Dee Milliner had a rough third quarter on Sunday. He was in coverage for completions of 33 and 80 yards against Jordy Nelson. Dee was coming off a serious ankle injury, and judging from his comments he might not have been fully healed.
I don't doubt the ankle was an issue, but I think a few other things might have been at work here.
We'll start with the 33 yarder. On this one I get the feeling Dee might have been expecting safety help over the top. What makes me say this? Let's start by taking a look at the defensive alignment presnap.
Dee is lined up at the top of the picture there. You can see he is more aggressive than Darrin Walls on the other side. You can also see the high safety Calvin Pryor is shaded to Dee's side. While nobody knows what the actual play call was aside from those in the huddle and the coaches, this suggests there might have been safety help on the menu.
There also was a point where it looked like Dee let up a little bit when he was looking back on Aaron Rodgers. The announcers on the broadcast caught it. Why didn't the help come?
Randall Cobb is in the middle of the field occupying Pryor's attention. The safety is generally responsible first for the guy closer to the middle of the field first. Cobb's presence keep Pryor home and gives Rodgers a one on one on the outside, one he decisively attacks.
On the touchdown, although the ankle might have been a problem, I think Dee might have been fooled a little bit.
He's step for step with Nelson early.
Nelson takes his route upside but then swings upfield.
Dee first move looks like he's going to try and undercut Nelson. This is also the point where Rodgers plants his back foot, the time a throw would come out. It seems plausible Milliner thought the ball was being thrown on an out route.
Milliner gets turned all the way around. As Wyatt discussed last night, Calvin Pryor then takes a bad angle as the last line of defense, and then Nelson will see us all in the funny pages.
This is only an interpretation. Without being in the huddle, I cannot say for sure. I'm sure the ankle was a problem when he had to change direction and catchup. The problems also might have had something to do with play design and the cornerback just getting fooled.