Let's Pump the Brakes on Defensive Expectations

It'll be difficult for the unit to live up to the hype.

I happened to be watching NFL Network the other day.  Former Packer receiver James Jones was on, raving about the Green Bay defense for the coming season.  “The Packers, if they stay healthy, could well have the best defense in the NFL this year” he gushed.  It’s not an unusual take this offseason.   

The perception seems to be that, since the Green Bay defense played so well in the playoff game against the 49ers, combined with the addition of two defensive players in the first round of the draft, the re-signing of Rasul Douglas and De’Vondre Campbell, and the return of Jaire Alexander, the unit should be unstoppable. 

They really did play well in that post season game.  They held San Francisco to 106 passing yards, 99 rushing yards, and no touchdowns.  Despite the crushing loss, the performance left most Packer fans with a gleaming image of the defense.  An image that gets embellished and inflated almost by the day.  The green and gold faithful seem to have visions of a unit taking the field in September akin to the ‘85 Bears, the Doomsday Defense, the Steel Curtain, and the Legion of Boom all rolled into one. 

I really don’t mean to play Debbie Downer here, but it might be useful to do a bit of a reality check as we trudge through this long dead spot in the offseason.  During the 2021 season, the defensive unit was good, but not great.  Improved, but far from elite.  In fact, it was like the defense played two different seasons last fall.  The first ten games, during which they were solid top ten (let's just consider that opening day disaster against the Saints to be an outliar), and the last seven games, when the quality of their play dropped off considerably.  

Ironically, the decline began immediately after their best game of the season, perhaps the best in recent memory, a 17-0 shutout of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.  The next week, the Packers coughed up 34 points to the Vikings, followed by 28 to the Rams, 30 to the Bears, 30 to the Ravens, 22 to the Browns, and ended the regular season by ceding 37 to the Lions.  The Packers did send in the reserves in the second half of that Lions game, but the starters struggled mightily in the first half.  The only quality showing in those final seven games was in week seventeen, as the Packers held an injury-decimated Vikings squad to ten points. 

The Packers’ defense finished 9th in total yards, but just 14th in the most important stat, points allowed.  They were 11th against the rush.  10th against the pass. 

However, in the first ten games, the D gave up an average of 18 points per contest.  That fell off to over 27 points per game in the final seven.  It was the pass defense in particular that fell apart.  After surrendering 202 yards per game through the air in the first ten weeks, the Pack gave up 242 per game in the final seven.  They yielded just fifteen touchdown passes through week ten, but were then riddled for sixteen in the final seven.  The decline was not as bad when it came to stopping the run.  Opponents carried the ball for 107 yards per game in the first ten, compared to 111 in the final seven. 

And even though the overall performance against the Niners in the playoffs was impressive, the defense did let down at the end of the game when the team needed them the most.  They allowed their opponent to run off the final 3:20 of the contest on a 44 yard drive that ended with a walkoff field goal.  Most disappointing was giving up a nine yard run to Deebo Samuel on a third and seven, which put the Niners in field goal range and gave them control of the clock. 

So what are we to make of where this unit stands?  Which is the real Packers defense, the staunch unit of those first ten games and in the playoff? Or the shaky bunch that struggled in the last seven?  Much depends on how much rookies Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt can contribute.  Few rookies, especially defensive players, make a significant impact in their first seasons.  There aren’t many guys like the Cowboys’ Micah Parsons out there.  But eventually the former Georgia standouts should be at least an upgrade at inside linebacker and defensive line.  It may take several games for that to manifest itself, but by the December playoff push, I would expect both to have established themselves. 

Alexander’s return should rejuvenate the pass defense.  The edge rush position is razor thin and an injury to Rashan Gary or Preston Smith will be debilitating.  Ditto at safety.  Chandon Sullivan is gone and the team does not have a proven, experienced slot defender.  We take it for granted that someone from the triumvirate of Alexander, Douglas and Eric Stokes can handle it, but we don’t know that for sure.  Jarran Reed and Wyatt have been added to the front, but Kingsley Keke and Tyler Lancaster are gone. 

