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Defense Needs To Do "Just Enough" To Get Packers Back To The Super Bowl

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Defense Needs To Do "Just Enough" To Get Packers Back To The Super Bowl

"You are what you are" Bill Parcells once famously said, and Packers fans would do well to take heed, stop worrying and enjoy the ride.

The 2011 version of your Green Bay Packers is an offensive wonderment with a defense that will bleed yardage but keep the opponents score low enough for the offense to either blow out or at least to stay in striking distance. Throw in an excellent punter and coverage unit to win the field position battle more often than not along with a kicker who makes far more than he misses - and that, ladies and gentlemen, is your team.

Yes, the run defense needs to get Ryan Pickett back in the worst way, but his return won't solve the revolving door at right outside linebacker or give A.J. Hawk the ability to stop ball carriers in their tracks rather than be dragged three or four extra yards.

I hear you out there now - "D.J. Smith needs to play for Hawk!" - and we might even see some of that in the next few games. But one look at Smith's play against the Chiefs can tell you all you need to know about how far he has to go yet. Yes, he's a tackling machine, but one who is prone to over-pursuing and easily confused by play-action.

The biggest issue when it comes to the defense is the regression we've seen from guys we saw playing at a high level last year when complimenting star players like Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews, almost across the board. Guys such as A.J. Hawk, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, and Howard Green have all taken a step back in their games. Adding to that effect are the the season-ending injury to Nick Collins along with the departure of Cullen Jenkins, events which led to reliance on Morgan Burnett and Mike Neal, one player whose play has been wildly inconsistent and one who spent the season on the bench and then made minimal impact when he finally saw the field.

Now, this defense still has enough talent to get the Packers to the Super Bowl. Getting Pickett back will help stop the bleeding on the ground, if not exactly be the panacea most are hoping for. Clay Matthews, while not the pass rushing demon we may have thought he was coming into the 2011 season, is an actual all-around excellent football player. B.J. Raji has started to wreak havoc across the line of scrimmage the way he did late in the 2010 campaign. What Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers needs to do is simplify his blitzes, especially on third downs where the offense needs less than five yards. Too often teams are able to use simple blitz-beaters against his fire-zone blitzes that result in first downs.

But the simplest thing Capers can do, and he obviously knows this, is to get the likes of Pickett and Raji to spearhead a turnaround of the run defense, especially on first down. Even the slightest improvement on first down will help Capers open up what he likes to do on third down, which is bring blitzers from all across the field. When the opposing team is constantly facing 3rd and 3 or 4 rather than 3rd and 8 or 9, the degree of difficulty goes up greatly for Capers and his pressure packages.

With all of this said, this Packers team still rises and falls on the arm of Aaron Rodgers, and nothing about the playoffs, playing in the cold, or the other contenders will change this. There has been lots of talk over the last few weeks about how the Packers could be "in trouble" if any number of other teams ended up in Lambeau in January. Both the upstart 49ers and the sizzling Saints have Packers fans quaking in their boots.

Which is just pitiful.

The Green Bay Packers are the best, deepest team in football, and nothing that has happened in the last two weeks has changed that. Their offensive line will be getting healthier in the playoffs, as will their wide receiving corps. Those two position groups, more than any others outside of quarterback, will go a long way in determining the outcome in both the Divisional and hopefully, the NFC Championship Game. The defense simply needs to do "just enough" - in other words, keep bending and not breaking more than they bend and break. There's no magic fix, no silver bullet in the form of a lineup change, that is going to transform this defense into something it isn't. What it is, an opportunistic bunch who is trying to paper over a bunch of cracks - will have to do.

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Ken's picture

Hard to disagree with any of this.

We need to make teams drive 10-12 plays. Even though it limits our possessions, we are all-time good at scoring efficiency. Trading TDs for FGs is good business for the Pack.

PackersRS's picture

That's why we saw a lot more cushions last game.

Capers' way of playing the Tampa 2 philosophy.

