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Point of Veau: Leaky Packers Defense Will Prevent Super Bowl Run

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Point of Veau: Leaky Packers Defense Will Prevent Super Bowl Run

The Green Bay Packers could very well win on Sunday in the wildcard round of the playoffs against a San Francisco 49ers team that has dealt them three consecutive losses.

And quarterback Aaron Rodgers could just as easily keep the Packers in contention in every single postseason game the Packers play.

But going on a sustained Super Bowl run, if accomplished would require the Packers to win four straight games, is not going to happen. And it will be due to a Packers defense that is subpar at best.

The defense's track record speaks for itself. It's ranked 25th in run defense (125.0 ypg), 24th in pass defense (247.3 ypg), and 25th overall (372.3 ypg). It's also ranked ranked 24th in points allowed (26.8 ppg).

Sure, the defense might come up with a critical fourth-down stop or a crucial turnover in any one particular game, maybe two. But to expect this Packers defense to hold up for four consecutive games on its way to winning the Lombardi Trophy would be foolhardy.

This year's Packers defense has shown incapable of stopping opponents on a consistent basis, and that's not likely to change now that they'll be matched up against the best teams the NFL has to offer in a playoff format.

To be sure, injuries have played a part. How they'll be able to stop the likes of the 49ers on Sunday without the likes of Clay Matthews, Johnny Jolly and Casey Hayward is up for debate.

It was thanks to Matthews that the Packers were able to take the 49ers down to the wire back in Week 1 of the season. Minus one late-hit penalty, the Packers outside linebacker was largely responsible for keeping the dual-threat rushing combo of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore in check.

Matthews finished that game with eight tackles, three for a loss and sack, while the 49ers finished the game with a mostly harmless 2.6 yards per carry.

It's now up to rookie Andy Mulumba and a gimpy Nick Perry to fill in for Matthews, a player whose shoes they can't fill, although not for a lack of trying.

There's many reasons for this Packers feeble defense besides injury, including a lack of versatility, and a void of elite-level talent.

All one has to do on Sunday is look at the discrepancy in talent at the linebacker position between two teams both employing a two-gapping 3-4 defensive front.

The collection of Mulumba, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Mike Neal and company will pale in comparison to that of Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks.

But among the biggest reasons for a substandard Packers defense is players not playing up to potential, none more so than defensive lineman B.J. Raji and safety Morgan Burnett.

It was Burnett who signed a five-year deal worth over $26 million in the offseason that put him among the top-paid safeties in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Packers, his production hasn't matched his salary.

When the season ends, Raji will be looking for his own lucrative deal after his contract expires. The Packers reportedly offered and Raji declined a contract that averaged $8 million per season, but this is a player who hasn't had a sack in more than two years.

As long as Raji, Burnett and others underachieve, this Packers defense won't hold up for the long haul.

And it's a problem that's not going to be rectified until the offseason when the Packers let a few free agents leave town and they attempt to fill the holes with new draft choices.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (135) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

I still don't understand how the run D, which was so solid for the first 4-6 weeks or so, has completely fallen apart.

It seemed to all go downhill when Rodgers got hurt in that Bears game.

Week 1 49ers - 34/90 yards (including Kap)
Week 2 Redskins - 13/107
Week 3 Bengals - 20/70
Week 4 Lions - 18/65
Week 5 Ravens - 20/43
Week 6 Browns - 23/83
Week 7 Vikings - 14/73
Week 8 Bears - 31/150

murphy's picture

Jolly being in and out over the last 8 games didn't help either.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I really think Ryan Pickett's play has really dropped off this year. He used to be a stone wall, but he is getting moved a lot.

I think Raji needs to play over the center more in the NT. He to me is out of position.
If it were me I would move Raji to NT and Picket to DE. Pickett might be a little better on the outside as well..

Jolly hurt, and all the OLB's have been hurt as well.

I still maintain that Lattimore was playing at such a high level and that he should have kept on starting over Jones.

marcopo's picture

Agree with everything you said. Burnett has taken a step back, but Raji, who had everything to gain by going lights out was just another guy.

Al Fresco's picture

I think Pickett should retire he will be what, 36 next year? Raji has done nothing at all since the super bowl year. We need some speed in the middle not two fat slobs who are too slow to pass rush and too late to get to the runners.

Jake's picture

Could've written this any time for the past 3 seasons.

redlights's picture

Normally I'd argue with you about the SB run, but, yeah; without Clay, I don't know.

I actually feel pretty good about the 49ers, what with the cold and all. The one team that scares me is PHI; wow, can they hustle!

Evan's picture

I just keep telling myself "they lost to the Vikes by 18...they lost to the Vikes by 18..."

Eagles seem to be a very hot and cold team.

