For much of this season, fans of the Green Bay Packers have seen the team trot out second-year safety Henry Black as the team’s sixth defensive back when the team plays dime personnel. Black has generally struggled, making a few big plays here and there but generally allowing a number of big plays in coverage.
Indeed, according to Pro Football Reference, Black had allowed a completion rate of 78% and 11.9 yards per attempt into his coverage this season for a passer rating of 125.6. That’s the biggest reason why many at Acme Packing Company have been hoping for a change at that spot, and particularly hoping for Jaire Alexander to return to bolster the depth at defensive back.
However, the alternative is apparently Kevin King, who has had some stretches of decent play this season around a handful of disappointing performances. On Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, the Packers used dime personnel on only a handful of snaps, but when they did, it was King instead of Black taking the field.
In the fourth quarter, Green Bay was desperate to find some answers for tight end Mark Andrews, who was eating the Packers defense alive for much of the game. With the Ravens squarely in comeback mode, Green Bay put King on the field to try to put a bigger body on Andrews, but it did not end up going particularly well as King allowed multiple completions on third or fourth down to extend drives.
Thankfully, the Packers avoided any major injuries in this game, so King’s placement in that spot is the biggest playing time news to come out of Sunday. Here’s a look at all of the snap counts.
OFFENSE (62 total plays)
Aaron Rodgers 62
Rodgers’ numbers overall were exceptional in this game. He completed 23 of 31 passes (just under 75 percent) for 268 yards (8.65 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns, giving him a passer rating of 132.2. That was the third time in the last four games that Rodgers was over 130 for the game.
And yet, he uncharacteristically left a few plays on the field. The opening drive saw him miss a wide-open Davante Adams, who had broken free on a double move and might have gone the distance for an 87-yard touchdown if the ball was on the money. Then in the fourth quarter, with a chance to extend the Packers’ lead to three possessions, Rodgers overthrew an open Allen Lazard in the back of the end zone.
Still, Rodgers’ advanced numbers ended up being tremendous, with an astounding 0.58 EPA/play and +13.8 CPOE.
Aaron Jones 39, AJ Dillon 23
Jones appeared to be back to being himself for the first time since spraining his MCL a few weeks ago. The nearly 2-to-1 snap count was a clear sign that the Packers want to get him back to being the primary back with Dillon as a change-of-pace and a fourth-quarter closer, a role he never really got to play thanks to the Packers’ three-and-out on their final meaningful drive.
Jones had some nice inside zone runs in the second half of this game, helping him reach a 4.5 yards-per-carry average with 58 yards on 13 attempts. He would add a pair of receptions for 12 yards, one of which was a nine-yard touchdown.
Dillon got into the action as well, however, with a two-yard touchdown bolstering his otherwise pedestrian numbers (7-22 rushing, 1-13 receiving).
Davante Adams 57, Allen Lazard 49, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 41, Juwann Winfree 15, Malik Taylor 1
Rodgers spread his pass attempts around well on Sunday, completing balls to eight different players and targeting nine. Adams and MVS each saw seven balls thrown their way, with Adams catching six for 44 yards and a short score while MVS caught five for 98 and a touchdown.
Lazard looked like he would be a major factor early in the game, hauling in a pair of third-down conversions on Green Bay’s second drive. His only two other targets, however, came in the end zone late in the game, and he was unable to haul in either pass, both of which were somewhat off-target.
Winfree played some of the Randall Cobb slot role, running a bit of jet and orbit motion, but saw one target without a catch.
Josiah Deguara 35, Marcedes Lewis 31, Tyler Davis 19
The tight ends all got involved in the passing game in different ways on Sunday, with both Lewis and Deguara catching three passes. Lewis continued his YAC stampede, with his longest reception going for 23 yards after bowling over a tackler and cutting back towards the middle of the field to pick up extra yardage. Deguara caught three passes for 16 yards, and both of those players did most of their damage on play-action leak plays.