Put it all together, and the plusses outnumber the minuses, but only by a little bit. Corner, inside backers and D-line should be better.  Safety and edge should be about the same.  Taken at face value, we can expect moderate improvement from this defense.  It’s not going to be the best defense in the league.  It’s likely not going to be top five.  But it may hover close to that zip code.  Injuries will tell the tale.  If key players go down at edge or safety, the coaches will have to scramble. 

Bottom line, I expect the offense will still have to win most of our games.  The defense should be improved enough to keep us in them.   

  

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (59)

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Johnblood27's picture

June 20, 2022 at 06:58 am

True... true...

Another factor that you didn't mention but that always takes place is for a player or more to play a little worse than they did the year before. Not every year is an improvement year for everybody.

Who could backslide? How about Dean Lowry who had perhaps his finest year as a pro? Maybe Stokes has a sophomore slump. Other candidates include Rasul Douglas and Devondre Campbell. Maybe Jaire loses some of his edge with his shoulder a little shaky. Preston Smith is due for his every-other year slump. Does Savage continue his receding act since the second half of 2020?

Even though some of the player churn is positive, there are question marks for sure.

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dobber's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:15 am

Well said, JB. Campbell and Douglas, in particular, outplayed their expectations. I'm hoping they can at least maintain what they did a year ago. If they can, that makes a huge difference for this team.

I think we'll see Savage play more confidently in year two of the Barry scheme, but the depth at S is woefully thin and that's a prime place for an addition, yet.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 20, 2022 at 01:20 pm

all down votes... i guess there is no room for objective thinking here at chtv.

how f'n sad you down voters are, not even a rebuttal, just a cowardly anonymous vote.

sad, sad, sad...

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GregC's picture

June 20, 2022 at 04:16 pm

Before the playoff game last year, I remember getting a bunch of downvotes for suggesting that Jaire Alexander might need to be slowly worked back into the lineup after missing the last three months of the season. (He barely played in the game.)

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murf7777's picture

June 20, 2022 at 04:59 pm

I agree with you JB. One upvote from me.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:46 pm

Grazie Murph!

Finally... an honest man!

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NickPerry's picture

June 20, 2022 at 06:58 am

"Jarran Reed and Wyatt have been added to the front, but Kingsley Keke and Tyler Lancaster are gone. "

Ken Lass is one of may favorites here at CHTV. I normally agree with much of what he says and I agree with parts of this. BUT, I just don't think replacing Lancaster and Keke with Wyatt and Reed is a small change. I think the difference between these 4 players, what the Packers have GAINED vs what they've lost is night and day.

The Packers not only finally got Kenny Clark some help, but they did it with two players who are going to contribute right away. Normally the Packers have shied away from 24 rookie draft picks, especially in the first round. But the Packers bucked the trend and got Clark someone who can help RIGHT AWAY. The difference in a man both emotionally and physically at 20 and 24 years old is huge. Sorry Bears and Vikings fans, this kid will be kicking ass and taking names week one!

I've followed Reeds career ever since he was drafted. IMO the Reed signing COULD to pay dividends close to what the Campbell and Douglas signing did last season for this defense. The Packers FINALLY have a ton of depth on the D-Line...They have quality depth with these additions to go with Lowry and Slayton. I'm sorry, but there's just no comparison to me made between this years D-Line and last seasons, and it all starts there.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 20, 2022 at 07:09 am

DL and off ball LB are two spots where you usually don't see rookies come in and dominate but Wyatt and Walker don't have to dominate for the D to be better. They just have to be a step above who they're replacing.

That losing Keke and Lancaster line stuck out to me too. If Wyatt and Reed aren't MUCH better than those two something's wrong. Lancaster was a backup NT that played DE out of necessity and didn't do it well. Keke showed promise at times but had some issues it seems besides just staying healthy.

