The horrific tackling cited by Packers head coach in his season-ending press conference yesterday is not new to either Capers' defense or indeed McCarthy's tenure.
This is something we have noted here at Cheeshead TV on several occasions, both before and after Dom Capers was hired:
(From September 28th, 2008)
The defensive players for the Green Bay Packers are terrible, I mean God awful, tacklers.
I know it flies in the face of conventional wisdom, not to mention years of modern NFL practice, but McCarthy would be well served to put his team in pads this week and have live hitting on everyone save for the quarterbacks. This team needs the practice. Not only that, he should have Sanders start all over and have a week where the defense does nothing but work on tackling technique.
And that's just it - another perfect example of how Bob Sanders is exposed as a defensive coordinator. Look at last nights Bears/Eagles games. Those teams can tackle. Why? Because they are well coached and practice it. I mean, anytime the offense catches the ball, that's the end of it. Hit after hit, tackle after tackle, last nights game was like a clinic. The Packers, by comparison, are Junior Varsity in the tackling department.
(From January 21st, 2009)
...this is a terrible tackling team. No scheme that has been devised can cover up for a team that can't tackle the ball carrier. Capers, and more importantly, McCarthy, need to address this on the first day of training camp. The technique was allowed to get way too sloppy under Sanders and a return to basics is long overdue.
(From November 29th, 2010)
...today against the Atlanta Falcons the Packers reverted to an undisciplined style of defensive football.
Ryan Pickett summed it up perfectly after the game:
One of the keys in tight games like this is the turnover difference and the team that plays the best fundamental defense. I don’t think we tackled well today. We’re normally a solid tackling team, and we gave them a lot of second chance, third chances we shouldn’t have given them.
The worst display came on a 3rd and 19 when Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli took a short dump off pass and rumbled 16 yards, but only after Charles Woodson and Charlie Peprah made two pathetic attempts at tackles by diving at Mughelli's feet. I recognize its a fullback against members of the secondary - but you simply have to square up on the guy. Sure you might get dragged for a yard or two until the calvary arrives, but going to the turf and completely missing the guy is inexcusable and it kept happening all afternoon. The display against Mughelli was especially discerning in light of Frank Zombo's similar breakdown against Minnesota last week. Packer fans can only hope this isn't the beginning of a trend.
Sadly - that's just what it might have been.
Even when the Packers were winning the Super Bowl last season there were less than stellar displays of tackling on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Obviously, the ballhawking and the ability to usually get off the field on third down helped mask some of these problems.
Unfortunately, those problems came back to light with a vengeance in 2011.
As McCarthy indicated yesterday:
I know there’s going to be a lot of conversation, no different than there was throughout the year, pass rush versus pass coverage. But my biggest disappointment with our defense, being fresh and going through the evaluation with Dom Capers, is our productivity in tackling.
McCarthy, Capers and the Packers coaching staff now have a good five month stretch to figure out how they a) got back to square one with the terrible tackling on this team and b) how exactly they plan to fix it.
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