Category Archives: Charlie Peprah

2

June

Xs and Os: The Double-High Safety Defense (Cover 2)

The cover 2 defense has two safeties splitting the deep half of the field.

The cover 2 pass defense has both safeties splitting the deep half of the field equally.

Now that the Green Bay Packers presumably have two capable safeties roaming the back end of the defense in Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, defensive coordinator Dom Capers will probably be playing more cover 2, which is a staple at all levels of organized football.

The cover 2 is a necessity in modern football defenses because the game has evolved into a passing aerial circus. By placing two safeties deep in the defensive backfield, the defense has more protection against deep passes.

This article breaks down the basics of the double-high safety defense, which is more commonly known as the cover 2. As you’ll see, there are different flavors of the cover 2.

Of course, this article comes with my standard disclaimer that this is an oversimplification for illustrative purposes only.

Cover 2 Defense Defined

When defending the field, the defense typically divides the area vertically into “halves.” The underneath half typically extends 7 yards from the line of scrimmage and the deep half usually extends 15-20 from the line of scrimmage.

In the double-high safety defense (cover 2), the free safety and the strong safety play zone defense and each guard half of the deep half. They must cover any receiver entering their respective half of the field and drive towards to the ball once it is in the air.

The GIF below highlights the assignments.

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Strengths of Cover 2

Football teams that face passing offenses usually must play cover 2 during some point in the game. It is an effective defense against the pass because it allows the defense to drop seven defenders into pass coverage. By having the safeties play zone in the back end, the deep half of the field has two defenders guarding against deep throws. This is a more conservative pass defense than the single-high safety (cover 1) defense.

The safeties are there to bail out cornerbacks on deep balls or to double cover more skilled receivers running deep into the formation.

Weaknesses of Cover 2

Since the cover 2 usually drops seven defenders into pass coverage, it means it is primarily a pass defense. In other words, when running the cover 2, the defense typically cannot place eight defenders in the box to guard against the run.

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24

November

Packers Young Secondary Can Erase Bad Memories of Playoff Hail Mary

Casey Hayward

Packers rookie CB is leading a younger and more aggressive secondary.

I know your belly is still full of Thanksgiving turkey and you’re probably all excited that you managed to outlast the middled-aged lady next to you for that discounted Xbox at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

If you can overcome your full stomach and pause your Xbox euphoria, take a minute and watch the video of the Packers allowing a Hail Mary touchdown to the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks before halftime in last season’s playoff loss.

Makes your full tummy feel more like the stomach flu, right?

Now, take another look at the play. Notice the four players around the ball when Nicks comes down with it? Not one of them will be on the field for this Sunday night’s rematch.

Charlie Peprah is off the team. Charles Woodson is injured. Sam Shields is injured. And Jarrett Bush mainly plays special teams (I suppose it’s conceiveable that Bush could end up out there, but hopefully not).

If Eli Manning launches another Hail Mary on Sunday, the players around the ball will likely be a combination of Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Davon House, Morgan Burnett, Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings.

That group is a lot more aggressive than the group that stood there with their thumbs up their butts while Nix caught the ball in the playoffs.

Hell, Jennings has already intercepted a Hail Mary pass this season, even though it counted as a touchdown for the other team.

Sunday night is a big test for the new faces in this secondary. They’ve held their own agaisnt the likes of Sam Bradford, Blaine Gabbert, John Skelton and Matthew Stafford. But Manning, Nicks and Victor Cruz are on a completely different level that what this secondary has seen over the last six weeks.

If Hayward continues getting his hands on passes, House keeps using his size to his advantage, Burnett, McMillian and Jennings keep developing their nose for the ball and Tramon just does what Tramon does, I think this group will hold its own.

If all of that happens (and it’s a big if), and the Packers claw out another road win in November, the sky is the limit for this team.

At the very least, it’d be another step in erasing the image of Peprah, Woodson, Shields and Bush looking helpless on the playoff Hail Mary.

31

July

A Little Support For Packers MD Jennings

With the departure of former starting safety Charlie Peprah, who was released in a very similar manner to former inside linebacker Brandon Chillar for failing his physical at the start of training camp in 2010, all eyes now look towards Charles Woodson, MD Jennings and Jerron McMillian to see which ends up being the starting safety opposite Morgan Burnett.

