Using CB Rasul Douglas outside could help Packers’ secondary – Green Bay Packers Blog

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Before the season began, protection Darnell Savage mentioned the Green Bay Packers’ protection appeared even higher at the box than it did on paper.

It’s the opposite direction round now.

While the Packers rank 5th within the NFL in each fewest yards and issues allowed, they have got appeared an entire lot worse at the box right through their 3-2 get started.

Their newest trip, the 27-22 loss to the New York Giants in London, featured 5 immediately possessions — 3 touchdowns and two box targets — with out a defensive prevent.

How can a protection with seven former first-spherical alternatives and 4 top-priced unfastened agent signings have showings like that? Or let Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson run wild — and large open — on them within the season opener?

If skill isn’t a query, that leaves two probabilities: both defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s scheme/playcalling is incorrect or he doesn’t have gamers in the appropriate place.

It would seem Barry has come round to each probabilities heading into the Sunday recreation in opposition to the three-2 New York Jets (1 p.m. ET, Fox), particularly because it relates to his underperforming secondary.

“We’ve looked long and hard at that this week, being able to allow our guys to be aggressive and go get in people’s face,” Barry mentioned this week. “I think we have the guys to be able to do that, and we can do that, and we will do that moving forward.”

Something has to switch within the again finish of the protection. The Packers rank final within the NFL in cross breakups in the course of the first 5 video games. What’s even worse is the workforce with the following fewest PBUs has two times as many (14) because the Packers do (seven). And they’ve been fooled a number of occasions on crossing routes, leaving receivers and working backs large open.

Barry isn’t going to desert his zone-heavy scheme altogether, however for the primary time this season, he said this week he can have to make adjustments.

He additionally sounded keen to transport gamers round — in particular Rasul Douglas, the cornerback who used to be certainly one of their largest playmakers on protection final season. He didn’t sign up for the Packers till early October final 12 months, however from Week 8 till the common season, he had 5 interceptions (together with a recreation-clinching select finally zone at Arizona and two others returned for touchdowns). No one within the NFL had extra alternatives from Week 8 on than Douglas.

Last season, Douglas performed virtually completely outside, largely as a result of cornerback Jaire Alexander used to be out with a shoulder damage. Douglas performed all however 13 of his overall snaps final season both at proper cornerback or left cornerback. All 5 of his interceptions and all 13 of his cross breakups got here taking part in outside.

It’s what led the Packers to carry Douglas again on a 3-12 months, $21 million contract.

And then they switched his place.

With Alexander again and 2021 first-spherical select Eric Stokes at the outside, Douglas used to be assigned to the slot this season. Not most effective does that imply he’s no longer at the box in base applications, however he’s not taking part in the location the place he used to be maximum impactful final season. He doesn’t have an interception and has most effective two cross breakups this season. Perhaps no longer coincidentally, either one of the ones cross breakups got here when Alexander used to be out in opposition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots and Douglas had moved again outside.

To be sure that, the Packers aren’t going to take Alexander, the previous All-Pro, off the sphere in the event that they don’t must, however they could have to determine find out how to get Douglas again outside.

If Douglas is pissed off, he’s no longer appearing it.

When requested if he likes taking part in within the slot, he mentioned this week: “I like it. I don’t think I’m bad at it either.”

But up to now, he hasn’t been as excellent as he used to be taking part in outside.

“I think I can be with more reps, more time,” Douglas mentioned. “I’ve been playing outside for years.”

It’s no longer as simple as merely shifting Douglas again outside complete time. He’s no longer going to take snaps clear of Alexander, and Stokes doesn’t seem suited for play the slot. However, the Packers could play Alexander and Douglas outside within the base protection, then herald Stokes because the 3rd cornerback in nickel applications and transfer Alexander within in the ones scenarios. It can be a discounted position for Stokes, who has performed 100% of the defensive snaps this season.

“We’d love to be able to get to that,” Barry mentioned of Douglas taking part in outside. “We feel like we have multiple guys that can play the nickel, Ja being one of them, Darnell being one of them.”

Barry used to be regarding Savage, the protection who has lengthy been seen as superb for the slot place although the Packers have by no means dedicated to the usage of the 2019 first-spherical select there.

“I played a lot of it at Maryland,” Savage mentioned.

It may additionally help Savage, any other defensive again who’s off to a sluggish get started.

“You know me, I’ll do whatever’s asked of me,” Savage mentioned. “But being close to the ball [in the slot] is always fun. You get a lot more opportunities. But whatever this defense asks of me, that’s what I’m going to do.”

In the secondary on my own, the Packers have 3 first-spherical alternatives in Savage, Alexander and Stokes. And they’ve given giant contracts to Douglas and protection Adrian Amos.

“I think we have an elite, special group that can go get after people and go challenge people and get in their face and be aggressive,” Barry reiterated. “And we need to do that.”

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