Chiefs, Backup QB Matt Battle Strong Pass Rush, Sticky Man Coverage vs. Packers

Regan Creswell

The Green Bay Packers typically rely on a high-power offense to carry them, but some big-name offseason additions have powered a defense that ranks in the top 10 in scoring while thriving on turnovers and stopping teams in the red zone. Here's a breakdown of what the Chiefs face on Sunday night.

Defensive Breakdown

The Packers play a base 3-4 defense with plenty of man, man free and cover 3 coverage on the back end. Green Bay added two of the top pass rushers in free agency this offseason with Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. These two possess the ability to win matchups with power and speed, which means the Packers don't need to blitz often to get pressure on the quarterback. 

The secondary is headlined by corners Jaire Alexander and Kevin King along with rookie safety Darnell Savage. Alexander is fast with quick change of direction ability and very sticky in press-man coverage. King has long arms, is physical at the line of scrimmage, and has a tendency to continue that physicality throughout the route. Savage has a ton of range over the top, although an ankle injury has left him limited all week in practice and he's questionable for Sunday.

Beating The Defense

Green Bay has not been great at stopping the run this year. Kansas City can utilize a split-zone scheme to take advantage of the outside linebackers desire to get after the quarterback, leading them upfield. A pulling blocker can kick them out, opening up a lane for the running backs to shoot through. The Chiefs can also use toss plays, jet sweeps and the tap pass to get their playmakers to the edge in space quickly. That forces the defenders to make tackles in space, which hasn’t been the Packers' strength. The Chiefs should focus run game toward linebacker Blake Martinez, forcing him to make plays in the open field.

When it comes to the passing game, the Chiefs must protect backup quarterback Matt Moore and give him time to deliver the football. Left tackle Cam Erving needs help to contain the end rushing from his side, whether from a chip block with a running back or a double team with a tight end. 

When the Packers line up in off-man coverage, the best plan of attack is to throw quick-hitting in-breaking routes. Offenses have had success with comeback routes against the Packers' man coverage. When Green Bay decides to run press man, the Chiefs need to look to pick and rub routes to force the defenders to fight through traffic, springing receivers free for easy completions and potentially big gains. King plays a physical style, and the Chiefs' receivers can use that against him to draw flags and get penalty yardage out of it. 

The Chiefs running backs should provide a big advantage in the passing game attacking Green Bay's inside linebackers’ coverage abilities, especially Martinez. The running backs can run to the flats, use Texas routes or even run routes up the seam to stress these linebackers. Against zone coverage, the Chiefs should target the middle of the field often. A seam route by the slot receiver and a dig route by the outside receiver often results in the outside receiver breaking wide open.

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