Cory's Corner: Turn Up The Heat

The Packers need to start taking chances on defense and make Panthers quarterback Bryce Young uncomfortable. The rookie quarterback has been pressured 24 percent of the time. 

I know there are a lot of people that don’t like it, but it will be over 50 degrees on Christmas this year. 

I’m in the minority. I love it. 

Similarly, the Packers need to turn up the heat on opposing quarterbacks. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry continually plays scared. He is afraid of giving up the big play, so he doesn’t let his defense make the big play. 

The Packers only have 123 quarterback pressures, which rank 13th in the league. The Packers have blitzed 150 times, which is 11th. 

The thing that is missing from those numbers is that there is a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball. We are in Week 16 and I still don’t know if Lukas Van Ness is ready to take the next step and be a consistent outside linebacker. That’s something that Barry and Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst needed to find out weeks ago. What can he do and what can’t he do? 

Looking at the injury report is another sad state of affairs. Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell is out, which makes sense considering his tweet that basically said he’s only looking out for himself while he’s nicked up. Safety Darnell Savage is out, which hurts an already thin secondary, and speaking of secondary, I highly doubt that cornerback Jaire Alexander plays. He might as well sit out the rest of the season and hope that Barry and his cautious “What About Bob” mentality go away. 

Then there’s defensive lineman T.J. Slaton, who is questionable with a knee and foot injury. This is especially concerning for a defense that is hemorrhaging over 138 rushing yards a game on the ground — good for 30th in the league. 

I get that Barry sees that list and gets nervous. It’s completely normal to nibble on your fingernails leading up to an NFL game when several of your notable defensive talents are hurt or sidelined. What’s not OK is to muzzle your other defensive playmakers in the name of playing it safe. 

This may not make any sense, but I wouldn’t mind if Bryce Young throws a 45-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter in exchange for seven quarterback pressures. Sooner or later, those pressures are going to come home and you’re either going to get a pick, strip sack or a simple four-and-out — something this offense knows a lot about. 

If the Packers want to sniff the postseason this year, it’s up to the defense. According to ESPN Analytics, the Packers have a 20 percent chance of making the playoffs.

I know a lot of you were willing to throw in the towel after the Tommy DeVito loss, but the Baker Mayfield perfect passer rating game was much worse. The Packers made an average quarterback at best look like Dan Marino. 

The offense did look clunky last week thanks to sloppy footwork from Jordan Love, but if this team really wants to keep playing past Week 18, it’s up to the defense. Which is odd, because coming into this season, I said that if the defense held teams to 17 points, this team would win a bunch of games.

But in order for that to happen, you cannot have a defensive coordinator that plays scared. It doesn’t work. You need a defensive coordinator that guys are willing to run through a brick wall for and I just don’t see that with Barry. 

And to make matters worse, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur doesn’t or refuses to see 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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10 points
 

Comments (36)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
BAMABADGER's picture

December 23, 2023 at 07:27 am

Corey, I am very surprised the Packers have blitzed 150 times. How many sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage resulted off the blitz? IMHO the Packers in addition to being a poor tackling team are also an ineffective blitzing team.
LVN may develop into a good DL/Edge, Yesterday Mike Wahl rightfully said the Pack needs to stop selecting high first round draft choices as "development" players. He couldn't be more correct.

I watch scared when "Scary Barry" puts his players on the field.

GPG!

7 points
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Turophile's picture

December 23, 2023 at 12:59 pm

When the offense knows what you are going to do, blitzes don't work so well. It's not about how many blitzes, but how well they confuse the offense and are you finding it difficult to know when they are coming. If you are predictable - you lose.

Despite that I think it is the DBs part in his scheme that works the worst. As @Coldworld suggested in the post below, the DBs need to play more aggressively.

As for Mike Wahle and his beef with high round developmental players, while I respect the heck out of his knowledge, I disagree with him here. I'm good with a developmental player and I'm good with an early starter.

Developmental players with a very high ceiling are taken later than early-impact starters because the fast starters have shown more in college and are safer bets. Since Green Bay has tended to draft later in the last 30 odd years, then you have to take chances, like the Packers did with Clay Matthews, like they did with Gary and (hopefully) like they did with Love.

