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Monday, Sep 9th

NFC North

Bears ::

  • Sean Desai DC; Vic Fangio influence cover-2 scheme with low blitz rates
  • Young secondary with Jaylon Johnson, Tashaun Gipson, Eddie Jackson, and Kindle Vildor
  • Strength of this defense from a personnel standpoint is up front, with the 3-4 scheme made up of veterans Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Khalil Mack, Danny Trevathan, Roquon Smith and rookie NT Khyiris Tonga or veteran NT Eddie Goldman
  • Allen Robinson has averaged 9.6 targets per healthy game over the previous 5 seasons
  • Darnell Mooney intermediate-deep threat with great route-running skills; previous quarterbacks unable to get him the ball either through poor timing or poor arm strength; Fields +arm strength, slow time to release meshes well with Mooney’s skill set (keep that in your back pocket)
  • Ton of money locked up at the QB and TE position on players that are clearly not the future (Dalton/Jimmy Graham)
  • Damien Williams added to backfield; dynamic RB with history of off-the-field issues; could cut into David Montgomery’s workload
  • PFF-projected bottom five OL; lost longtime starters Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie, likely replaced by newcomer Elijah Wilkinson (DEN) and one of two rookie selections
  • 6th in the league in situation neutral pass play rate at 62% in 2020; likely to remain fairly consistent moving forward with the lacking OL
  • 24th-ranked 4.1 yards per rush attempt in 2020 and OL got worse
  • Jimmy Graham still on the roster likely delays Cole Kmet’s true breakout season
  • 6th lowest RB target rate in 2020 at 14.8%
  • Personally, don’t see much to like out of this backfield for 2021
  • Allen Robinson should push for the league lead in targets once again

Lions ::

  • Dan Campbell HC (NO TE)
  • Anthony Lynn OC (LAC HC); ++ to RB expectation
  • Lynn’s system looks to set up deep passing through an established ground game; the problem is that becomes extremely predictable
  • Let’s look at their run/pass rates on early downs vs third down: on 1st and 2nd downs in 2020, the Chargers threw the football only 53% of the time; on 3rd down, they passed on a whopping 81% of plays, just 4% lower than his new team, the Lions
  • The Chargers ranked 5th in the league in RB target rate at 25.5%, filtering the second most targets to the position over the course of the year (156; more than NO)
  • The backfield should be a two-man loose committee with D’Andre Swift and newcomer Jamaal Williams
  • Currently have Swift projected for 85 targets over the full season
  • For DFS purposes, if either Swift or Williams misses time, the other member would be as close to a must-start as there is based largely on the amount of receiving work we should expect
  • Another boon to this backfield: PFF charges the Lions with the 10th ranked OL heading into 2021
  • Cut WRs Geronimo Allison and Breshad Perriman; will start Tyrell Williams, Quintez Cephus, and Amon Ra St. Brown
  • Matt Stafford out, Jared Goff in
  • Goff struggled with deep ball in camp/preseason, which could be an issue in this Lynn-led offense
  • The Chargers filtered 130 total targets to TEs in 2020; TJ Hockenson is likely to absorb majority of those looks
  • TJ Hockenson volume +, D’Andre Swift volume +
  • Jamaal Williams brought in as competent CoP/backup RB
  • Aaron Glenn DC (NO DB)
  • Expect a more complex defensive scheme that mixes man and zone concepts; higher situational blitz rates and zone coverages on third down
  • With the complexities and surge in blitz rates, likely to give up chunk plays to start the year
  • Week 1 the Lions play the 49ers, an offense predicated on stretching teams vertically and horizontally to create space for their playmakers… wheels up

Packers ::

  • Joe Barry DC (LAR LB)
  • Drafted dynamic slot WR Amari Rodgers, then the other Rodgers mandated they bring back Randall Cobb because breakups are hard
  • MVS should closely tail DA in snap rate; reports are he’s developed more between the ears, his only glaring weakness to date
  • Drafted Eric Stokes to start opposite lockdown, all-world corner Jaire Alexander (legitimately a top up-and-coming corner in the league-allowed 5th lowest passer rating and 2nd lowest completion percentage in coverage in 2020)
  • Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos form formidable safety tandem
  • Defensive weakness against the run and short-intermediate LBs in coverage (RB/TE)
  • NFL’s most efficient offense in 2020 (1st in points per drive, drive success rate, and time of possession per drive, 2nd in yards per drive, but only 11th in plays per drive, indicating regular chunk gains)
  • MVS led the league in aDOT at 17.7 amongst qualifying receivers in 2020
  • An offense excellent at chunk gains + a WR that led the league in aDOT + likely 90%+ snap rate for MVS = wheels up as long as he cuts down on mental lapses
  • Not much else to say as far as what to expect goes, as we’ve seen this offense in action for a couple years now with relatively few changes
  • Jim Leonhard turned down the DC job, which eventually went to Joe Barry
  • Barry is expected to continue the zone-heavy scheme adapted through his time with Brandon Staley
  • The Packers’ back-end defense holds the personnel to make this scheme effective, but will require increased pressure off the edge and better NT play

Vikings ::

  • Klint Kubiak OC (QB); Kubiak/Shanahan coaching tree
  • Zone blocking and outside stretch run scheme; heavy play action; dynamic formations; QB movements; crossing routes
  • Dalvin feast; Thielen short-intermediate crossing routes, outs, slants; Jefferson intermediate-deep crossing routes, digs, goes, outs, hooks
  • Irv Smith injury prompted the ghost of Chris Herndon signing; will likely rotate with Ty Conklin and be used in 12-personnel formations
  • Big picture, personnel-wise, is this offense will once again be extremely concentrated in 2021
  • After finishing the year ranked 26th in run-blocking metrics in 2020, MIN invested significant draft capital to secure Christian Darrisaw, PFF’s highest graded tackle in the nation out of college
  • Weakness of the OL has been the inside, which is mitigated some by the likely stretch Kubiak scheme
  • Co-defensive coordinators Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer should adopt HC Mike Zimmer’s scheme
  • Defensive personnel overhaul including DT Dalvin Tomlinson (NT; top run-stopper) and three members of the secondary including MacKensie Alexander, Xavier Woods, and Patrick Peterson
  • Look for the priority to be stopping the run and forcing teams to the air on later downs, where a complex coverage scheme would force confusion from opposing QBs

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