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Is this defense really any good?

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TOPackerFan, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I usually think Bob McGinn is an idoit, but a lot of this rings true to me.

    Bates' defense OK, not miraculous

    Green Bay - One myth a season has been pretty much par for the course when it comes to the Green Bay Packers. This year, it seems to be that Jim Bates has been a miracle-worker for his performance coordinating the team's defense.

    This myth got started in the spring when Bates showed his energetic, rah-rah style of coaching in the minicamps.

    It gained ground in training camp when Bates kept preaching his message of simplistic but fundamentally sound defense and the veteran players kept praising him for giving them an identity.

    Then it appeared to become established as truth over the last 2 1/2 months when the Packers were never out of any game and the defensive ranking in terms of total yards allowed was superior to its final resting place of 25th a year ago. Today, the Packers are No. 10 in the category many people cite as the be-all and end-all when it comes to determining effectiveness.

    Bates has been an improvement over his predecessor, Bob Slowik. He brought boundless enthusiasm, natural leadership ability and the Jimmy Johnson system of defense that won three Super Bowls.

    But Bates himself would admit that he has been anything but a man of miracles. He's a solid coach and his first defense in Green Bay after 10 games has been OK. To go any further would be making myths.

    The Packers are 2-8 for many reasons, and they all don't involve the offense and special teams. The defense clearly must shoulder its share of the blame, too.

    In five of the eight defeats, the Packers either were ahead, tied or within a touchdown of the lead with less than 8 minutes remaining. Those five offenses (Detroit, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Minnesota twice) presently rank 27th, 20th, 21st and 25th in total yards. Yet, in each case, they found ways to beat the Packers, including three times at Lambeau Field.

    Has the Green Bay defense done it when it had to do it? The answer is no. And there can be no greater indictment of a defense than that.

    In the opener at Detroit, the Packers trailed, 10-3, with 7 minutes 35 seconds left. With Joey Harrington at the controls, the Lions marched 58 yards in seven plays for the clinching touchdown. Bates tried a six-man pressure on second and 5, and Charles Rogers beat Ahmad Carroll deep for 31 yards. On third and goal at the 3, nickel back Joey Thomas blew a coverage against a man in motion, and Mike Williams beat him for the touchdown pass. The Lions won, 17-3.

    The next week, the Packers dominated the second half only to lose, 26-24, when the defense blew coverage on a pair of touchdown passes by Cleveland's Trent Dilfer. The first, a short slant to Braylon Edwards, became an 80-yard touchdown when Thomas and Nick Collins were out of position in a six-man pressure. Then, with the Packers trailing, 19-17, and 3:32 left, the Browns went 80 yards in five plays to score on a 62-yard touchdown pass to Steve Heiden. Bates rushed seven, Dilfer got the ball out and, when Mark Roman blew the tackle 8 yards downfield, the tight end ran free to the end zone.

    One week later, the Packers trailed Tampa Bay, 17-16, with 5:03 left when the Buccaneers started from their 31. Despite making uncharacteristic use of eight-man fronts on three plays in a row, Bates' unit allowed Carnell Williams & Co. to run 10 plays, gain 48 yards and run the clock down until it read 0:00. Everyone in the stadium knew Williams would get the ball, but the Packers could not stop him.

    At the Metrodome, the Packers led, 17-0, at halftime before falling apart on defense. The Vikings' five second-half possessions resulted in five scores and 23 points. With the Packers leading, 17-13, and 7:46 left, the defense gave up a nine-play, 83-yard touchdown drive. When the Packers tied the score with 17 seconds showing, Thomas misplayed a sideline coverage giving up a 12-yard completion and Paul Edinger had a chance to kick a 56-yard field goal.

    And then, last Monday night, the defense took the field with the score tied and the Vikings starting from their 33 with 2:59 left and a makeshift offensive line in front of a puss-armed backup quarterback in Brad Johnson. Three rushes gained 18 yards and a pass gained 8. On second and 2 with 53 seconds showing, Jason Horton made the most monumental of mental mistakes by playing zone when the coverage was supposed to be man-to-man. The result was Johnson's 35-yard lob over his head, another last-second field goal by Edinger and a crushing 20-17 defeat.

    Mike Sherman fired Ed Donatell in January 2004 not only because of fourth and 26 in Philadelphia but also the three games that year in which the opponent drove 65, 65 and 77 yards to win tight games in the closing minutes. This season is just 10 games old and already Bates' unit has folded in 50% of the games with the outcome at hand against offenses quarterbacked by Harrington, Dilfer, Brian Griese, a struggling Daunte Culpepper and Johnson.

    Now let's glance back at the other five games.

    The defense gave up 32 points in Carolina, but bad field position was a contributing factor. Allowing just one first down in the fourth quarter gave the offense a chance to win late in a 32-29 defeat.

    Against New Orleans, the defense played spectacularly by forcing five turnovers, all of which were the result of terrific plays, in a 52-3 victory.