Only a couple of problems; Woodson is desperately needed at the line of scrimmage as the slot cornerback, Jerron McMillian is a 4th round rookie who naturally shouldn’t be counted on to step in as a starting safety and actually produce and MD Jennings, who despite being a “football nerd” and making it as a undrafted rookie free agent last year “is too small and short and looks like a cornerback instead of a safety” as paraphrased by Bill Johnson during Green and Gold Today on July 25th, 2012.

Is “the doctor” really too short and too small to be a safety with the Green Bay Packers?  I think the prototypical “safety” Bill Johnson is thinking of would be someone like Taylor Mays (who despite being a physical specimen apparently isn’t a half decent safety) who stands at 6’3” weighs 230lbs.  To figure this out, I’ve compiled a list of the Packers starting safeties from the last decade as according to Pro Football Reference.

 

Name

Height (inches)

Weight (lbs)

Aaron Rouse

76

223

Antuan Edwards

73

212

Atari Bigby

71

220

Charlie Peprah

71

202

Darren Sharper

74

210

LeRoy Butler

72

197

Mark Roman

71

200

Marquad Manuel

72

209

Marques Anderson

71

212

Morgan Burnett

73

210

Nick Collins

71

206

Average

72.27

209.18

STD

1.62

7.87

 

26

July

Packers Pre-Training Camp Grades: Defense

Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams will need to lead the defense back from a miserable 2011.

As promised, here are our pre-training camp grades for the Packers defense:

Defensive Line: D
Grading the defensive line depends on what type of grader you are. If you give points for potential, a ‘D’ seems too low. If potential ranks far below production, then a ‘D’ seems fair. Seeing names like Raji and Pickett makes you think this line should be damn good. But Raji was bad last season and Pickett is another year older. Sure, Raji has the potential to be great like he was at the end of 2010, but he had that same potential in 2011 and never reached it. Jerel Worthy is another guy that could make this group potentially better, but right now, I need to see actual improvement on the line before upping my grade.

Link: Listen to CheeseheadTV’s Brian Carriveau discuss the defensive line in this podcast.

Linebackers: B+
Clay Matthews is one of the best all-around players in the league and Desmond Bishop brings much-needed energy, attitude and a knack for making impact plays.  Matthews and Bishop carried the load at LB last season and need some help in 2012. Nick Perry could bring some much-needed relief. Ditto for D.J. Smith if A.J. Hawk continues to be a dud.  Mix in intriguing rookies like Dezman Moses and Terrell Manning and I like what I see at LB.

Link: Here’s what the Green Bay Press Gazette’s Rob Demovsky had to say about the linebackers before April’s draft.

Cornerbacks: C
This is the toughest position group to rank by far. What do we make of Tramon Williams’ miserable 2011 season? Is Sam Shields really just a guy after showing so much promise in 2010? Will age finally catch up with Charles Woodson? How much do we blame the non-existent pass rush for the cornerback’s decline? Based on last season’s historically bad pass defense, a ‘C’ seems a little generous. But I have a hard time believing that all three main CBs went from good/great in 2010 to terrible in the span of one season.

Link: Charles Woodson is old, but if you don’t understand just how important he is to the Packers defense, read this post from Jason Wilde at ESPNWisconsin.

26

July

Packers with Physical Problems on Day 1 of Training Camp – the PUP List

Packers fail training camp physicals - injuries

Packers with injuries fail their physicals

A good number of Packers players (including some surprises) failed their physicals this week and will not be able to participate in the first days of training camp. Here is a rundown on what is know about each player so far:

Charlie Peprah:  (Released by the Packers)  A lingering knee injury caused Peprah to fail his physical and the Packers quickly decided to release him. I suppose that speaks highly of the plethora of young safeties the Packers currently have on their roster and how the Packers feel about them.  For Peprah, his best time with the Packers was certainly the Super Bowl season, but his play last year was dreadful at times, and I was considering him likely to be a camp cut anyway.

Desmond Bishop: (PUP) Bishop please! Say it ain’t so!. Desmond has a calf strain suffered in his training session last week and was placed on the non-football related injury list. He’ll be back soon.

