The Flip Side of Aggressive Safety Play

Posted by  Brady Augustine   in  , ,      4 months ago     380 Views     Leave your thoughts  

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When fans in Packer Nation hear the name Kentrell Brice, they inevitably think of a hard hitter. Though 27 tackles and 4 assists will not jump off the page at anyone, Brice’s goal-line thud against the Falcons in week 8 and in particular his origami fold-up of Cole Beasley in the Divisional round of the playoffs last year definitely leap out. Brice did more than flash his heavy hitting ways, he showed that it was his calling card. But there is a flip side to the coin of the hard hitting safety and with youngsters like Josh Jones presumably taking the field earlier rather than later, it bears breaking down.

Our example comes from the Packers week eleven matchup with Washington. The Packers had dropped three games in a row and started this game by going three and out offensively the first three drives. But special teams had kept the Packers in the game by winning the field position battle and in this case, Jacob Schum had placed the ball on the six yard-line and a follow up tackle for loss had Washington on their own 2 yard line. The opportunity for the defense to get a stop and give the offense the ball with good field position was not greater at any other point in the game. They needed a stop on 3rd and 2 after a completed pass that made it still a short line to gain.

Most Dangerous Substance on Earth - Packer Offense

Pre-snap, the Packers defense shows a two high safety look but then sends Kentrell Brice down inside leaving Ha Ha as the single safety high as per the situation. With 3rd down and just two yards to go, the Washington playbook is wide open. The perimeter corners are out wide and the Packers are expecting the run while giving one-on-one attention to the outside with Ha Ha over the top. The motion brings Jordan Reed inside, further signalling the run. Kentrell Brice is inside next to Joe Thomas and as a hard hitter, is in good position for a thump on Kelley.

At the snap, however, Brice reads the angle and comes up hard but Washington has it blocked up. Brice crashing inside engages him which opens wide the cutback lane and ensures that Brice cannot break away from the block to make the tackle. This is a wide open door for a 17 yard gain and the first first down of the game. The only potential tacklers are now Clay Matthews from behind and Ha Ha (who was deep) out in front. Ha Ha makes the tackle but not until after the 17 yard gain. Washington isn’t able to convert the series into points, but the Packers’ offense has to start on its own 9 yard line after a Randall Cobb fair catch.

So the excitement for big hits, not just by Kentrell Brice but also with the recently added Josh Jones, is normal. It is rare that big hits happen any more in the league and to see a good one is a real treat. But there is a flip side to the big hit. It has to be made at the right time. Aggression can also result in a safety being out of position and giving up a gap or cutback lane that can result in a big play against the defense.

So for the Packers young defensive backfield, the key is to take the big shots when they have them but to be gap sound and better understand the goals of the defense overall. Veterans understand this and I expect the Packers to have some growing pains in this regard. I would never want to leach out the aggressiveness from players like Brice and Jones, and I think our coaching staff is the perfect one to bring them up right. By and by I expect guys like Brice and Jones to be major contributors and correct over-aggressiveness. In this case, the right approach…gets the stop. This could have been about a 73 yard swing in field position so yeah, it matters.

Looking forward to the Packers winning these third downs in the future.

Go Pack!



Brady Augustine is co-owner and content creator for He currently resides in Tennessee and also conspires with brother, JR on

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