KennyPayne's picture

Brian, did you mean it when you wrote the defense is "a problem that’s not going to be rectified until the offseason when the Packers let a few free agents leave town and they attempt to fill the holes with new draft choices"?

Drafting 21 or lower, what sort of holes do you anticipate being filled through the draft on D? Can we expect as much next season as we have gotten out of Datone Jones this season? Or Perry/Worthy from 2 years ago? Not to mention Manning and McMillian.

I fear the D is far, far away from being top tier.

Do

Brian Carriveau's picture

I think the key word is "attempt." Whether or not they're successful in doing so obviously remains to be seen.

Packattack88's picture

I really don't understand the Datone Jones hate. Defensive lineman can take two or three years to develop; offensive lineman keys, run/pass reads and hand skills, which often times haven't been properly trained (because often times they haven't been needed,have to be honed into instinct. To expect a defensive lineman, even a first rounder, to step right in and be massively impactful his rookie year really isn't fair. Does it happen? Sure, but the Sheldon Richardsons of the world are more the exeption than the rule.

Same thing with Perry and Worthy.

In other words, I think you guys need some patience.

Derek in CO's picture

I agree. I don't think you can call anyone a bust in year 1, or even in year 2. Takes time in most cases. Look at RG3. Regression is worse than just starting out slow IMO.

Now Justin Harrell, that guy was a bust.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Exactly. Its why the experts say you can't grade a draft class until after 3 years... Players develop at different rates. DL is one of the hardest positions for rookies to come in and play.

Jones has shown flashes of talent. He has shown he can get to the QB. He has 3.5 sacks on the year. He has been close on other plays.

Give this draft class 3 years to decide if they are busts or not.

Stroh's picture

Its not just the DL either. 34 OLB is a difficult transition that generally takes 2 full years to learn to play effectively. Those guys like Perry, played DE in college and just focused on the OT, now in the NFL they have to learn to process a lot of info quickly and react instantaneously to it.

I like the Packers drafts on D. I'm still hoping and believing Perry, Worthy, Jones become playmakers the Packers need on D.

erikgj's picture

For the packers to get into and win a Super Bowl they don't need a top 5 defense. With their offense, a top 15 defense may do. It will take a few years to make it into a top 5.

Tarynfor12's picture

We went 15-1 with a defense that resembled a sieve and the Packers were the expected favorites to repeat.

I won't put this offense in the same feared aspect of the former but are these teams really that much different.

I'm as much a downer on the defense as anyone but I really believe a win here Sunday over the Niners' gives us a better chance of getting a ticket punch to the SuperBowl.

Many seem to think the Seahawks are the team with the destiny,well it seems the team that has been designated with that has failed lately and either the Saints or Eagles or capable of disposing of them in the Division rd and that gives the Packers the better chance of winning vs either of them regardless of where its played.Yes,I am forgetting the Panthers and rightfully so in my opinion.

Win this one and we 'CAN' win it all in spite of the sieve.

GO PACK GO !!!

RC Packer Fan's picture

One major difference between this team and that team, is the Packers have an actual threat of a rushing attack. That is one thing that really hurt the Packers in the 15-1 season. They were one dimensional and didn't have a threat of a running game.

Now especially with Rodgers and Cobb back healthy. The Packers offense IMO is much more well rounded now.

The concern is with the defense, no question. But do they have to be a top 5 defense to win, no. They just have to get turnovers when needed and the key stops.

packsmack25's picture

Bears had the #2 scoring offense in the league and they did enough in their house to win what amounts to a playoff game, and that's all I have to say about that.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Packers defense also held them to 7 points in the first half. If the Packers offense would have been able to capitalize on the redzone trips early in the game it could have been a completely different game.

TommyG's picture

I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to the red-zone offense. Our RZ has blown this year.

Derek in CO's picture

NFL films: Packers D has allowed over 1,200 rushing yards in last 8 games, ranking 31st in NFL over that span. Shit has to stop now.

TommyG's picture

Stop the run and let them try to throw? I agree. In week 1 we did exactly that, and in doing so left us with the ball in our hands and a chance to win. That was before we found out we could run the ball this year. If (I said if) we can stop that rushing attack again, I really like our chances in this game.

Evan's picture

I think that strategy will work better this week than it did in week 1.

Better safety play and better cornerback play (Tramon and Shields have been playing well lately) should help stifle what has been a below average passing attack all season.

TommyG's picture

I think this too. A running threat on our part will help extend our drives. If (there's that if again) we can get up by a score, I'm not sure SanFran will be able to play from behing effectively.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree...

Also it will be a lot harder to throw the ball in this weather. Kaepernick hasn't played in this weather and remember his hands are 1" smaller then Rodgers. That makes a huge difference in this weather...

cLowNEY42's picture

I'm so sick of this.
Why can't Green Bay have a good/respectable defense?

