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Dreaded "communications issues" rear their ugly head again in Packers secondary

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Dreaded "communications issues" rear their ugly head again in Packers secondary

As the Philadelphia Eagles marched up and down the field against the Green Bay Packers No. 1 defense on Saturday night en route to a 39-point first half, I kept telling myself, "It's only an exhibition game...it's only and exhibtion game...it's only an exhibition game..."

And I was right. It was only an exhibition game. There's no reason to overreact one way or another to a meaningless game in late August.

But something Packers coach MIke McCarthy said after the game did raise my ire. In summarizing his team's poor start to the game, McCarthy said: "We had some communication errors in the coverage."

I know it's only August, but am I wrong to be at least a little bit concerned that McCarthy is back to talking communications issues in the defensive backfield? The dreaded "communications issues" has hung around the Packers secondary since Dom Capers took over as defensive coordinator. They seemed to go away last season, thanks to an emphasis on trying to simplify calls and having a veteran group of defensive backs and just one rookie (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix).

I suppose it's fair to assume that there are going to be communication issues during the exhibition season no matter what. After all, that's what exhibition games are for -- to try and work that stuff out. And the Packers do have some new rookie faces in the defensive backfield with Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.

But still, if you're a Packers fan who's been paying attention at all during the Capers era, you're sick and tired of seeing the dreaded "communication issues" in the secondary quotes, whether they come in August, November or January.

Sam Shields, Morgan Burnett, Casey Hayward and Michah Hyde have been together for a while now. Clinton-Dix is also a year wiser. "Communication issues" should not be an issue for this group of defensive backs.

Here's hoping the Packers get their communication issues worked out in the secondary. I don't want to constantly hear the "communication issues" line from McCarthy this season and I don't want to see Packers defensive backs sniping at each other and holding their hands in the air in confusion week-to-week after an opponent scores a touchdown. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Spud Rapids's picture

I think issues like communication in the secondary is more a product of the CBA then coaching/players. Ever since the CBA limited practices the Packers have had slow starts. Let's think about that for a second....

Offensively it's no secret the Packers have a pretty complex system. There are many nuances that take game speed and time to acclimate to. With less practice the product takes longer to click on all cylinders.

Defensively, once again, it's no secret that Dom Capers concocts a cocktail of complex zone blitz schemes. Given the natural attrition and turnover on an NFL roster it also takes times for a defender to truly understand and execute within this system.

Personally I don't like to provide to much judgement on the Packers season until the midpoint. That is when identities are formed and players are in true football shape both mentally and physically. So my sentiment is no worries the jury is still out...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Well, yes Spud, but we ran a vanilla defense against Philly. See the lame calls thread: the phase "vanilla defense" is all over it. MM has shortened a lot of practices lately, too.

That said, I'm not too concerned about the communication breakdown at this point. In fact, I've decided to just pull out some Led Zeppelin.

Spud Rapids's picture

Ok but vanilla defense aside my point about roster turnover contributes to the miscommunication. Rollins and some of these guys have never been on the field together for more than few plays. The defense fails or succeeds as a unit so when one assignment is blown often offenses take advantage of it even if they are running vanilla offense. This is where coaches intentionally put players in positions to fail so they can coach them up in the preseason.

Clay Zombo's picture

With Philly's rapid fire offense its not really a surprise they had some communication issues. Thats what that offense is designed to do, confuse and overwhelm.

Nick Perry's picture

Good one Reynaldo, Led Zeppelin! I wonder how many of our younger fans knew what you were talking about.

Dan Stodola's picture

Luv me some Zepplin.

croatpackfan's picture

Oh, noooooooooooooooo! Not again campaign "Fire Dom"...

Maybe there is problem with equipment? As far as we know Mike McCarthy did not specify where was the problem with communication...

Razer's picture

I am with you Adam. "Communication issues" is the roll-up coach speak for blown coverage, missed assignment, personnel mismatch and a whole bunch of chronic issues with our defense. While each year brings new optimism, I cringe when I hear the same old phrases being thrown around to describe the same old problems. I ended last year watching Sam Barrington hopelessly, running after a RB out of the backfield and I started this season watching the same thing. Can someone communicate a little confidence that we have the horsepower on defense to get the job done?

egbertsouse's picture

I keep hearing about the CBA being the cause of all the defensive problems; "they can't practice tackling because of the CBA," or "they can't get the complex defense because of the CBA."

It sure sucks that the Packers are the only team that has to abide by this damn CBA. Oh wait, they all do!

