Good stuff from Tom Silverstein today about McCarthy needing to get to the bottom of the issues his defense had against the likes of the Cardinals and Steelers - namely, teams with good QBs and deep recieving corps that spread the Packers out and threw the ball all over the yard. As McCarthy noted:
Trust me, we'll take a long look at Arizona from a defensive standpoint, and Pittsburgh...You're talking about over 1,000 yards of offensive production in two days. We will take a long look at that, and particularly the quarterbacks.
It shouldn't take McCarthy long to reach the obvious conclusion.
The Packers were not only forced to go to guys like Jarrett Bush due to Al Harris, Pat Lee and Will Blackmon being put on injured reserve earlier in the year, but defensive coordinator Dom Capers, for whatever reason, did not do a particularly great job of utilizing the abilities of the guys he DID have.
When Capers was brought on board to implement his 3-4 defense, he was quick to say that he wasn't going to ask guys to do things they weren't comfortable doing. I'm pretty sure the phrase "not going to try and put square pegs in round holes" was mentioned at least on one occasion.
Well, that turned out to be true...some of the time. There were games where you saw guys like Tramon Williams and Al Harris pressing guys at the line - but as the year went on, you saw a lot of 'match' coverage, which is used when teams use a lot of motion, and a lot more zone. Needless to say, Williams and Jarrett Bush were not well suited to playing zone. Even the great Charles Woodson had some issues with it on occasion, though his pure athleticism and football IQ made up for a lot of that. But Capers kept calling mainly zone coverages, and when he DID use his man schemes, he rarely had his guys pressing at the line.
Take a look at the Cardinal game again. You see Woodson up on the line quite a bit against Fitzgerlad, but Tramon Williams spends almost the entire game 5 yards off the line of scrimmage. Simply put, he is nowhere near as good when the receiver is allowed a free-release. (We saw this in the Carolina game last year, by the way...)
And poor Jarrett Bush - it's not his fault he's not good. At almost anything. But the Packers were forced to keep putting him out there. The only thing I didn't ever really understand is why they didn't at least use his fabled 'athleticism' to blitz the quarterback. I know Capers sent Bush on occasion (he did it twice in the Dallas game) but usually Capers' pressure packages were saved for the linebackers and Woodson, leaving Bush back doing the thing he's worst at - covering receivers.
No, it won't take McCarthy long to figure out - the Packers need to procure and develop some talent down the depth chart in the secondary. But he also needs to hold his defensive coordinator to his promise of not trying to make his guys do things they're just not very good at.
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