I don't need a top 5'er... just something in the teens.

This is getting seriously old.

The scary part is that the guys entrusted with the task of fixing this embarrassment (TT, Dom/his assitants, MM) are the same guys who created this mess.

Something has to change.

TommyG's picture

We didn't have a top 5 in our Super Bowl year, we had a sh*t ton of turnovers. With the exception of the safety position I think we have pretty much the same defense (in terms of skill) that we did back in XLV. Losing Collins and Woodson (injury and age) really hurt us more than I think we were ready for.

Fix it? They could. But in a salary cap league with the draft system that we have, we can't sacrifice maintaining our offensive capabilities and focus solely on the defense. I would not trade a high flying, high scoring offense for an absolute shut down D. Since we can't have both, I will take the points.

Evan's picture

"We didn’t have a top 5 in our Super Bowl year, we had a sh*t ton of turnovers."

#2 defense in points per game at 15.

Evan's picture

Also #2 in turnovers with 24.

#1 was SF was 28, but they gave up nearly 10 more points per game (23.8).

Stroh's picture

And #5 in total D by yards per game.

The TKstinator's picture

I posed that same question a while back, and I agree with you.

I would take an awesome offense paired with an "average" defense over a team with the opposite (avg offense paired with awesome defense)

We already have the awesome offense.

With health and maturation (CM3, Hayward, Worthy, Datone, Richardson?) and MAYBE a rookie draft choice that can CONTRIBUTE (not perform at an elite level) at linebacker or safety...COULD the defense reach respectability? I think so.

Then we'll see.

But THIS year, we have an awesome offense paired with a crappy defense. We'll see. Anything COULD happen, and we'll see. But to count them out before the games are even played, well, that's everyone's choice.

Phatgzus's picture

They were 8th in adjusted D last year, Cow; boy do you feel dumb, I mean same as usual.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef2012

cLowNEY42's picture

So you're gonna go on record saying that GB's defense was the 8th best in the NFL last year.

Got it.

What the hell is "adjusted D"?

What was their ranking in points allowed last year?

Isn't that really the only defensive stat that matters?

cLowNEY42's picture

guess they were 11th.

ok - i'm an idiot.

but their D still blows.

TommyG's picture

Brian,

Great article!

NoWayJose's picture

I love the 4 x 4 linebacker comparison between the two teams. It is atrocious, isn't it?

Still, I think we've got a puncher's chance. Rodgers and Brees are unlikely to meet. Aside from Brees, there's some young fellas that are gonna have to trade punches with 12 under pressue.

I said it all season, stranger things have happened. The dream is alive.

RunAndHyde's picture

Perry needs to show up in this game. He has shown flashes of greatness, and if there was one player I'd hope was back to health it'd be ...well Lacy, but a close 2nd would be perry. He needs to play like the physical freak he is!

cLowNEY42's picture

"Greatness"?

Sure that's the word you want to go with?

RunAndHyde's picture

Ok #beastmodeness*

cLowNEY42's picture

How 'bout "serviceableness"?

GrnMachine's picture

2 sacks and a forced fumble against the Lions is merely "serviceable"?

Arlo's picture

Nice, to the point article.
Have to agree with an earlier post. It really could have been written at any point in the last 3 seasons.

Unfortunately, TT, MM & even Dom will be back in season 2014 to give everyone another taste of what it's like to have an incomplete team.

4thand1's picture

They also addressed the running game. How'd that work out?

The TKstinator's picture

Yes! I also posed that question recently too!

CAN the defense be "fixed" like the running game was?

I don't think it would take 8 new starters on that side of the ball. Even the best defenses have JAGS on them to go along with the playmakers. What I think they CAN'T have is players who play below JAG level. And right now GB has too many of those.

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

Seattle and SF are in years 2 and 3 of their resurgence respectively. They both have a bunch of young, high draft picks, which they will start losing as 2nd contracts have to be negotiated in the salary cap. Let's see how they both maintain their defenses when they are forced to sign a couple really big contracts.

cLowNEY42's picture

That's just an excuse.

Packers had every chance to pick better defensive players.
They just chose poorly.

The problem with this defense is simple...

Over the last 3 drafts...

Perry
D. Jones
Worthy
House
Manning
McMillian
DJ Smith
Elmore
Guy
Neal
Wilson... Have all been misses

Hyde
Boyd
Barrington... Are all question marks

Daniels
Hayward
Burnett (I'm being kind, here)... Are the only hits

Need more hits.

The TKstinator's picture

Too soon to call some of those guys "misses".

(And I don't mean TWSS)

cLowNEY42's picture

"Too soon to call some of those guys “misses”."

