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Assuming are defense is in the middle of the pack next year..

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Brandon, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. ExpatPacker

    ExpatPacker Cheesehead

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    Patriots have 2 1st and 2 2nd round picks. From a draft standpoint they look ready to re-load.

    Regarding our defense and its problems, for those of you saying that if our offense continues to play at the level it did that we don't need a top defense, yes that is true. But it's also like playing Russian roulette or like putting all your eggs in one basket. As soon as the offense falters you lose, but if you have a defense that can make stops on 3rd down you still have a chance of winning.

    Take a look at the SB. Neither the Pats nor the Giants played like offensive juggernauts but their defenses played well enough to keep it close so that they both had a chance to win it in the end.

    Face it, our pass rush is bad and our ability to stop opposing teams on 3rd down conversions was equally as bad. The need for improvement is obvious, unless you don't care about ROdgers and Co. having a couple of more possessions per game.

    And let me give you a counter-example. Take a team that had a juggernaut offense like the Dallas Cowboys of Troy Aikman-Emmit Smith days. They also had a top defense didn't they? And that defense gave them the edge when other teams came to town like the Green Bay Packers with a young gunslinging Brett Favre and Reggie White threatening to knock them off their perch. They were just too strong on both sides of the ball for quite a while and they won 3 SBs because of it.
     
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  2. Bagadeez04

    Bagadeez04 Cheesehead

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    To call that Hail Mary a fluke is a serious mischaracterization. That was a 2 play complete and utter defensive meltdown that should never ever ever happen.

    I'll agree with you that the defense looked good at times in that game...but allowing those big huge broken plays is what killed them...as it did all year. The joke of a tackle by Peprah that Nicks then trotted in for a TD was also a big play.
     
  3. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    This post is certainly a contrast to those which blame the Packers defensive problems on the loss of two players. Some seem to say if the Packers had kept Jenkins and Collins hadn’t gotten hurt the Packers defense would have been fine. I don’t think that’s true but I am surprised those who do believe it haven’t jumped in to disagree with this post.

    There’s a possibility Collins comes back to play. And if he does, IMO he’s likely to be good as new after he knocks the rust off. If he does the combination of him and Burnett will be much, much better than Collins/Peprah or Burnett/Peprah. Burnett could return to his SS role and Collins would provide the CBs with the confidence knowing they have great deep help. His return would add another pro bowl player to the defense. The first order of business for the CBs is improving their tackling and that’s a realistically achievable goal, unlike trying to make a player like Walden a great pass rusher.

    And who says it takes two or three years for a rookie to become a good pass rusher? Clay Matthews had a pretty good rookie season rushing the passer and they don’t need that much pass rushing talent opposite him, because they already have Clay. No, if the Packers strike gold with a pass rusher at #28 he should help right away. And if he plays OLB he’ll have a great coach to work with. For those who think it was only the loss of Jenkins and Collins, that's the fix - the return of one player and the addition of one more and the defense should approximate the 2010 version, right?

    Anyone who is positive or “guarantees” the Packers defense will turn it around is either kidding themselves or attempting to kid us. But IMO extreme pessimism isn’t that far from that kind of extreme optimism. The Packers have a lot going for them and that’s not just a Packers fan looking through green & gold colored glasses: Objective observers have the Packers as the favorite to win it all next year. They have a prolific offense and competent special teams with a difference-maker at returner. They have playmakers on defense in Raji, Matthews, perhaps Collins and an aging Woodson. Of course they have to improve but IMO aren’t that far away, even if Collins doesn’t return. The benefit of Thompson’s system is an infusion of young talent every year that pushes vets along with the talent recently acquired. And he may dip into “second tier” free agency. Capers is a good coach and his staff is pretty good too. They are about to get a better than average infusion of talent on their side of the ball. Significant improvement isn’t guaranteed but it isn’t out of the question either. IMO it’s more likely than not. I don't think they'll be as good as the 2010 defense but I expect them to be significantly better than the 2011 version.
     
  4. fettpett

    fettpett Cheesehead

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    yeah, but they still have a lot of holes to fill.