Way, way, more important is whether the pick actually works out, or not. When the Packers start drafting in the first half dozen picks, then we can talk about top drawer early impact starters, because everyone knows who they are and they are the first guys off the board.

0 points
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baldski's picture

December 23, 2023 at 05:11 pm

Didn't Thompson trade up to get Mathews?

1 points
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Turophile's picture

December 23, 2023 at 06:33 pm

Traded pick 41 in round two and two thirds, for Matthews at pick 26.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 23, 2023 at 07:38 am

Even if we are more aggressive, it’s not going to stick. It wouldn’t be the the first time that’s happened for a game or two. The first time was the end of November ‘21 after a player delegation went to the coaches.

Secondly, we were aggressive during the Giants game, we had pressured on somewhere around 45 percent of pass plays per the metrics agencies. The problem was the great gaps between and behind that led to non take downs and plenty of room to escape, something we never corrected.

It was partly players, but, on review, it looked like a really poor plan of usage after the first couple of times DiVito trotted straight up the middle or outside in the gap behind the edge he stepped up to avoid.

Where we need to be aggressive is in the secondary. I don’t know how healthy jaire’s shoulder will be, but he’s normally better going for the ball in tight coverage. Stokes and Valentine are pretty much pure press builds and types. They are good at that (Stokes’ rookie season) and bad playing off. We aren’t good at playing soft, so don’t. It kills us.

This would be a great day to elevate Ford to hold that middle point on the line if we are going to rush the others, with Slaton banged up, particularly. I don’t know if he’s good, but keeping one OL in front of the QB in the middle if the ILBs are evacuating backwards is not a horrid idea, and he’s a big obstacle. No more empty tennis courts in the center, this QB isn’t Fields but he is plenty mobile enough to ape DiVito.

5 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:35 am

#99 J Ford, yes call him up. I'm seeing reports that their running game is not horrible but even without that, a backup is needed with #93 out.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

December 23, 2023 at 07:41 am

Hog wash. - The whole article is hogwash.

Don't worry about making the playoffs.
Worry about the Future. "The guys that don't play."
The attitude from the locker room to the field stinks.

And it has nothing to do with Barry or MLF.
They read the press. The press created the negative.
And they're willing to believe in everything written.

This was Jordan Loves time. It all pays the same.
And when reality hits the nut.
It only shows how gullible everyone is.

So now it's about change, and more change.
Isn't change wonderful, until it turns its ugly head.
Yes Barry is going to hit the street.
It's just a matter of time before we see who goes with him.

-8 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 23, 2023 at 08:20 am

“And it has nothing to do with Barry or MLF.
They read the press. The press created the negative.
And they're willing to believe in everything written.”

I believe we all watched on Monday and Sunday. Our own eyes saw it. Most of us didn’t need to wait for the media. This happened, the negatives are no media creation. Fearing change is one thing, refusing to see the need for it at all costs is another.

10 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 23, 2023 at 08:52 am

It was a dominating defense and a supposedly sound running game which would carry the G as Love caught up with the speed of the Game. Love is in year four and he should have hit the ground running. No skilled running back depth drafted the past three years. At least half of the Eight # one picks on this defense are frauds cashing checks. The HC doesn't know the basics of Coaching: when to call a Timeout and how to Challenge a call. It's Wolf time, kleen haus and change the Culture. Put Murphy in charge of the retirement committee. He's not about Winning.

6 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:38 am

JL10 and the running game both need an O line.

3 points
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stockholder's picture

December 23, 2023 at 12:59 pm

So did Rodgers. You make do with whats available.

-2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

December 23, 2023 at 03:19 pm

I think you need to lay off that 2nd "special" brownie there Ace.

0 points
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jjbathgate66's picture

December 23, 2023 at 07:48 am

If they have any running game the Pack is in trouble, make this guy beat you with passing. Up in the jock coverage instead of the soft keep in front of you. The last couple of weeks have proven that this team will just not show up at times, if there is a chance for playoffs then show up.

3 points
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Packerpasty's picture

December 23, 2023 at 09:22 am

Just worrying about a team like the Panthers shows how good the Packers are from top to bottom coaching staff included....ridiculous to think playoffs and then worry that the leagues worst team could beat them....

