It was nice to see the Green Bay Packers rebound on Monday night and beat up on an undermanned opponent, but it’s still an open question as to whether or not the Packers are any good. One thing that is absolutely clear from the team’s first two games is that they need to give Eric Stokes more snaps, and Kevin King fewer snaps.
To wit, we have these coverage stats posted by the two cornerbacks:
Pass coverage stats through two games, per PFF:— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 21, 2021
Kevin King: six targets, five completions allowed for 133 yards
Eric Stokes: five targets, one completion allowed for 5 yards
One of the strangest statistics I encountered this week centered on Aaron Jones, who was indispensable on Monday night, especially as a receiver. He was also effective as a runner in the first half keeping drives alive, and the sticks moving. Except there’s this one weird thing about Aaron Jones.
NextGenStats has a running back statistic called Rushing Yards Over Expected per Attempt (RYOE/Att). Because the NFL and NextGen have extremely granular player location data including how well plays were blocked, they are able to calculate how many yards a given back should have gained on a given play and compare it to what actually happened. The consistently great Derrick Henry, for instance, averages 0.94 RYOE/Att, meaning he gains about a yard more per play than an average back would.
Oddly, Aaron Jones is currently dead last in this statistic, averaging -1.6, or a yard and a half UNDER expected.
This is unusual for Jones and he is generally in the positive, having averaged 0.9 RYOE/A in 2020, and there’s a very good chance we look up at the end of the year and his numbers are fine. But it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Another good regression candidate is MVS, who is currently 7th on the team in receiving yards behind Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, Robert Tonyan, Randall Cobb, Marcedes Lewis, and Amari Rodgers. He is, to his credit, one yard ahead of Allen Lazard. MVS has 17 yards receiving on 12 targets, and those 12 targets are shockingly 2nd on the team.
Yes, only Davante has seen the ball more than MVS, but it’s also hard to say that MVS is really struggling. Rodgers has dropped a few deep dimes into Adams, but he has been atrocious when targeting MVS, either overshooting him when he’s open or taking a shot when he’s double-covered. The good news on both Jones and Valdes-Scantling is they are both likely to improve, and with some slightly more efficient running and a few bombs, the offense can be even better.
Last, and certainly not least, the Packers became only the 5th team in the last decade to not have an individual player record a sack over the first two games. But that’s not the entire story, because they do have a sack!
They just all have to share it based on this rule.
The NFL’s guidance on this is clear, though; Goff—because he’s unable to, owing largely to Gary’s pressure, I accept—makes no effort to do other than recover the fumble, such that, because no physical contact occurred before the fumble, it’s a team sack. pic.twitter.com/kafOSPU1AO— Joe Hiegel (@Jahiegel) September 21, 2021
And while Jones and MVS will likely turbo-boost the offense at some point, the lack of pressure is going to continue to be a problem. I appreciate the sharing, but some player really needs to tackle a quarterback soon, preferably not 26 yards downfield.