Cory's Corner: Packers defense isn't Super Bowl worthy

The Packers did a solid job bolstering the offense in the offseason. They gave quarterback Aaron Rodgers a trusty weapon in tight end Martellus Bennett, who may turn out to be more athletic and more reliable than Jermichael Finley.

They added considerable help in the secondary. Namely cornerback Kevin King, who was slotted as a first round talent by many talent evaluators, but general manager Ted Thompson scooped him up in the second round.

The Packers also added outside linebacker Vince Biegel in the fourth round. Right now, the Packers are starting Nick Perry and Clay Matthews on the outside. However, they both combined for a total of nine missed games last year due to injury.

And with offenses geared for explosive passing attacks, a pass rush is very critical. You could have Aqib Talib and Janoris Jenkins in your secondary, but they will be wasted commodities if the guys up front can’t maintain consistent pressure.

And that’s why I don’t think this defense as it is right now is good enough to win the NFC. Because how fair is it to lean on a stopgap guy like Jayrone Elliott? Coach Mike McCarthy did say a month ago that Fackrell will “push for significant time in the outside linebacker rotation.” But from what I’ve seen of the 2016 third rounder, I’m not sure he can be counted on consistently.

Whether Perry likes it or not, a lot of the burden will likely fall on him especially if defensive coordinator Dom Capers opts to continue playing Matthews in a hybrid role that moves him all over the field.

Biegel was a solid pick where the Packers got him but now that his training camp is in question, the entire pass rush is under the microscope. Who is going to absorb Julius Peppers’ 7½ sacks from a year ago? Remember, that total was second on the team behind Perry. It likely won’t be coming from the defensive line because Mike Daniels will continue to see double teams.

That means that the linebackers simply have to be better. Mattews’ sack totals have gone down for the last three years. With his nagging hamstring, he lacks the explosion to come off the edge. And now Biegel has a nagging Jones fracture in his foot.

This unit has to stay healthy for two reasons. First of all, in Capers’ system, the outside linebacker is arguably the most important person on the field. Secondly, it doesn’t offer a lot of depth because behind those five guys sits undrafted free agent rookies Johnathan Calvin and Reggie Gilbert.

And without consistent pressure on the quarterback, Capers will be forced to bring pressure with safeties or corners. And that’s a huge gamble because you’re leaving yourself exposed on defense.

The defense gets kick-started with solid pressure. It sets up tough third down situations for the offense and more than likely gets the defense off the field.

The question is, are Perry, Matthews, Fackrell, Biegel and Elliott up to the challenge? 

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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 (88)

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holmesmd's picture

May 20, 2017 at 06:19 am

I think the premise of this article is premature to say the least! Our DL & secondary should be significantly better than last year. LB's will be better just from health and NFL experience. They have 7 months to be their best. Give the units a chance to develop and let's see what we have! Injuries as always will have a large impact but I think we got considerably more athletic on DL & secondary.

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dschwalm's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

IMHO, Corey is spot on with this article. This defensive unit will need more than a couple of games to develop. After the incompetent two draft choices of 2016, we are now left with 2 or 3 rookies to stem the tide? I can't believe anybody believes this defensive unit will do anything in the play-offs, especially with the QBs in the NFC.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:42 am

This defensive unit in May doesn't really give us much hope for significant improvement. My hope is that the defensive unit on the field in December and January will be something worth watching.

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Turophile's picture

May 20, 2017 at 05:51 pm

holmesmd said it. This article would have more legs if it were posted after a lacklustre training camp/preseason. It's just too early to project now. Why is that ? Let me list some things that change the defense, compared to last year.

The health of Matthews. Randall, Rollins, Martinez, all were injured last year.
New additions include Montravious Adams, Kevin King, Josh Jones, Davon House, Ricky Jean Francois.
Possible step-ups from former rookies include Clark, Fackrell, Lowry.

That is 12 players who will affect the quality of the defense, way too many changing circumstances there, to project anything this early.

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TheVOR's picture

May 21, 2017 at 09:36 am

Just a few thoughts, I would expect the secondary talent to be good enough and deep enough. Also, we don't have to have the #1 defense in the NFL to contend, we made the NFC Championship with a bad defense. If we're a top 10 to middle of the road defense, and we're healthy, we'll contend. The bad news is just because you have talent at DB, doesn't equate to better in this defense. Said a million times all over the media outlets. You can have the most talented DB's in the league, but if you don't get a pass rush, you'll get killed. Also said, when have Matthews and Perry ever stayed healthy? To think thats going to change is almost a ridiculous notion. If they don't have guys step up, King, Jones, Dix, Burnett, doesn't matter who's in there, no pass rush = we're toast. I'd love to think GB would seriously think about adding another 1-2 guys as teams make final cutdown's. Don't think that will happen, but I'm sensing an emergence of Elliot Wolf, so it could happen.

