Let it be known - I agree with Mike Vandermause. (I may as well give up now)
In light of the fact that I completely contradicted myself earlier this week, I went back and watched the three games that McCarthy and Capers are no doubt going to pay the most attention to when reviewing tape this offseason - the second Vikings game, the Steelers game, and the Cardinal playoff game.
And despite the secondary being torched repeatedly in those contests, especially in the playoff game, I'm pretty sure my first take was the correct one - an improved pass rush, namely a compliment to Matthews who can win a one-on-one at the line of scrimmage, will solve a lot of problems the Packers had against Favre, Roethlisberger and Warner.
In looking at the secondary, I fell victim to what I call looking through the "offseason-lens" - where you remember every big play, both good and bad, but forget that there are hundreds of other plays that happened inbetween. Going back and watching the three games in question, you can see the potential in Brandon Underwood. Josh Bell is not nearly the liability that that final pass against Pittsburgh makes you remember him as. Improvement from those two players alone will go a long way in shoring things up on the back end of the defense. And this is even before counting on anything from Al Harris, Will Blackmon or Pat Lee.
Of course, Jarrett Bush should never see the field from scrimmage again, if only for this play:
In regards to the pass rush, what I wrote back in February pretty much sums it up:
...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.
Now, this doesn't mean the Packers necessarily have to take a pass rusher with the 23rd overall pick. They could still very well select the best offensive lineman available, a defensive back or even possibly a running back or receiver. The Steelers, the team which this defense is striving to look like, have made a living of finding outside backers very late in the draft or even amongst the ranks of the undrafted. But make no mistake, whether by draft, trade or free agency, Thompson needs to find a way to add another pass rusher to his front seven.
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