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Lphill's picture

June 20, 2022 at 07:11 am

good point about Slayton he could be the breakout player this season which would be phenomenal !

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NickPerry's picture

June 21, 2022 at 06:22 am

Could you imagine this defense if Slayton takes a year two jump too? I mean forget about it!

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EricinGB's picture

June 20, 2022 at 07:31 am

Could not agree more with Nick's comments. To build on what Nick states, Packer's #1 weakness on defense last year was stopping the run...As Nick stated, Packers have upgraded significantly 3 spots in the front 7 with 4 new players...Packers #2 weakness on defense was TE coverage...both those issues have bee strengthened this offseason...Packers now should be able to stay in base defense on 3rd down and be able to cover TE's...no more easy 1st downs on 3rd down.

Clearly, Ken is attempting to accomplish is to lower the high expectations for the defense coming into the season...but when the team goes all in and applies to the defense essentially all of the draft and cap $$$ gained in the Devante Adams trade, higher expectations on defense are justified.

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mnbadger's picture

June 21, 2022 at 01:18 pm

EricinGB, I agree with your comments except I'm not sure what Ken was trying to accomplish with this article?
It cannot (oops, typ0! Meant to say it MUST) be argued that the first 11 on D this year vs last year looks to be significantly better. The same is true for depth sans safety and edge rusher. But last year had more significant questions about depth at more positions.
June/July/August on the NFL calendar are for optimism and hope and I'm not ready to let Ken's reality check take that away from me!
NOTE: (I did give the article a thumbs up just for the fact that I like a reality check a little more than I like the blind optimism expressed by JJ)
GPG! top 6 in third down efficiency is what I want for xmas!

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Guam's picture

June 20, 2022 at 08:47 am

Well said NP! I had the same reaction you did - Reed and Wyatt for Keke and Lancaster - what a huge upgrade for the Packers! I have long believed the weakest unit of the defense was the DL and Gute finally made moves to change that. I think Reed and Wyatt plus a second year version of Slaton will greatly improve the Packer DL. GPG!

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dobber's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:11 am

Tend to agree on the DL. They now have 5 DL who are capable of playing a lot of snaps, and at more than one position for some. Allows the Packers to be very "multiple" (to go back to the Pettine terminology) in how they line up their guys. Even at his age, Reed is a better than average NFL DT. There are plenty of pocket-pushers here and guys who will be hard to move off their mark.

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mnbadger's picture

June 20, 2022 at 12:17 pm

Don't forget about Heflin. I'm still hoping he busted butt offseason to improve strength as he is, in my eye, Dean Lowery with no cap hit.
Trade Lowery for safety depth and this defense really could be among the best in the league. GPG!

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NateK's picture

June 21, 2022 at 07:56 pm

Good point.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 20, 2022 at 07:01 am

The DL depth is where I see the biggest gains being made. If Slaton takes a big step, which his coach was predicting a couple weeks ago, they have 5 guys that can rotate in and keep guys fresh in the 4th quarter. That should give them a boost vs run and pass.

Alexander coming back should give the DBs a boost too, but the depth there is shallow and any injuries are going to hurt.

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dobber's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:25 am

I agree at CB--most teams will need to go 5-6 CB deep over the course of a season. They need one or two guys to step up on the depth chart. The Packers' top 3 CBs are pretty good, though, and one--or maybe even two--short-term injuries aren't damning. It's not like when the Packers were trotting out Ladarius Gunter (who I give credit for playing hard) as their #1 CB in the playoffs a few years back.

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mrtundra's picture

June 20, 2022 at 07:59 am

Patience, please! One sack at a time, one TFL, at a time, one INT at a time, one pass defensed, at a time, one run stuffed, at a time.One down, at a time. All will be in this Defense's future. Give it time and this defense will be one of, if not the best in the League. I hope we can play tough, right out of the gate when we play the vikings, in week one. The NFL scheduler must be a viking's fan. I think the only way the vikings can win is if they catch us unprepared. I think we will catch them unprepared for our improved DL and healthy secondary. GO PACK, GO!!!