    The unit was very good all the way in Cincinnati against the Bengals' prolific attack, but it was another loss, 21-14, as Brett Favre tossed five interceptions.

    Facing a Pittsburgh offense that was without Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis, the defense allowed merely 213 yards but couldn't stop Duce Staley down the stretch and lost, 20-10.

    The defense's finest performance came in the 33-25 triumph over Atlanta. There was the sensational hustle resulting in three fumble recoveries, the remarkable containment of quarterback Michael Vick and the shutdown of the NFL's top-ranked ground game.

    To his credit, Bates has not pleaded poverty about the personnel he was handed by Sherman and Ted Thompson. It isn't anywhere near as good as he was used to having in Miami the previous five seasons, but with intense coaching by Bates and his staff the personnel has turned out to be adequate.

    His situation has been helped by the break on injuries. The eight starters on the line and in the secondary have been intact all season. At linebacker, Na'il Diggs had to sit out six games, but it's uncertain how much the current staff values him, anyway.

    Bates has done his best work on first down and preventing the big play. The Packers rank fifth in yards allowed on first down at 4.56 and have given up 26 plays of 20 yards or more, down from 45 at this point last season.

    The problem areas are red-zone defense, in which the Packers rank 23rd at 55.2%, and turnovers, in which they are tied for 19th with 15. They do a much better job out in the field than down by the goal-line. They rank 19th against the run and 18th in points allowed.

    One possible reason why the Packers don't force more turnovers is their fairly basic system of coverage and blitz. Most quarterbacks don't appear confused by what Bates is doing. Blitzing Al Harris from the slot has worked at times, but the cost has been to remove him from coverage.

    Bates is blitzing more than his track record suggested he would. He has rushed five or more on 28.1% of dropbacks, just a notch down from the 29.4% by both Donatell in 2003 and Slowik in ’04. The major difference is in use of zone blitzes. Bates has dropped one or more defensive linemen into coverage on merely 5.4% of his blitzes compared to 12.6% for Slowik and 13.7% for Donatell in ’03. If that figure holds up, it would be the lowest in Green Bay since Fritz Shurmur zone-blitzed just 2.3% in ’98.
    Although Bates has harped on tackling, his unit has missed 72 tackles by subjective count compared with 55 last season in the same number of games.

    The Packers' rank of 10th in yards allowed has been helped by the fact they've almost never been way ahead. The Saints were so pathetic that they couldn't even move the ball in garbage time. In fact, the only so-called "garbage" yardage against Green Bay was 81 by Atlanta.

    Also rendering the Packers' rank so misleading is the lack of good offenses and quarterbacks they've faced. The Bengals have had the only top-10 offense and Carson Palmer is the only top-10 passer.

    From here on, the Packers will see offenses ranked eighth, 28th, 27th, 26th, 28th and first and quarterbacked by rookies, backups and just one good player, Matt Hasselbeck.

    The situation later this afternoon in Philadelphia should be tailor-made for a real defense to dominate. Without Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and three starting offensive linemen, the Eagles have next to nothing on offense, which had been their only strength in a brutal season. Mike McMahon will be operating by the seat of his pants.

    Defenses are best measured by take-aways, points allowed, rushing yield and victories, not total yards. Miracle-worker? Much can change in six weeks, but Jim Bates surely hasn't been one yet.
     
  2. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    every time i see a botched tackle or blown coverage, its either Carroll(obviously), Roman(obviously), or they run to KGBs side(they ran left a LOT today). There isnt much Bates can do when he has (as Ron Wolf would say) NFL Europe players. Our LBs arent great, but they arent BAD like the other guys. Bates just needs NFL Caliber players.
     
  3. yourout

    yourout Cheesehead

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    D is good enough to win. Again this one is on the O and the special teams. Our special teams have been average at best for the last 4 or 5 years and it is time for a special teams coaching change. And anyone that thinks Sanders is anything but a bust is deluding themselves. This is two weeks in a row that he has averaged 36 yards per kick. Not acceptable in the NFL.
     
  4. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I guess you missed Barnett today?
     
  5. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    um, ok. a missed tackle by barnett...

    i was talking about guys who are consistent, consistent at missing tackles...
     
  6. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I'm talking about people who consistently miss tackles at key times. Barnett reminds me of Sharper. Great at making plays when they don't matter.
     
  7. musccy

    musccy Cheesehead

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    you are right TOPF...Barnett, seems to either overpersue, or miss tackles.

    however, I'm still content w/ the play of the defense. As was pointed out, they have some major personel flaws, yet have generally kept the Pack in games while the offense did all they could to take them out of games.
     
  8. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I agree with you musccy that this D has been pretty good but I would not characterize this as a top 10 D nor would I annoint Bates as being some kind of miracle worker. I think Bates gest too much praise and Sherman too much blame.
     
