On Sunday at Soldier Field, the Green Bay Packers showed a pair of very different alignments on defense to slow down the Chicago Bears’ offense. First, the team rolled out its base 3-4 package, keeping the Bears’ strong running game in check while the offense worked out some kinks and found a lead. Then Dom Capers switched it up, pulling out an old wrinkle with the Psycho package to pressure rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
In total, it worked well; the Packers held the Bears to just 55 yards rushing and sacked Trubisky five times on 40 dropbacks. However, the secondary struggled when the pass rush did not get home, allowing Trubisky to complete a career-high 21 passes for 297 yards — also a career high. That equates to an average of 8.4 yards per attempt, a full two yards greater than Trubisky’s average coming into the game.
Once again, the front seven deserves praise while the secondary will be looked at as a weakness on this team. So it goes with the 2017 Packers.
Here’s how the playing time broke down on offense and defense for Green Bay on Sunday.
OFFENSE (66 plays)
Brett Hundley 66
At some point during the game, Hundley suffered a hamstring injury. Thankfully, it was not serious enough to pull him out of the game and force Joe Callahan to take any snaps under center.
LT David Bakhtiari 66, LG Lane Taylor 66, C Corey Linsley 66, RG Jahri Evans 66, RT Justin McCray 66
Nothing to note here - McCray was questionable for the game but he suited up and each of the five starters lined up on every offensive play of the game.
Jamaal Williams 35, FB Aaron Ripkowski 22, Ty Montgomery 14, Aaron Jones 6
Here’s where the snap breakdown starts to get interesting. When Jones went out with a knee injury, the Packers turned to Montgomery, primarily sticking with single-back sets. Then, after Montgomery was injured, the Packers lined up Williams in the backfield. His running style is better suited to lining up in an I-formation, which led the Packers to use some two-back sets with Ripkowski as a lead blocker.
Ripkowski also got a little bit of action as a single back next to Brett Hundley, but his work was primarily as a conventional fullback.
Jordy Nelson 64, Davante Adams 54, Randall Cobb 37, Geronimo Allison 12, Trevor Davis 7, Jeff Janis 1
The slight decrease in snaps for Cobb is likely due to the use of more blockers for Williams — Ripkowski and the use of two tight end sets being the main culprits. That pulled the Packers out of their typical 11 personnel, and Cobb was usually the first player to leave the field so the Packers could keep rolling Nelson and Adams out on the boundary.
Lance Kendricks 46, Richard Rodgers 32
By this count, the Packers played no fewer than 12 snaps with both tight ends on the field, and although neither player had a big day receiving, each did have a catch. Kendricks’ was a third down conversion while Rodgers’ was an eight-yard gain on second and ten that set up a third-and-two conversion by Hundley.
DEFENSE (60 plays)
Mike Daniels 42, Kenny Clark 37, Dean Lowry 18, Montravius Adams 7
The Packers played out of their base defense quite a bit in the early going on Sunday, keeping Jordan Howard limited. When they got a lead and forced Mitchell Trubisky to throw, they often went to a one-man line as the team brought back the Psycho package that Dom Capers has utilized often over the past few years.
Daniels had a huge day with a sack and a second tackle for loss, and Clark was active in run support as usual.
Clay Matthews 52, Nick Perry 48, Ahmad Brooks 27, Kyler Fackrell 18, Vince Biegel 6
It seems clear that when Brooks is healthy, he is going to be used as a third-down pass rusher along with Matthews and Perry. Frequently he replaced Daniels or Clark in passing situations, as the team went with the 1-5-5 mentioned earlier. Perry had a career game with three sacks, and Brooks’ return reduced the snap counts for both Fackrell and Biegel.
Blake Martinez 60, Jake Ryan 29
We’re listing Josh Jones as a safety this week because he rotated between both the Nitro linebacker spot and the traditional strong safety position. Martinez lined up on every play as usual, with Ryan manning the spot next to him for much of the early portion of the game as the Packers tried to load up against the run. Once the Packers got a lead, Jones shifted down to linebacker more often.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 60, Josh Jones 60, Marwin Evans 21, Jermaine Whitehead 12
See above. Jones joined Clinton-Dix in playing every snap, largely due to Morgan Burnett’s absence. When he did shift down into Nitro, the Packers primarily turned to Evans as his replacement. Evans was the player who chased down Benny Cunningham along the sideline when he dove for the pylon and lost the football. Meanwhile, Whitehead appeared to have a major coverage breakdown late in the game, allowing a big completion up the sideline.
Davon House 60, Damarious Randall 58, Kevin King 40, Josh Hawkins 4
Interestingly, Randall got the start over King this week, perhaps in recognition of the third-year corner’s strong play in the past few weeks. Still, he moved into the slot with King manning the outside when the Packers went to nickel. However, perhaps it should be House who gets the demotion next week; he has struggled mightily in two straight games. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed seven receptions for 116 yards and a score on nine targets into his coverage on Sunday.