Tag:Dom Capers
Posted on: January 13, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2011 9:37 am
 

Falcons vs. Packers: 7-Point Divisional Preview

Posted by Will Brinson



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. As an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. Green Bay Packers (No. 6, NFC, 11-6) @  Atlanta Falcons (No. 1, NFC, 13-3)

in a week that features two unbelievably potent AFC rivalries, the NFC might actually sport the most compelling rematch when the Packers return to the ATL to try and avenge a 20-17 Week 12 loss . At the time, that game was considered a preview of the NFC Championship, and this time around, nothing's changed, except the two teams are meeting earlier than expected.

The difference in that first tilt essentially hinged on two plays -- an Aaron Rodgers fumble on the one-yard line and a fourth-down conversion during the ensuing drive for Atlanta. Things play out differently if the reverse of each play occurs, of course, but that was a 14-point swing that dramatically altered the outcome of the game. What makes things interesting is that this time around, the Packers have, theoretically, enough of a running game to potentially avoid Rodgers playing the role of "leading rusher" for Green Bay, and, perhaps, a devastating turnover.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking



For a minute, I started photoshopping three Mora heads. Then I watched the highlights from the first time these teams met, listened to the video below, and frankly, it's just too good of a matchup not to be worth more. Only the potential AFC overshadow factor keeps it from the full five.

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Packers front seven vs. Michael Turner

In 2010, the Falcons went undefeated when Michael Turner (or Jason Snelling, if you want to include their 41-7 whupping of Arizona in Week 2) crossed the 100-yard rushing mark. When Turner rushed for less than 75 yards, they went 3-3, with one of those victories being the meaningless-by-halftime Week 17 game against the Panthers.  The other two sub-75 victories were by a total of 7 points, against San Francisco and Baltimore. In the Falcons three losses, Turner didn't total 100 yards combined

So to say that the rushing game is important for the Falcons is mildly understating things. Against Green Bay the first time, Turner ripped off three runs of 14 yards or more (and a slew of five-plus-yard runs) en route to a 4.8 yards per carry average (his season YPC was 4.1). 

The Packers can't blitz as much as they might against a team with a less, um, traditional offensive set -- Atlanta's old-school run game (two tight ends, big backfields) doesn't present a whole lot of holes where Dom Capers can send attackers, and Mike Mularkey specializes in deflecting the brunt of tacklers to give Turner room to work.

Additionally, Turner getting his motor running keep Matt Ryan from having to force things and opens up the Falcons ability to exploit Tony Gonzalez' receiving talents against an increasingly run-wary (and weary) group of linebackers. 

In other words, if Green Bay manages to limit the run game even somewhat substantially, their odds of strolling out of the Georgia Dome with a win increase exponentially.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

The people involved in this game aren't exactly old-school players (although Atlanta's style might be), but they're not new-school fools either. But if you like fish n' grits and all that, well, do you know what I am saying? (NSFW lyrics may apply if you click play. You'll also likely be fired if you keep throwing your hands in the air and waving them like you don't care. Please be warned.)



5. The Packers will win if ...

If Aaron Rodgers can grow up and leave less than 56 seconds on the clock when the Packers score for the last time in the game. I kid, I kid. The Packers need to match Atlanta's ability to sustain drives by incorporating the running game (thereby opening up the passing game) before taking some shots downfield. Oh, and stop the run and force Matt Ryan to make mistakes. It's really that simple. 

6. The Falcons will win if ...

They can limit big plays from the Packers passing game and get Turner over the magic 100-yard mark. Him hitting that high number means there's some salting-away of the clock and/or long, sustained drives going on, and that's good news for Atlanta.

7. Prediction: Falcons 23, Packers 20


Posted on: January 10, 2011 1:01 pm
 

NFL Wild Card Podcast Review

Posted by Will Brinson

This past weekend was one of most exciting wild-card weekends in NFL history.

But was it the most exciting? That's one of the questions Andy and I answer in this week's podcast review. We also debate whether or not Seattle fans should be sending such vitriolic emails, where Marshawn Lynch's powerful scamper ranks in the pantheon of all-time single runs, just how impressive Dom Capers' defense was Sunday, whether Jim Caldwell's seat should be hot, how clutch Mark Sanchez really is, and whether or not we should have seen the Ravens pummeling of the Chiefs coming.

All that (plus much,  much more) -- just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 5:02 pm
 

Eagles vs. Packers: 7-Point Wild Card Preview

Posted by Will Brinson



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point playoff preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. And as an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. Green Bay Packers (No. 6, NFC, 10-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (No. 3, NFC, 10-6)

And we're right back where we started! Except instead of the regular season opener, we all know that Michael Vick will play and that he's capable of being the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL on any given day. So is Aaron Rodgers, though, which is why this is such a compelling matchup. It doesn't hurt either that at one point either before the season (Packers) or during the year (Eagles), both of these teams were the clear-cut favorite to win the NFC. Injuries almost derailed Green Bay, but they rallied to become the annual "wild card team no one wants to play," while the Eagles stumbled down the stretch as either Vick's injuries caught up to him or defenses figured him out. Sunday, we find out which one it was.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking



This is probably a 5-Mora rating because of the compelling matchup at quarterback, but I'm a hard sell for a maximum rating. Plus, the whole "What if Michael Vick has a bad performance" storyline is terrifying.

