This week, I’m going to eschew the more traditional schematic breakdown and instead focus on a single player’s performance, because the more tape I watched, the more he stood out.
Mike Daniels has been receiving a lot of headlines for his play in last week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, and deservedly so. He was a man amongst boys for much of the game, feasting on Seattle’s porous offensive line. Fortunately for the Green Bay Packers, Daniels wasn’t the only member of the defense to wreak havoc; Nick Perry, the man with the new contract, had himself a pretty good outing as well. Let’s take a look.
While #76 ended up with 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble, Perry finished with a sack and a half of his own, along with 2 QB hits and 3 QB hurries.
Perry’s sack came in the first quarter, and it seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the game. Lined up against the fill-in tackle Rees Odhiambo, Perry (bottom of screen) decides not to run around the tackle, but through.
You’ll see that Perry is the first to initiate the contact, getting his hands on Odhiambo’s shoulder pads before the tackle even gets his hands up. If you try to block a defender without your hands, you’re gonna have a bad time. This initial push by Perry was so strong it made Odhiambo backpedal into the outstretched legs of his guard, tripping him up and giving Perry (left of screen) a free lane to sack Russell Wilson.
Later in the game, Perry was able to apply pressure to Wilson using his quickness alone. Again lined up over Odhiambo, #53’s burst off the line is quick enough so that Odhiambo’s punch only gets Perry’s back (left) shoulder. As Perry drops that shoulder, his upper body acts like a shock absorber, handling the late blow from Odhiambo while able to maintain his balance.
As Perry already has a step on his blocker, he’s able to read the play action easily and take a straight line towards Russell WIlson, who is looking for Paul Richardson on a zig route. The pressure from Perry, combined with a slight stumble from Richardson, ends up saving a potential touchdown for Green Bay.
This one is my favorite. And even though Paul Richardson hauls in a highlight-reel catch, the pressure from both Perry and Kenny Clark made Russell Wilson throw up a fade off his back foot without time to assess the coverage on the receiver, a throw that doesn’t usually bode well for the offense.
It’s difficult to notice at full speed, but this time Perry uses a jab step to the inside of his blocker - yet again, Rees Odhiambo - resulting in poor pass protection footwork. As the ball is snapped, Perry’s first step is going straight at Odhiambo’s outside shoulder. Since Perry lines up on the outside of Odhiambo, the tackle needs to take a drop step with his outside (left) foot so Perry doesn’t beat him around the edge. As this is happening, however, Perry then brings his second step as though he’s going to go inside on the tackle, leading Odhiambo to extend his right foot inside to keep up. Perry ‘s next two steps, however, go back to the outside of his blocker; the true intent of his pass rush all along. At this point, Odhiambo’s feet are so wide that he doesn’t have any more length to kick his outside (left) foot back, so instead he throw his punch and sets his left foot while bringing his right foot back in, hoping that the hit will slow Perry down enough so he can get his feet back underneath him.
That’s where the hands come into play. As Odhiambo goes for his punch, Perry swats his hands away with his left arm, negating any impact whatsoever. Odhiambo’s balance is thrown off as his upper body had followed his arms forward, and his feet can’t make up the difference. Game over.
This is where the basic stats don’t really tell the true impact of the game Nick Perry had. Time and time again, Perry was disrupting the Seattle run game by getting penetration into the backfield. Here, Perry (right side) splits the combo block of Jimmy Graham and Odhiambo on an outside zone run.
Perry’s penetration pushes the run past its desired point of attack, forcing C.J. Prosise to bounce the run outside into the waiting arms of Quentin Rollins, who should have been blocked by Graham. Rollins does an excellent job turning Prosise back inside, making him choose between between Mike Daniels or Blake Martinez; Prosise smartly goes for Martinez, and it’s a loss of yards.
Wait, what? Nick Perry blowing up a stretch run to the outside? Weird.
This time, #53 takes on the lead block of fullback Tre Madden. Odhiambo lets Perry go in order to set the edge on the flowing linebacker (or in this case, do-it-all guy Morgan Burnett), leaving him to get blocked by the fullback. Perry does a great job setting his feet and lowering his pad level before the contact by Madden, which stops Madden in his tracks. With both his blocker and a defender in his way, this makes the running back, Chris Carson, choose to either cut it upfield or bounce it outside. Clay Matthews, who (along with the rest of the defense) appeared to be working with insider information as he read the play before the ball was even snapped, had cut through the line and was heading for Carson, made the running back try to go outside. At this point, Perry has already disengaged from Madden and cut off the outside path, forcing Carson to try and make something out of nothing. Which he kind of did.
If Rollins had made a better attempt at a tackle, this would have ended up as a big loss, again caused by Perry’s disruption.
All in all, Perry had a tremendous afternoon, ranking as PFF’s highest-graded Packer in week 1, and getting a game ball from our very own APC staff. Here’s to hoping the front seven can provide consistent pressure while the young secondary looks for a bounce-back year.
If there are other plays, players or schemes you would like to see covered by Bob in his film breakdowns, leave a comment below!