I'm going to assume you're referring to...

D. Jones
Worthy
Perry
(I don't really think the other "misses" I listed are even debatable.)

While I agree that young players take time to reach their max potential... you've got to admit that the fact these 3 guys are straight-up INVISIBLE during games is a bit alarming.

They've been passed on the depth chart by a 5th rounder (Boyd) and UFA (Mulumba), respectively.... both of whom are rookies in their own right, by the way.

That ain't a good sign.

Lucky953's picture

I mostly agree with you. I believe they need a top ten safety and a fast, hard-hitting ILB, and now a run-stopper DL, plus a healthy Mathews obviously. TT may have to find a FA at one of those spots. They've been unlucky in the lower rounds in finding quality D players. IMO, those guys are always something of a crap shoot.

Phatgzus's picture

Neal, Smith, Mulumba-not great players but they've all contributed, and Neal is learning a new position and this is his first even relatively healthy season. Same goes for House, even though he was awful in his last 4 or 5 games he did play better earlier in the season.

Phatgzus's picture

Mulumba and Boyd haven't passed anyone except for C.J. Wilson; Boyd took JJ's position in run D formations, both Worthy and Datone (who has passed Worthy largely because of an ACL injury) get the vast majority of their snaps in pass D formations-it's called specialization. Stop yapping, open a book, learn something, and make an informed statement for the first time in your miserable existence. Thank you, come again.

cLowNEY42's picture

"Mulumba and Boyd haven’t passed anyone except for C.J. Wilson; Boyd took JJ’s position in run D formations, both Worthy and Datone (who has passed Worthy largely because of an ACL injury) get the vast majority of their snaps in pass D formations-it’s called specialization. Stop yapping, open a book, learn something, and make an informed statement for the first time in your miserable existence. Thank you, come again."

So D. Jones has actually been playing?

My bad... I HAVEN'T EVEN NOTICE HIM!

(By the way - didn't he play like a total of 5 snaps last week? Oh - maybe it's because the Pack wasn't playing against a passing team... oh, wait.)

RC Packer Fan's picture

If the Packers could have picked better players then the ones they picked, who are they? I just want to know who they 'should' have picked instead of who they did pick.

Also, Give the guys 3 years. Every knowledgeable person that knows anything about the draft knows you can't evaluate a player until after year 3.

Give these guys time.

cLowNEY42's picture

The Packers don't have time.
12's in his prime NOW!

RC Packer Fan's picture

I know what your saying. And I agree with you for the most part. Have to take advantage of the opportunity when its here.. In other words, since we have Rodgers we have to go for it sooner then later.

But your previous statement was 'Packers had every chance to pick better defensive players.
They just chose poorly.'

Of the defensive players that they have drafted, who are the defensive players you would have rather seen them get?

Phatgzus's picture

So let's compromise our salary cap and future to sign a couple overpriced FAs their own teams don't want (for that price) who may or may not work out? And if they don't we can relive the '70s and '80s. Awesome idea.

Barutan Seijin's picture

Who's better than Worthy? Just about anyone. The Packers could have taken a kicker and got as much value out that pick. How about Justin Tucker, 2012 UDFA.

They'd have never done that in a million years. But Tucker is still worth more than Worthy will ever be.

Perry at 2012 #28 or Harrison Smith, 2012 #29? I'll take Smith. Can Smith play OLB? No. Can Perry? Apparently not him, either.

Sir Cheese's picture

Anyone who understands player development will tell you that you can't truly evaluate a draft until after 3 full seasons. So to write off all of those players as busts is premature. Give them the fair amount of time to develop before you declare them misses. Perry, Worthy, and Jones have all shown flashes and given time to develop and if utilized properly will be effective players IMO.

To call Hyde a question mark based on his impact as a rookie 5th rounder is just ridiculous. He has improvements to make but he is a through and through football player with a bright future in this organization.

Player acquisition also includes UDFA signings, and TT has found some pretty solid talent there as well, Shields being a prime example.No GM is expected to hit every time, but TT hits enough to field a perennial playoff team and Superbowl contender. He has also done this while maintaining a healthy salary cap.

I'm not sure what your expectations are, but most teams would love to have those results.

Sir Cheese's picture

Also, let's not forget that the Packers are always drafting around 25th or later because of consistent success. We are usually picking from fringe 1st round/2nd round talent.

The 49ers have picked in the top 12 6 times since 2005. Since 2001 the Packers have only drafted in the top 12 3 times. The other 10 picks were at 26,28,32,23,26,16,24,25,29 and 20. What are your expectations for getting blue chip talent consistently based on these draft positions?

Oh that's right, we should tank our season to get a better draft pick like you said before. then you go on to say "The Packers don’t have time.
12?s in his prime NOW!"

