Cory's Corner: Is Green Bay's defense playoff ready?

The Packers offense made huge strides last week.

The running game provided the added punch that had been missing for much of the season.

So where does that leave the defense?

The Packers are currently the No. 3 seed in the NFC and if the playoffs ended this second, Green Bay would host the Vikings.

Which of course begs the question, if the offense falls flat in the playoffs, can the defense provide enough power to win a playoff game? Essentially, is this defense playoff ready?

The lead characters on defense have been Clay Matthews and Mike Daniels. Matthews has been asked to play all over the field — causing his sack numbers to dip — but being a solid rock in stopping the run. Daniels ensured his recent four-year, $42 million extension by seemingly always being around the ball. He is turning into a player that opposing offenses have to scheme for.

But the most underrated player on this defense this year has been cornerback Sam Shields. He claims that he isn’t a shut-down corner like Darrelle Revis, Josh Norman or Aqib Talib. But in back-to-back weeks, Shields’ assignment was Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant and Shields passed both tests with flying colors.

Many thought when Shields was handed his four-year $39 million deal in 2014, the Packers overpaid a little for a guy that only started 66 percent of his games from 2010-2013.

His excellent play has allowed defensive coordinator Dom Capers more freedom to dial up pressure on opposing quarterbacks. After registering no sacks at Carolina and vs. Detroit, the Packers have tallied 12 sacks the last four weeks.

Shields has also had a positive effect on Julius Peppers. The 14-year outside linebacker has had his playing time closely guarded by Capers. And with Shields shadowing opposing No. 1 wideouts, Peppers has been able to see more open lanes, while getting more time to get to the quarterback.

However, Shields is out this week with a concussion. Derek Carr isn’t Carson Palmer, or Cam Newton. Heck, Carr isn’t even Teddy Bridgewater. But Carr has a great receiver in Amari Cooper that can cause problems.

This game is the litmus test for this defense. In the playoffs, if you have a shut-down corner that completely takes away the No. 1 receiver, the defense doesn’t have to stretch itself to cover another receiver or stop the run.

How rookies Demarious Randall and Quinten Rollins handle the bump in playing time, is how this defense is going to be judged from here on out.

Obviously barring any more setbacks, Shields will be back for the final two games and the postseason. If both Randall and Rollins prove that they can be counted on to provide frustrating coverage and get the defense off the field on third down, this defense is ready.

Even if the offense puts up a stinker and scores 13 points in the first round, this game will prove if the defense can win a game like that.

Five weeks ago, nobody would’ve thought this defense could come together and be counted on to win a game.

Now this team is on the verge of proving it.

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (37)

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Lphill's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:40 am

The Raiders offense cooled off a bit since the season began and their defense has given up about 100 more points than the Packers, what concerns me about the Pack D is the big running plays they gave up against the Cowboys , I can see one in a game but several is concerning. That has to be cleaned up fast.

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wardi's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:46 am

What happened to Transplants live? We are addicted and that's without the WiscoDisco Beer.

BTW, Cory, are you coming to Arizona for the December 27th game? Anyone out there? Anyone finds us 4 Tickets they can stay at the Luxurious Chez Wardi in sunny Phoenix Arizona....AirBNB price of $100 per person per night waved for the 3 night stay. Just get us 4 Tickets.

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CoryJennerjohn's picture

December 19, 2015 at 09:00 pm

No, I won't be able to make it to Arizona. Sorry.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 19, 2015 at 08:02 am

I would say Carr is better than Bridgewater.

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Dan Stodola's picture

December 19, 2015 at 08:08 am

Carr is head and shoulders better than Bridgewater. Whoever thinks otherwise doesn't know football in the least. Who said that anyway?

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2015 at 08:24 am

It's in the article above ^^^^^. Carr is a lot better IMO too. Hope he stinks it up tom though.

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 19, 2015 at 09:33 am

You can state your opinion without being a douche about it. You could even, I don't know, back up your opinion with some facts and argument. Crazy, I know.

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Wow cowdouche, dissing yer viqueens?

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Dan Stodola's picture

December 19, 2015 at 05:23 pm

I don't read the author's articles, which is why I asked who said it. Ireally didn't know.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 19, 2015 at 06:13 pm

If you don't read them, why comment below his articles then?

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Dan Stodola's picture

December 20, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I commented on what another person had to say. Not to the article directly.

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Ima fubar's picture

December 21, 2015 at 08:36 pm

Carr is OK Bridgewater is much better just wait.

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CoryJennerjohn's picture

December 19, 2015 at 09:15 pm

The only reason I feel that Bridgewater is a hair better than Carr is because Carr is in a better situation in Oakland for a passer. The Raiders have a great wideout as a No. 1 and a solid wideout as a No. 2. Michael Crabtree is having a better season than Randall Cobb. (More targets, yards, touchdowns and 20-plus-yard receptions).

The No. 1 wideout for the Vikings is a fifth-round rookie that did nothing this season until Week 4.

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Dan Stodola's picture

December 20, 2015 at 12:37 pm

But Teddys has the best running game in the NFL which does as much or more for QB as receivers.

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2015 at 08:05 am

The defense has looked really good at times. When they get pressure. No defense will be any good without getting to the QB.