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dobber's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:22 am

The Vikings will be bringing in a whole new scheme on both sides of the ball (with plenty of offensive weapons), and the Packers have to go there to play them week 1. That's a whole lot of unscouted looks coming the Packers' way, but it also might take MN a couple weeks to get it all together. Whatever the case, I think that's not a great week 1 match-up.

That said, I hope the Packers grind them into their crappy turf and the only time that damn horn sounds is at the closing gun out of relief...

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 20, 2022 at 08:01 am

"Let's Pump the Brakes on Defensive Expectations"

I don't know how to say this politely but F that. ALL GAS NO BRAKES!

My expectations are VERY high for this defense for many reasons.

First reason, this will be the 2nd season in the Joe Barry scheme. Teams almost always improve from year 1 to year 2 in a scheme. Joe will have a better grasp of the players he has on the roster and how to best utilize them.

Second reason, Jaire Alexander. He played in 4 games last season then got hurt. He is one of if not the best CB in the league. He shuts down his side of the field, which allows the defense to be even more creative. When he came back in the playoff we really got to see what effect his presence has on the defense. Their best game by far all year was the game he played in.

Third Reason, Talent Added. The defense resigned Campbell the DPOY. It resigned Jaire Alexander (best CB in the league in my biased opinion). They resigned Rasul Douglas who if it wasn't for Campbell would have been the biggest story of the team. It added Jarran Reed, who is instantly a better player then Tyler Lancaster. It added Keisean Nixon who is likely more of a special teams player but could be a guy to keep an eye on at CB. Most didn't know Douglas was going to Douglas until he became a Packer. And then we added talent in the draft. Drafting Quay Walker could fundamentally change our defense. His speed and abilities may put is in more 2 LB nickel packages then we have used in the past. He already has surpassed Barnes at ILB (who I do like). Campbell and Walker could form the best ILB duo we have had in a long time. They also added Devonte Wyatt who should be an instant impact DL. He will be used in rotation and should also be given some really good opportunities. Kingsley Enagbare is a guy to really watch. While we lost Za'Darius from last year we didn't lose anything from him since he was out all year. I think Enagbare could be better then any of the other LB's and could be used in rotation.

Fourth Reason - The 2nd year players. Stokes, Slaton, Jean-Charles, Heflin. They are all entering year 2. All of which could be taking a step. Stokes was a player that improved every game and became a great CB. His speed erases any false steps he takes. But the guy who I think could take a big step this year is Slaton. Keep an eye on him for taking a big step this season.

Fifth Reason - Surprise players. Every year there are players that surprise and make an impact. Who would have guessed that Campbell would have been a DPOY a year ago? Who would have guessed Douglas would have came in and played like he did. There will be players that will surprise and make an impact. While I mentioned Slaton above, he is a guy that could surprise. Some other players to keep an eye on. Shawn Davis, Innis Gaines, Tariq Carpenter. We will need another safety and any of these guys could emerge as a key player. I mentioned Enagbare before, but some other OLB's to keep an eye on are Galeai, Garvin, Hamilton, and Ramsey. I think Ramsey was going to have an impact last year until he got hurt. We need a 3rd/4th guy to step up and be a rotation guy at least. Any of these guys could be that guy. While our top 3 CB's are set, we need guys after that. One guy i'm really curious to seeing play is Gafford. The former CB turned WR turned CB has legit speed. Perhaps the short time at WR could really help him at CB.

Going into this season I'm VERY excited about the defense. We may not be the best, but if I were to put money down i would be willing to put money down that they will be top 10 for sure. And I wouldn't be afraid to bet on top 5.