So which is it? Take advantage of an opportunity to make a run with #12 in his prime or tank to get a better draft pick?

Sounds like you are arguing with yourself cow

Barutan Seijin's picture

So all the good players were taken by the time TT picked? That's not true. You may not get the player at the position you want or the imaginary, drafthypebiz-generated "value" you want, but there are still good players out there at 28 or even 32. Shouldn't be an issue for a draftwiz with a BPA philosophy.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, i couldn't agree more with this.

I get so tired of people calling players busts when they haven't even completed 1 season yet.

IMO, the only time you can call a player a bust is when they don't even make it through the cuts to make the 53. But that doesn't even mean the player is a bust, just means the pick was a bust.

Packers have had some really good finds as UDFA's. Sam Shields was a huge find. Jarrett Boykin keeps improving. I like what I have seen from Mulumba this year.

Stroh's picture

The guys that are diffence makers usually are gone in the top 1/2 of the 1st rd, sometimes sooner. There are few difference makers in each draft. At the bottom of the 1st round from 20-50 are all good players not usually great. Yet Thompson has found the Packers fifference makers, Rodgers and Matthews, in the 20's and Lacy and Cobb in the 2nd.

BTW there is a great article on JSOnline that I think everyone needs to read. Please go read it. The title is

Dom Capers' recipe for defensive success gets tweaked.

packeraaron's picture

<em>Sounds like you are arguing with yourself cow</em>

Yeah, that tends to happen Sir Cheese, when someone is strictly a reactionary troll. Swinging in the dark without a clue or a plan marks Cow's time on this site.

cLowNEY42's picture

"So which is it? Take advantage of an opportunity to make a run with #12 in his prime or tank to get a better draft pick?"

Not once did I ever advocate "tanking" the season.
So... blow me.

Oh - and Nagler...

You do understand that EVERY PERSON COMMENTING ON THIS SITE IS "Swinging in the dark without a clue or a plan "...don't you?

The fact that some posters on here think they have more "inside information" or a "deeper understanding" of the Packers and their personnel decisions is comical.

None of us know shit (well - maybe POC, but even he's gotten a little flaky lately).

We all are simply voicing our opinions.

My opinion is that TT has failed to bring in sufficient defensive talent by using the draft and only the draft.

The proof is in the pudding, bro.

This defense sucks.
You can't deny this fact.

Worst in the NFL, in my opinion.
There is nothing it does well.

So - I have the actual performance of the defense to support my opinion... all you homers have is blind faith... oh, that and the ability to see what you want to see as opposed to what's actually real.

This game is going to be a joke AGAIN (see playoffs last 2 years).
The defense is going to get embarrassed AGAIN!
DB's will be running around, lost AGAIN!
Special teams will give up back-breaking plays AGAIN!
SF will put up over 500 yards of offense AGAIN!
We will see about 15-20 "Packles" AGAIN!

The only "advantage" I see the Packers having this time around is that Harbaugh only has had 1 week to plan for the game. Last 3 meetings he's had more time than MM to prep his team. Problem is - SF will still be more prepared BECAUSE JH IS A BETTER COACH THAN MM.

Maybe another stomping in the playoffs will finally wake TT, MM, DC, and the personnel department up.

Time to get some defensive players who can actually play defense.

Phatgzus's picture

No, Cow, the difference between you and many other posters is that they generally formulate their opinions based on empirical facts, whereas you make vague blanket statements without providing any actual valid analysis whatsoever, be it statistical or performance based. What you do is make ridiculous assumptions/predictions based in opinion and nothing more, which is fine and dandy (well, not in your case, more like moribund and gloomy) except you try to pass them off as factual observations.

cLowNEY42's picture

I've based my opinion of this season's Packer defense strictly on their performance... which has been abysmal.

packerswest's picture

You are probably right, but I hope your wrong. There are a lot of holes to fill on the defensive side. I hope somehow the defense catches fire and plays beyond their ability, because I don't think our offense can consistently put up 35+ points in every playoff game.

4thand1's picture

yadayadayada. The point that's missing is the Cap. It was mentioned above by someone. Teams like SF and Seattle better win and quick. They won't be able to keep the players they have. They drafted high for years because they SUCKED. The Packers are built around Rodgers and now they have a running game. A lot of you bums gave up on them early, but they're in it now. They won't win a defensive struggle but they can score with anyone.

Barutan Seijin's picture

That's too pat an explanation. SF have drafted well in the lower rounds, too.

Randy's picture

Unless Aaron and the offense execute perfectly 4 straight games, Brian is right.

4thand1's picture

The game is sold out.

The TKstinator's picture

As long as it's not sold out to "the man"...