If Bishop can step up in pass coverage like he did last season (He'll get healthier, and he seems very motivated. Also, don't expect Hawk to), and the other OLB and DEs step up a little bit their game(Zombo back/So'oto on 3rd downs, Neal played better the second half, got some nice push), it'll go a long ways.

The defense played much, much better the second half, which gives me hope, together will all the reasoning Nagler eloquently described.

I might add that there's some things that don't and won't have a cure this season. Peprah will be exploited every game on at least 2 plays. He's simply too slow to start in this defense (he was still the best option available for another number of reasons, knowledge the most important). CJ Wilson and Jarius Wynn will be run over in the run, and will offer little in pass rush. They're simply bad players, and that won't change in this time span. Hawk will still get carried for extra yardage, and will still be a step late in any horizontal route. Shields will still be exploited, and cannot play press coverage.

Those are a lot of problems, but the positives far outweight those.

fish/crane's picture

there are no bad players in the NFL.

PackersRS's picture

Compared to what?

Oppy's picture

Disagree on CJ Wilson. I think we can say Wilson has been up and down on his limited snaps throughout the season, but he has been showing improvement and I think he is on his way to being a mainstay on this defense in some capacity or another.

He may not ever be a game changer, but I think he is quietly developing into a reliable cog.. And I think by mid next season he'll be looked upon as a solid player vs. the run.

PackersRS's picture

That's why I say right now.

I'm not saying they're not worth being on the roster, that they don't have a future.

I'm saying their current play is not sufficient for us to win a SB, and that it's not going to change this season.

Colin's picture

Great stuff.

pbmax's picture

Good article. How much of the regression can be attributed to the coaches? Does this year make it less likely that Whitt or Moss will leave?

Oppy's picture

I have wondered if Joe WHitt, JR is the coach he's advertised to be.

I have no way of knowing what goes on in the meetings, the CB room, or at the practices.

The only reason I wonder is this: How many successful CB's have the Packers developed?

Tramon Williams. You could say Sam Shields, and I don't want to diminish what he did last season, or how he's played this season (Which isn't great, but isn't horrible when considering he's an UFA in his second season)... But SHields hasn't done enough to prove he's the real deal quite yet. He's talented, but he's not a finished product.

Keep in mind the Packers have brought ALOT of young, athletic, promising CB talent through the door, and Tramon Williams is the only one that we can definitively point at and say has really flourished under coach Whitt. The Vets (HArris and Woodson) have respected the younger Whitt, but is that because he's a DB coaching dynamo, or because he deferred to their veteran savvy? Hard to say, but there are a lot of Bush's, Blackmon's, Lee's etc. out there that haven't 'come around' under Packers' tutelage. Could be a weak spot in our drafting philosophies, as well. Who Knows?

PackersRS's picture

Great point.

Idiot Fan's picture

Tramon took some time to develop, though I feel like we all saw the potential there. Given how long Shields has been playing CB, he of course has much to learn, but in my TOTALLY GM-LIKE ABILITY to evaluate talent, I feel like I see that same potential. Then again, I don't feel like Shields has been as bad this year as many have claimed, so what do I know? A LOT. Or maybe not.

Oppy's picture

Joe Whitt, Jr. said that Shields is going to be one of the best defensive backs in the league once he got coached up.. And that was before the start of the regular season in 2010.

In fact, his collegiate coaches seemed to think the same thing- they knew he'd be a great CB the second they saw him take snaps at CB when, for a change of pace, they had offensive players and defensive players switch sides of the ball for practice one day.

Everyone seems to agree that Sam Shields is a natural for the position. So he'll be a great litmus test for Coach Whitt.. Can he develop a kid who everyone thinks has unparallelled talent to play CB at a consistently high level?

IowaPackFan's picture

Shields is one of the worst performing CBs this year according to Football Outsiders.

http://footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2011/early-look-2011-cb-charting

However, some of GB's drop in CB performance this year can be attributed to the anemic pass rush vs. last year. It's a lot easier to stick with your guy when the QB only has 2 seconds to throw.