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chugwater's picture

May 20, 2017 at 07:06 am

I'd feel a lot better if we had resigned Datone Jones. He was not a world beater by any stretch, but his experience and durability would have added depth to a unit comprised of often injured or unproven players.

He led the team in pressures last year. While more sacks would have been favorable, I think that an improved secondary would have given him more time to finish off plays and make a greater impact.

As it stands, we'll see how TT's gamble works out with only 5 five drafted OLBs.

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zekester's picture

May 20, 2017 at 07:56 am

Datone Jones was and is a waste of Bungwipe....rather rely Axel Rose showing up sober for a concert than a pass rush from him..get ready to be disappointed again Viking fans

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Nick Perry's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:34 am

A "Bungwipe"?? That can't be a good thing so I'm hoping you're right but I have a feeling Jones just might be productive playing in a 4-3 defense in which case I hope I'm wrong.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:43 am

I have a 'bung-wrench' in the garage...it's really not as objectionable as it sounds.

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dschwalm's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Unfortunately, I think you are right, Nick. Capers and MM tried to put a square peg in a round hole. I fear that he will have a career year with the Vikes.

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Dzehren's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:32 am

Dating Jones was not a fit in a3-4 defense. That's why is with the Vikes as a 4-3 DE End

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The TKstinator's picture

May 21, 2017 at 03:05 pm

Just disappointing that he WAS a 3-4 DE at UCLA and was NOT supposed to be a square peg in a round hole. 6-4, 285 lbs was supposed to be decent length and strength to fit in at DE. Why didn't he? Dom and MM know and they likely won't tell. So then he slims down and converts to OLB, where he was "okay" I guess. But that was not the plan originally. Disappointing and frustrating. And now he calls MN home.

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Nick Perry's picture

May 20, 2017 at 07:08 am

Even if Matthews and Perry managed to stay healthy throughout the regular season and playoffs (HUGE If), the Packers are still going to need at least one other OLB, maybe two. I'm one that actually believes in Frackrell and think he can take a big step this season. But even if Frackrell jumps the Packers still going to need more help.

I can't imagine Thompson heading into week one with Matthews, Perry, Frackrell, Elliott, and hopefully Biegel. Sometime after June 1st and before September 10th Thompson should sign another OLB. If he didn't it would be borderline reckless IMO, and Thompson is anything but reckless.

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chugwater's picture

May 20, 2017 at 07:25 am

I've been thinking he has to sign another player at some point as well although I have no idea who that would be. Depth is certainly an issue.

I'm not entirely convinced Fackrell or Elliott will take that much needed step in production. (Elliott has had three years to develop and never really earned significant playing time.)

Let's hope for the best.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:40 am

I agree with you NP, I believe in Fackrell (not "Frack"), but the problem with "needing" another OLB is the roster slot. The Packers are relying on Matthews, Perry, Fackrell, and Biegl, with Elliott as a major ST player and backup OLB. Getting another OLB means that if all of them remain healthy through the preseason (and by "healthy" I mean "capable of coming back soon, not lost for the season"), the team has to cut one of them, or reduce a different roster position.
I wouldn't be shocked to see another OLB added to the mix, but I don't think Ted would see keeping the current roster as a "reckless" decision.
Another OLB would feel "safer," but I think it falls short of "needed."

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Nick Perry's picture

May 20, 2017 at 09:12 am

I was reading something in PFF this morning I thought was interesting. Last season Kyle Frackrell had 2 sacks, 1 hit, and 9 hurries on just 99 pass rushing snaps. IF he could average that kind of production every 100 snaps the Packers would have a productive 3rd OLB who could step in.

I predict he DOES average that kind of production, even without my Green & Gold glasses on.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 09:56 am

There's lies, there's damn lies, and there's statistics.

GO DATA!!!

There's a lot riding on the development of one of Fackrell, Biegel or Elliott into a 6-8 sack kind of guy this season. It could be that the production they need could come from the "Biegrelliott" composite, but I'd much rather see one of them develop into a reliable pass-rusher than have to figure out which guy is going to provide the production on a weekly basis. If I had to guess which has the best chance to log 6-8 sacks, I would guess Elliott...but my guess is that Fackrell or Biegel will be the better player, overall.