Tundrabum's picture

We love ya' Brian, but please don't go all Debbie Downer on us now.

Bert's picture

Aaron will really have to outplay Kaep by a pretty big margin for the Packers to beat SF. I mean the disparity of the defenses is pretty obvious and we can only hope that Aaron brings his "A" game and Kaep is at least a "B-".

Bearmeat's picture

YUP.

Evan's picture

Two 49er CBs likely out will certainly help.

fish and crane's picture

let it loose, light up the scoreboard...and hope for a couple of mistakes by your opponent on O. That's not that crazy...it's NFL football.

RunAndHyde's picture

I concur.

larry valdes's picture

Tt did very well drafting lazy ot and back up center and hyde but you can draft only so many he fail to draft a safety and he miss terrible no going for free agent safety another dl and a lb is a shame that we dont have a defense to go all the way and this on tt refuse to go after free agentes.

4thand1's picture

Your either hammered, or a window licker on a short bus.

cLowNEY42's picture

you're*

Al's picture

This article really inspires hope in me... Thank you for saying just the right thing to build up packer nation. Now if we make a Super Bowl run and win I expect you and your buddy Mr. Cow will issue formal apologies.

cLowNEY42's picture

Of every team in the playoffs (both conferences) I would give the Packers the least chance of reaching the Super Bowl.

Even SD has that "Eagle's first home opponent" streak on it's side.

Phatgzus's picture

Well, the Iggles and Chiefs are already out, so technically, you're wrong again. You make Miss Cleo look like Nostradamus.

cLowNEY42's picture

Did I predict that every team except the Packers would make the Super Bowl?

Nope. Just said every other team had a better chance.

I was looking at overall talent + matchup.

PHI and KC lost by a combined 3 points.

You think the Packers are going to come closer to winning their first game than either of those 2 teams did?

Sportspack's picture

Kind of interesting how so many experts want to give our draft choices 3 years to develop and then decide if they are quality players or busts. We are essentially a draft only team, so there is not that much room for error. At that rate, by the time we replace the failures, and start over and wait for them to develop, we will never have a decent defense. We need to switch to a 4-3 where it doesn't take a player as long to "develop".

cLowNEY42's picture

"We are essentially a draft only team, so there is not that much room for error. At that rate, by the time we replace the failures, and start over and wait for them to develop, we will never have a decent defense. "

Bing - f'ing - O!

Phatgzus's picture

US, because the average NFL career of a starter is 3 years, and let's not forget some of those players that will be gone as a result of the currently-developing displacing them. It doesn't take 11 studs to make a good/great D or O; 2 or 3 playmakers and
rest a mixed bag of average to good.

jyros's picture

The players in ? have all flashed some brilliance to support the reason(s) they were chosen. Now in a playoff atmosphere I would like to see all of the best talents show. The stage is set. Go Packers!

Bert's picture

Seems like a familiar MO but we haven't had a solid defense on a consistent basis since Ron Wolfe retired. The team has been very similar since that time: An elite QB with some pretty good talent on offense and a subpar defense. For the last 13+ years we have gone only as far as our elite QB can take us. No margin for error in the playoffs and hence a number of early exits. We'll see what happens this year and only hope there are no errors.

Ruppert's picture

The defenses Wolf put together towards the end of his tenure were nothing to write home about, either.

Since Wolf took over, the Packers' playoff success is tied almost perfectly to the defense. From '92 through last year, (per pro football reference) we have had a top 10 scoring D 9 times. We won at least one playoff game 8 of those 9 years, we won 2 or more playoff games 4 times, appearing in 3 SBs, and of course winning 2 of them. The only winless playoff year was '09. And that '09 defense was much worse than that stat would indicate if memory serves.

The 12 years where our scoring D was 11 or worse featured only 2 years where we won a playoff game ('03 and last year). Six of the 12 years we didn't even make the playoffs. The other 4 years we were one-and-done.

I thought that was interesting.

Bert's picture

Good info. Thanks. One thing that we saw during Wolf's tenure was that we had a mix of veterans and young players. Veteran FAs like Reggie and Sean Jones were key guys along with the Leroy Butler's etc. With strictly the draft &amp; develop we have lost that mix and when we miss on a draft choice or there is an injury there isn't any enough quality depth. Hence we have to start guys who really shouldn't be playing.

cLowNEY42's picture

BLASPHEMY!

Don't start insinuating that FA's and trades can help build a team!

You must not be a TRUE PACKER fan!

Bert's picture

Ha!! I just think that the 99% D&amp;D strategy will only work if you consistently hit on your draft picks. Otherwise it just isn't sustainable. And no GM (even Wolf) that I know of is consistent enough hitting on draft picks to sustain the D&amp;D without supplementing a few FAs. IMHO.

