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Ball Security, Tackling Focal Points for the Packers This Week

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Ball Security, Tackling Focal Points for the Packers This Week

In the first glimpse of live football in seven months of offseason recuperating and scheduled practices, both with and without pads, it's plausible to expect some poor fundamentals across the board on both sides.

For the Packers, head coach Mike McCarthy constantly stresses the importance of fundamentals, whether it be in ball security or in the tackling mechanics the Packers have put so much work into over the last few seasons. 

But last Thursday against the Eagles, the Packers lacked both.

"The ball security as a whole was not acceptable," McCarthy said Tuesday before practice. He knows just about as well as anyone that exhibition work doesn't necessarily translate into similar results during the season. That was even evidenced by the 2008 Detroit Lions, who finished the preseason 4-0 but became the only team in NFL history to lose all 16 games during the regular season.

However, these aren't the 2008 Lions. Nothing even remotely close. As a team with eight straight playoff appearances under its belt along with a Super Bowl title—and hopefully more in their sights—the practices are emphasized during the month of August. 

"We didn't tackle very well against Philly. We didn't break tackles, our run offense wasn't what it needed to be," McCarthy said. Even despite the missed tackles in several instances, including Clay Matthews' botched attempt on a third-and-long in which the Eagles netted a touchdown, the Packers outnumbered the Eagles in total tackles, 71-to-59.

Somewhere both teams shared a similarity is the fumbles department, where McCarthy clearly held disdain. Both teams fumbled the ball five times—each—and both teams recovered just two of them.

"We didn't improve the ball security and fundamentals," McCarthy continued. "We need to get better. These padded practices are important especially when you do it on back-to-back days. There's always a couple balls in the air this time of the year and you're just trying to get as much as you can done with your team."

One of those lost fumbles was via Ty Montgomery, whose busy offseason culminated in him entering the preseason as the Packers' lead tailback.

He was far from it against the Eagles, as his three carries netted a depressing total of zero yards. 

It wasn't all on Montgomery, though. The Packers' run game throughout the night was stagnant; a fact highlighted by quarterback Taysom Hill being the team's lead rusher with his 14 yards off of two carries.

Once again, the Eagles weren't far off in that respect as well. Their 19 carries as a team totaled 47 yards and averaged 2.5 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Packers racked up 47 yards, too, just with one less carry, giving them a slightly higher 2.6 average. Frighteningly similar totals that illuminated the deficiencies of both teams in their first preseason action.

Ball security and tackling is going to be a clear point of emphasis this week for the Packers, per McCarthy. The results of their labor will likely show—albeit in the slightest—on Saturday when they travel to Washington to face the Redskins in an exhibition bout.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Since '61's picture

Zach - the Packers have made the playoffs for 8 consecutive seasons, 2009 - 2016. Both teams fumbled five times (not five teams), consider proof reading your work before you hit submit. Spell check will not pick up errors/typos like these. This is not your first article with factual and wording errors. I appreciate that this is not your "day job" but I don't think that it's took much to ask to check your work before you put it out for everyone to try to figure out what you're saying. As for the content, MM teams have been consistently good at ball security but they have also been consistently bad at tackling so I'm not sure this season will be any different. He's emphasized both each and every season. Let's hope this year the ball security remains good and the tackling actually improves. We'll see. Thanks, Since '61

Spock's picture

Since '61, I couldn't agree more about the proof reading. That said, these people really DO have another 'day' job so I'm willing to cut them 'some' slack. If you don't mind a little playful jab at your comment, I believe you meant to say "will BE any different". :) Just joking, as you rarely have any grammar/spelling mistakes in your comments, and I agree that it would be nice if there were better proof reading before printing of these articles. I can't really complain as I've often winced after seeing I forgot something after hitting "submit". However, sometimes the lack of proof reading is very apparent. I think it's just the age we live in. When so many people are 'Tweeting' instead of 'writing' it's understandable that standards have fallen (Big sigh). I don't know the background of some of the contributors and I'm just grateful that CHTV continues to be IMHO the best fan Packers site on the web and gives us enough articles (and style content) to critique!