    While Jenkins and Collins played a big role in the Defense playing poorly, so did other injuries. Williams, Bishop were two other big ones at various points. Throw in Hawk and just inconsistent play all year, and that the defense largely relied on the Offense to win games, and you can see why they fell apart in the playoffs.

    Hopefully TT will focus pretty heavily on Defense in the draft and get rid of bums like Peprah and Bush.
     
  5. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    And the Packers don't?? I'd rather be in the Pats draft position than ours. I agree on Peprah but there are plenty of other defensive players you could have mentioned ahead of Bush....who doesn't start btw.
     
  6. fettpett

    fettpett Cheesehead

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    The Packers don't have 20 Free Agents, and only a few holes to fill to make the defense decent which can be done in the Draft and a couple of cheap FA's.

    I just named a couple of guys off the top of my head, Bush is still a bum regardless of whether he starts or not. I wasn't naming them as specifically the only ones that need to go (which they both do), just that guys like them do.
     
  7. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    Bush is the best ST cover guy on the team. He may be too expensive to keep but he's very valuable in that role. BTW, running down the field at full speed crashing into bigger players on KOs and fighting two guys all the way down the field on punts is some of the toughest duty in the NFL. Bush is a tough SOB and I respect his contribution to the Packers.
     
  8. Bagadeez04

    Bagadeez04 Cheesehead

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    Well you can count me among those who believe that the loss of Collins and Jenkins is the primary cause of our defensive problems. The big loss was Jenkins though, since it seems that without him this team is incapable of applying a consistant pass rush. Of course there are other factors at play here, but I think the anemic pass rush has lead to more zone defenses and using 5th and 6th rushers to try to get pressure, which both of those things mean lots of big gaping holes in the secondary.

    I agree that getting Collins back would be huge...he is a very good player and I think has a settling effect on the secondary. But it is very unlikely that we draft a guy and he instantly is a pass rush stud...I understand it can happen (as with CM3 as you pointed out), but the large majority of time it takes a couple years to develop a good pass rusher at the NFL level...and a lot of times a guy who looks like a pass rush stud in college winds up being a bust in the pros (more often than not probably).

    The point of my post is that it will take time to get this defense back to being even decent IMO. I mean if you take a look at the Packers defenses of 2009, 2010 and 2011, which one was the fluke year?
     
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  9. fettpett

    fettpett Cheesehead

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    Great, but he can't cover for ****, which is what his role is suppose to be. I would rather have a younger guy that can contribute on Defense, particularly in the secondary than a guy that's best place is on ST's.
     
  10. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    I disagree. Bush’s primary role has been on STs. The reason the Titans signed him before the 2009 season and the reason the Packers matched that offer of more than $1M/year was not because of his play in the secondary. It’s because he was and is a ST ace. It is not Bush’s fault the failings of players like Lee, and others before him, to become what they were supposed to – cover CBs – caused Bush to be forced into that role. When Woodson can’t play, who takes his role on the defense?

    This is what McGinn had to say about Bush: “Nobody practices harder and is more committed to the team than Bush. Every day seems like Super Bowl Sunday for Bush. Once again, he probably was the finest player on special teams. He also was the most physical of the D-backs. He will throw his body around against linemen in the pass rush. He's a fine slot blitzer and an exceptional tackler.” He struggles in coverage – no doubt about that but so did others this past season. At least Bush also has very positive attributes to offer on STs and after this past season, the words “an exceptional tackler” ought to carry more weight than usual.

    Bush may be too expensive to keep but if he leaves, the coverage units will have to replace their best cover guy. It takes a unique individual to fill that role. Of course he has to have physical attributes like speed and strength. But IMO the most important attribute is guts. And Bush has that attribute in spades.
     
  11. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    Fettpett

    Bush isn't a bum on special teams and special teams are an important facet of the game. You are trivializing his importance there and special teams as a whole.

    The Pats may have 20 free agents but the only one of consequence is Wes Welker.
    The Pats may decide to slap him with the franchise tag, but most likely they will strike a long-term deal with him.
    If that happens, the Patriots will focus on these free agents: running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, wide receiver Deion Branch, pass rusher Mark Anderson, center Dan Koppen and special teams captain Matthew Slater.
    The core of their players are under contract.
     
