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Capers Stays Safe And Strong

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Capers Stays Safe And Strong

The book has been written on how to move the ball on the 2011 edition of the Green Bay Packers defense, at least early on in games.

Teams are coming out in max protect calls, letting one or two wide receivers work out in routes with the occasional running back releasing underneath, and giving their quarterback ample time while he waits for his receivers to work open.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers seems content for teams to do this early, instead focusing on stopping the run and making the offense earn everything it gets before the defense clamps down in the red zone. It doesn't always keep opponents out of the end zone, obviously, but more often than not his squad has been up to the challenge.

Then, after watching the offense build a lead, Capers starts to dial up the pressure. It doesn't always yield results by way of a sack, but Capers' defense is getting plenty of hits on the quarterback as games go on.

It's telling that the defensive line did not yield a single pressure (sub required) against the Rams, despite Sam Bradford dropping back a whopping 48 times. B.J. Raji and company are coming up against not only the offensive line, but fullbacks and tight ends as well, extra protection that has been utilized in order to let the receivers work downfield.

If that has tempted Capers to dial up more early pressure, he hasn't shown it. He seems content to let teams move the ball early, lean on an improving red zone defense, and wait while the offense builds a lead before starting to call upon his pressure packages.

While this approach might be frustrating to watch (Loved Tom Silverstein's line today - "The Packers give away 400 yards like banks give away pens.") it's hard to argue with the results. Yes, they are giving away lots of yardage - but they are winning games.

Comments (14)

Ken's picture

With the way our offense is playing, the injuries were facing and that our defense doesn't need to play its best brand of football till two months from now, Capers is smart to let teams move the ball between the 20s.

I am starting to get concerned about Raji's snap count. It's not just the sheer number, it's also what he's asked to do on those snaps.

maxginsberg's picture

Raji's snap count worries me a little, but he's young and seems up to the challenge.

For his size, the man's physical conditioning is amazing.

RockinRodgers's picture

Why do you think Capers is going with this game plan? Is he adjusting to the personal that he has or is it trying to force other teams into keeping up with the Packers offense type thing.

packeraaron's picture

Partly due to personnel, partly because he has no need to try to press the issue.

BubbaOne's picture

Aaron, besides what you said in the article:
The D has missed Jenkins and now Neal's pass rushing and it has allowed opposing O's to double team Raji more, Zombo being out hasn't helped matters, Burnett is still technically a rookie learning to play the position, Shields also still learning and he's had a little sophomore regression and/or lost a little edge coming off the SB, losing Pro Bowler Collins not only caused a change in playing Peprah but a change in how Dom schemes the D overall, and Woodson and CM3 have been dinged up.

Chad Toporski's picture

Sorry, but the part about Woodson and CM3 being "dinged up" is complete BS.

Matthews was playing with a hairline fracture in his shin last year, and older guys like Clifton have nagging injuries practically every week.

These small injuries are insignificant to their performance this year, especially in comparison to last year.

packsmack25's picture

Points are all that matter. I didn't even know that the Chargers "led the league" in yardage allowed last year. I knew the 2 Super Bowl teams were 1-2 in points allowed though.

Right now, the Packers are tied for 7th in points allowed despite having played 2 of the top 10 teams in PPG (Somehow the Bears are #10?) I'll take that any day.

PackersRS's picture

Points and turnovers.

Luckily we excell at both.

Bearmeat's picture

Good stuff Aaron. It would be nice to shut down teams completely, and to sack/turnover the QB, but I'll take the double digit wins.

davyjones's picture

This is good stuff!!
A lot has been made about lack of sacks, but in terms of pressures--hurries & hits--I'm curious where we stack up league wide.
Also, I believe our turnover ratio is pretty exceptional. How many take aways do we have? How many INT's have been the result of some sort of pressure?

I like what we are doing.

davyjones's picture

I just saw the number--+7 turnover ratio.

They have 11 picks in 6 games. Averaging nearly 2 INT's a game is a damn good number, it seems to me. Now, I know we have a fine secondary, but some of that has to be attributed to some pressure up front.

petr's picture

I always use the redzone scoring percentage to measure how effective a defence is. Green Bay currently 4th best
http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/opponent-red-zone-scoring-pct

Yards don't score points!

bomdad's picture

Jeez, we've been spoiled to have back to back DPOY candidates. Those guys are knicked up, so is Tramon. Get'em healthy and then we'll see some domination in the cold weather of home playoff games.

jaydubya's picture

Great stuff Aaron! One can fuel a draqster to travel for a mile, but the engine won't last half that. Capers is pacing the players and saving horsepower for when it makes most sense. I hope to never meet Dom in a game of poker.

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