Xs and Os: Rolling Safety Defense

18 responses

  1. tim
    May 26, 2014

    Interesting article Jay. Gives a little insight as to the packers woes covering over the middle last year. Hopefully Dix will shore up some of the issues. I still wonder about the ILBs – are are they part of the problem unable to drop and help with coverage over the middle? No matter what, dix should be an improvement.

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    • Rossoneri83
      May 26, 2014

      The ILBs are part of the problem, but finding ones athletic enough to chase down running QBs and big TEs is hard to find. The traditional role of the ILB is to take on lead blockers and tackle RBs.

      As we know the league has shifted to more passing, so on some downs teams take ILBs off the field in favor of bigger CBs or more athletic pass rushers. The value of ILBs has decreased and I think the shift towards bigger DBs will continue.

      Another possibility is the traditional height/weight of ILBs may evolve over time if teams realize they must drop into coverage more and more.

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      • Ed Schoenfeld
        May 26, 2014

        We can also link this factor to the Packers’ woes in run defense. To stop the pass, GB typically plays a 3-3-5 instead of a straight 3-4-4 substituting a DB for an ILB. That’s fine when the DB is Charles Woodson in his prime, but once Sir Charles slows down a step a DB who can cover probably can’t tackle the RB as well as an ILB can.

        Hence throwing draft picks at the issue over multiple seasons (Hayward, Hyde, and now Clinton-Dix).

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Rossoneri83
    May 26, 2014

    Great article! Breaks it down simple and with the video clips brings it to life. I was ecstatic when the Packers took HaHa Clinton-Dix. I think he’ll break the trend of our 1st rd picks doing little to nothing (i.e. Sherrod, Perry, Jones). Hopefully guys like Datone Jones, Jerel Worthy and Casey Heyward bounce back big time this year.

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  3. Spin
    May 26, 2014

    Did you mean to say;
    “Usually, the defense’s best cover safety is assigned this role, and the offense knows this. So, the offense will do what it can to create mismatches and to stress the defense.” ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • Jay Hodgson
      Jay Hodgson
      May 26, 2014

      Yes; thank you! It’s been fixed. I’m the world’s worst proof reader.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Tarynfor12
    May 26, 2014

    I knew there had to be a misprinted word in the book!!!…so there is a difference in ‘playing’ the roll over defense and ‘allowing’ a roll over on defense.

    I hope the edit department got that fixed before the scheme books were handed out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. Mojo
    May 26, 2014

    Can’t help it. Every time I see that photo with Clinton-Dix holding up the Packer uni, it appears to me how forced his smile is. Ha Haing on the outside, but crying on the inside.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  6. Thomas Hobbes
    Thomas Hobbes
    May 26, 2014

    My question is if Packers safeties are required to play in sync with each other, how much of Burnett’s poor play can actually be attributed to him versus the failings of the other safety? Just looking at economics, the Packers think pretty highly of Burnett based on his contract while his two primary running mates at safety (McMillian and Jennings) are no longer on the team. Obviously Burnett missing a head on tackle is all on him, but if he’s put in a bad position and has to make a desperation tackle from an odd angle I don’t know if I would blame him for that. I almost wish Charlie Peprah was still around so we could see Burnett and Peprah play together, since Nick Collins made Peprah look like a great safety.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • Rossoneri83
      May 26, 2014

      MY VIEW IS THAT BURNETT WAS PLAYING OUT OF POSITION IN 2013 as a Free Safety, when his traditional position is Strong Safety. At least that’s what NFL.com listed his draft profile at when he came out of Georgia Tech and Packers.com mentions that SS has been his usual position.

      Of course, the Packers have had him play Free Safety in the past, but not with very good results. For example, when Nick Collins went down in 2011, Burnett started the first 2 games as the SS, then started the last 14 games at FS in place of Collins. We all know how that defense was in 2011 (of course it was a combination of factors, but the secondary was shredded).

      Aside from that, I never got a sense that Jennings nor McMillian were very good communicators back there while with Burnett. McMillian wouldn’t even take any ownership for his mistakes (just google his comments after the win over the Ravens last year) and Jennings was burned on plenty of occasions with Burnett in tandem.

      My point is that Clinton-Dix is a FS, and that moving Burnett back to SS would be the most reasonable move. I get that both safeties move interchangeably with the rolling safeties concept, but for whatever reason, Burnett does not seem to play as well in the FS role. Let’s hope the communication, tackling and turnover-generating plays improves back there too.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Ed Schoenfeld
        May 26, 2014

        I think the bigger distinction than FS/SS is who is responsible for calling the back-end defense. That was Nick Collins’ job for many years; don’t know that any of Burnett, Jennings, or MacMillian really were suited for it. If Burnett did learn how to do it, it would still be an issue if McMillian or Jennings didn’t (or couldn’t) play the defense that was called. All those ‘explanations’ about miscommunucation on plays . . .

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      • Thomas Hobbes
        Thomas Hobbes
        May 27, 2014

        This article argues that there really isn’t a FS/SS dynamic, instead both safeties have be good at both aspects, or else rolling coverages doesn’t make much sense.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Bag o donuts 52
    May 26, 2014

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13

    • Jersey Al
      Jersey Al
      May 27, 2014

      hey look – it’s the same old comment from Ol Bag. Save yourself some time and use copy and paste so you can just throw this into any article’s comment section – whether relevant or not.

      or, maybe, give a thoughtful comment once in a while to keep our interest.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  8. Icebowler
    May 26, 2014

    With a better S partner, who can play both up and back and communicate better, I believe Burnett will be better “rolling” back in the future. After all, he had an above average number of interceptions in college. We now need the same type of flexibility at ILB. We need to find two ILB’s who are more balanced at both stopping the run and dropping back in coverage. I hope next years draft has more depth at versatile ILB’s than this years did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  9. Big T
    May 27, 2014

    I just love the fact that Eddie Murphy is playing for the Packers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  10. Jason
    May 29, 2014

    Switch that Janis kid to FS if he shows any aptitude for tackling on special teams. We don’t need ten receivers but could use a guy with size and speed in the defensive backfield. Just need Jay to coach him up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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