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dobber's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:42 am

"Kingsley Enagbare is a guy to really watch. "

I think edge is a problem, but not in the same way it was in 2021. Certainly last June, a 1--3 of Z, P, and ascending Gary looked pretty good...but then with Z on the bench, they were relying on an unproven Jonathan Garvin and a rotating array of PS poachees and street FAs to provide depth. They got away with it.

I think they're a little better off this year. Gary has clearly arrived, and I think P will be fine. Garvin has shown he can absorb snaps, even though he's not a dynamic guy. I really like Enagbare. In many ways, he profiles a lot like Z, who isn't a great athlete, but has a great motor. I'm not sure Enagbare has that same level of motor, but where the Packers got him he could be a steal. People seem to be turned off by his lack of footspeed, but he should grow into a solid NFL player. I think he'll get into the the rotation and he'll get his chances early on.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 20, 2022 at 12:56 pm

My area for concern right now before camp would be OLB. I think they have some young guys that could do something, but I would definitely feel more comfortable if they could find a veteran to provide some insurance and a good rotation player. I really liked it last year when they brought in Mercilus. Now obviously it didn't work, but i loved the move.

I really like Enagbare. I think he could very easily be our #3 guy. But, we won't know until training camp starts. Hopefully he is able to contribute early!

I wouldn't be surprised that if they added a player before camp starts that it would be someone at OLB.

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gbxby's picture

June 20, 2022 at 12:55 pm

I have high hopes for the defense this year as well. However, you basically expect everyone on defense to improve, yet no one to regress or hit a slump… seems realistic. Also, when you say “keep an eye out for…” and then list half the unproven guys on defense, it really loses its luster. I love when fans use that term as if they have any scouting ability or the wisdom to offer some sort of keen inside information… Relax and just enjoy watching them play this season.

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HarryHodag's picture

June 20, 2022 at 08:06 am

"Bottom line, I expect the offense will still have to win most of our games. The defense should be improved enough to keep us in them. "-KL

2021 is not 2022. The reason for optimism is there are seven top picks on the defense. This is the second year of Barry's defense. The top two picks(both appear to be keepers) are likely to contribute right away. They have All-Pros in the line, linebacker and secondary.

How anyone can say, albeit early, to say this defense is likely to be mediocre again is missing the point. The point is there are many good players on the defense and all the components are there for a defense that could be special.

What gets me excited is, for once, instead of fixating on the offense the Packers brass has focused on the defense. Keep pace with the offense and fix the special teams and there's a good chance for the Packers to have a special season.

I'm not one to jump the gun before results are in, but this might be one time to do so. Sorry Ken, the defense is going to be good. 3-0 is a win. Do that 20 times and you win the Super Bowl with the worst offense in the league.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2022 at 08:42 am

Including playoffs, we’ve played 54 games with LaFleur as head coach. 37 times we’ve held opponents to 24 or less (24 is about the league average). That’s nearly 70% of our games.

In those 37 games, we are 35-2. One loss was against KC when we played our backup QB. One loss was in the playoffs against SF when we had a HISTORICALLY BAD offensive output.

So the defense has been pretty good for three years, and it certainly looks improved to me at this point. In the last year, we’ve added Stokes, Campbell, Douglas, Reed, Wyatt and Walker. Those six guys would improve any defense in the league. We’re going to be a solid defense this year.

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HarryHodag's picture

June 20, 2022 at 02:22 pm

Amen, brother.

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PeteK's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:35 am

I agree that rookies take awhile to impact especially when they are tasked with being tops in their position. However, Wyatt and Walker have Clark and Campbell to take that pressure off. We will find out quickly as the Vikes offense has been a challenge for us as of late.

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Since'61's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:40 am

Ken your first mistake is watching the NFL Network or any of the airhead sports networks. They are all in it for the ratings and most of the time they just shout their headlines at the audience in attempt to have the loudest voice to get the ratings. Don't get me wrong, I like James Jones. He was a solid player for the Packers. but I preferred him as a player rather than as a broadcaster. Moving on...

