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Packers' defense picks up steam !!!

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by WinnipegPackFan, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. WinnipegPackFan

    WinnipegPackFan Cheesehead

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    Packers' defense picks up steam
    Posted: Friday, Dec 22, 2006 - 11:57:30 pm CST

    Latest efforts provide reason for optimism

    GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - It took all season, and it's happening against some pretty rotten offenses. But the Green Bay Packers defense finally is playing like it was supposed to this year.

    No, shutting down San Francisco, Detroit and Minnesota doesn't make the Packers defense the second coming of the 1985 Chicago Bears. But even if their improvement has come against less-than-stellar offenses, Packers coach Mike McCarthy still considers it a legitimate step forward.

    “Anytime you line up, it's legitimate,” McCarthy said. “I know you can swing it any way you want with a rookie quarterback or Detroit's situation, too. But it starts up front, and the attitude and the energy that they're playing with, it's exciting to watch.”


    Only four days after holding the injury-riddled Detroit Lions to only 142 net yards on offense, the Packers dominated the Minnesota Vikings offense in a 9-7 victory at Lambeau Field on Thursday night.

    The Vikings managed only three first downs all game - their worst total in franchise history - as rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson completed only 10 passes for 50 yards in his first career start.

    Linebacker Nick Barnett said the team gave a game ball to defensive coordinator Bob Sanders.

    “This is an emotional time, to beat Minnesota here at home, our last home game, his last home game,” Barnett said. “It's just great to be able to give him a win.”

    Sanders' future in Green Bay was a hot topic after the defense broke down completely in losses to New England, Seattle and the New York Jets in recent weeks.

    “Bob's done a great job just staying the course with the system,” McCarthy said. “And once again, I think the biggest thing you're seeing from our defense is the continuity, the consistency, and the energy.”

    Was the victory over the Vikings their best defensive effort of the season?

    “I think so, because we didn't have a lot of mental errors out there on defense,” Barnett said. “We played solid, fundamental defense, made tackles when they caught the ball. When the big plays came to us, we made those big plays, and that's what it's about.”

    That what the Packers expected from their defense all season. Green Bay hoped to cover up its inexperience on offense with a reliable defense. They already had a top-level cornerback in Al Harris, and added marquee free agent Charles Woodson on the other side.

    They re-signed defensive end Aaron Kampman, and brought in free agent safety Marquand Manuel - whom general manager Ted Thompson deemed an upgrade over former Mark Roman, a move that has been hotly debated this season.

    But the Packers defense gave up a stunning number of big plays early in the season, including seven touchdowns of 25 yards or more in the first four games.

    “You kind of kick yourself,” Kampman said. “You think about all of the games that we (threw away), Buffalo, New Orleans, Rams, somebody stop me. There was a couple of games there that we had a chance. I'm excited about finishing up strong here.”

    They settled down in the middle of the season - only to be embarrassed by New England, Seattle and the New York Jets in recent weeks.

    McCarthy said the Packers didn't make a whole lot of changes to correct flaws in the defense. Players, he said, are just playing with better fundamentals and more energy.

    “The defense we had coming out of the preseason and training camp, I definitely thought that was going to be the strength of our football team,” McCarthy said. “And now we're at crunch time and they've stepped to the forefront.”

    Kampman got another three sacks on Thursday night, bringing his total to a league-leading 15 1/2. Kampman said he couldn't do it without good coverage by the Packers' defensive backs and pressure by his fellow defensive linemen.

    “It's such a team effort,” Kampman said. “Our team is really coming together, especially I can speak for the defensive side. Just so, so thankful. It's a great win, a great gift for Christmas.”
     

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