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Packers' defense had erratic year

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    Green Bay - If you ask the Green Bay Packers, they will tell you their defense is on the cusp of doing great things.






    "I don't think we're too far," nose tackle Ryan Pickett said before departing for the off-season. "I think we learned a lot from those big losses. We learned a lot. The last four games we were pretty consistent. That's the first time we put a stretch that far together. I think we're real close."

    Looking just at the final four games, it would certainly appear that Pickett is right. The Packers held opponents to an average of 225 yards and 11 points during that stretch, forcing 13 turnovers and 12 sacks.

    In just four weeks, the Packers jumped from 29th in total defense to 12th, from 25th in turnover margin to 17th and from 13th in third-down efficiency to fourth.

    Everything would seem to be great heading into the off-season.

    But if coach Mike McCarthy were to ignore the first 12 games, when the Packers were gushing big plays, giving up passing touchdowns at an alarming rate, blowing assignments almost every game and playing as though the unit was thrown together that very day, he'd be risking a major oversight.

    "It'd be convenient for me to sit here and say that they were growing pains - some of it was," McCarthy said. "But there are definite identifiers that we need to go back and look at and make sure we get it ironed out because we cannot have that again.

    "To go through the stretch that we went through with the explosive gains, and be so productive in other areas, there's something wrong there. We just need to make sure that doesn't happen again."

    McCarthy said he will do a complete evaluation of his assistant coaches to make sure they weren't the source of the problem. He will obtain feedback from players on what went right and what went wrong and try to identify the problem.

    The fact the Packers played offenses that rank 26th, 22nd, 23rd and 15th in the final four weeks might explain why things came together so well at the end. One of those games was against a rookie making his first start and the last was against a team with nothing to play for.

    For those who forgot, the Packers opened up the season giving up 23 "explosive" plays, which the coaches define as runs of more than 12 yards and pass completions of more than 16. Even when the number of plays was reduced, the timing of the ones that occurred was devastating, such as Lee Evans' 43-yard touchdown in the Buffalo game.

    The chemistry on the unit seemed all wrong.

    "Naturally you think about that, but you think about, 'Man, are we ever going to get it right?' " Pickett said. "That's when you're struggling. But the coaches did a good job, Coach McCarthy, Coach (Bob) Sanders. They stayed the same throughout the storm. Coach Sanders never went away from what he was teaching as we struggled.

    "They really got us to buy into it. That's all we did."

    The Packers stand to have all 11 of their starters back next season. The only player not under contract is defensive end/tackle Cullen Jenkins, who will be a restricted free agent. The Packers can match any offer he receives and may try to sign him to a long-term deal before free agency begins.

    Should injured players such as safety Marviel Underwood, cornerback Will Blackmon and defensive tackle Kenderick Allen develop, they'll have more depth than they did this past season.

    But the schedule will be more difficult and the mistakes of 2006 will be in the back of the minds of everyone who played this season. No one can count on next season starting the way last season ended.
     
  2. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    I hate the title. Erratic? That makes it sound like it was off,on,off,on,off,on,off,off,on,off and that just wasn't the case.

    It was just BAD...then got OK.....then got GOOD(last 4 games).
     
  3. packerfan1245

    packerfan1245 Cheesehead

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    our safties were the bigest problem, and might be a problem in 07, but you just dont knw with them. One thing thats no doubt will be good are the linbackers.
     
  4. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

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    Even though Pickett, Hawk, Poppinga, Woodson, and Manuel were all new I thought we had a chance to be a top 10 defense. It took them much longer to produce than I thought it would.

    Taking care of Jenkins is a top priority and then we have the entire group back plus guys like Underwood, Culver, Blackmon, etc, and any new guys coming in to push the starters.

    I see no reason to think we will not be that top 10 defense next year and should come out in the early games with a defense that will help us win games vs. one that lost a few for us at the beginning of the season.
     

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