  9. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    TO, Bates gets praised so much because he has ultimately turned around the disaster of a D that Slo made. Bates has done a very good job, and given the type of players he has, made the D overachieve. Some of the credit goes to Bates no doubt. I agree about MS too. Injuries have ravashed the Pack, and you can only do so much with replacement players, regardless of what is shown in the movies.
     
  10. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I know why he gets the praise, I just think many people seem to think he walks on water, which is ridiculous. The defense is average at best (though that would have got us to the NFC championship last year).
     
  11. PackFanatic

    PackFanatic Cheesehead

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    aww come non now think about it "D" has gone from 25th to 10/11th next year should be better.


    get rid of rossley n all is bettah
     
  12. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    You know what is funny, Pack either have excellent O and crap D, or in this case, Decent D and Crap O. Its one or the other, never both.
     
  13. musccy

    musccy Cheesehead

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    No doubt the d has improved, but look at the vikes games...how many "MS can't adjust" posts do we see on these boards, but Bates and the D, after containing the run in the first half, were lit up in the 2nd half by the Vikes.

    Bates has done a great job, but as TOPF said, he's given a bit too much credit, and there is a bit of a double standard that exists.
     
  14. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    Yes, in total yards allowed, but there is a lot more to a defense than that and we're 18th in points allowed and something like 20th in red zone defense which are much more important statistical categories than total yards allowed IMO.
     
  15. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    FYI...i only saw the first quarter and a lil bit of the second before leaving to come back to college...i really had no desire to watch the game today...

    Comments...

    -Aaron Kampman--continue to prove me wrong!!!! forced fumble, excellent in run support

    -Grady Jackson--its time to put this old (and fat, out of shape) horse out to pasture)...he was the biggest guy on the field, and several times i saw him get pushed back on every play

    -Kabeer Gbaja-Biamillia--way to run yourself out of every play, pass or run, he just made a beeline 5-7 yards downfield, and either ran past the play or allowed mchmahon an opportunity to flee the pocket by losing contain

    --those are the only comments i have, i know the defense plays better fundamentally this year but we don't have talent...i like colin cole and cullen jenkins for next year, but we also need a destructive force to fill the role grady could once play


    ...for those of you who watched all game, gimme a scouting report on ahmad carroll, did he commit a penalty? i didn't see one in the portion i saw
     
  16. ArizonaPackerFan

    ArizonaPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I think Bates has made the defense respectable, but it's still undermanned. I'd still take Bates over Slowik any day of the week.
     
  17. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    It's awesome the difference Bates has made over Slowik. When Slowik was appointed I even as a fan couldn't respect him as a DC and I always try to give a positive outlook on new people. With him I just couldn't, I think maybe I had someone else in mind so I was bias. I dunno.
     
  18. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    Jwalk, Carroll gave up one pass and didn't commit a penalty he was pretty solid actually.
     
  19. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    I'm in no way calling for Bates' head nor am I calling for Slowik to come back I just think that defensive statistics in particular are misleading.
     
  20. Raider Pride

    Raider Pride Cheesehead

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    You make a good point T.O.

    I can not see where anyone would think your post was calling for his head.

    RP
     
  21. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    yeah

    i notice a lot of defensive improvements throughout the season

    however...in a season where the offense is obviously not capable of winning games on their own, the defense needs to step up and pick up the slack, as the offense has for all these seasons...for example i was very dissapointed with the mewelde moore parade last monday...the stats are alright, we're certainly better off defensively than years past

    what pissed me off is...the left side of the eagles' line had what, 2 prior starts...i was pissed at bates' ability to mix it up and find ways to force pressure and break through what was a very young, patchwork offensive line

    jim bates system is working, he seems like a "player's coach"...teamwork is evident on this defense, we're just NOT THAT GOOD, and i hope the need for some more defensive talent is addressed this offseason

    and i'm all for trading kgb, i'm sick of him
     
  22. dhpackr

    dhpackr Cheesehead

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    the packers d is ranked as # 10, but the packers d can't seem to stop opposing offenses when the game is on the line!
     
  23. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    McGinn gets it about right--and it's not too often I say that about McGinn. This is an average defense. The #10 ranking in yardage is misleading because the Packers have trailed often, and other teams have been able to play conservative offense, knowing the Packers probably aren't going to score much. But when the game is on the line, this defense crumbles time after time.
     
  24. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    really, its great to see improvement

    MY THEORY...

    do you think joey thomas was axed to ease ahmad caroll's anxiety levels about losing his starting jobs...

    i mean thomas was solid, nothing spectacular, but nothing that a 3rd or 4th round pick can't replace this april...ahmad carroll has all the physical ability in the world but something has kept him from fulfilling his talents

    carroll's improvements have been on a major upswing since joey thomas was released...think about it
     
  25. dhpackr

    dhpackr Cheesehead

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    ..

    do you think joey thomas was axed to ease ahmad caroll's anxiety levels about losing his starting jobs...

    sorry, i feel thomas was cut b/c he can't tackle, run, or learn the defence.
     

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