Derek Sherrod:  (PUP) Sherrod’s recovery from the broken leg has gone very well, according to Mike Mccarthy, and the Packers expect him to be ready “soon,”, which I would take to mean sometime in the next week or two.

Andrew Quarless: (PUP) No surprise here. The severity of the knee injury he suffered last Dec 4th makes him a longshot at best to even participate in camp. I’d say he’s a lock to never be activated in camp and be on the PUP list when the season starts.

Alex Green: (PUP) Didn’t initially pass his physical. All reports are that his rehab from a knee injury has gone extremely well and the only question was whether he would be ready for the first week of camp. In a late development, Green was cleared for today’s practice and participated.

John Kuhn: (PUP) A surprise (at least to me), Kuhn is not fully healed from an MCL knee injury suffered in the playoff loss to the Giants. I remember it being described as “not serious” at the time, but Kuhn recently speculated on how much he would be able to participate and Mike McCarthy indicated he is not ready at this time.

25

July

Safety Charlie Peprah Released By The Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers released safety Charlie Peprah on Wednesday

In the first stunning move of training camp in 2012, the Green Bay Packers have released safety Charlie Peprah according to Jason Wilde of ESPN 540.

Peprah, who was the incumbent starter from 2011, reportedly had offseason arthroscopic surgery on his knee and didn’t participate in the offseason program. With the players just recently completing their physicals,  some speculation is surely going to be that Peprah failed his physical but no official word from the team has been given as of yet.

With Peprah gone, that leaves MD Jennings and Jerron McMillian to battle it out for the other safety spot should Charles Woodson remain in the cornerback decision.   Morgan Burnett is expected to be the other starting safety entering the preseason.

With Nick Collins out with a neck injury, Peprah ranked second on the team last season in interceptions and was first in interception return yardage.  However, thanks to his regression from 2010 when he played a key role in the Packers’ run to Super Bowl XLV,  Peprah’s starting spot was in danger entering training camp this summer.

Peprah, however, will not even get the chance to compete to keep his own job.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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8

July

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

The Green Bay Packers are huge in Oregon.

If you’re too lazy to click on the link, it basically highlights how a recent poll showed that most Oregonians cheer for the Packers over the nearby Seattle Seahawks. This doesn’t surprise me. The Packers are the greatest team ever. Everybody should cheer for them.

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this. On July 4, Deadspin asked which sports team is the most American. They shouldn’t even have to ask. It’s the Green Bay Packers. And it’s not even close.

What’s more American than having a professional football stadium next to a K-Mart? Instead of being surrounded by fancy clubs and five-star restaurants, the area around Lambeau Field boasts local pubs that serve beer and fatty foods that are dipped in batter and deep-fried. People tailgate before, during and after Packers games. In the stadium, you don’t sit in a cushioned seat with a back rest, you sit on old-school metal bleachers.

Packers fans wear Styrofoam cheese on their heads. And blaze orange deer hunting gear.

This is America, people.

I know the Packers are no longer the Little Engine That Could. They’re a large, rich organization that is trying to squeeze every last dollar they can out of their fans and customers, just like every other NFL franchise. But I don’t care. They’re still located in Green Bay, Wis., population 104,057. They’re still small-town in my book.

The Packers are about as American as you can get.

(Note: I realize that not all Packers fans are cheesehead-wearing, fried-food eating, beer-swilling bumpkins. I’ve been on vacation all week and I’ve drank a lot of beer and eaten a lot of bad food, so that’s the sector of Packers fan that I’m identifying most with at the moment.)

Packers Links

  • There was another must-listen interview on Green & Gold Today this week. This one was with former Packers president Bob Harlan and is more than worth your time.
  • One of the things that Harlan discussed is steps Favre could take to get back on the good side of Packers fans. John Rehor shared his thoughts on the subject over at Dick’s Favorite Blog.
  • Mike at Packerpedia.com takes a look at Ted Thompson’s compensatory draft picks.
  • Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette thinks the Packers will keep seven WRs.Seven WRs?!?! The Packers have kept a ton of TEs and FBs in the past. Maybe WR is the position group this year that keeps an extra player or two.