Morgan Mundane's picture

Could not agree more Bert. Ted is forced to play cheap ball. That is the real problem. He will not backload contracts so that all but takes free agents out of the equations and high draft picks as well.

Ruppert's picture

I'm not sure anybody ever said free agents and trades CAN'T help a team. Of course the possibility is there. They can also screw up your salary cap, placing any future re-signings in jeopardy. That's the risk/reward.

The real question for Thompson is if he should increase his risk appetite under the notion that the team is "close." Wolf pulled the trigger on Rison and it helped get a ring when we were "close" in '96. It would definitely be cool if Thompson could find a couple free agent OLBs and safeties with Andre Rison's comparable talent level laying around somewhere this offseason...

Stroh's picture

Ruppert... Wolf didn't "pull the trigger" on Rison. He was released and Wolf got him for basically the vets min, more than 1/2 way thru the season! Try to get your facts straight next time.

Ruppert's picture

What fact didn't I get straight?

I'm well aware that Rison was a free agent. Did I say anything otherwise? By pulling the trigger, I meant simply signing a free agent.

That's why I said afterwards I wish there he could find some FA OLBs and safeties...see, because Rison was a free agent, too. Get it?

Stroh's picture

Let me know when a player of Rison's ability get released from his team mmidseason, which just happens to be a position of need and can be signed for the vets minimum. Its not like it happens regularly and costs next to nothing. It was a lucky happenstance at best.,

WKUPackFan's picture

Take it easy on Ruppert, Stroh. He posts some of the most interesting statistical histories here.

Lucky953's picture

The first problem with FAs is CAP, of course. The sure-fire winners at value pricing are very hard to come by. There was not a lot of demand for Woodson as I recall. Really good players leave teams for 3 reasons: 1) huge contract desires 2) can't play anymore, not wanted and 3) prima donna head cases. Yet I hope the Packers can get lucky, maybe they have to overpay for a true defensive playmaker.

p.s. Excellent article Brian

Albert Lingerfeld's picture

Leaky may be a good word if it was a dripping faucet, pourous is more like our defense as in sometimes you wonder if they actually have 11 people on the field?
Its a simple thing for me to grasp: The Packers have unskilled players on the defense, guys no one else wanted and didn't draft for a reason.
I would have loved to see Teddy get a fifth rounder who ended up being all pro and surprising the hell out of people but no, our 5th rounders and later play like that.

Stroh's picture

Really? Tramon Williams and Sam Shields were UDFA who have played like 1st rd picks! I guess they don't count? EDS is playing at a high level too. Boykin is playing like a good draft pick in the 2nd or 3rd rd. What about Lang, Sitton? 4th rders that are playing well above their draft positions!

Try again...

The TKstinator's picture

Ditto.
Or +1, whatever the current expression is.

4thand1's picture

BOOMBYA!

Phatgzus's picture

No one else wanted Tramon Williams or Sam Shields, they were major reasons we won a Super Bowl.

Thanks for playing! Please try again.

cLowNEY42's picture

*WERE (key word)

4thand1's picture

I think most of you sad sacks are Favre lovers who booed Rodgers at practice when TT let ol #4 walk. FA,FA,FA. The money isn't there. The best bet is to stay healthy and keep as many starters in as you can. All the top teams are also the healthiest, DUH. You wanna be GM's wouldn't stand a chance putting a team on the field. Stick to your mundane day jobs.

Bert's picture

Yikes!!

Stroh's picture

Damn straight 4thand1. You speak the truth!

The TKstinator's picture

Yes, but, my day job is far from mundane.

The TKstinator's picture

And another factor that seems to be universally ignored is hindsight, while real GM's deal in "real time" and projection.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

ClowNEY, Be careful what you wish for. Both Offenses &amp; Defenses could be neutralized tomorrow by the weather. JMO

TommyG's picture

If it does turn into a battle of Field Goals, who wins?

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

I'd like to think we would, but I don't have much confidence in Crosby if the Game is on the line. Hopefully he can continue to kick well, &amp; it doesn't come down to a FG at the end to win it.

Stroh's picture

I would take that right now. A FG to win at the end. I have a lot of confidence in Crosby right now.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Not sure I would want to be behind by 2, &amp; have Crosby kicking a 35 FG with 3 seconds left to win the game. Yes I'd like a shot at winning, but I hope it doesn't come down to Crosby's foot, outside of 30 yd's. He hasn't kicked too many game winners, that I recall. He's kicked well this year. Hope he continues that tomorrow. It'll be pretty tough going for both kickers.

Phatgzus's picture

1 if I'm not mistaken, in his first season.