Since '61's picture

Spock - I agree with you that CHTV is the best Packer site/blog on the web. I've been with Jersey Al since 2011 when it was still All Like you and many others here I appreciate everything that is done by Jersey Al and his team to maintain CHTV. It's the reason why I end all of my posts with "Thanks, Since '61", to thank Al, the contributors and our fellow bloggers for taking the time to make this work. I have rarely if ever criticized one of the contributors, but if we are to keep this site the best as we believe it to be then sometimes (rarely) we need to send some friendly, constructive criticism. As you posted, sometimes the lack of proof reading is just too much. To quote (paraphrase) coach Lombardi, "You don't do the right thing some of the time, you do it all the time", or at least try to. Thanks, Since '61

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Thanks you two, for being civil about it. I understand my work occasionally comes with an error here and there, and that's my responsibility to prevent from happening. It helps when the constructive criticism comes from a respectable source that doesn't insult you in every sentence. With that being said, you're right: this isn't my day job. But, it's a second job that I work very, very hard at and sometimes, when trying to do so in a timely manner and get a story out as fast as I can, I fail to proofread. Definitely something I know I need to straighten up.
Also, thanks again for reading and leaving your respective comments. Producing work for the best fans on the planet is a dream.

packfan44's picture

I guess "since 61" must have been an english teacher.... he thinks we really care about grammarity correct comments. Please find another website to comment on...

Spock's picture

You need not insult Since '61. Since I WAS an English teacher at one time (not a particularly good one) I don't believe you should be attacking that profession either. If anyone needs to find another website to comment on, perhaps it should be you if you have nothing constructive to add.

cheesycowboy's picture

If grammar is the best retort to your articles Zach, you are doing something right. Nothing else to complain about in my eyes. Thank you .

Fordham Ram's picture

If a head coach emphasizes the fundamentals of tackling and he is an expert on the offense is it the defensive coordinators fault? Who actually teaches and oversees the fundamentals .My question is, this lack of tackling well over the years, is it on McCarthy or Capers? Who would you fault more. I think Capers and that's why I don't know why McCarthy keeps letting this guy hang on. Its been years now and the defense hasn't gotten better and I don't believe it is all due to youth and injuries.

Jonathan Spader's picture

I think you meant "too" much to ask. Not "took" much to ask. If you're going to criticize someone's grammar proof read your own work as well. I realize this sounds harsh I'm simply trying to point out that we all make mistakes. I have other people proofread my work for school or a professional environment but for a fan forum I typically just glance it over and click submit. This forum is for fun or at least I'd like for it to be.

Jonathan Spader's picture


Would you blame McArthy for the WRs dropping passes or the WR coach? When it comes to missing Tackles Capers isn't teaching how to tackle his job is to game plan and call a defense. Wouldn't missed tackles be a reflection on the coach teaching the player poor tackling fundamentals? Either way it was the 1st preseason game there is always poor tackling and poor ball security. If it continues throughout the preseason and into the season then it's a problem.

The TKstinator's picture

MM had me at "couple balls in the air"; recipe either for disaster or a rockin' good time.

cuervo's picture

Since you can't tackle anymore in practice, fumbling in the pre-season is normal now. You cannot simulate getting hit any other way...every other team is in the same boat. If it's still occuring in 4th preseseaon game, then you can be worried.

McCarthy upset about the running game? You actually have to attempt to run the ball Mike. The running backs had a total of 14 carries between 6 guys.....what the hell do you expect Mike.

Bearmeat's picture

Meh. Preseason game 1. I'm not going to worry about it all that much. I'm more interested in watching individual skills that could be a problem in the season (pass rush, coverage) than team tackling and ball security.

Tundraboy's picture

Meh is right

Lphill's picture

In other news Josh Jones carted off practice field . The hits keep coming

Since '61's picture

Great! Let's hope they are being super careful and it's not serious. I can't remember the last time this team caught a break with injuries. Thanks, Since '61

Handsback's picture

Amen to that!

flackcatcher's picture

Ever since 2010 I become convinced that the football Gods are punishing this team for their run to Dallas. Stupid, I know. But I can't come up for another reason for the run of strange and weird injuries this team suffers.

Tundraboy's picture

It's surreal. The type and amount of injuries this team has had in the past 6 years and continues to have, not to mention the timing, is nothing short of a nightmare.
What amazes me is how often it happens to a promising player almost as soon as they have a good play or game.

Jonathan Spader's picture

While the Packers seem to stack up injuries they're far from alone. Look at Detroit losing it's left tackle and a DE already. The Ravens have a ton of injuries. Chicago last year was the most injured team in the NFL. As frustrating as injuries are the threat of them is part of the intrigue of the NFL. Kind of like how any character could die at amy time in Game of Thrones. You're just an injured Aaron away from a lost season. Nerve wracking but also exciting.

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