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What You Might've Missed: Cover man Campbell

Packers’ All-Pro inside linebacker was a menace in pass coverage all game, not just on the two-point play


GREEN BAY – One of the big reasons the Packers signed inside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell in June of 2021 was to improve their pass coverage at the position.

Campbell has provided plenty in that regard, and while his pass breakup on the Buccaneers' two-point conversion attempt with 14 seconds left on Sunday was obviously the play of the game, it also served as the culmination of Campbell's pass coverage bothering Tampa Bay all day long.

Here's a sampling.

Play No. 1: Second-and-4 from the Green Bay 20, first quarter, 10:37 left

Result: 1-yard loss on completion to RB Leonard Fournette

Nothing too fancy here, just good anticipation by Campbell as he breaks on the screen pass to Fournette before QB Tom Brady throws the ball. Campbell's instincts and recognition allow him to beat the block attempt by G Shaq Mason, whose contact is minimal as Campbell gets the TFL.

Play No. 2: Third-and-5 from the Green Bay 21, first quarter, 9:54 left

Result: 6-yard sack by DL Kenny Clark

On the next play, the Packers get the stop to force the early field goal. Here, Campbell is playing zone, and as he bumps TE Cameron Brate (84) early in his route, he's ready to jump the shallow cross by WR Cole Beasley (15). Brady cocks his arm to throw but holds on with the window too tight, and Clark gets there to trip him up.

Play No. 3: Third-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 2, third quarter, 9:54 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Fast forward to the third quarter with the Bucs backed up, and the action is very similar to Play No. 2. Campbell once again passes off Brate to jump Beasley on the cross. This time Brady tries to fit the throw in but still can't, and even if Beasley had caught it Campbell would've stopped him well short of the first down.

Play No. 4: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 28, third quarter, 7:12 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Here's just another good read and reaction. Campbell doesn't bite on the play-action fake to Fournette. Notice how he stops himself two yards behind the line of scrimmage and stays balanced rather than getting too far forward off the fake. He immediately shifts to reading Brady's eyes, and he makes it a very difficult throw to WR Scottie Miller (10) on the in cut.

Play No. 5: Second-and-10 from the Green Bay 28, third quarter, 7:08 left

Result: 1-yard run by Fournette

Campbell is pretty darn good against the run too, as this play shows. On the next snap after the incomplete pass to Miller, a shotgun draw to Fournette goes nowhere. As Green Bay's front clogs the middle, notice how Campbell knows that's where the bodies are, so he's sure to maintain significant outside leverage on Brate's block, not allowing Fournette to bounce the run.

Play No. 6: First-and-goal from the Green Bay 10, fourth quarter, :33 left

Result: Incomplete pass

On the Bucs' final drive, the Packers didn't make anything easy once it became goal-to-go. Here Campbell makes a good break on a short, underneath throw to Miller, and he times the hit and the reach-around with his right arm to avoid a flag.

Play No. 7: Two-point conversion from the Green Bay 7, fourth quarter, :14 left

Result: Incomplete pass

And finally, the climactic moment. Campbell makes the play with his perfectly timed jump and long reach to get the deflection, but it's also worth pointing out the team effort this took with so much activity in the right side of the end zone. There are three targets in that area, all covered man-to-man as the routes develop, which allows Campbell – as he's done much of the game – to be a zone defender reading Brady's eyes. In the diagram, Campbell is starred, and the rest of the matchups are indicated by the corresponding shapes. Boxes: S Adrian Amos (31) picks up Fournette out of the backfield. Triangles: CB Eric Stokes (21) has Brate on the stop route at the goal line. Circles: S Darnell Savage (26) stays with WR Russell Gage (17) on the corner route, which is where Brady's pass is headed. Pretty good defense all around.

Bonus play: Second-and-10 from the Green Bay 40, second quarter, :51 left

Result: Completion and fumble

Stepping outside the Campbell discussion for one last clip, Head Coach Matt LaFleur complimented the defense as a whole with how the players flew around and rallied to the ball, and this is probably the best example -- when Amos and LB Quay Walker (7) converge to force a fumble at the end of the first half. At the moment WR Breshad Perriman (16) catches Brady's pass, neither Amos nor Walker is anywhere near him. But look at the ground they cover as they meet at the ball carrier to create the turnover. Like the two-point play, the all-22 shows what team defense means, in this case taking a slightly different form.