4 Downs: Dougherty on Packers' loss
Every week I'll share four quick thoughts the day after the Green Bay Packers' game. Here they are after the Packers' 18-16 loss to Detroit on Sunday:
First down: So much for Jeff Janis getting any meaningful playing time at receiver. The second-year pro went from sharing the No. 4 receiver duties with Jared Abbrederis last week to being the clear-cut No. 5 receiver Sunday. In fact, he even lost his spot as the safety in the Packers’ kneel-down formation, which they used on the final play of the first half. Abbrederis at least showed well in extended playing time. He got open and caught four passes for 57 yards before having to leave the game in the fourth quarter after taking a hard shot in the back that injured his ribs.
Second down: Datone Jones played well enough in the first half of the season that the Packers now are finding a way to get him on the field more. He’d primarily been playing as an inside rusher in the dime defense and occasionally in the nickel. But on Sunday defensive coordinator Dom Capers had a new nickel package in which Jones played as a defensive end. Capers used it mostly on early downs when there was a greater chance of the Lions running.
Third down: One of the surprises Sunday was fourth-round pick Jake Ryan not playing a snap on defense after playing 38 last week at Carolina in place of benched Nate Palmer. Ryan appears to play faster and more instinctively, but Capers went back to Palmer after benching him in the second quarter last week. The Packers’ defense played well overall Sunday in holding Detroit to 287 yards in total offense and 18 points, but I would have bet on Ryan being the starter.
Fourth down: The Packers are gaining a high degree in confidence in rookie cornerback Damarious Randall, and rightfully so. Capers chose not to match No. 1 cornerback Sam Shields on the great Calvin Johnson wherever he lined up Sunday, and instead had Shields cover him when Johnson lined up on the defense’s right side, Randall when Johnson lined up to the defense’s left. However, when Randall left the game for a few plays because of a groin injury, the Packers had Shields cover him no matter where he lined up. When Randall returned, they went back to the former way, and Randall rewarded them by breaking up a pass over the middle to Johnson late in the fourth quarter.