However, Davis got the biggest catch of his young career, hauling in a 22-yard gain up the seam with Rodgers under early pressure. It was a great throw and a very nice catch that should surely earn Davis some additional looks from the QB moving forward.
Yosh Nijman 62, Jon Runyan 62, Lucas Patrick 62, Royce Newman 62, Dennis Kelly 62
In general, the Packers’ makeshift line held up acceptably in this game. Rodgers did take three sacks and the running game was held under four yards per carry, but the unit in general gave Rodgers enough time to distribute the football among his receivers. Kelly’s first start was not without its bumps, as he allowed Justin Houston to record one of the sacks, but at least the group made it out of the game unscathed.
DEFENSE (70 total plays)
Dean Lowry 53, Kingsley Keke 45, Tyler Lancaster 25, T.J. Slaton 25, Abdullah Anderson 18
With Kenny Clark on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Packers turned to Lancaster and Slaton to help fill in for his snaps on the interior of the line. Although Baltimore’s rushing success was largely due to quarterback Tyler Huntley’s scrambles (73 yards and 2 TDs on 13 attempts), they did find running lanes up the middle, particularly for Latavius Murray, who had 48 yards on 7 carries. The group also failed to generate much if any pressure on Huntley up the middle, helping give him lanes to step up and scramble when the edge rushers got too deep.
Preston Smith 55, Rashan Gary 50, Jonathan Garvin 18, Tipa Galeai 14
Speaking of those edge rushers, the Packers finished the day with just two QB hits, one from Preston Smith. Gary was consistently in Huntley’s face, but again and again he allowed the QB to escape the pocket, finishing with one TFL in the run game but no QB hits. Garvin’s most notable play came on a kickoff, when Justin Tucker popped it up and Garvin had to fall on the ball near the 10-yard line.
De’Vondre Campbell 70, Krys Barnes 43, Oren Burks 3
Campbell recorded the Packers’ only sack of the game, which came on 4th down and goal on the Ravens’ first drive of the game. He would finish with double-digit tackles for the second straight game and the fifth time overall this season. Barnes had a big TFL in the run game to help the Packers create a 4-and-out on the Ravens early in the fourth quarter.
Adrian Amos 70, Darnell Savage 70, Henry Black 1
Here’s where things got really ugly. Savage spent most of the game getting beaten and abused in coverage on tight end Mark Andrews, who racked up 10 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those TDs came against Savage, who was too often a step or two behind.
Savage would finish with six tackles while Amos had eight and a pass breakup, though he drew a flag for pass interference. However, one of the other notable changes in the lineup on Sunday comes with Henry Black, who saw only one snap in his typical dime back role. Instead, an old friend took over that role...
Rasul Douglas 70, Eric Stokes 70, Chandon Sullivan 56, Kevin King 13
That old friend is King, who has ceded the starting outside corner job to Douglas in the past few weeks. However, he got in the action in the fourth quarter, but was picked on by Huntley and Andrews when he was matched up in coverage.
While King struggled with Andrews, the starters on the outside did a great job keeping the Ravens’ receivers in front of them, particularly Marquise Brown. Brown caught an impressive 10 passes on the day, but they went for just 46 yards and only one of those completions went for a first down. Douglas finished the day with eight tackles (plus one more on the opening kickoff) while Stokes had seven plus a pass breakup.
SPECIAL TEAMS SNAP LEADERS
Davis 21, Burks 20, Black 18, Shemar Jean-Charles 18, Isaac Yiadom 18, Isaiah McDuffie 16, Ty Summers 15
The Packers’ coaches talked about using starters more on special teams on Sunday, but the snap counts don’t bear that out much. There were a few plays here and there when that was the case, but in general most of the reps went to the usual players. Among starters, Douglas played the most on special teams with six reps, but that should be little surprise considering he had four games with double-digit special teams snaps before the bye week. Most of the other reps for starters came on the hands team in the fourth quarter.