Great stuff from Bob McGinn in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in what amounts to an overview of what head coach Mike McCarthy sees the Green Bay Packers doing on defense next year. There are a number of good points, a few of which I want to touch on. From McCarthy:
I think we're a lot better off than people think we are...I think people have underestimated us a little bit. I think we've got good depth already.
I couldn't agree more. I think it's easy for fans and even for rival front office people in the NFL to take a look at the Packers record and see how terrible the defense was last year and come to the conclusion that the Packers personnel cupboard is bare on the defensive side of the ball. But I think these people forget two very important things. One, the Packers had an amatuer running their defense last year. (My feelings on this matter are well documented.) They now have one of the best defensive minds in the game. That's a big jump. And I can hear some of you already - "Yes, but Capers can't work miracles. The talent isn't there". Ridiculous. People forget that by the time the Packers got to the Atlanta game, they had Michael Montgomery, who started the year as a third string end, starting on the right side. They also had Charlie Peprah, yes, Charlie Peprah playing strong safety. They had Will Blackmon playing nickel due to Al Harris' injury and later, of course, went on to lose Nick Barnett for the season. Now, this doesn't excuse anything as the players that are put on the field are expected to step up - but when you couple the decimation of your defensive roster with the fact that they are being led by a man who couldn't scheme his way out of a paper bag, well, that spells disaster. The talent, when relatively healthy, is there.
Later in McGinn's piece we find a welcome revelation, one that I've had a hunch would take place since Dom Capers uttered the words 'hybrid scheme' at his introductory press conference. Per McGinn:
In nickel, the Packers won't be dramatically different, according to McCarthy.
As Corey stated over and over again last season, the Packers' nickel package was the bread and butter for the defense. It makes perfect sense for McCarthy and Capers to keep the nickel package intact, especially with Cullen Jenkins sliding inside and Kampman putting his hand down and playing his old defensive end spot. I'm sure there will be some tweaks, but it's a good sign that Capers is open to keeping things that work and not simply giving lip service to the idea of using the talent on hand in the best way possible.
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