to be doing an uncontrolled concussion experiment on men in early middle age.