21

November

Numbers up for Packers receivers, down for Vikings corners

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings rookie Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Numbers never lie. Except when they do.

Numbers lied when they said that Robert Griffin III had a big day against the Packers. After all, 320 yards and three touchdowns isn’t a bad day at the office, but in reality, Griffin really just benefitted from a garbage-time stat stuffer.

But thanks to new-age stats sites like Pro Football Focus, anyone and everyone can access in-depth stats at the click of a mouse. So if I want to see how good/bad a player does in coverage, it’s pretty easy.

And the numbers say Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson is bad. Awfully bad.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 56 of 66 targets on Robinson this season. That’s 84.8 percent of their passes–the worst mark in the NFL for a cornerback, along with a league-high 716 receiving yards. Add three touchdowns and no interceptions, and you’ve got yourself a 127.0 cumulative passer rating.

Robinson’s partner in crime, Chris Cook, has allowed 19 completions on 26 targets–again, a staggering 73.1 percent. Cook has been a sieve as far as allowing touchdowns, as he’s been responsible for four scores, despite being thrown at only 26 times. That’s not good for him, but really good for opposing offenses.

Xavier Rhodes, one of the team’s three first-round picks from last April, has shown flashes of why he was a Day 1 pick, although he’s certainly been exposed. The secondary’s lone bright spot will likely see a heavy dose of Jordy Nelson on Sunday, as the Packers will likely move him all around the formation, including the slot which is where he caught both of his touchdowns when the teams met in the MetroDome Oct. 27.

Of 107 cornerbacks that have played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps, the Vikings have three players who rank 83 or lower on the list, according to Pro Football Focus. Here’s a closer look at how they’ve fared so far this season:

83. Xavier Rhodes (60.8% completion, 293 yards, o TD o INT. 79.3 QB rating)

84. Chris Cook (73.0% completion, 241 yards, 4 TD 0 INT. 141.2 QB rating)

101. Josh Robinson (84.8% completion, 716 yards, 3 TD 0 INT. 127.0 QB rating)

The Packers’ wide receivers, on the other hand, rank among the league’s best and most efficient, even after their latest battles with the injury bug.

With Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley healthy and in the lineup, the Packers likely have the most talented receiving corps in the NFL. But even without Cobb and Finley, the Packers rank among the league’s best at receiver.

Everyone knows about Jordy Nelson. He’s developed into one of the league’s most complete receivers and has been effective with Scott Tolzien subbing in for Rodgers at quarterback.

Jarrett Boykin has been a blessing for the Packers. After being forced into the lineup and turning in a sluggish performance when James Jones suffered an injury against the Baltimore Ravens, Boykin has been among the most consistent receivers in football.

Jones has since returned, and despite playing without his quarterback, he’s made plays when given an opportunity. He hasn’t scored since his 83-yard touchdown Oct. 5 against the Detroit Lions, but it feels like he’s ready for a breakout game in the coming weeks.

Specifically in regards to completion percentage when targeted, the Packers’ group of receivers is the best in the league. Cobb, while out since Oct. 13, leads the NFL, catching 76.3 percent of the balls thrown his way. Boykin is No. 2 in the NFL with a rate of 74.4 percent. Nelson? He ranks No. 6 at 73 percent. Jones is the outlier of the group, sandwiched between Pierre Garcon and Brandon Marshall at No. 38 with a completion percentage of 64.3.

Here’s how the Packers have done this season among 112 wide receivers who have played 25 percent of their team’s snaps, per PFF:

5. Jordy Nelson (73.0% completion, 889 yards, 7 TD, 3 drops)

33. Jarrett Boykin (74.3% completion, 453 yards, 1 TD, 4 drops)

68. James Jones (64.2% completion, 465 yards, 2 TD, 1 drop)

So, what do these numbers mean? Surely, the quarterback has something to do with it. Rodgers puts the ball where it’s supposed to be when it’s supposed to be there.

Green Bay’s system relies heavily on timing and provides a platform for the quarterback to take shots downfield. Tolzien hit all of his deep balls last week against the Giants, and Nelson caught eight of the nine passes thrown his way.

While certainly no Aaron Rodgers, Scott Tolzien has proven he can move the football. And the Minnesota Vikings will be the weakest defense he’s faced in three weeks.

Numbers may lie, but these numbers pass the smell test. The Packers’ receivers, while not as deep as they once were, are talented and more than capable of exploiting a weak Vikings secondary.

Obviously, an explosive pass rush can aid a weak secondary and vice versa, but Minnesota has been lacking in both areas this season. Tolzien has racked up a boat load of passing yards in his seven(+) quarters of playing time, but five interceptions have helped(?) contribute to the two consecutive losses.

If Tolzien takes care of the football Sunday against the Vikings, they’ll put up enough points to win–more than enough points to win. Unless numbers lie, and the Packers fall to 5-6 along with the blue sky as we know it.

——————

Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

——————

22 Responses to “Numbers up for Packers receivers, down for Vikings corners”

  1. Dobber says:

    “If Tolzien takes care of the football Sunday against the Vikings, they’ll put up enough points to win–more than enough points to win.”

    There’s one of the key statements. ST can’t throw it to the other team if the Packers have a hope of winning. JPP made an outstanding play–one that most DL couldn’t make–for his pick-6 last week, so it’s hard to crucify ST for that one.

    While ST has moved the ball in his limited time, what is not said here is that ST has struggled mightily in the red zone…to the point where I almost hope that a running receiver will trip over the 25 yard line so they have a shot at throwing it into the end zone.