  12. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    So if Collins returns you base your pessimism on the absence of one player because you say it’s unlikely the Packers can draft a player who can significantly improve the pass rush in his first season. I think (and hope) Thompson will be unusually focused on acquiring just such a player and IMO that increases the Packers’ chances of success. The last time that happened was 2009 when Thompson picked BJ Raji instead of the reportedly slightly higher rated Michael Crabtree. And then in his boldest move in the draft to date, he moved up into the first round to grab Clay Matthews.

    But you argue it takes a couple of years to become a difference-maker rushing the passer. I somewhat disagree since both Raji and Matthews contributed to the pass rush right away. If the Packers hit on a pass rusher in the first two rounds I think we’ll see pretty quickly if he’s the real deal or not and I would expect him to contribute right away. But that doesn’t contradict your point that pass rushers are hard to find. So if it takes a couple of years to fulfill their pass rushing potential, consider the list of youngsters on the roster. If the biggest jump in productivity happens between a player’s first and second season, Vic So’oto has a realistic chance of being the answer at ROLB (or LOLB if they move Clay back to the right side). He showed the most burst IMO and I believe all he has to do is master the defense. IMO that’s certainly a realistic possibility. And if Jamari Lattimore can add weight and strength, he has a chance to contribute to the pass rush, too.

    The Packers have a couple of players going into their third seasons who could improve the pass rush. The first is Mike Neal. IMO “all” he has to do is regain his quickness and he would finally provide the solid play vs. the run and the pass rush he was drafted to provide. I don’t know if he can do it or not but I have seen him be a difference-maker on the DL although admittedly for an all too brief period of time. Robert Francois flashed some potential although he’s certainly a long shot to be the answer. Even a few of players I have given up on have a chance like Frank Zombo, who made a big splash early in his career. And then there are the “unknowns” like Lawrence Guy who have an outside chance.

    IMO the most likely of those on the roster to improve the pass rush is So’oto. If Mike Neal can completely heal he’s got a great chance too. And I think Thompson has a decent chance of drafting a difference-maker on defense because that will be his focus. The others I’ve mentioned are all long shots to one degree or another but according to you if Collins returns, only one more difference-maker is needed. But what if more than one of the youngsters on the roster significantly improve? What if two draftees start and significantly contribute to the defense?

    Let’s a look at that. In Capers’ first year the Packers finished 7th in scoring defense in the league surrendering an average of 18.6 points per game (ppg). In 2010 they finished second at a 15.0 ppg and last season they finished 19th at 22.4 ppg. The average for Capers’ three years in Green Bay is 18.7 ppg and a ninth finish overall. 2009 was almost exactly the average ppg. 2010 was 3.7ppg better and 2011 was 3.7 ppg worse (all these numbers rounded to the nearest decimal point). So which was the “fluke” year? What if the defense just ‘regresses to the mean’ in the coming season?

    IMO the Packers have a fantastic offense, solid special teams and a very good GM and HC. I think Capers is a good DC and what he needs most is better talent. The Packers’ team-building model is to draft and develop and they go into this draft with more than their original 7 picks. Thompson and his staff are well above average drafters. And there are players on the roster who may develop and significantly contribute to the defense. Even though I've noted the potential contribution of several youngsters on the roster, IMO wild optimism is uncalled for. But so is being unduly pessimistic.
     
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  13. NYNeal

    NYNeal Cheesehead

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  14. NYNeal

    NYNeal Cheesehead

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    What I have learned about the NFL is each year is a completely different year. You can never assume anything. It's the oldest cliche in the book, but you really do have to take each game as it comes and not look ahead. The roster will be different even if it's only marginally, injuries are a key, players that step up their play, players whose play takes a step back, the schedule, and most important of all Lady Luck -- all are factors in how this team will play next season.
    I expect our offense to be very good and the defense has no where to go but up, but you just never know. If you had told me in the middle of the season that the Giants would have won the Super Bowl, I'd have laughed. But that's how quickly things change in the NFL these days.
     

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