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“Right Cat” At Right Time For Packer Defense

An interesting story about B.J. Raji’s pick-6 yesterday for the Green Bay Packers — it was the first time ALL YEAR that the Packers called a play in which one of their defensive lineman dropped into coverage.

Giants fans who know where I’m going with this, you may begin rolling your eyes now… via PFT:

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers told Yahoo’s Michael Silver it was the first time he called the play all year. The coverage — called “Right Cat” — calls for Raji to draw a blocker quickly before dropping into coverage and looking for a crossing route.   Hanie never knew what hit him.

“It was a rare call,” linebacker Desmond Bishop told Silver.   “When they sent it in, I kind of went, ‘Hmmmmmmmm.’ ”

Raji picked off the pass, doing the defensive backs on the team proud.

Here’s the thing — it was the right play AT THE RIGHT TIME.  No one expected the nose tackle to drop back in coverage because the Packers hadn’t called the play all year!  There was no film to go back to, no way for the Bears to prepare for it… and it was a game changing play call that sealed a win for Green Bay.  In other words, it was the phenomenon of only calling this play the one time all season that packed the Packers’ bags to the Superbowl.  In every way, this play was called and executed perfectly at the exact right time and place… with optimum results of course.

The key difference of course is that the Giants all too frequently call zone blitz packages that rely on their lineman to drop back into coverage.  Under Bill Sheridan, it was detrimental to an already poor secondary ranked as the #2 worst passing defense in the league.  For the Giants this year under Perry Fewell, it wasn’t used quite as much but when lineman did drop back – instead of being a surprise it created severe mismatches for the passing offense to exploit — which it all too often did.  The biggest key difference for the Giants though is quite simple, instead of 6 points for the defense at the right time – the Giants defense gives up that 6 points at the wrong times by calling a similar play all too often.   See the Eagles and Packers games at the end of the season for reference.

If this play call vanished from Fewell’s playbook until when the need was dire in the NFC Championship next season, fine by me!

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