It's not merely a question of stats that tells us how good our defense is or will be this season. IMO the keys will be do they improve at getting off the field on 3rd downs. Our defense has been frustratingly poor on 3rd and longs. Will the defense get better at pressuring opposing QBs. If yes, that will help to improve their 3rd and long performance. The defense also needs to improve on forcing turnovers whether it's more picks or forced fumble recoveries. Turnovers get our defense off the field, prevent scores of any type and hopefully give our offense a short field to work with.

Special teams will play a role in helping the defense improve as well. Better punts and better punt coverage will put the defense in better field position where they do not need to defend short fields. The field position battle is often crucial in a close game and the Packers defense can benefit from improved ST play.

Ultimately the key for any defense is points allowed. 14th is not good enough. I would prefer that the Packers defense get into the top 10 on points allowed and hopefully improve as the season goes on and then play as they did against SF in the playoff game throughout the 2022 playoffs. We are not going to face a QB like Garapolo in every playoff game. We will need to be better prepared to face some of the league's top QBs throughout the playoffs.

Pump the breaks, sure. But it's all preseason hype at this point. We will be in a better position to adequately evaluate our defense once we get through the first 3-5 games of the regular season because at this point it's all speculation and hype. Thanks, Since '61

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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2022 at 11:31 am

Last year, the defense was top 10 in both starting position (opponent's 27.7). and brevity of time on field (2.42 mins), both good for the 9th ranking.

Yes, this does run counter to several popular, but misleading, narratives.

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Since'61's picture

June 20, 2022 at 03:40 pm

Both good but not dominant numbers. It would be good if we could do better on the starting field position. Points matter the most and we finished 14th in that category. That's the key. Improving field position and time on the field contributes to improving points allowed. Thanks, Since '61

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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2022 at 04:33 pm

So Top 10 in the league is good, but not dominant.?

Points do matter most. We don't give up very many. A 0.7 yards of improvement moves us up from 9th to 5th. So that's the key, huh? That extra 0.7 yards. Making teams start at the 27, instead of the 27.7 yard line.?

No. It doesn't correlate. We were better than the Rams or the Bengals. We were better than a bunch of teams, and some of the teams that were better than us didn't even make the playoffs.

Additionally, I'm not sure how making teams start 0.7 yards farther away impacts the amount of time we spend on the field. 2 minutes, 42 seconds...9th in the league.

This would be the point where a fair minded person might be tempted to say that our coverage units did a pretty good job for us last year, and that our defense got to defend long fields. That helps, just like having an offense that stays on the field and scores points helps. But when the defense is actually on the field, they aren't being helped by special teams or the offense.....and they're one of the league's best teams in getting off the field.

The big area for the Packer defense to improve would be the redzone defense. We were bad there. Much below average. But we're good at not letting people into the redzone to begin with.

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Since'61's picture

June 20, 2022 at 10:07 pm

It depends on how you define dominant. I define it as Top three in points allowed. Or allowing less than 17 points per game. That should be a championship defense in this era. The Lombardi defense allowed 9.7 PPG in their 10 post-season games. That's my benchmark. Going to 17 PPG is nearly doubling my benchmark. That should be enough to cover the rules changes.

Those criteria may seem unrealistic. However if our defense met thise criteria since 2010 we would have at least 2 more SBs since then. If they met the Lombardi benchmark we would probably have another 5-6 SBs but I know that we will never see that level of defensive play again on a consistent basis. Thanks, Since '61

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HarryHodag's picture

June 20, 2022 at 02:23 pm

The NFL Network is full of folks I refer to as the "National Sports Media Dopes". They graze easy information and rarely get the story right.

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Since'61's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:58 pm

Absolutely correct Harry. It's ratings over quality information. Thanks, Since '61

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Packer_Fan's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:45 am

The defense will be better. It will take some time before Wyatt, Walker and Reed will have a big influence. The DL depth was light and tired as the game wore on. That is why we need to keep Lowry and develop a five deep rotation.