It would be intersting to examine good secondary performance in relation to pass rush success. My hunch is that those teams with great pass rushes generally have better than average secondaries.

Big Mikey's picture

Blackmon & Lee were both derailed by severe knee injuries, making them slower and less athletic than when they were drafted. Not saying they were destined to be pro-bowlers, but both saw their potential cut short.

Also, can anyone tell us which NFL teams are consistently developing quality NFL corners out of 2nd to 5th round picks, UFAs, etc? I'm guessing it's a very short list.

Oppy's picture

Fair points, but I don't know that Blackmon or Lee ever even flashed on the field at CB, even prior to their injuries. To be fair, I don't even know that Will was ever seriously considered more than a body at CB at all- he was clearly coveted for his return skills

packsmack25's picture

The defense gives up fewer points than all but 11 teams, the offense scores more than any other team, and people are THIS worried? It drives me crazy. Yardage stats are garbage stats. This ain't fantasy, you can't score with yardage.

Oppy's picture

Packsmack, I agree..I am glad that others are finally starting to speak reason amidst all the ledge-jumping.

The defense could clearly be much improved, but they are NOT a bad defense at the end of the day. They are what they are, slightly above average where it counts, and that's on the scoreboard.. The allowance of long, yardage eating drives is something that needs fixing, but it isn't really a major concern to a team with an offense capable of moving the ball 80+ yards and scoring in short order on a regular basis.

Thanks for putting it in article form, Aaron.

PackersRS's picture

I blame ESPN for yardage being pratically the only category when the majority of the fans think about stats.

The Sports Entertainement business needs simple measures to be able to capture as many different segments of the audience as possible.

That way is easier to implement this topic in all of their programs, not just those exclusively about football.

Majik Man's picture

ESPN has long ago changed into a gossip-first, biased, ratings whore that panders to the general public with tmz-like reporting and putting celebrity over actual sports knowledge. ESPN is a joke, and it frustrates me to no end when I have to debate with someone because of what Skip Bayliss said. They try to shape everyone's opinions when it comes to sports, instead of reporting and letting everyone think for themselves. Typical modern-day media.

It's why I like this site, and investigating and searching around for good sports coverage. ESPN sold itself out. Look what they just did to Ryan Braun. Over a leaked story they did not have the full details on. Yards get your players pro bowl votes on Madden. We're 14-1. Super Bowl or BUST!

Oppy's picture

A slightly above average defense in terms of points allowed + the league's best offense in terms of points scored = what freakin' team are you guys so worried about playing in January @ Lambeau field???!!

o dragao da maldade contra o santo guerrero's picture

The San Francisco 49ers.

Oppy's picture

I feel that if the Packers can absolutely shred the Bears twice this year, they should be able to score on San Fransisco as well.

I do think that San Fran's D is tougher, but is it that much better than the Bears that they can stop the Packers' passing attack? I don't know... 49ers D is predicated on locking down the run and forcing teams to get by on the arm of their QB. Kinda plays into the Packers' hand a bit, IMO.

tony's picture

This defense is the best in the league when it matters -- when points are at stake. It's so hard for me to wrap my mind around a defense that allows SO many yards and first downs, but absolutely locks it down in the red zone. They're some kind of freak anomaly, but one thing that's comforting is looking at the roster and seeing Woodson, Williams, Raji, and Matthews on it.

PackersRS's picture

I'd definitely not say it's the best at it, but it's very, very good at it.

What I'd say they are is the most "opportunitic" defense, because they have the most number of "playmaking" players(secondary that best play the ball in the air in the entire league, and 3 players, Bishop in his top, Matthews, Woodson, that are capable of identificating the offensive scheme and that have outstanding hand-eye coordination).

packsmack25's picture

Also, I'd like to add that the Packers and Lions are the only playoff teams that have played 6 of the top 10 offenses in the league.

