Just a quick response to this post from Rob Demovsky:
Three times this season, the Packers have won the toss and deferred. And all three times — at Carolina, at Minnesota and at San Diego — Capers’ defense has allowed a touchdown on the opening drive.
When asked this week if he likes that strategy, the Packers defensive coordinator said: “I do. I think it kind of puts the hat on us. Now it worked extremely well for us last year because I felt we went out and set the tone. It hasn’t worked as well for us this year because we haven’t been a real fast starting team on defense. It’s like we go into these games and we feel our way early and then all of a sudden we find our niche and then we go.”
Still, it seems like an unusual strategy for coach Mike McCarthy to employ given how his defense has struggled and how productive his offense has been this season. Why not put the ball in the hands of quarterback Aaron Rodgers to start the game?
I’ll tell you why. Because you want the ball to start the second half.
Look no further than the Chargers game for an example of why deferring works. Being able to score the final points prior to the half and then getting a score on the opening series of the second half does more to break open games than any “setting the tone” opening series ever did. Going down a touchdown, especially with the 2011 Packers offense, after the opening drive is nothing. Going down two scores after the opening drive of the second half does much more to put pressure on the opposing team than scoring on the opening drive of the game.