Going back and watching the losses to the Vikings, Steelers, and Cardinals (yes, I am a glutton for punishment) its easy to see why fans and pundits alike say that infusing the secondary with fresh talent is a huge priority. I tend to think the Packers are better off at corner than at safety, and yes, both positions could definitely use an extra body or two.
But much more pressing, in my eyes anyway, is the need for a pass rusher who can 'win' without Capers needing to scheme him free. Watching those games again, they each have a common theme - experienced passers that can recognize almost every coverage and every blitz thrown at them. The old saying, when it comes to facing great veteran quarterbacks, is to "play coverage". Of course, Capers tried this to some extent, against Favre in particular. The biggest problem was the inability of the guys up front to win their one-on-ones. The most damning example, of course, was in the Monday night contest in the Metrodome, on a play where Favre had 7, yes, SEVEN seconds to sit back in the pocket and wait for a receiver to work open. I mean, seriously, I've never seen that in all the years I've been watching professional football and it should be an embarrassment to guys like Jenkins and Jolly. I don't expect 3-4 defensive ends to collapse the pocket instantaneously. I DO expect them to be able to provide enough of a push in UNDER 8 SECONDS to at least move the pocket for the quarterback.
There are plenty of other examples, of course. The point is - the aerial shows against the Packers defense would not have been half as devastating had the Packers had someone other than Clay Matthews to get around the edge. You saw everything you needed to in that regard in the playoff game against the Cardinals. With virtually no threat on the other side, the Cardinals constantly kept a back in to chip Matthews, or called for the tight end to be on Matthews' side. The point is - it was way too easy. If Warner saw blitz, he knew where the holes would be. If he saw coverage, he knew Matthews was the only one to worry about, and that he was pretty much taken care of.
Yes, the secondary is questionable, with Al Harris coming back from injury and guys like Will Blackmon and Pat Lee unable to stay on the field. But just remember this: The Patriots won three Super Bowls with guys like Hank Poteat, who they signed off the street at the end of the year, in their secondary. Why? Because of the pressure their front seven was able to apply to opposing quarterbacks.
I expect Thompson to look at all options, obviously. But the quickest way to fix what ails the pass defense is to find another legit pass rusher.
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