9 points
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fireball's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:49 am

" Just worrying about a team like the Panthers. . . "

Yeah, excellent point.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 23, 2023 at 01:05 pm

Are we worried about the Panthers or about ourselves? I think this column is all about how we feel about us.

Grasp that, and it tells one all one needs to know about the merits of this coaching staff.

2 points
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Coach Cleve Steamer's picture

December 23, 2023 at 09:27 am

Turn up the heat. LOL. The product is bad entertainment and adding hot sauce won’t help.

3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:39 am

Maybe if MLF kept the hot sauce in his purse.

2 points
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NickPerry's picture

December 23, 2023 at 10:03 am

So if they win out they have a 93% chance of making the playoffs. But If they won out would that be enough to save Barry's Job? The fact it's even a question is driving me nuts. But if they lost EVERY game though what then?

Personally I think if that happened Barry would obviously be gone but would it be ENOUGH to get Matt LaFleur fired too? I mean if they lost to Carolina, Minnesota, and then Chicago, there should NOT be a doubt. IMO that would mean this roster has QUIT on LaFleur. I'm not so sure that hasn't happened already but if they actually lose to Carolina Sunday...

I've said this before but I've been a Packers Fan ever since I watched my first GB Packers game against Dallas in the 1966 Playoffs. I to this day (and it was a long time ago) still remember how excited I was when Tom Brown picked off Dandy Don Meredith in the end zone to win the game. Mostly because my Dad was SO happy, but that was THE DAY.

I've NEVER wanted to see them lose. Not for draft position, never. But for the first time in almost 60 years I can honestly say if I KNEW for a FACT, that Matt LaFleur would be gone after this season, Mark Murphy would come to his senses and STOP playing Jerry Jones, and the Packers GM was given FULL CONTROL again, like Wolf and Thompson had as GMs, I sure in the hell wouldn't be mad if the lost them all. Not if things got back to the way they SHOULD be.

7 points
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CanPackFan's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:04 am

Good assessment Nick! None of us expect Murphy to smarten up before his glorious retirement in Jul 2025. Murphy is likely setting a record for how long a President can hide under his desk before retirement? I too don't want to see the Packers lose these last 3 games but if it meant having a reasonable reporting and accountability style going forward, I would say yes. GPG

5 points
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Gman1976's picture

December 23, 2023 at 10:48 am

I too started watching the Packers in the '60s & absolutely HATE to see the Packers lose. I too want MLF & Coach Barry to LEAVE after so many leadership & coaching mistakes. I also want a GM who is in total control so there is no doubt who is accountable. After all this, I can't say I want my Packers to lose out so MLF & Barry will be gone, but boy am I gettingthisclose.

5 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:41 am

The problem here is MM won't make drastic changes no matter what. It's up to the executive board to do the necessary ...

2 points
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CanPackFan's picture

December 23, 2023 at 10:54 am

Barry only gets aggressive when his job is on the line like last season.

The Fangio style defenses are on their way out. Instead, attacking defenses that cause breakdowns in offensive schemes is the tact that most NFL teams are adopting. Barry is a dinosaur of the Fangio era and just simply, cannot change. Unfortunately, his boss - who knows or cares so little of modern defenses - is of the Barry mindset.

An aggressive defense will never become the standard of Joe Barry.

5 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 23, 2023 at 10:54 am

Last 3 games, thin playoff hopes on the line, and disgruntled players are getting easy game waivers from the Packers' ultra cautious medical team.

Campbell just said the quiet part out loud. But I am concerned Alexander, Savage and probably a few other D players are checking out in disgust. Even worse, what is the attitude and effort level of the D players who do play in a defense that is an NFL joke, now of "The Onion" fame?

MLF has a self inflicted wound...even worse, he knows it hasn't healed in almost 3 years. Effective leaders are not timid or indecisive. They embrace challenge and act. MLF leaves a lot to be desired as a Team Leader.

8 points
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Ima Payne's picture

December 23, 2023 at 10:59 am

If young lights up the defense I will be LMAF. The team will then sing "good bye Barry" after the game and LeFleur will be shouting, "he aint going anywhere" he's my guy.
The Panthers are way better then their record indicates and the packers are worse then the whopping 6 wins.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

December 23, 2023 at 03:24 pm

Big holiday weekend and the Vikings fan is here trolling. Sad life you must lead.