Honestly, as I look at Fackrell, Biegel, and now CMIII, I see the potential for three interchangeable pieces, and with their athleticism they could all be on the field on both early and passing downs. Could make it very hard for OL to figure out who's coming and from where, and who's dropping into coverage. Elliott, on the other hand, is a different kind of guy: more of a "go get the QB" kind of guy who you don't want dropping into coverage.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

I gather you're just rooting for statistics. I can see that.

When Perry and/or Elliott are on the field, there isn't too much doubt about their assignments - saps the creativity out of Capers' schemes. I like Biegel, Fackrell and Elliott but I like them less when I realize that we need at least one and probably two of them to be able to produce this season on the field. I think they all have a chance to become real NFL quality players. If I think Fackrell has a 30%, Elliott 20%, and Biegel 15% of being serviceable rotational OLBers this season, then the probability is:
52.4% that at least one or more are successful;
40.7% that exactly one of them is successful;
52.7% than none of them are successful
<1% (.009) that all 3 are successful.

If I decide that Elliott has a 50%, Fack 40%, and Biegel 25%, then:
77.5% at least one
45.0% exactly one
22.5% that none are successful
5% chance that all 3 are successful.

I've reached the limit of my knowledge of probabilities, so I'll just add various disclaimers like my math could be all wrong, I am treating these as independent variables, etc, maybe we need exactly 2 of them to be successful, etc.

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Somedumbname's picture

May 20, 2017 at 02:58 pm

Statistics are like bikinis, they show a lot, but not everything.

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cheesehead1's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:57 am

I'm with you. Hope we sign another OLB because unfortunately, injuries are inevitable.

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dschwalm's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm

He was certainly reckless last summer when he went into the season with only 2 RBs. How did that work out for him!

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

May 20, 2017 at 03:32 pm

I see draft choices and some FA I think we have the answer to that.

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egbertsouse's picture

May 20, 2017 at 07:29 am

Elvis should be in the building....a

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Bearmeat's picture

May 20, 2017 at 07:59 am

I do believe this is the most spot on article Corey has ever written. Bravo, good sir.

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Packer Fan's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:00 am

I have to agree that this defense is not ready for a Super Bowl. To get there, these things must happen.
- King or Jones will be a starter.
- The other King or Jones is a significant backup contributor.
- Randall and Rollins bounce back and play closer to their potential.
- House plays well.
- Matthews and Perry play well and don't get seriously injured.
- Fackrell and/or Biegel play well to form a rotation around Perry and Matthews.
- Ryan or Martinez take a big jump this year.
- Clark, Lowry, Francois and Adams form an efficient rotation around Daniels.
- Reduced injuries.

Then maybe. But this is a lot to expect all. Some yes.

I am with the Nick Perry comment. TT should pick up another LB. OLB is probably the most obvious, but an ILB is OK with Matthews jumping around. Is Dummerville(sp?) still available?

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dschwalm's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Wow! Then, maybe pigs will fly!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 20, 2017 at 01:25 pm

I agree with the general sentiment that a number of things need to go well if the D is to get better, but don't like the super bowl ready phrase (what does it mean?) and I think you are too rigid and too pessimistic.

- We need 3 decent CBs out of House, King, Randall, Rollins, Hawkins, Gunter, and Jones. 4 would be better taking injuries into consideration.
- CM3 and Perry have to be healthy and play well.
- Need 1 (two would be better) of Fack, Elliott or Biegel to be a serviceable rotational OLB. Essentially medium starter quality.
- I think it is extremely like that Lowry, RJF, Adams, Guion form an efficient and good rotation around Daniels and Clark.

- I don't think Ryan or Martinez or Thomas need to make a big jump. It would be nice, but is unnecessary. Health would be good.

As always, we probably can't replace Perry, maybe not Daniels, or the ILBs. I can at least visualize fairly decent replacements for everyone else on D.

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CheesyTex's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:18 pm

Elvis would look great in the Building (Lambeau). He is still available. More expensive, and much older than TT likes -- but he went for Evans, and the Defense clearly has bigger holes to fill than the Offense.