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Michael Vick vs. Dom Capers and his blitzing minions

Michael Vick threw his first interception since like 2006 in Week 12 against Chicago. It's cool, though, because no one can go totally interception-less. Except since that Week 12 game, he hasn't had a game without an interception. That's not saying Vick hasn't been good -- Lord knows he's piling up fantasy points by the bundles and won my championship for me (it's a CBSSports.com league, duh, so hey, Garrett! Maybe next year!). But fantasy football doesn't offer negative points for quarterbacks being sacked and when someone runs in touchdowns, which Vick does, scores get inflated. 

That's a long way of saying that take a look at the final three games of Vick's regular season and you realize how important pressure is for Dom Capers and the Packers. If they can get athletic blitzers to Vick (i.e. defensive backs and Clay Matthews), they'll force sacks, fumbles and bad decisions from Vick. 

That was the plan Minnesota utilized in Week 16 and it resulted in six sacks, two fumbles, an interception and enough bad decisions by Vick that he completed just 58.1 percent of his passes. Now, Vick probably wasn't "100 percent" but that's the nature of football at the end of the season. 

It's no secret that there's a correlation between additional pressure on the quarterback (and this applies to any team playing any quarterback) and turnovers, sacks, bad decisions and wins. And it's no secret that quarterbacks who can recognize blitz packages and formations and then adjust on the fly have a higher rate of success. Michael Vick has shown, over the past few weeks, that perhaps he's not as developed as a "pure passer" as everyone thought when he was piling up deep balls against the Redskins.

Capers will bring the heat with the Packers blitz packages -- if Vick can demonstrate a better job of recognizing the various formations, then he'll seem a lot more like the guy who upped his MVP status in the second half against the Giants than the guy who was stifled in the first part of that game.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

I was originally going to put  to put "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley here (for Vick's comeback), but that's probably desecrating the importance with which Marley wrote the anthem of freedom. Instead, let's think about what's at stake for Vick and Rodgers here -- both guys need a playoff win in the worst way. One to really beef up his contract status with the Eagles next year and the other to get that final monkey off his back. But that doesn't mean there's any PRESSURE, DAN Michael and Aaron.



5. The Eagles will win if ...

They provide Vick adequate protection and establish LeSean McCoy in both the running and passing game. The Packers are going to bring pressure (duh) and the best way to counter that is by letting McCoy make plays from screens, draws and dumps in the flats designed to occur before the pressure hits.

6. The Packers will win if ...

They get to Vick. Rodgers will get his points so it's on the defense, and the Eagles are 1-2 in games where Vick was sacked four or more times, with the lone win a 35-32 victory over Detroit in Week 2.

7. Prediction: Eagles 23, Packers 21
Posted on: November 12, 2010 1:48 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.12.10: Balance for the Jets rushing

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • LaDainian Tomlinson's been the story of the Jets rushing attack so far this season (yes, his dominance outweighs how terrible Shonn Greene has been). But the tides could be turning -- Rex Ryan wants to see a "more balanced" split in carries (anticipating about 50 carries a game) between Greene and Tomlinson going forward. RB coach Anthony Lynn points out that Greene -- whose YPC is up near 4.8 in recent games, while Tomlinson's is under 4.0 -- is "built for November, December, January." It makes sense, particularly if the Jets can get some separation in working towards a playoff spot, because there's no reason in wasting LdT during meaningless games of the regular season.
  • How safe is Mike Singletary's job in San Francisco? Tim Kawakami's already putting together a list of potential replacements.
  • Dom Capers, who's killing it with a depleted Green Bay defense this season, isn't inclined to talk about head coaching jobs right now.
  • Joe Flacco believes the Ravens left "a little bit too much time on the clock" for the Falcons Thursday night. This is technically correct, but, and I really hate to agree with Joe Thiesmann here, if you can get six when the Ravens got six, you take the points.
Posted on: August 22, 2010 9:10 am
 

So much for vanilla

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

An interesting trend has emerged this preseason – defenses which normally would play fairly vanilla against offenses who were doing much of the same are being more aggressive in exhibition games.

The National Football Post takes a look at these occurrences.

In fact, when the Chargers faced the Bears, San Diego blitzed so much (I saw a report where it was six of the first eight snaps) coach Lovie Smith decided to get QB Jay Cutler the hell out of there.

The Giants blitzed 24 times against the Jets. The list goes on.

“For me, I would just say I was trying to set a mentality,” Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell told the Post. “I’m going to be very aggressive. Yes, we want to play base, fundamental defense and we want to see people take on a block, shed a block, that kind of thing.”

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers provides a dissenting opinion.

“Sometimes you can cover up some ills by blitzing all the time,” he told the Post. “If you feel like you have nothing to lose, that’s fine. But if you go into the season feeling you have to rely on the blitz all the time, sooner or later it catches up with you. Now is the time when we can see if we can play base, fundamental football. And if we can’t, and do it well, the blitzing might disguise it for a little bit. But it’s not going to disguise it for long. People figure you out too much in this game. For us, it starts with stopping the run. If we can stop the run, then we can do a lot more things.”

I’m sure this is a trend that opposing quarterbacks who are just trying to get down their timing before retiring to the sidelines for the second half would like to see end. As would their coaches.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com