The loss of Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins is easy to point to when it comes to the parade of big plays the Packers defense has been giving up in the passing game.
Charlie Peprah, who played so well opposite Collins during the teams Super Bowl run last year, is simply not athletic enough to make the kind of plays Collins could and second year safety Morgan Burnett, while as athletic if not more so than Collins, has been plagued by mental breakdowns at the absolute worst times.
Both of these developments are somewhat understandable. What surprised me going back and watching the Chargers game again was how poorly Charles Woodson played in space when employed as a safety on a handful of plays.
In particular, on the first touchdown to Vincent Jackson Woodson gets caught playing way too flat, keeping his eyes on the quarterback and losing track of the deep post route being run by Jackson.
This happened again and again, regardless of who the deep safety was. All three players, be it Woodson, Burnett or Peprah, took turns getting caught too shallow and flat footed as a Chargers receiver (usually Vincent Jackson) got behind them.
Darren Perry, the assistant coach in charge of safeties, has no doubt seen the same thing and will spend this week stressing, repeatedly, that whoever has responsibility deep simply must be cognizant of where the deepest receiver is at all times.
Too many times against the Chargers, and on various occasions throughout the year, the deep safety has been caught anticipating throws underneath. It’s an ongoing problem that last weeks game threw into focus. If you are the last line of defense, as the deep safety often is, you simply can’t get caught flatfooted while watching the crossing routes underneath.
Perry now has plenty of tape to back up this point and drill it into his guys heads.