GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – For the Green Bay Packers, the road to the Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona will begin this week with the start of off-season practice.
Sure, nothing will be fixed in two weeks of voluntary group activities, mandatory mini-camp, and one more week of OTAs. However, what happens in the training ground will set the stage for the start of training in just over two months.
This series of position predictions continues with corner defenders.
The Sure Thing: Trouble for Quarterbacks
Jaire Alexander is back in good health after last year’s shoulder injury, kept Rasul Douglas free agency and Eric Stokes a year wiser, the Packers could have a top corner trio.
Winning the All-Pro honors in 2020, Alexander ranked first among corners with a 42.3 percent compliance rate and 4.7 yards per goal allowed, according to Sports Info Solutions. In 2021, Douglas finished third with a completion rate of 44.6 percent and allowed 5.2 meters per fifth place. And as a rookie first-round pick, Stokes finished seventh with a 46.2 percent compliance rate and allowed 5.3 yards per seventh-place finish.
How rare is the rate of completion below 50 percent? Last year only 15 corners achieved this level of blockade.
“You can’t have too many corners in this league, I tell you,” defensive backs / game coordinator Jerry Gray said last week. “These guys are very good at attacking and you have to be able to match those guys.”
As an added bonus, the trio will offer some tests that could not be improved on Green Bay’s newest receivers. So just as Davante Adams helped sharpen Alexander as a rookie in 2018, Alexander and Co. will help sharpen Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure in 2022.
Alexander has the agility and toughness to play in the groove. But that won’t be his full-time job. Let’s assume that defense coordinator Joe Barry wants to follow Alexander Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson in Week 1. Jefferson sees a lot of action in the slot, but it’s a big threat on the perimeter. When Alexander Jefferson stays out, who will take his place in the slot?
Last season, when Chandon Sullivan was again in charge of the slot, Douglas and Stokes only played four snaps in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus. In five seasons, Douglas has played 79 snaps in the slot. Of course, just because a player doesn’t do something doesn’t mean he can’t do something.
Gray said he is not worried about what it is for.
“Tell me, there’s that boy in front of you. That’s easy, ”Gray said.
There is more to it than that. These four-week workouts, which are close to the full rivalry between the receiver and the corner, will help Gray (and CEO Brian Gutekunst) formulate a plan.
Worth seeing: backup plans
From a May lookout, the depth seems to be the equivalent of one of those “See Dick Run” stories in kindergarten. Whether it’s someone like Shemar Jean-Charles wearing shorts and helmets at these practices or scanning the cable 24/7, the Packers need to find at least one quality backup from today through September 11th.
Other corners on the list (with good professional stats) include Kabion Ento (zero snaps in three seasons), Rico Gafford (who spent the first four seasons of the NFL as a receiver), Jean-Charles (37 defensive snaps in the fifth round as a rookie). selection, 7 out of 7 passes), Keisean Nixon (273 defensive snaps in three seasons, 79.2 percent compliance rate, 130.4 pass rating), Raleigh Texada (unbeaten rookie) and Kiondre Thomas (zero defensive snaps in four games for Pittsburgh unreciphered rookie).
Nixon, in 692 career special teams and 273 defense, played mostly on the perimeter in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, he played four games on defense, most of his snaps coming from the groove.
“I saw his tape hit in Las Vegas last year and (he) played really well inside,” Gray said. “He’s a fast man, he does a lot of things, playing in the slot for them last year, and he’s great in special teams. I think that will be good for us. If you are a backup of this team, you are playing in great special teams. That’s anyone. As a substitute, you better be ready to play great in special teams. That’s the attitude we need to have. If you are competing, you will be looking for the opportunity to play in a team, but guess what, it is better for special teams to be number 1 ”.
Aaron Rodgers and Quarterbacks
Jones, Dillon and Running Backs
Allen Lazard and Recipients
Robert Tonyan and Tight Ends
Injured Knees and Line of Attack
Kenny Clark and the Line of Defense
Gary, Smith and Outer Linebackers
Campbell, Walker and Inside Linebackers