CSS's picture

Nagler or anybody else:

Raji was visibly angry several times and appeared to be looking back at the linebackers. There were at least 3-4 times you could see him on camera incredibly angry/vocal after absorbing at least 2 lineman only to watch a running play gain substantial yardage. McGinn or anybody else comment on exactly what/who he was so angry with?

I've never seen him that irritated with his teammates.

Ruppert's picture

I'm not afraid of any team, but it's only natural to have some level of concern while watching our defense slowly march backwards from long stretches.

I think it's interesting that we give up a ton of yards, but we're only middle of the league in points. Why is that? Is it because we don't play back as much when a team gets in scoring position? Do we get more turnovers in that scenario? I'm not sure.

I totally agree with Aaron about the offense taking us as far as we can go. This team can win the Super Bowl with the defense playing like it is. We cannot win it if the offense slips up.

packsmack25's picture

I'm thinking it's because Peprah's and Hawk's speed aren't as much of a liability in the short field.

CSS's picture

Packers are better inside the 20 for two reasons (IMHO):

1) TT has a roster with better athletes than most in the back 7. When the field becomes compressed (as it does in the red-zone) and the opposition has less room to operate the Packers move faster laterally than most. They limit plays in tighter spaces.

2) QB play in the NFL, outside of a handful of players, is awful. Guys like Alex Smith aren't talented enough in compressed space. When the red-zone shrinks processing time and reaction time for a the lesser QB's of the league wilt.

Both favor the Packers.

Oppy's picture

CSS, on the athletic talent in the back seven, I just wanted to comment that I sincerely hope we get to see Nick Collins return to the game healthy and playing near his previous level for the packers next season, because seeing two of the 3 most athletically gifted safeties in the league play side by side for an entire season with Shields, Williams, and Woodson underneat would be something to see!

CSS's picture

I agree, but Collins is so far superior to Burnett from the neck up. I'm extremely disappointed in Burnett's recognition, it's bad. He has the range, as advertised, but he's not that bright with recognition. Not even in the same stratosphere as Collins was.

Great athlete, great range, average instincts with bad recognition.

Oppy's picture

Agree that Burnett still plays like a rookie. I would hope that playing next to Collins for an entire season or two would also help improve his grasp of the position.

But wow, the things you could do schematically with two safeties that can legitimately cover 2/3 of the field from the time a QB starts his motion to the time the ball arrives at the WR? That's... Crazy. It's almost like having a 12th defender deep.

PackersRS's picture

You don't remember Collins' first 2 years, CSS. Collins no doubt knows the defense and can recognize the opponents' scheme much, much, much better. But give the kid time before you make any conclusion about his brain.

Bob's picture

Collins struggled in the beginning. Burnett will be fine, just needs time.

Oppy's picture

One thing, as simplistic as it may seem, that can skew the stats is that when you have the league's #1 scoring offense...

Opponents are generally playing from behind. That means they are often pushing for big yardage plays to try to make up points in a hurry. When you have a substantial lead in a football game, often the defense is playing soft coverages, protecting against giving up the huge play at the expense of giving up the underneath stuff.. While not the same scheme, it could be a matter of playing with the lead the way the Bears entire defensive philosophy is geared- give the opponent the easy stuff, make them drive the length of the field mistake-free.. Because, eventually, they are going to falter and either fail to convert a 3rd down or lose a turnover..

CSS's picture

This would make sense if the Packers D bled yardage when up 14-21, but they're bleeding the yardage when only up 0-14. Sounds like a reasonable explanation, but the yardage issue isn't only happening in that situation, it's happening at all points of the game.

Oppy's picture

The scenario you just provided was: "This would make sense if the Packers D bled yardage when up (seven points), but they're bleeding the yardage when only up (fourteen points)" :)

But I know what you meant, and it is true it's happening throughout games. Point well taken.

Bob's picture

I see a team bleeding yardage from the first play of the game.