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croatpackfan's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:03 am

It is interesting why Cory suddenly fell down to the darkest depression when he talks about Packers. Nobody is good (OK, maybe Aaron!), but all addition are not good enough, because Ted Thompson did not brought few D players from Seattle, from Texans, from Broncos, from Giants and he did not take Watt in the draft. I think that was the biggest TT mistake why Cory does not believe that Packers D can be solid.
Well, Cory, I may not see many Badgers games, but in few I was watching, I saw Vince Biegel who was true disruptive force and TJ Watt who used that disruptions for his benefit (not in a unfair way). That is, by my opinion, how Badgers D game was settled. And I said 2. 3 months ago, after Watt mania started through Packers nation, that I would pick Biegel every day in front of Watt.
Now, there is prediction medical staff that Biegel will be ready for start of TC. Just one report (initial report from Demovsky) were predicting longer period of healing. Even Demovsky corrected his first prediction and calculate with new data.
I can bet with all of you, at this moment that Biegel will sit first week of TC, just because Packers medical staff is conservative. And he will be in mix and he will practice.
Regarding Fackrell, Elliott, Gilbert - we really do not know what is with them, but I tend to believe to coaches who spends days with those guys through life, training and games, more than to NFL analysts who deals with very, very limited quantity & quality of data.
Also, Packers brought another players - Letuligasenoa & Calvin - in the mix, so it is not 5 or 6 names, but 8 already.
If you are looking to sign some OLB, only one I will be OK with is former Packers OLB Erik Walden who become FA this season. Only question I have is how much he has left in his tank!
Thank you!
God help us, we are doomed!

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:42 am

I'm with you 100% Croat.

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cuervo's picture

May 20, 2017 at 04:17 pm

The one OLB they should not sign is Walden, he is terrible against the run and can't rush the passer ( don't throw the "he had 11 sacks last year") stat at me.....all of those were garbage sacks, he didn't beat anyone.

The fact he played out his 4 year contract at Indy tells you just how bad their defense is.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 04:32 pm

I disagree: you don't get 11 sacks by accident on a bad defense like Indy's. Even when he was in GB, he could get after the passer. It's just that on the inbetween plays, he gives away through poor play and boneheaded mistakes more than he gets you through sacks.

But I couldn't agree more: I don't want any part of him back in GB.

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cuervo's picture

May 21, 2017 at 06:54 am

Per one write up by Walter Football :
"Erik Walden is probably a 1.5-star player, but I'm going to give him a write-up because he accumulated 11 sacks in 2016. Quite frankly, I've never seen a player be so lucky in his life. Walden lucked into most of his sacks, as he seldom put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Walden is a mediocre backup at best, and he turns 32 in August, so he'll continue to regress."

There will be other linebackers that will be cut before and during training camp. I would ride with one of our UDFA before I would waste a roster spot on a marginal player at best like Eric Walden...so we are in agreement on that.

There is nothing wrong with bringing in someone like Dumerville or ?? and see if they have anything left. The difference between someone like Dumerville and Walden, is that one of them was an above average football player at one point in their career and the other never has been.

I find it funny that some post and bitch that TT won't sign any "talent" and then they propose signing someone like Walden???

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Dzehren's picture

May 20, 2017 at 11:28 pm

U lost me at Waldron-

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croatpackfan's picture

May 21, 2017 at 08:06 am

I said I may be OK with that, but I also said that I do not know what was left in the tank. Why do you think that other OLB/DE which are available on the FA market are better. All of them lost their jobs as Walden did. Why do you think Dummerville is better? He lost his job, too, didn't him?
There is no good option at FA. One or 2 good veteran OLB refused to talk with Packers, buy media info, so who do you think is better. There is no better choice on the FA market that young guys Packers has.

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Since &#039;61's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:09 am

It's way too early to say whether the defense is an SB defense or not. As the season progresses the defense will hopefully evolve into a more solid unit. It may not, but the key will be whether or not the unit stays healthy. What happens when we get to the playoffs will be the key factor. If they are healthy when we get to the playoffs and if they have evolved over the course of the season, they may be good enough. Either way, Rodgers and the offense will need to carry the team again but it's too early for me to say that the defense won't be ready to at least contribute enough to get us to the SB. Thanks, Since '61

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Packer Fan's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:53 am

Yup. Staying healthy (minimal season ending injuries) and having some of the younger players develop are the keys. But adding an OLB would help.

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Bert's picture

May 20, 2017 at 09:11 am

Kinda depends on how quickly King and Jones progress and whether or not CM and Perry can stay healthy. I have my doubts about both issues actually, at least for 2017. Capers defense will be tough for any rookie to pick up quickly and I just don't see either CM or Perry staying healthy for 16 games plus the playoffs. As for Fackrell, Martinez and Ryan I think they are all OK players and are good pieces as long as you can surround them with an impact player or two.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:20 am

"Capers defense will be tough for any rookie to pick up quickly and I just don't see either CM or Perry staying healthy for 16 games plus the playoffs"

For Elliott, he's shown some success on the outside in Capers's defense from more of a DE/OLB role...but that's more of a "see the QB, get the QB" kind of thing. If the task is simple, like that, I don't think a rookie would have much trouble.

