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Offline wpr  
#1 Posted : Thursday, January 10, 2013 5:56:05 PM(UTC)
wpr

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I have wondered all last year and most of this year why they did not move BJ back outside. Especially when even the coaching staff said that Pick was better inside and Raji better on the end.

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This week we have been asking ourselves what is different about the Packers since week 1. Evan did a great job looking at the roster changes for the Packers and the Niners earlier this week. I want to look at something a bit smaller, a little talked about position switch that has reaped big dividends.

The Packers defense has changed greatly since week 1 of this year and a large reason for those changes has been because of injury. Most of us have seen this through rise of guys like Casey Hayward and Brad Jones, but of the more interesting moves happened along the defensive line with Ryan Picket taking the nose tackle spot and B.J. Raji taking defensive end. Originally the move of Pickett was prompted by an ankle injury to Raji, causing him to miss a couple games. Pickett played so well at this spot that the coaching staff decided to keep Pickett there when Raji came back healthy.

Pickett’s success at the nose shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Pickett was the nose tackle when the Packers first made the switch to the 3-4 back in 2009. He played very well there and the Packers had the best run defense in the league. This year Pickett has helped improve the Packers run defense which has shut down some of the most talented backs in the league and has only allowed two running backs to run for more than 100 yards against them all season.

The more surprising end of this switch has been the improved play of Raji. PFF noted on Wednesday that over the first twelve weeks of the year Raji had a run defense rating of -2.4, but over the last five weeks of the year and the wild card game against the Vikings Raji had a run defense rating of +10.4. This is a staggering turnaround and has occurred after the switch to DE. In addition to his improvement in the run game, Raji has also displayed more push in the pass rush as well. A great example of this came last week against the Vikings where Raji was able push the pocket and force Webb toward the waiting arms of the Packers’ outside linebackers.

In week 1 the San Francisco 49ers and Frank Gore gashed the Green Bay Packers and set the tone for the game. If the Packers are going to continue their path to the Super Bowl they will need to stop the Niners’ running attack and try to place the fate of the game on the arm of Colin Kaepernick. The move of Raji of DE has seemed to help the run defense tremendously and should help the Packers in this goal.


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Offline Dulak  
#2 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2013 2:18:01 AM(UTC)
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interesting article ... cept for that forsight about brad jones (dont like the dude and wish we would play someone else - IMO the only reason he is 'decent' is our other better backers are injured and the fact we have a monster on the field called CM3.

Offline wpr  
#3 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2013 6:13:44 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Dulak Go to Quoted Post
interesting article ... cept for that forsight about brad jones (dont like the dude and wish we would play someone else - IMO the only reason he is 'decent' is our other better backers are injured and the fact we have a monster on the field called CM3.



I sort of ignored the Jones part except to think it is Raji and Pick and CM3 that make him look better. Then again it is a team sport. If the linemen take on the blockers and free up the LBs to get in there you need someone who can do just that. Some of the other LBs fall short. So I come full circle on the Jones issue and am fine with it.
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Offline Tezzy  
#4 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2013 7:45:45 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: wpr Go to Quoted Post
So I come full circle on the Jones issue and am fine with it.


For being the third starter, I commend the effort he has given and the fact that he doesn't look like complete horseshit playing the position.
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Offline DarkaneRules  
#5 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2013 11:18:12 AM(UTC)
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Yep saw this coming. Good call by the staff. Hope we find a true NT of the future soon!
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Offline Gaycandybacon  
#6 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2013 12:19:09 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Dulak Go to Quoted Post
interesting article ... cept for that forsight about brad jones (dont like the dude and wish we would play someone else - IMO the only reason he is 'decent' is our other better backers are injured and the fact we have a monster on the field called CM3.



I think he's playing better than AJ Hawk. Or at least up to the level of Hawk.. Brad Jones brings size and speed to the middle linebacker position. Let's not forget the guy hasn't played ILB in the NFL, as he was the backup at OLB for so many years. I always thought this guy had potential after he took over Aaron Kampman in 2009 and recorded 8 sacks next to Clays 10 that year. Thus far, I'm pretty f*cking impressed with a smooth transition. What I like about him is he isn't afraid to put his nose in there up the gut and bring down guys in the backfield. We needed someone to replace Bishop and he fits that build.
Offline Pack93z  
#7 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2013 12:32:10 PM(UTC)
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Again.. PackersHome was well ahead of the curve on this move.

http://www.packershome.c...aspx?g=posts&t=15191

Personally, I think we should be questioning folks like JSOnline if they peruse our website for ideas and throw a fit when they pilfer our topics.



Anyway.. I think some are underselling the value of our depth at LB and the job that Brad Jones has done in stepping in. His is a top shelf player, probably not, but at the same time his value cannot be understated to the performance of this defense considering the injuries we have sustained.
I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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wpr on 1/11/2013(UTC)
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