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Taking Offense with this Defense?

Taking Offense with this Defense?

The Packers are undefeated! Their last loss came 324 days ago. Kim Kardashian probably had no idea who Kris Humphries was and Netflix was still one company.

Somewhere between now and then many things have changed. The Packers rose from the sixth seed and never looked back. In this time we fans went from happy for a decent game at New England to people who expect perfection.

I can't say I'm not in the corner of people who expect perfection. I'm a homer. The Packers should win every game, and in my opinion have the game locked up as they enter the fourth quarter. Anytime this doesn't happen, I don't doubt that they will win, but I have to say, no matter how well the team is playing I'm a little disappointed.

But as always, there seems to be the section of people that can't seem to find a middle ground. The team is either perfect or rubbish (I'm watching Harry Potter as I type this - so that should explain any "rubbish" or "bloody" in this post).

I'm all for picking apart the games. I will freely say that this team is capable to beating any team in the league by at least three touchdowns. So when they don't we should look at the reasons. But there is a difference between looking for answers and what I can only determine as blind rage by some fans.

This season, running the live blog, I tend to read a myriad of comments. From those that want to marry Aaron Rodgers, to the growing in popularity, the Anti-Dom Capers crowd. I suppose now that we can't hate on Ted Thompson someone has to take the blame, but I find the "Dom Sucks" "This is why he can't hold down a job" garbage a bit much.

So here's some things about our defense.

They rock at interceptions and creating turnovers, they lead the league in point differential, they are the only undefeated defense in the league but also nearly lead the league in yards given up per game.

So I decided to take a look at some things. Outside of the New England Patriots, the Packers are not in the best company when it comes to giving up yards. They're surrounded by the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccanears and Arizona Cardinals. Out of those teams though, the Packers have given up less points than all of them.

After the Chargers game I just assumed that the Packers gave up more yards because they were obviously on the field less. After the two pick sixes in the first quarter, the Packers were leading but their offense was barely on the field. However, the Chargers only had the ball for 30 more seconds than the Packers. So I agree with the naysayers, the Packers give up too much yardage; they give up yardage comparable to teams with much worse records.

Out of the Packers six losses last year, only did the Dolphins and the Lions accumulated more yards than the Packers. In the four losses where the Packers outgained their opponents, they did so with an average of just over 100 yards. More yardage does not always a win make.

In 2o08, when the Packers finished a disapointing 6-10, they gave up on average 334 yards per game. In 2009 when the team had an early exit from the post season the Packers gave up only 284 yards per game. In the championship year 2010, the Packers gave up an average of 309 yards. This year the Packers are averaging a high 399 yards per game. Yardage wise, the Packers are giving up far more than they did in those previous years; however, this is the only team that has managed to win their first eight games. Heck, this team already won more than the entire 2008 season when they gave up over 60 yards less per game.

Do we all wish the Packers would give up less yardage. Yes. Is it risky? Could this pattern of giving up chunk loads of yards eventually catch up with the Packers? Yes. I do hope that the Packers will somehow fill the holes in their swiss cheese defense, but until then I'll take the wins over the yardage mark. As seen this year and last, the winning team doesn't always have the most yardage. Someone suggested on the live blog that they would rather have the defense giving up less yardage - or playing more consistently and the Packers with a 6-2 record then have the defense we have today.

I disagree, its risky to keep giving up so many yards. It's also risky to rely mainly on passing, and build the team around a superstar. Its also risky to even play the game.

This team has holes, but I am done spending time disecting the yardage issue. It is one stat of many that make up this team. And at the end of the day the only one that matters is the win-loss column.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

SpartaChris's picture

AMEN!

aussiepacker's picture

"And at the end of the day the only one that matters is the win-loss column."

Exactly, you dont get to the finals becouse you gave up the least amount of yards, you get there by wining the most games. I would rather watch the team in the finals every year even if they give up yards than to watch them miss the finals but be in the top ten for yards allowed.

o dragao da maldade contra o santo guerreiro's picture

It is one thing to panic and want to jump overboard, it is another one to express legitimate criticism.
In my opinion a number of people are trying to reassure themselves by inventing a horde of fans calling for everyone's head and then picturing themselves as cool, reasoned and reasonable etc...
But in reality those fans are nowhere to be found, only people concerned about the subpar defensive play from a "championship team" (let alone a perfect one).
"I do hope that the Packers will somehow fill the holes in their swiss cheese defense, but until then I’ll take the wins over the yardage mark."
Thank you very much, so do I, but it is not only a question of yardage, it is a question of the defense's play in general. And regardless of yours calling those that are deeply concerned about it a bunch of defeatists the Packers' defense is having real, worrisome, troubling problems.
Yours truly

Jayme Snowden's picture

My main point was to illustrate that the yardage issue is only one aspect. There are many others, tackling, pass interference penalties, lack of pass rush and wins. All of those factor into how the defense is playing.
I am trying to separate the people who question and want better play from those that are a smaller but vocal sect that really do think that Capers is doing an awful job. I have even heard this year that he should be fired. I am not calling anyone who is concerned a defeatist, I am calling the people who before the game is over are saying the Packers have lost, or that the Packers don't deserve to win or that they wish the Packers actually had a worse record or that Dom Capers sucks defeatists. Those people do exist. And those people are getting on my nerves.

Christian's picture

One big reason for all the yards given up by the Packers D: The opponents have to play "catch-up" most of the time. Desperate plays get called to just stay in reach and maybe have a shot at the end. That leads to big yards gained through the air on one hand and to risky plays leading to INTs by the Packers D on the other. That's why the yards given up by the Packers are not a real concern to me.
BUT
what is a concern is the lack of pressure on the QB when rushing 4 guys. When you give top passers in the NFL that much time, they will find the open man sooner or later. You just cannot cover for that long. You just can't, even with the class of the Packers D-backs. Last year the Packers could collapse the pocket with 3 interior rushers, while Matthews rushed from the edge. This year all the QB has to do is step up to avoid Matthews.
Capers has to come up with a solution. The risk of losing a game in the playoffs like the one back in 2009/10 season against the Cardinals might happen again. I won't say that it will, but there is a high risk in playing this way.
During the season these kind of games are so damn entertaining to watch, I take them anytime over a blowout win.

Jayme Snowden's picture

That is a really good thing to note about the yardage.
And definitely agree with you on the lack of pressure being an issue. Hoping to see some pressure once Neal can come back and have trust the Dom will eventually figure out a way to work on it.

dullgeek's picture

Not that this really matters that much, but Netflix is back to being one company:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/10/netflix-backtracks-on-qwikster-will-k...

(I pick the nit.)

As for the actual content of your post, I find myself agreeing with Wilde on this one. The Packers success this season will be reflected not by their regular season win/loss record, but by how they perform in the playoffs. And while the Packers have played a lot of lesser opponents so far this season, I'm worried that this defense will be the cause of a loss when going undefeated really matters: in the playoffs.

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