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Since'61's picture

December 19, 2015 at 09:03 am

Cory - I think that our defense can carry a game if we score 17 or more points. In this era of the NFL holding a playoff caliber offense to under 13 points is a tall order. I would never say never, especially in a bad weather game. However, if this defense is healthy going into the playoffs, we will have our best playoff defense since the 2010 SB run. I think they can get the job done, especially if our run game is as effective as it was against Dallas. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Nick Perry's picture

December 19, 2015 at 10:56 am

That's if you take the 2 50 yard runs away right Since'61? : )

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Since'61's picture

December 19, 2015 at 02:01 pm

Sometimes you have to give credit to the opponent. Dallas executed those runs perfectly. It is not like the Packers had missed tackles on those plays, they were blocked. The key point is that Dallas only scored points on one of those drives. This is professional football and the other team is going to make some plays. I'll take our defensive play from the Dallas game against anybody. Not many teams have an OL like Dallas. If we can hold them to 7 points and a bunch of 3 and outs we should be OK. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Dan Stodola's picture

December 19, 2015 at 05:28 pm

One of the 50yd run Ryan missed his gap, maybe both. But i know for sure one wasn't the blocking being great but poor gap discipline by Ryan.

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Nick Perry's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:23 pm

I agree Since'61, just busting your balls a little. The Packers defense played a good game last Sunday from start to finish and held Dallas out of the endzone after the first long run.

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2015 at 12:14 pm

They sure looked pretty good against that top rated Dallas defense you were so confident in last weekend. As usual............you suck.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 19, 2015 at 05:44 pm

Carr? Wow you really want to rile everyone up. Mack would be my pick.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

I think I'm in shock. A negative, pessimistic comment from Cow.
He's usually so calm, fair, and analytical.

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4thand10's picture

December 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I would say that the defense is ready. Sometimes I don't like the way 3rd down personnel is set up which is my problem and I'm by no means a coach or expert. But at this point they are who they are. My problem is the last couple of games when the other team is facing a 3rd and 6th or 3rd and 7th. Capers will take out heavy personnel and put in 5 Linebackers which leads to ALL DAY for the opposing QB to throw. With less than stellar QB's (Cassel) this can work, but with good QB's it seems like way too much of a gamble. But it is what it is.

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EdsLaces's picture

December 19, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Bring the heat on 3rd down like you did against Dallas Capers and all will be fine.

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LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

December 19, 2015 at 04:47 pm

Cow, Do you want to make me a bet on that?LVT

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Bearmeat's picture

December 19, 2015 at 06:17 pm

Stop. Just. Stop. Cow won't keep any bet he loses and he will crow about his "omniscience" in any bet he wins.

LVT don't feed the bovine. It only encourages him.

Bovine, in your admirable desire to not be a fan boy, you must realize how many times you have contradicted yourself right?

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LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

December 19, 2015 at 09:37 pm

Bearmeat, I just want to make a fool of him. I wasn't trying to encourage him. I've got a Grand bet that say's he's wrong & it's not the Grand Canyon. He has to take Carolina off the board. I stated a number of times, I'd prefer not to play Carolina until the NFCG.LVT

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Nick Perry's picture

December 20, 2015 at 06:07 am

In all honesty, I don't see Carolina getting by Seattle this year in the Divisonal Round. Of course that's assuming if the Packers win in week 17 and then again in the Wildcard Round and if Seattle remains the 5th seed which is proable. That's a lot of "If's" but the Packers could host the NFCCG against Seattle IF things fall just right.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 20, 2015 at 08:38 am

I also don't know if this limited pass attack and solid but non-turnover producing D can beat a balanced AZ team. Either next week or in the divisional round.

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4thand1's picture

December 20, 2015 at 08:46 am

Seems they have dropped a lot of possible ints this year. The dropped balls are the most frustrating, by the whole dam team.

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LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

December 20, 2015 at 01:35 pm

Nick Perry, Can't argue with that. I believe GB will be in the NFCCG. You could be right about Seattle. I happen to favor Carolina, but Seattle's plenty tough. Neither one would be a cake walk.LVT

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Lphill's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:47 pm

Cow is only here to be a dick that's what Viking fans do , Bridgewater is a bust , so it makes Cow even more synical , remember he just said Rodgers is on the decline , what is he 31, 32 ? And he is on the decline according to Cow.

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4thand1's picture

December 20, 2015 at 08:42 am

Suck it already cowdouche. You've been ragging on Rodgers for years. Typical bear/lolion/queen fan envy. You fans did the same thing with Favre for 19 years. He's has 28 td's with 5 picks, hovering around 100 qbr. He's the only reason they are still winning the division. Ok I'll give the defense a little love, they've kept the Pack in most of the games. As I always say the QB gets all the blame/credit way to often. Rodgers WILL be breaking records for another 5+ years, so suck it.

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4thand1's picture

December 20, 2015 at 10:11 am

I have to say ty for breaking up the boredom that so often happens during the week, cowdouche. Don't lie, you've been a Rodgers hater from the start. You've admitted yourself how bad his receiving corp is, but are now blaming him for a bad season, IYO. They are leading the league in drops and are slow, but that's his fault. You don't have the right to call him "our hero", when you've NEVER been a fan of his in the first place. Carson Palmer is 34 and having his best season of his career. Funny how he gets so much praise when the team itself is clearly one of the best in the NFL.
you suck

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4thand1's picture

December 20, 2015 at 11:18 am

Pure lies once again. Newton is the only QB without a bevy of receivers at his disposal. He runs a lot and that has proven to work for a while. Opposing defenses can't drop everyone into coverage. Also has a top defense at his disposal. Don't hate appreciate.
you suck.
p.s., Brady looked average when Gronk went down. And Eddleman his go to guy. They lost to the Eagles, LMFAO!!!

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Ima fubar's picture

December 21, 2015 at 08:45 pm

funny I could swear bridge water has as many wins as rogers. And unless I'm wrong its only year 2 for him. He has smarts, knows how to get rid of the ball for positive yardage.

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