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Bert's picture

May 20, 2017 at 02:51 pm

I don't disagree. I was mainly referring to King and Jones in their DB roles as maybe having a longer adjustment period. Seems like our defensive rookies have been slow to develop over the years. If Capers can find a way to simplify their roles then it could work. But that may be difficult for guys involved in pass coverage as opposed to just "see the QB, get the QB."

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 20, 2017 at 09:59 am

League-wide, I'd rate our OLB's a 3 (out of 10)--just because of Perry. And that's fine.

Truth is, the trainwreck that was our defense couldn't fully be fixed in one offseason--not without overspending on declining veterans and abandoning BPA in the draft.

Don't waste cap space on washed up castoffs. Stay the course.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:40 am

"Truth is, the trainwreck that was our defense couldn't fully be fixed in one offseason--not without overspending on declining veterans and abandoning BPA in the draft."

I think you're right, and it doesn't help that roster management is a moving target. This is a defense that ran up decent pressure and sack numbers, but that didn't matter much if the opposing QB was completing just about anything he stayed upright long enough to throw. Even though they've made some changes at CB that should make that unit much more stable (better will remain to be seen) than the one that finished the season, we're left hoping that the loss of Peppers and Jones can be overcome through a combination of a draft pick (Biegel) and returning players (Elliott, Fackrell, and Gilbert). They tried to plug one hole in the dyke but are left hoping that they haven't created another on the edge.

Where I'm optimistic (or at least hopeful) is that I don't see this really being the same kind of defense in 2017 that it was in 2016. The pieces and skill sets look fundamentally different, so judging the defense in 2017 in light of what we saw in 2016 in terms of personnel and sheme may not be fair...but we really don't know what light we should be judging the 2017 defense in, and won't until we get a few weeks into the season.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 20, 2017 at 11:45 am

Great points, all around.

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Spock's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:27 pm

As others have pointed out, it's way to early to comment on how good or bad the defense will be. But, hey, it's still the off season and this is as good a subject as any to promote discussion. We really won't know what we have until the games begin. I'm optimistic that enough has been done to improve the defense. With Rogers we don't need a top 5 defense, just an adequate one. This will all work itself out in TC and the preseason. Can't wait for those!

Edit: my doctor (of 12 years) happens to have the name Rogers and I sometimes subconsciously spell his name instead of Rodgers, Aaron. My apologies!

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:26 am

IMO what we're seeing is the fallout of modern NFL personnel management. You're managing your roster through the draft for 2-3 years down the road. When you invest somewhere (Perry, Fackrell and now Biegel), you have to eventually go work on other positions and plan on those investments maturing. This is the year that TT decided to join the FA fray a little more (even though he only signed one FA who will cost in the compensatory equation), and I think it will pay off, some. There weren't any big fixes to the defense through FA, but one of the more potent offenses in the league became even more diverse. If the DL proves to be stout and the changes at DB plug those obvious leaks, it could be that this will be a very solid unit.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 20, 2017 at 01:06 pm

As a note, signing a FA to a long term contract (Bennett) costs the same as signing a FA to a one-year contract (House, RJF, Evans) in terms of the number of compensatory picks a team gets. (Obviously, $ amounts affect which round). Using one year contract as stop gaps might be good for the cap and reduces risk, but it is inefficient when it comes to comp picks. [Bennett and Evans counted against our FA losses, BTW,]

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 02:59 pm

You are correct on Evans. He had only been signed to a one-year deal by the Saints, not cut.

I stand corrected...

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sonomaca's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:30 am

I think they're going to miss Peppers and Jones. Matthews is certainly not what he once was, even if healthy. Randall and Rollins are question marks. Honestly, I don't see much hope for improvement on defense.

That said, I think the offense will be even better. The emphasis on running backs and tight ends will allow the Pack to run clock at the end of games, and keep the defense off the field.

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Dzehren's picture

May 20, 2017 at 11:05 am

Jones is 4-3 guy. Peppers is too old and wanted to retire in Carolina.

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sonomaca's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Jones had his moments. Wasn't a zero out there.

Elliott seems to be stymied by starting caliber blockers. Dearth of moves.

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cheesehead1's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:54 am

Aaron and the offense can't do it all. Take some of the pressure off Aaron. D must step up if we're going to do anything this season. I'm cautiously optimistic but like many others have mentioned, time will tell. Much to early to predict.

