The Five: Blake Martinez, Week 1 At Jacksonville
In his NFL debut, Martinez started to earn the respect of his teammates and held the Jaguars to 48 rushing yards over 26 carries. Playing alongside second-year linebacker Jake Ryan, Martinez looked right at home in the middle of the defense. You could hardly tell it was his first NFL game.
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What Went Right
Martinez finished with the third-most tackles on the team and notched five solo tackles of his own. He has clearly earned the trust of defensive coordinator Dom Capers - and unlikely feat for a rookie - and wore the communication headset for the defense. He also made a terrific open field tackle on Jacob Schum’s first punt, lunging at returner Rashad Greene while CB Dwayne Gratz was trying to block him.
What Went Wrong
When Bortles looked to check down to T.J. Yeldon in the first quarter, Martinez took a bad angle and needed to make a diving shoestring tackle to save the play from going any further. Through the game when a lineman engaged Martinez on the second level, rarely did the linebacker hold his ground. It’s understandable, given the size disadvantage, but he’ll need to start shedding blocks as the season progresses.
There’s no place to go but up for a rookie in the NFL after their first week. Martinez did exactly what I’d imagine the Packers expected - tackle well and get the defense properly lined up. If the rookie out of Stanford continues to improve, the Packers may have found a long-term replacement for A.J. Hawk’s position.