Packers film study: Rudy Ford’s breakout game | Rare Techy


The Green Bay Packers ended their five-game losing streak with a dramatic win over the Dallas Cowboys, and while rookie Christian Watson is getting all the national attention, safety Rudy Ford had a breakout game of his own.

In a 31-28 overtime win, Ford finished with four solo tackles, two pass deflections and a pair of interceptions to help swing the game. According to Pro Football Focus, Ford was Green Bay’s highest-rated linebacker, posting an 88.3 overall grade while playing 63 of the team’s 83 defensive snaps.

General manager Brian Gutekunst has hit home runs with his pro personnel department over the past couple of years, finding bargain players who have turned into stars. De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas became overnight stars for the Packers in 2021 for pennies on the dollar, and after watching the film, Gutekunst might have done it again with Ford.

As a running back, Ford is quick to launch downhill and shows good technique and playmaking power on the tackle. On the first defensive snap of the game, the Packers were comfortable enough with Ford’s run defense to essentially play him at inside linebacker, and he showed why defensive coordinator Joe Barry trusted him there when he attacked downhill and wrapped up Cowboys quarterback Tony Pollard. for a gain of just one yard.

In a more traditional safety role, Ford is definitely a run-support asset as an alley-oop. His aggressiveness and quickness when attacking downhill, along with his ability to take good pursuit angles, make him a reliable deep safety in run support. It’s a role that starting safety Darnell Savage has struggled with this season, which could be a big reason why the Packers wanted to give Ford more playing time.

Some of the plays weren’t worth the cut, but there are breaks where Ford shows great effort and aggression, even with little things like attacking a receiver when he’s down instead of just arm-wrestling him. As exciting a player as he has been in this stretch, his aggression can get the better of him at times.

On the play at the goal line, Ford had a chance to hit the Cowboys wide receiver away from the goal line, but his aggressiveness got the better of him and he missed the snap. With Jaire Alexander helping on the outside, Ford could have attacked the hip near the receiver, which would have allowed him and his teammates to contain the opponent and make a big stop.

Instead, Ford tried to overdo it and caught the outside hip, allowing CeeDee Lamb to cut inside to land.

In passing, Ford was able to grab a few picks due to his aggressiveness. Although it was a risky play, Ford felt confident on both interceptions, starting downhill as soon as his assignments broke on their routes, allowing him to jump in to intercept a pair of Dak Prescott passes.

Barry seems determined to find more ways to get Ford on the field, including these three-safety personnel packages. That also seems to help Savage, who played more of a DB role on Sunday, which could help make him a more effective player.

It’s only one game, but based on what we saw against the Cowboys, Ford has a chance to be a very solid contributor to Green Bay’s defense for the rest of the year.


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