Mags's picture

Blah Blah Blah

larry valdes's picture

Ruppert you are correct. Tt should have been looking and signed a safety free agent 2 o 3 weeks ago same with lb position it's shame that we are playing the 49s with md Jennings at safety and matweus injured sorry but we don't have any pressure to the qb dont blame campers he doesn't have the horses I blame it on tt.

al's picture

don if you can here me latamores your new clay let him loose perry too !!!!!!!!!!

marcopo's picture

The salary cap and the restrictive (in terms of training do's and don'ts) have made it difficult for draft and develop teams. It's not where we draft. It's called experience, and you just can't manufacture it. Caper's defense requires savvy, experienced player who work in unisence and coordinated schemes. Now look at the Green Bay roster. Face the facts, Dom Capers scheme is far too complex for the kinda guys that Thompson is going to give him.

TommyG's picture

Who would've thought that "our flat offense" is what was going to cost us a victory?

The TKstinator's picture

Ah heck. Yin, yang. Score more, allow less, who can say?

TommyG's picture

true.

cLowNEY42's picture

Kaepernick is the difference. Again.
Man, I wish we could trade rosters with that team.

Loaded.

Rodgers may be a better passer but I'll take Kaepernick any day... just finds a way to get it done.

So all that Bears win did was cost us 8 draft spots.

Wonderful.

TommyG's picture

I don't think Kaep was the difference. Sure, he had the play that more or less sealed the deal; I'll give you that. But our offense did not play to its true ability today, the 7 three and out show this. I wouldn't want there roster at this point. Their roster has produced zero superbowl wins so far.

Al Fresco's picture

IMHO the difference in the two teams, and for that matter almost all teams we played this year, and last: our defensive backfield play is horrendous. You saw, and I saw guys so wide open at times it was like no one else was on the field.
In game 17, you don't make those kinds of coverage errors. Game 1 yes, 17 no, unless you don't know how, or do not have the speed and skill to do the job no matter how much practice you get. I'll take the latter as my choice.
This team gave up record pass yardage the year before and looked even worse this year. Blame Ted.

TommyG's picture

And I shall blame him.

Bert's picture

Well. Rodgers had to play his "A" game and Kaep his "B-" game. Didn't happen. Nobody's fault really. Just didn't happen today. Need to get better to change the results.

TommyG's picture

a little bit here and there and we are right back to favorites.

Lars's picture

Well, Brian was right on except for one thing---he pointed fingers at Raji and Burnett (fair enough) and completely ignored the failures of coordinator Dom Capers as well as holding JAG's Hawk, Jones, Neal, Mulumba, et. al. properly accountable. No sense p's off TT or management.

That Raji was just going through the motions to get out of Capers' incredibly stubborn scheme fixation (and plaing him out of position at end) is beyond question. He will be signed by a 4/3 team that will know how to use him and then like Haynesworth do nothing and laugh all the way to the bank.

As long as TT favorites Hawk, Pickett, Burnett, Neal, Bush populate this defense it's going nowhere. Just compare SF's four LB's and aggressive get after it 1-gap system to Capers' and TT's nonsense and that's all you need to know. SF with KAEPERNICK OWNS the Packers and it's not changing anytime soon, as witnessed by Vernon Davis abusing AJ Hawk for that TD and Morgan Burnett continuing to be a step late. That will continue to happen for the next two seasons, at least.

The J's picture

How many more years of our latest HOF QB's career are we going to waste? I'll leave the offense and it's ridiculous play calling and horrendous decision making out of this post and focus on a defense that has had the same issues for the last 3 years. There is no pass rush, opposing receivers are consistently wide open in this zone scheme, they can't get off the field on 3rd down, no one can tackle, and there is no impact or progress from our multiple high draft picks. I refuse to believe that there is a lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball. What does management need to see to realize that a change is desperately needed in the coaching staff? Capers needs to go, and I'd sure like to see McCarthy go with him. Packer fans are about winning Super Bowls, and we have the QB to win more than just one. Our window is now, and it drives me insane to watch our chances waste away.

Al Fresco's picture

J Capers 3-4 is based on wide bodies in the middle to stop the run, and fast footed linebackers to rush the passer. On paper than could work well.
In reality, we have three underperfoming wide bodies in Raji, Jolly and Pickett and two underperforming linebackers in Mathews and Perry.

If we got rid of Capers, we would have to clean house with the above scheme. That would totally confuse MM who is a simple minded man: two runs and a pass play, two runs and a pass play.

TommyG's picture

While I am in no way wanting to get rid of the 3-4 or Capers, I am confused by your statement of "That would totally confuse MM who is a simple minded man". While he is the head coach, MM does not call in the defensive plays or scheme.

You are correct that if we go with the 4-3 and dump Capers, that we will also have to clean house and start over from scratch in the front seven.

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