Idiot Fan's picture

Yeah, in the last game I think they gave up about 150 yards rushing in the first half to the Bears' JV team.

veau's picture

have to disagree. ever hear the old saying "defense wins championships"

yes the O can win us a superbowl, but if the defense shows its weaknesses at the wrong time, its over in one game. last years playoff run was rooted in the foundation of the defense, that was scary at time, but this years version has a few achillies heals.

time will tell, but dont tell me that our defense is good enough to win a superbowl, it can be sub par and still win you a division title and get you to the playoffs, but the big dance takes it all - 3 games that you have to be ready for. maybe they can get lucky and hit the right team at the wrong time, but thats going to have to happen 3 times.

packeraaron's picture

<em>ever hear the old saying “defense wins championships”</em>

Yes. There is a reason it is an "old" saying. ;)

Bob's picture

That bothers me, I remember that saying. :)

Paul Dier's picture

Good read. We need Pickett back in the worst way. Raji is not the same impact player he was last year. We have been fortunate the last 2 weeks that we have faced QBS that aren't very good at finishing drives. Rest and getting healthier are going to do the Packers wonders. Of course, playing at the best stadium in all of football through January will be, in my opinion, will be the deciding factor in getting us to Indy.

Tommer's picture

I just don't see the Saints juggernaut playing the same way outdoors. They're 3-2 outside, 9-1 in an incubator. This is the same team that very nearly lost to the Titans in Nashville with a rookie QB two weeks ago.

I see the same thing happening the occurred in the opener. A shootout on balance, but the Saints turnover the ball over just enough to tip the scales to the Pack. For all his hoopla, Brees threw two picks last night. If Matt Ryan were anywhere near the caliber of Aaron Rodgers, they'd have won it.

Bob's picture

I wouldn't want to face the Falcons in the playoffs if I were the Saints. If the Falcons are any kind of team with pride. Payton and the Saints will pay for that classless display of sportsmanship (game over Brees in game just to break record). God have mercy on the Saints if those two teams play again this year. It will be good bulletin board material, Brees has his record, now let him enjoy it from his couch for the rest of the year.

Tommer's picture

The Falcons don't have the talent to seek vengeance against the Saints. If they were any good, they'd have won last night.

Their decision to mortgage the future on Julio Jones for the next few drafts wasn't smart either.

packeraaron's picture

<em> If they were any good, they’d have won last night</em>

That's silly. They lost to NO by 3 in Overtime earlier this season. Last nights game got away from them, yes. But they certainly have the talent to beat NO.

However - I completely agree on Jones.

Tommer's picture

Eh...I may have oversimplified things, but NO has beaten ATL in five of their last six meetings. It ain't luck when it's done on a regular basis.

KurtMc's picture

Great post &amp; discussion.

1)Raji is just tired. Last season he played in +90% of snaps &amp; used (report ably) a hyperbolic chamber for recovery. This season, his snaps are again near 90%. That takes a toll.
2)We get some pressure, but tackling is the Achilles of this D. Too often, they go for the strip 1st, tackle second. In fact, #52 is a text book tackler. The other LB’s should take note.
3)+1 packsmack – yardage means diddly. It’s about scoring.

The only thing I am concerned about is &amp; too Aarons point, is quit letting team kill us with those simple blitz beaters &amp; grab a foot, leg, thigh anything low but TACKLE. Minimally, slow the guy up &amp; let the other’s tackle.

An interesting stat would be the % conversion rate on 3rd &amp; 1-4 yards, 3rd &amp; 5-9 yards, 3rd +10 yards.
Go Pack

KurtMc's picture

I would also like to point out that why we all complain about our D (table pounding,arm waving, beer drinking flat out yelling at the TV and everyone else), in a side to side comparison to NO &amp; DET (the two who in my opinion are the most likely opponents for NFC title game), our D clearly has an overall more positive rating than NO or DET.

Take into account the first game with NO. NO had superior yardage stats (superior passing, rushing a wash , Defensive / Special Teams TD a wash) &amp; lower number of penalties. The difference? RED ZONE D. NO 1 of 4. PACK 4 of 4.