2 points
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cdoemel's picture

December 23, 2023 at 06:22 pm

Ahhh. Now I understand. I just thought he was a fucking retard. He’s a Viqueens fan. Explains a lot. So he’s a fucking retarded Viqueens fan. Gotcha.

-1 points
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CanPackFan's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:31 am

Barry only gets aggressive when his job is on the line like last season.

The Fangio style defenses are on their way out. Instead, attacking defenses that cause breakdowns in offensive schemes is the tact that most NFL teams are adopting. Barry is a dinosaur of the Fangio era and just simply, cannot change. Unfortunately, his boss - who knows or cares so little of modern defenses - is of the Barry mindset.

An aggressive defense will never become the standard of Joe Barry.

1 points
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packerbackerjim's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:44 am

LVN has more impressive plays per snap than any other OLB. A good DC would be giving him more playing time.

4 points
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PackerBackerAZ's picture

December 23, 2023 at 11:45 am

What's really scary is the lack of production from those 150 blitzes. Cry Barry wolf all you want, but the players are the ones not executing. There are not any players on the defensive line that have a: "I'm going to dominate the opponent" mindset. This team doesn't have players that want to run through the opposing team much less a brick wall. If the defensive line could get pressure consistently, maybe the backfield could play closer to the line of scrimmage. If the defensive line could get off their blocks, maybe they could stop a runner close to the line of scrimmage. If the linebackers were filling the right gap consistently, maybe they could stop a runner at the line of scrimmage If the defense tackled better maybe there wouldn't be so many explosive plays.
You say that Barry plays scared. That's where you lost me. Barry doesn't play as you should well know. You say this team has too much talent to be this bad. Combine talent doesn't mean football talent and you don't seem to understand that.
Citing Campbell as an example of someone that's lost confidence in Barry is ludicrous. He was one that voiced his concern over the lack of communication on the field with players being out of alignment as a result. He said the scheme and play calls would work if all eleven players were on the same page.
You claim to know what the game plan is, but I doubt that you're included in the game planning.
Your Barry hate has really skewed your credibility here.

-2 points
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Packerpasty's picture

December 23, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Its the "in" thing to do, blame it all on Barry, not on the mediocre personnel on the D side of things...many of these players would not be on the field on another team...sure Barry has his faults and will 99 percent be gone but no coach is going to do a whole lot with this crew..

-3 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 23, 2023 at 01:20 pm

How players were used in the last games, it wouldn’t matter if we had all pros at every position. Somethings are down to how players are used.

3 points
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BAMABADGER's picture

December 23, 2023 at 09:37 pm

CW, agree.... that's been the problem with Barry Ball for the past 3 years.

0 points
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ricky's picture

December 23, 2023 at 12:41 pm

First, as to the playoffs. Yes, it would be nice to see the team get some experience in the "second season". Though I truly believe they would get seriously smoked against a real contender. Seriously, did anyone in their wildest dreams think this team would be in the competition to make the post-season at this point? It was more of a "let's see if Love can be a starting QB, or, hopefully, franchise QB". And we all knew that once Barry was not fired, the defense was going to be a problem. Again. I am satisfied with what I've seen from Love. And there does need to be a major shakeup in the coaching staff, which is extremely unlikely as long as LaFleur is HC. But the future seems a lot brighter than I would have believed at the beginning of the year.

0 points
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fireball's picture

December 23, 2023 at 02:43 pm

I'm looking forward to seeing what the Packers do against the Panthers, a team allegedly worst than them.

And, again, I ain't sold yet on Love. He's way too inconsistent. Sloppy footwork when there's no need for it.

Anyway, let's see what the Panthers do to us. . . or don't do.

And the injury list. . . and the length of some injuries for some star players- wow!

More and more as the season wears on, I'm losing faith in Matt LaFleur as head coach material.

Anyway. . .

3 points
3
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Ima Payne's picture

December 24, 2023 at 11:01 am

You got a mal content in the locker room who wont play because he has a sore neck. I'd be concerned how influential he is with others on d who are tired of hearing how they suck. Maybe they just dont give a rats patute anymore about the pack, winning or being on this team and want out aka Douglas who set a standard, create havoc and get out of dodge free card.

0 points
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