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sonomaca's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm

They're definitely giving Rodgers more help this year. The idea, I believe, is to allow Pack to sit on leads late. Pound the run with bigger backs. TE's blocking and catching short passes. Limit chances for other teams to come back. Keep defense off field, or at least fresher in Q4.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:59 am

Perry got paid.. he better like it

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The TKstinator's picture

May 21, 2017 at 03:17 pm

Do you mean he better PLAY like it?

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Dzehren's picture

May 20, 2017 at 11:03 am

OLB depth could be a concern- maybe there is an under radar guy on the roster??

OLB Reggie Gilbert 6-3, 261 from Arizona

Johnathan Calvin, DE/OLB, Mississippi State, (6-3, 272): Looks like a bit of a tweener.

David Talley Grand Valley State 6-1,236

Josh Letuligasenoa 6-1 251 Cal Poly

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sonomaca's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Gilbert flashed last preseason, but never got called up.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2017 at 04:44 pm

Gilbert is down almost 15 pounds from where he was as a Sr. at Arizona (and 11 pounds from his pro-day weight), where he primarily played DE. He was more of a run-down DE in college, but if he can still set the edge at a lower weight and has gained a little quickness, he could be battling for some of Datone's snaps. We might pooh-pooh the DE conversion projects, but the added depth at OLB is welcome at this stage.

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Dzehren's picture

May 20, 2017 at 05:37 pm

Good insight on Gilbert. He has prototypical size but ur right- needs to get quicker hence the weight loss...

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PETER MAIZ's picture

May 20, 2017 at 11:28 am

Corey may be right but that's for Thompson to think about when he's formulating his team. It's not rocket science.

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sonomaca's picture

May 20, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Packers defense really can't hang with Seattle or Atlanta. It's up to Rodgers, once again, albeit with more help this year.

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marpag1's picture

May 20, 2017 at 02:53 pm

December 11, 2016 - GB 38; SEA 10

Seems like they "hung with Seattle" pretty good the last time around.

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chugwater's picture

May 20, 2017 at 03:46 pm

And beat Seattle decisively in 2015 as well.

Not sure why Seattle is seen as some offensive power.

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lou's picture

May 20, 2017 at 03:12 pm

It is way too early to forecast if/how the overall defense will perform in 2017. However, looking at what has/has not happened to date it appears that the organization has hinted with their moves that defense is again this year their major concern. The top 2 picks are CB's even though the theme is Randall & Rollin's are "their guys", Dom Capers was retained (no internal optimism effect of hiring a new co-ordinator or scheme change), and the fact that 2 solid complete (receiving/blocking) free agent TE's were acquired point to their concern for a more controlled and balanced offense to keep the defense off the field more. As we know from 2010, all the defense has to do is be in the middle of the pack to win it all, everyone needs to keep that in mind, if healthy and the 2 CB's contribute immediately that is very possible.

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al bundy's picture

May 20, 2017 at 06:23 pm

God i thought i ragged on the d. Cant carry a candle today. I would add look at all the great money ted saved by passing up some top FA linebacker talent along the way.
If nothing else the team wont go broke and Ted will be loved y the brass.

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Dzehren's picture

May 20, 2017 at 11:17 pm

TT paid Perry $70 Mill . U can critizize TT but don't call him cheap relative to OLB when he's also paying Matthews $70M. Is all that $$$ correctly allocated is another topic-

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lambeau66's picture

May 20, 2017 at 07:12 pm

we can get all the linbackers you want. we do not have any body up front for a consistant pass rush!!!!!

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Ferrari Driver's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:11 pm

Little doubt that the Packers have a below average defense and it's also likely that the well above average offense of the Packers keeps them from looking even worse.

However, don't blame Capers. Undoubtedly the defense would look entirely different if the Packers had been drafting within the first 5 picks of the annual draft rather than the last five. You don't get a JJ Watts, Von Miller, or Luke Kuechly by drafting in the 29 spot.

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Lphill's picture

May 20, 2017 at 08:29 pm

The defense will be better , with this offense you don't need the number 1 defense to win it all , Peppers was good not great he seemed to be in slow motion on some plays I don't think he will be missed much , an improved secondary will make a big difference.

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Rossonero's picture

May 20, 2017 at 09:47 pm

Super Bowl teams evolve over the course of a season. Guys get hurt, guys step up that we never thought would, etc.

It is way too early to pass judgment on a defense that has not even played a down yet. This article is silly.

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Tundraboy's picture

May 20, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Totally agree. Finally a voice of reason. We will find out only when the games matter.

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Rossonero's picture

May 21, 2017 at 07:47 am

Thank you Sir.

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Tundraboy's picture

May 21, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Your most welcome.