These stat’s and many more support Aarons article &amp; the fact that Green Bay should again be back at the Superbowl.
Go Pack

Bearmeat's picture

I hope you are right Aaron. Your points are well taken. A couple thoughts though:

1. IMO GB needs another really solid win against a playoff caliber team in the Lions this weekend to provide more momentum, like they had last year. Especially on D...

2. Health does play a big part in things come playoff time. Everyone conveniently spouts off about how many injuries GB overcame last year - but they were relatively healthy and set throughout the playoffs, until late in the 2nd Q in the SB - where things got really interesting...

3. The D does take the football away - but they DO NOT pass the 'eyeball' test. They are flat out ugly to watch 80% of the time. Granted, none of the other offensive juggernauts, possibly excepting PIT, has a shutdown D.

Bottom line - I have NO idea who's going to win it all this year. GB is the slight favorite, assuming their D can do juuuuuuust enough to win 3 more games. But if NO/NE/BAL/PIT or even PIT wins is all, I would not be surprised.

packeraaron's picture

<em>like they had last year</em>

You mean when they barely beat the Bears to get in?

"Momentum", esp from game to game, is vastly overrated.

Bearmeat's picture

haha.. touche.

I stand corrected.... But the Bears were really hot at the end of last year. Kinda like the Loins are now I guess...

Bob's picture

Momentum is play to play, it swings so quickly sometimes. Just when you think it's over, something happens and everything changes.

BTF's picture

It's a good point you make about health for all the injuries last year the majority happened early so we had had time to compensate.

As for there being lots of teams who could win it all though, surely thats the same as most years ? We have as good a chance as any and better than most which is really all you can ask...

BTF's picture

Nice article.

We're a flawed team of course but a very very good one and all of our potential opponents have worries of their own.

To look just at the NFC - SF have a great D and running game but issues punching the ball in the endzone, NO have a D that gives up yardage comparable to our D but has 14 TO's to our 34,NYG and DAL are 9-7 teams for a reason and both have secondary issues as does DET whose running game is questionable and ATL are above average but not outstanding anywhere..

We've played 5 of the teams who currently sit in the playoff places and are 5-0, 3 on the road. There are of course teams that can course us problems and beat us on their day but this Packers team is underdog to nobody this year.

I think the way this D is set up to get TO's is sometimes unappreciated with them being almost dimissed as lucky breaks. We're top in picks this year 8 clear of the nearest team (SF). We've been 1st or 2nd in that catergory every year since Capers arrived. Only SF has more total TO's and only 2 teams have more defensive TD's. This defense may look (and indeed play) horrible at times but it's been more a part of this teams success than it's been given credit for. IMO of course..

kparis99's picture

I like this take.

Normthe1's picture

I think Detroit's secondary is playing very well indeed, right now, as we speak, so to speak...

My big worry is teams with a really good pass rush, SF, DET and NYG. Make no mistake, if NYG beat DAL this week, they are a team who can do anything on any given Sunday, kinda like we did last year...

Doug In Sandpoint's picture

Don't forget, this is a seasoned bunch. As Aaron said, momentum between games is overrated. We will have the most talent on any field we play on, but we are not infallible. At this point, each game is its own entitiy, and the teams that prepare the best, make the best in-game adjustments, and are cool down the stretch will move on. I like our chances better than any other team. We've been there before and I trust the coaches and players to do what they need to to bring us another title.

Oppy's picture

My name is Oppy, and I endorse this post.

+12 ;)

Bob's picture

42-34, 49-23, 24-3, 45-7, 35-26, 46-16, &amp; 35-21. That is impressive

packsmack25's picture

An average score of 39-19. That's insane.

eVade's picture

Welcome to Lambeau.

It really is impressive when looked at that way.

BubbaOne's picture

"Throw in an excellent punter and coverage unit to win the field position battle more often than not along with a kicker who makes far more than he misses..."

