On Now
Coming Up
  • Mon., Jul. 13, 2015 7:00 AM CDT Packers Hall of Fame Inc. Golf Classic

    The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. Golf Classic is set for Monday, July 13, 2015, at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls, WI. Those interested in participating in the event can contact Holly Borga (920-965-6986; hollyb@packershalloffame.com) for more information.

  • Sat., Jul. 18, 2015 7:00 PM CDT Brett Favre's Packers HOF Induction Banquet

    The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. will induct former Packers quarterback Brett Favre at the 45th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet. The event will also feature the retirement of Favre’s No. 4. This dual recognition is an honor that is unprecedented in Green Bay Packers history. The banquet will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

  • Fri., Jul. 24, 2015 11:00 AM CDT 1919 Kitchen & Tap opens

    1919 Kitchen & Tap is scheduled to open on July 24, 2015 on the first floor of the Atrium (below where Curly's Pub was located).  We hope you'll join us at our new restaurant as we continue to make history with respect to our past!

  • Tue., Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM CDT Shareholders Meeting

    The Green Bay Packers 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders will be held Tuesday, July 28, at 11 a.m., at Lambeau Field. The meeting will take place rain or shine.

  • Thu., Jul. 30, 2015 8:20 AM - 10:20 AM CDT *Public practice *Any practices moved inside to the Don Hutson Center due to inclement weather, poor field conditions or for any other reason will be closed to the public due to space limitations. All other practices listed are expected to be open unless listed otherwise. All outdoor practices are expected to be held on Ray Nitschke Field (across from the Resch Center). All times indicated are Central.
  • Fri., Jul. 31, 2015 8:20 AM - 10:20 AM CDT *Public practice *Any practices moved inside to the Don Hutson Center due to inclement weather, poor field conditions or for any other reason will be closed to the public due to space limitations. All other practices listed are expected to be open unless listed otherwise. All outdoor practices are expected to be held on Ray Nitschke Field (across from the Resch Center). All times indicated are Central.

News

Print
RSS

Packers, Cardinals cut of the same cloth

Posted Nov 1, 2012

Two of the top three sack leaders in the NFL are Green Bay's Clay Matthews and Arizona's Daryl Washington.


The statistical anomaly is that the Packers and Cardinals defenses enter Sunday’s matchup tied for the NFL lead in sacks, with 26 apiece.

The strategic anomaly is that both offenses are plenty familiar with the Pittsburgh-rooted 3-4 defensive scheme and the pressure looks generated from it. Defensive coordinators Dom Capers and Ray Horton come from different Steelers eras, but their defensive foundations are still similar.

In other words, no two offenses should be more mentally prepared to handle the opposing, league-leading sack attacks than these two. Handling them physically, of course, is another matter.

“A lot of 3-4 teams like to bring a lot of different looks pressure-wise, and we’ve certainly had a lot of practice throughout the offseason going against our defense,” Packers left guard T.J. Lang said. “I think our defense is one of the more exotic teams with their blitzes, so I think that’s something we can fall back on. We’ve had some experience blocking that type of stuff.”

So do the Cardinals, but there are different issues facing both teams.

For Arizona, it’s an offensive line that hasn’t adequately replaced left tackle Levi Brown, who was lost for the season to a triceps injury suffered in training camp. Brown’s replacement, journeyman D’Anthony Batiste, is on his fifth team and had just four career starts coming into 2012, all with Atlanta five years ago. Meanwhile, the right tackle is rookie Bobby Massie, a fourth-round draft pick.

That lack of experience at the two most important pass-blocking positions has contributed to a league-high 39 sacks allowed. Three times this season, the unit has allowed seven or more in a single game.

The Packers have their own sack issues, with their 28 allowed the second-highest total in the league. Nearly half of those, however, came in Weeks 2 and 3 against Chicago (five) and Seattle (eight), and the Packers haven’t allowed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to be sacked more than three times in a game during their current three-game winning streak.

Of utmost concern to the Packers this week is the sheer volume of pressure packages the Cardinals employ and the variety rushers who have proven they can get to the quarterback.

Mike McCarthy said this week the Packers’ film study indicates the Cardinals bring more than the standard four rushers more than one-third of the time in normal down-and-distance, and up to two-thirds of the time in some situations. Also, four Arizona players have at least three sacks on the season compared to just one player for Green Bay, outside linebacker Clay Matthews with nine (pictured, left), and the Cardinals' leader is a major surprise for a 3-4 scheme.

It’s inside linebacker Daryl Washington (pictured, right), with eight sacks, good for third in the league. It’s common for 3-4 teams to run what’s called a “cross dog” blitz, where the two inside linebackers criss-cross as they attack the middle, but Washington’s numbers suggest the Cardinals execute it better than anyone.

For comparison’s sake, since Capers brought the 3-4 to Green Bay in 2009, the most sacks in one season by an inside linebacker is five, by Desmond Bishop last year. Washington is on pace for 16.

“It can create a lot of trouble for offenses if everybody’s not on the same page,” said Lang, who will be one of three interior linemen charged with sorting out Arizona’s “cross dogs.”

“That’s something we’ve been studying hard. It’s kind of unheard of for an inside linebacker to have eight sacks through eight games. Communication is going to be the most important thing, making sure there are no free runners at Aaron.”

Additional coverage - Nov. 1

 
blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest News

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • One of a Kind: Favre's relationship with Holmgren

    (1:00) Posted 1 hour ago

    Brett Favre discusses just how ready he was to take the reins in Green Bay after the trade from Atlanta. "One of a Kind" airs July 14th at 9pm on Today's TMJ4 in Milwaukee and NBC 26 in Green Bay, your official Packers stations.

  • Anderson, Grabowski thrilled to be part of Packers

    (6:00) Posted Jul 5, 2015

    In this edition of Alumni Spotlight, Packers.com Senior Writer Mike Spofford sat down with former Packers RBs Donny Anderson and Jim Grabowski. Anderson and Grabowski talk about being drafted by Green Bay, playing in the first two Super Bowls, and being coached by Vince Lombardi.

  • Video Ask Vic: Dynasty!

    (1:48) Posted Jul 2, 2015

    In this 'Video Ask Vic,' Packers.com Editor Vic Ketchman talks about teams throughout the decades that became dynasties