I don't even get on my "Fire Dum Capers" horse anymore because nobody listens and it just gets me banned. I do understand that he helped win a Super Bowl and therefore gets a free ride for the rest of his life. However, I think his defenses are overly complex and take too much thinking and not enough physicality. That's why it sometimes seems that he can't make in-game adjustments when they are called for. He also seems to be mired in the 1990's and sometimes can't adjust to the modern offenses like the read-option, etc. (Yeah yeah, I know, they clobbered Philly last year and should have beaten Seachickens and (insert your own example here)but, on the other hand, how many times can you let Kaepernick run for 150+yds and not figure a way to stop it.) Since he's about 90 years old, I just keep waiting for him to buy a condo in Boca and spend his days fishing and drinking margaritas....or at least give me his money and I'll do it.

Spud Rapids's picture

It's pretty obvious that the product on the field the first few weeks of the season over the past few years is not what's it used to be across the NFL. Compare this to your profession... what if you brought in new people that had to go through training and you all of the sudden cut down their training time? Do you think the product they produce will be the best it can be the first few weeks of them working? Of course not... it's common sense that less practice will translate to a lesser product.

real some guy's picture

I'm more frustrated by the soft scheme Dom insists upon. He literally concedes the line of scrimmage on 90% of plays as he stubbornly sticks to his beloved 2 downlineman, 2 olb base. That's why we get plowed in the run game and why any time a team rotates a TE and RB over for protection, we get no pressure and the result is a qb who gets 4 seconds to pick a receiver out. Happens over and over.

he then has a few counters off of this - the corner blitz and his ridiculous cross dog double a gap blitz by the two ILB's.

Stop with the soft fronts Dom. put 5 guys on the line with a 6th threatening and zone blitz people to death. You have the line depth and secondary depth to do it

Minnesota has good talent on D but Zimmer's scheme is fantastic. If you're going to beat it, you have to throw over the top or complete tough intermediate routes. He doesn't let offenses dictate to him, he always sets the tone and his teams don't give up 11 play, 80 yard drives regularly as a result.

so worried about his crazy tactics instead of the strategy

John Galt III's picture

In addition to "communication issues" the first three of four Eagles series had no pressure on the QB. The Eagles just marched up and down as if they were playing our practice squad and rookies.

I know No. 12 wasn't starting on offense so our D guys could rest but it sure didn't look good on my TV.

Nick Perry's picture

I see the same thing with Hayward that I saw with Williams, playing 10 yards off and the opposing offense completing 7 and 10 yard passes all day long.

Bearmeat's picture

This is part of the 34 system I believe. It's more complex than the mano a mano defense prior to 2009. However, if you remember, while there were very little communication errors on those defenses, our defensive players were not good enough to execute mano a mano very well. And, with the notable exception of 2006-2007, our defenses stunk from Reggie's departure until Dom came around.

So - what do you want? Physically superior players across the board? Spending all our money on defense like Seattle? Well then, our offense is going to stink. There's only so much money (and high draft picks) to go around in the CBA. Our offense is supposed to score 30 a game. And if they do that, the defense is paid to be average or slightly better overall. They are not paid enough to dominate physically across the board. That's the offenses job. That's one of the winning recipes. The other is Seattle's recipe. Which one is better? Neither. They're both equally valid.

John Galt III's picture

That is sold logic,, but does not explain our other weakness. Special teams are terrible. That should have nothing to do with whether we concentrate on offense or defense in the draft.

I predict that one more punting session like last week and we bring in a FA. Crosby is ok, but Masthay is terrible.

Bearmeat's picture

It absolutely doesn't explain special teams. The terrible special teams lie solely at the feet of Mike McCarthy and the coaches he has hired there.

Evan's picture

I really wish Zook would just pull Masthay aside and say, "Kick the ball farther!"

#coaching

PaulRosik's picture

After the injury to Nelson last week all we kept hearing from the Packers were all the comments about "meaningless games" and about shortening the preseason. i think the defense took this seriously and had no motivation and desire and were just out there going through the motions. If this happens in a regular season game I would be lighting the fires along with everyone else, but the Packers are just waiting for the preseason to end and they played like it.

dschwalm's picture

This column/blog is right on the money. I think it's one of McCarthy's platitudes that he used whenever one of his teams "stinks out the joint" as they did against the Eagles.
The defence (all phases of it) were simply run over because they were confused and ill prepared. It's as simple as that!

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