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More Stuff I Missed On Sunday

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I didn't notice that FB Korey Hall left in the 1st quarter with a hip strain. In hindsight I do remember seeing a lot of FB John Kuhn, but I didn't make the connection. The Packers depth is excellent and usually I'm not concerned when an injury hits, but I don't agree with offensive coordinator Joe Philbin that the Packers won't miss Hall.

"John did a nice job when he was in there yesterday," Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said on Monday. "No disrespect to Korey, but I don't know if there was a dramatic drop off in performance at that position, which is good."
Hall was a special teams tackling machine during the Oakland game, not surprising for a college linebacker, and has been a big part of the running game. His lead blocking has been a huge part of RB Ryan Grant's success and maybe it's not a surprise that Grant had his lowest rushing total as a starter with Hall out. Kuhn isn't bad, but he doesn't seem to make much of a difference while Hall keeps getting better. The only good news is that Mike McCarthy calls so many plays with three and four wide receivers that the fullback is often on the sidelines.

I also didn't notice that DT Ryan Pickett left the game and S Nick Collins didn't finish the game. Pickett has played very well this season and it doesn't help losing him for any time, but it doesn't look like his injury is serious. When Pickett came out at different times during the game, DT Justin Harrell came in next to DE Aaron Kampman while DT Corey Williams played at the other tackle. The Packers still have some depth at the position, DT Daniel Muir has played well when given the chance but he's usually inactive because the Packers have so much depth at defensive tackle. Still the team will be better with Pickett.

It's too bad that S Aaron Rouse's only playing time now comes when the coaches pull Collins for the game for precautionary reasons. Rouse is still the best safety on the roster. Don't let S Atari Bigby's two interception game fool you either. Bigby is still awful in pass coverage. Here's the guys at Football Outsiders making fun of his "coverage" skills:

Bill Barnwell: Man, is Atari Bigby awful. He had one of the most ridiculous interceptions I've ever seen today on a play where a tight end settled in ten yards in front of him without Bigby reacting, but Bulger threw it behind the receiver, who tipped it into Bigby's hands.

Doug Farrar: Awful and awfully lucky. He had a tipped interception last week as well.

Bill Barnwell: It reminds me of the whole Bill James bit on Lonnie Smith talking about how he's subtly brilliant and how he knows exactly how a ball will carom off his knee and how he takes a perfect angle to have a ball go two feet over his head.

BIGBY DID IT AGAIN. He had another tipped pick. Of course, the announcers say he's "always around the ball," which is true. He's always seven yards behind the ball.

Ned Macey: If you go to Atari Bigby's player page on NFL.com, his stats would list six interceptions while Brian Dawkins has one. It lists eight passes defensed before today's games; Dawkins had five. Based on those freely available stats, one would think Bigby is the better pass defender, when he really is among the very worst safeties in the league in pass defense.

As for today's picks, the first one was embarrassing since he left Drew Bennett (big white guy exhibiting stone hands, but alas not a tight end) wide-open for a long first down. The second one, however, was not his poor coverage, as the receiver was tightly covered (by someone else). Still, he was just there to pick up the free gift. Bigby is an excellent run-support safety, but I fear these interception numbers will make somebody somewhere think he is good in pass defense.