What You Might've Missed: Eye on the target

Packers kept tabs on Saints DE Cam Jordan


GREEN BAY – It's no consolation after a loss as bad as Sunday's that the Packers mostly neutralized one of the better pass rushers in the NFL.

But taking a look at how Green Bay limited New Orleans defensive end Cam Jordan, a six-time Pro Bowler, to no tackles and two QB hits in 33 defensive snaps gives a glimpse into how game plans against certain foes are constructed.

Teams always talk about players as targets, on either side of the ball, knowing they must be held in check. The Packers properly had their eye on a key Saints target, even if not much went right on offense.

Unfortunately, as effective as the Packers were against Jordan, one of his two QB hits came on the crucial red-zone interception, though that wasn't the only protection breakdown on the play.

Here's a sampling of the better work against one of the game's best:

Play No. 1: Third-and-7 from the Green Bay 28, first quarter, 9:33 left

Result: 6-yard completion to RB Aaron Jones

The Saints' three-man front here allows for RT Billy Turner (77) and rookie RG Royce Newman (70) to double-team Jordan (94) at the snap. Turner then does a nice job making sure QB Aaron Rodgers isn't disrupted as blitzing LB Demario Davis loops around that double-team.

Play No. 2: Third-and-14 from the Green Bay 33, second quarter, 11:22 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Unfortunately, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling slips on his downfield route, giving this pass no chance to be completed. But the protection is well-executed, as Turner initially keeps Jordan at bay, and then when Jordan stunts inside around LB Kwon Alexander (5), rookie C Josh Myers (71) says hello.

Play No. 3: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 25, second quarter, 1:07 left

Result: 14-yard completion to WR Allen Lazard

On the first play of the two-minute drive to close the first half, TE Robert Tonyan (85) is lined up next to Turner to provide a chip block on Jordan. Tonyan makes minimal contact, but his presence is enough to send Jordan around the edge, opening a throwing lane for Rodgers to hit Lazard on the in-breaker.

Play No. 4: Second-and-10 from the Green Bay 39, second quarter, :45 left

Result: 4-yard completion to Valdes-Scantling

Two plays later is an example of how a running back in pass protection has to be ready for anything. In this case, another stunt involving Alexander leaves RB Aaron Jones responsible for picking up Jordan, which he does as the completion goes for a short gain.

Play No. 5: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 48, second quarter, :16 left

Result: 31-yard completion to WR Davante Adams

The play of the day for the Packers, and it's a textbook way to keep a premier pass rusher from causing trouble. Similar to Play No. 3 above when Tonyan was there to chip, this time it's Jones, and the contact with Jordan does the job. As Jordan then slides inside to engage Myers, the ball is on its way for a pretty pitch-and-catch.


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