So ST's have taken over as 2nd best unit on the team...props to Slocum!

Bob's picture

If only they could block for their return man.

kparis99's picture

"Both the upstart 49ers and the sizzling Saints have Packers fans quaking in their boots.

Which is just pitiful."

Then call me Mr. Pitiful, Cause, I'm also worrying about the stupid Giants, and they haven't even made the playoffs yet.

I am pretty sad, I guess. I just don't see the Packers as the "world beaters" that they were earlier in the season. I was full of confidence then. Now it seems that anyone could come into Lambeau and roll over the Packers defense, and crush our hearts. Like many Packer fans, I may just be trying to harden my heart, so it wont hurt so bad if this defense breaks it.

This article was good therapy for me though.

I'm reminded of super bowl XLV, that microcosm of last season, looking bad with Woodson out at halftime, the defense stepped up and got it done anyway.

And, we get to watch and see if the Pack can amaze us like they did last year. Go, Pack, Go!

mark's picture

Looks like I'm riding shotgun on the pitiful train with kparis99. Obviously, I want to be wrong. I want so badly to be very, very wrong. And sure, I can imagine a reality where Jennings, Clifton, Pickett and Bulaga return, the teams gels to its early-season self, and we roll to a repeat. But my eyes tell me otherwise. What I've seen these past two weeks is a team that's very beatable. An offense that is somewhat inconsistent and a defense that's out of sync and tackling like a last place team. If we can get beat by the Chiefs and then be tested by Kahlil Bell, Roy Williams and a gym teacher QB, is it really "pitiful" to be nervous about facing Brees, Graham, Sproles, Colston, etc? After seeing the 49ers thoroughly dominate the Steelers on Monday night a few weeks ago, is it "pitiful" to worry about the potential of Justin and Aldon Smith doing the same to our offensive line? I love the optimism Nagler, I just don't think it's justified. However, we can (and do) agree on one thing--the constant in all of this has been #12, the toughest, smartest and most dominant player in the game. But much like Greg Jennings, he needs to put team on his back though.

packsmack25's picture

The Saints don't play well outdoors, so the Niners could take them out for us. Then the Niners don't scare me in Lambeau, mostly because I don't think their defense or any defense can slow down the Packers at full strength.

Normthe1's picture

I think their pass rush could make things difficult for QB1...

Oppy's picture

The Packers aren't perfect.

But what team is clearly so much better than the Packers to warrant all this fear of a loss in the playoffs?

Whenever you are in a one-and-done scenario, it's stressful. Anything can happen. A bad call or a gust of wind or an untimely fumble can end a season dead in it's tracks. That's just the way it is.

That said, I don't see a team that has anywhere near a clear advantage over the Packers. I not only expect the Packers to have to earn their post-season victories, I look forward to it. What's the fun of watching football if every game is easy?

I like the Packers' chances against the competition, and I'm going to enjoy every game, hopefully all the way to the SB.

Normthe1's picture

Wish I had have read this before leaving my post above. You said exactly what I said, but better...

Jeff Lawver's picture

Every team has weaknesses,the Packers is a leaky ,but turnover producing defense. What a difference a year makes. Last year the special teams was there achilles heal,while this year they've been very consistent. Hopefully the Packers will be better at exploiting other teams weaknesses than they are at exploiting the Packs.Like any other game,points scored versus points allowed is all that matters.

Mahauptna Ganja's picture

Despite all of the D's flaws, I'll take my chances with Raji, Matthews, Woodson, Williams and Burnett. Yardage and explosive plays.....I get tired of watching those happen too. But what matters is points and efficiency differential between yours and there's. These names.....I think they can contain any offense out there at a better efficiency than what any defense out there can do to Rodgers and co. Forget the last 2 games. Because they are just 2 of the last 20. And in that span, 19 and 1 with 6 sudden death wins. I'll take that over yards given up any day.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"The Bears still suck!"