Excellent commentary from Dennis Dillon over at Sporting News. Dillon writes:
With Favre around, the defense was like a kid brother. Now, it has to be more like the man of the house.
That pretty much nails it.
Word out of camp so far is that the Packers are experimenting with a lot of different defensive alignments, with a 3-3 and a 2-4 being spotted on Friday. (Which makes sense, seeing as how 2 healthy defensive linemen seems to be all the Packers have)
The Packers themselves are not being secretive about the switch in emphasis. (Check out the players featured on the top banner on the team's official website - Kampman, Harris, Barnett, Woodson, Hawk) As Dillon notes, McCarthy has preached not only to the public but to the team itself that the 2008 Packers are going to be a squad that suffocates opponents on defense and that has an offense that can hold the ball and produce points.
Now, this is all well and good in August before even a single preseason game has been played. But I have said time and time again, everything comes down to Bob Sanders. (That sound you just heard was Corey's head exploding) If Sanders can find it somewhere deep inside his conservative nature to dial up a much more creative game plan, the talent is there for this defense to be overpowering.
One of the key things to watch for is how the Packers disguise their intentions pre-snap. Last year they were awful, with designated rushers declaring themselves far too early in the snap count over and over again. Anytime an opposing quarterback played the Packers and encountered one of their rare blitzes, they simply had to find their hot read and deliver the ball. McCarthy hinted this week that he may have noticed this deficiency when he said:
I really like the way they were disguising their pressures and so forth. We were 85% (blitz) in the team periods.
As I stated back during OTAs - Bob Sanders needs to show me. His track record the last two seasons makes it extremely difficult to believe such a drastic overhaul is in the works.
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