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PatrickGB's picture

May 21, 2017 at 11:31 am

If Capers defense stays with the zone blitz then other positions will rack up sacks anyway. But that means everybody else must do there job well.

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Tundraboy's picture

May 21, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Your most welcome.

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Finwiz's picture

May 21, 2017 at 04:02 pm

So 3 rookie players, 2 DB's, and one DL, plus a mid-tier free agent DB are going to turn this Defense into Super Bowl, playoff caliber? Did any of you WATCH the Atlanta game, or were you too busy getting drunk and have no memory of the event? I have a rule - I don't drink during games, so guess what - I remember it ALL.

You guys are dreamin'. I'd settle for a top 15 defense, and be ecstatic with a top ten. There I go dreamin' again.

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Samson's picture

May 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm

You stole my words.
Even a middle of the road "D" might work as long as AR is on the field & playing in MVP form.

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 21, 2017 at 08:07 pm

"Packers defense isn't Super Bowl worthy"

I will admit, I didn't read any of the article. Just going off of this one sentence...

What does the defense need to do to be considered super bowl worthy?

Because last year they had a bad defense, mostly due to injuries at CB, and they came 1 game away from making the super bowl. And I still don't blame the defense completely for that loss. The opening drive Crosby misses a chip shot FG. The next possession Ripkowski fumbles. Had the offense came away with 10 points those first 2 possessions it could have been a different game. The defense ended up missing out on a couple of turnover opportunities as well.

The point is, they were 1 game away from the Superbowl. If the defense improves marginally as they should at the very least, they should have enough defense to get to the Superbowl.

While they don't have Shields, the CB position is far better then it was at any point last year. With the injuries to Shields, Randall and Rollins. They had to play with guys like Goodson, Hawkins, Dorleant, and others. Not to mention the guy they had as their 4th CB was lined up against the opposing teams #1 WR's most games. Now they have House, King, plus Randall, and Rollins will be healthy.

Another reason why I think the defense will be better is they players will be another year older. Guys like Clark, Lowry, Fackrell, Martinez, Brice are all going into their 2nd year. Randall, Rollins and Ryan are going into their 3rd year. The maturation for those players will pay huge dividends to our defense.

Also with the rookies coming in, all of them could come in and at the very least play in a rotation.

I think we will see a lot better of a defense this year.

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dobber's picture

May 21, 2017 at 08:54 pm

"What does the defense need to do to be considered super bowl worthy?"

Play just well enough to let the offense win a title?

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Samson's picture

May 21, 2017 at 10:57 pm

RC ---Wave your pom-poms a little higher so all can see them. (please, stop with the injury excuse and rewriting the history of a game) -- You must be aware that nearly all NFL games are decided by just a handful of plays.

A little more to chew on: ---Rookies and 2nd year players who are unproven provide little when the goal is defeating 3 or 4 teams in the playoffs to claim a SB.

Finally, history repeats itself: ----The Pack will probably outpace (again) the Lions, Bears and Vikes in the North Division. ---------- So what.

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 22, 2017 at 06:51 am

"RC ---Wave your pom-poms a little higher so all can see them. (please, stop with the injury excuse and rewriting the history of a game)"

Please stop criticizing packer fans and our comments!

The injuries are a fact. Plain and simple. Even McCarthy acknowledged that the injuries they had in the secondary were a big factor on their defense last year.
This is a great article to read. Please do yourself a favor and read it, and if you want to criticize these guys, go ahead.

http :// packerswire.usatoday.com/2017/05/18/mike-mccarthy-admits-injuries-hurt-packers-defense-in-2016/

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Finwiz's picture

May 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Of course McCarthy is going to pull the injury excuse out of his azz once again. Since he stands by his relic of a DC regardless of performance, what other excuse does he have besides injuries? Certainly can't blame TT's players, because that would be criticizing the boss that hired him.

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 23, 2017 at 04:36 pm

Finding out today that Rollins had to have groin surgery this offseason, kind of explains why he had a down year.
He visited the same doctor that Randall visited.

Injuries are facts not excuses.

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vin0770's picture

May 21, 2017 at 08:34 pm

Don't know if making a statement like "sb worthy or not" is even necessary to compliment this offense...conjures up abstract thoughts of "sb worthy" D being pretty good!

Just give us a D that doesn't prevent the team from making the SB. Did last years D prevent the pack from getting to the SB....undoubtedly!

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Samson's picture

May 21, 2017 at 10:39 pm

Cory
You couldn't be any closer to the truth.
The "D" may be better by the end of the season but it will be no closer to a SB run than any of the last 6 seasons. -- In fact, if any of the "futile three" (Bears, Vikes or Lions) play over their head for another entire season, the Pack could very well be fighting for a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

There is one guarantee. --- If AR is not healthy for the entire season and/or he doesn't play MVP football, the Pack are in trouble. ------- This "D" will NOT carry this team in 2017.