    I don’t doubt that the Packers will move the ball on the Vikes this week, but they can’t trade 3′s for 7′s. ST must find a way to convert red zone opportunities into TDs. This is just as important as not throwing picks.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  2. Big T says:

    If someone can motivate this team we will be fine. This should be an easy victory, even without a qb. Please someone light the fire under their asses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Razer says:

    Marques you point out an obvious weakness with the Vikings defense. Mike McCarthy bragged about Tolzien completing all nine of his big play passes – something he has never seen before. NOW, if we waste most of the game in run, run, long pass mode, I will call for the immediate release of the entire coaching staff (I’m sure someone will listen).

    I understand that Tolzien is green but if our playcalling isn’t creative and doesn’t force the Vikings to play the entire field, then don’t bother putting on the pads. It is sh1t or get off the pot time for this team and this playcaller.

    Go Packers

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  4. Cow42 says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13

  5. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    To me there are 2 keys to this W:

    1. Tolzein can’t throw another 2 picks.

    2. The miscommunication in the deep 1/3 and the run D need to wake the heck up.

    Yes, the players need to execute. But we’re 5 years into Capers system. Those communication problems are coaching problems at this point. If the players aren’t doing it right it’s because the coaches haven’t taught it right.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. Chad Lundberg says:

    If the Packers can’t even beat the Vikings, then they deserve to land in the bottom of the division. This has A LOT more to it than just Aaron Rodgers’ injury, it also shows that the Packers have already given up on the season. It would confirm what we have long suspected ever since the playoff game against San Francisco from last year. That they just don’t have a sense of urgency anymore.

    I’m not saying it’s over, just that it might as well be if they continue to play like they have in the last few games.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  7. Elo says:

    Call me crazy, but I would like to see Chris Banjo replace McMillan this game and would Lattimore to get some time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • Razer says:

      You are NOT crazy. I have some duck decoys that would make us more effective at the safety position. At least we should be practicing guys like Banjo and Hyde up – giving them more reps. McMillan and Jennings are taking development time from the eventual replacements.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Dobber says:

        I guess the question is: would you rather see Banjo/McMillian/Jennings playing safety or Jarrett Bush trying to cover receivers?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Stroh says:

      Packers have given up on McMillan this season. I haven’t seen him on the field much the past few weeks. Jennings is getting most of the playing time at safety followed by Banjo. More Banjo should certainly be in the cards going forward.

      Lattimore should have been allowed to replace Jones, as I’ve said since before Jones even returned. He simply makes plays and he needs to be on the field far more than he has recently. That kid is an F’in player!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Big T says:

    Maybe we should draft another 5 foot nothing Terell Buckley for corner. As bad as that dumbazz was he looks excellant compared to what we have now…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. Archie says:

    To be fair, Buckley was a top 10 pick. The current DBs were picked up for nothing or next to nothing. Why didn’t Wolf draft Troy Vincent that year instead of Buckley. Seemed like a no-brainer apriori.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Stroh says:

      Hindsight shows Vincent was the better choice. But Buckley was a tremendous playmaker at FSU playing against the top college talent. He made plays in coverage and on punt returns. Vincent was a very good cover CB in a run dominated Big 10. He rarely faces great WR in college. I loved the pick of Buckley at the time. Vincent just continued to improve and quickly became one of the best CB in the NFL. Can’t blame Wolf too much, Buckley was a terror at FSU and the Packers needed playmakers in the secondary at the time.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. Archie says:

    Nothing left to do but to wait and see the character of our team. If they let Greg Jennings tear us apart to end our season, I will be mighty pissed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. tim says:

    Sounds like several cornerbacks are hurt and not at practice now – Hayward, Hyde, shields, nixon. I’m losing what liitle hope I had of playoffs with all the injuries. At some point no amount of character, MM or DC coaching or slight of hand can overcome the loss of so many players. I’m wondering if we’re at that point. No sense placing blame, TT can’t free agent or draft a way out of it. There’s no Herb Adderlys out there. It would have been nice to have a decent safety, but with the rest of the team turning into a wreck, the safety maybe won’t matter that much anymore. They need somebodies to get better quick!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Stroh says:

    Tolzien has moved the ball well, about as well as can be expected. But he’s had too many major mistakes. INT’s and not scoring in particular. This offense is QB centric, it needs the QB to be able to put points on the board. That is what Tolzien has to get corrected. If he does the Packers can save the season, if Tolzien can’t score and quite throwing INT’s our season is over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. larry valdes says:

    Im tired of ted no bringin any body to help in the secondary if he does not see that bush and jennigs cant not cover any body add mcmillan l must be washing other game

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  14. tim says:

    You’re right Stroh, they need a solid, relatively error free game from tolzien. The ints last week were killers. I don’t know how it works with a new guy like tolzien. I hope he has the ability to read defenses and option to a pass when the d is stacked against the run. Or vise versa. I hope he’s got alternatives to what mm calls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Stroh says:

      Well Rodgers has complete freedom to read the box and switch between run/pass accordingly. We don’t know that Tolzien has nearly as much freedom in that regard. I doubt he does… That’s the problem w/ having an inexperience QB at the helm. The run/pass option is a staple of McCarthy’s offense so there are some plays that have that option for Tolzien I’m sure. But its severely limited with him being so inexperienced. The variety of the options on each play is also affect to a large degree.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. GBPDAN says:

    Hyde is out of practice. Another pulled muscle! Im so sick of this wussy teams pulled hammys and groins. This is absolutely ridiculous! This ,along with the retarded confusion in the secondary and the lack of will and toughness on the D, has got me sick to my stomach. This D needs 11 Ray Lewis’s. We don’t even have one

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1