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Shavager's picture

May 22, 2017 at 01:52 am

OK, Packers fans--you've read the article, made YOUR comments--NOW A DOSE OF REALITY ABOUT PACKERS FOOTBALL (OVER THEIR 96 YEAR HISTORY)---DEFENSE under DUMB Capers: In his eight seasons--Capers defense HAS: GIVEN UP the MOST POINTS EVER BY ANY Packers playoff team (51 points to Cardinals in '09); the SECOND most points EVER by any Pack playoff team (45 points to Niners in '12)--they ALSO gave up NFL RECORD RUN YDS to a RUNNING Qb--Kaepernick; AND the THIRD most points ever by playoff team (44 point to Falcons in '16). His defense AVERAGES giving up MORE POINTS, MORE Total yds, MORE Pass yds and MORE Run yds than Rodgers/McCarthy offense can average over the past SIX playoff seasons--that's LOSING FOOTBALL, no matter what level of competition. And McCarthy/Capers as Packers' HC & DC have done something NO HC HAS EVER DONE over Packers 96 YEAR HISTORY---LOST TWO CONSECUTIVE TITLE GAMES! C'MON now, do ya' really think it's INJURIES killing the Packers come playoffs?? Ted Thompson has signed or drafted MORE than 70+ NEW defensive players over past SIX seasons--enough players to build SEVEN completely NEW defenses--and the 2016 Packers were Capers WORST over six seasons! It STARTS and ENDS with the DC in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers takes Packers to playoffs and DUMB Capers defense BEATS THEM EVERY YEAR!

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Finwiz's picture

May 22, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Jesus H. Christ @Shavager.....somebody's actually NOT DREAMIN' today.
I thought for sure it was a site full of dreamin' fools, but apparently there is some sanity left in Packer-town. Hip-hip....Horray. All is not lost. A few people get it! Good post. Capers is awful, bottom line. I hope I have offended quite a few of you into waking up and smelling the SCAT. All of TT's players are not DOGS on defense, despite what you may have been told by the pom-pom wavers. It's the guy coaching the players, not the players. 11 players on the field, they can't be all bad, but it sure is possible the DC is an old, antiquated relic.

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BPEARSON21's picture

May 22, 2017 at 11:14 am

Good article! I agree I don't think we are a super bowl caliber defense. That being said I still think it's possible to win a super bowl with this defense. If Rodgers is afforded even just an average defense (somewhere in the range of 17-20th in overall defense) our stellar offense should be able to carry the weight.

That being said I don't buy into the notion that "a little more experience" will automatically translate into a player being better. Wouldn't that be nice if that's how the world worked? I think Ryan and Martinez are pretty average linebackers (to be honest I think that's a very fair assessment) and I don't think an extra year will automatically make them impact-full linebackers. Look at Rollins and Randall, they had solid rookie years, then last year turned into 2 of the single worst corner backs in the game. Sure, they dealt with injuries but that's the point... a year makes a big difference and it's not automatically a positive thing.

I guess I agree that perhaps it's a tad "premature" to speculate that we aren't a super bowl competitive defense... (even though not one cell of my body believes we are)but that hasn't stopped any of our "pro-Packers defense" faithful from speculating that our defense WILL be better all off-season. It's only fair to speculate that we won't be any better then right...?

Also I really have a hard time agreeing with the assertion that our defense will, once again, automatically be better once the play offs roll around. Just because we'll have a few more games under our belts we will naturally be a better defense? Once again, last year our defense was solid through the first 4-5 games until we hit Dallas. Then our defense completely fell apart the rest of the year including the post season. A lot of that had to do with injuries sure, but you have to assume that's going to happen. In a perfect world of injury free football maybe the equation of more experience would automatically = better performance but that's a perfect world scenario.

It's a comforting idea that more games/experience = better performance every time but that's just not the case. Especially for rookies who are not only learning a new system but playing in a completely different game than college football.

All of that being said... I would be so curious to see what our defense would be capable assuming we stay healthy. If health were some miraculous guarantee this year I would feel decent about our D.

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Finwiz's picture

May 23, 2017 at 04:06 pm

Word is that Josh Jones is ALL over the field in practice today - deflecting passes and big hits. Janis beats Gunter on a deep throw, picking up right where he left off in the playoff's. Bye-bye Gunter.

Clay Matthews a no show, as well as Kevin King.

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