It will also take time for Walker to play well. And again there may be some adjustments over the season to determine how to use the secondary most effectively.

The opportunity exists for a really good defense by the end of the season and that is when it will be needed the most

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stockholder's picture

June 20, 2022 at 10:25 am

This Defense has 1 problem. It's the safeties. They're not physical. And unless Savage gets his head out of his butt. They will get burned. They are the weakest link! Savage must improve his Tackling. And Amos lacks that leadership. ( We saw when he first signed.) That big play ability is just not there. I believe both have the ability to play the position. But what team is afraid of them?

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MITM's picture

June 20, 2022 at 11:55 am

They are the weak link i agree, but more because of Savage's regression than Amos. Amos is fine imo

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

June 20, 2022 at 10:28 am

Ken, I disagree and think the Packers are going to be dynamite on defense this year.

The Packers have no major weaknesses in their starting defensive lineup and other than Jarran Reed, who may or may not perform as we hope in spite of still being 29 years of age, we are not a team of aging veterans who are hanging on to a job.

We finally have a couple of middle linebackers who are capable of playing three downs with speed and tackling ability.

This will be a second year in Joe Barry's defense and I expect improvements just because of the experience.

That secondary is as talented as any in the league and with the improved play and talent in the front seven it will challenge any offensive coordinator to exploit it.

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LambeauPlain's picture

June 20, 2022 at 11:04 am

I agree. The improvement in the front 7 or 6 will create more opportunities in the 4 or 5 in the secondary (Barry plays as much nickel as base).

Synergies in team sports are so important.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 20, 2022 at 10:34 am

"I really don’t mean to play Debbie Downer here, but it might be useful to do a bit of a reality check"

Seriously, 90% of those who comment here are detached from reality when it comes to the Packers. They continually scream how each year the Defense or Offense will be this or that, and this year it's all about the Defense as the Offense needs the savior, Rodgers, to be less of what he is, a passer, and allow a run game to be in the forefront unless some WRs break his trust bubble faster than ever before accomplished.

The writer makes a good point about the Defense and how 'not good' they look more often than 'good' which translates to how easily they ignore the disappearance act of the whole unit too often than that of a single player.

The record always comes to the defense of these blind optimists which is tired and old already and can be deemed as criminal abuse in a court of law, as their defense continually ignores the weakness of the teams they have achieved such status in the blind-eyed fan, and is proven by their performance, lack of or outright failure in the games they need to be seen as dominant, and not the hoped-for which is what is the repeated mantra this year already in full boom and too soon rejoice.

Yes, the Packers have won 13 games in the regular season three times in a row, with most of those wins coming from non-playoff caliber teams. They are the big brother beating up little brother until their big brother visits and sends them home crying, which lately needs no transportation to get to.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2022 at 12:06 pm

Yes, the record...AKA The Facts.... always comes to the defense of the people who don't see this the same way as you. I don't think I need to include a commentary on that.

And FWIW, most wins come against non-caliber playoff teams. Period. But we did beat the 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Bengals.

We have a powerful team. That's all you can hope for in June.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 20, 2022 at 01:48 pm

"But we did beat the 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Bengals."

Since 2019 the Packers are 2-3 against SF with two of the three losses coming in the playoffs.

We played Ari 5 times since 2012 and in the last game, GB won 24-21, and the first time where their QB is considered top 10. The rest were all irrelevant games and GB holds a 3-2 record.

Yes, GB has had success against the Rams and beat them in the playoff game @GB but they got to an SB with Geoff and then won with Stafford.

GB over the last 5 games since 2005 is 2-3 against Cinn. Yes, we barely beat a rookie Burrow in 2021 (24-21) in a game where we should have lost, but Burrow got to an SB the next year and the Packers were again, with their 13-3 record crying on the couch.

We can understand why Arizona hasn't made it to the SB, we certainly can understand why SF, LA, and Cinn got to the SB but why hasn't GB got to the SB since 2011 with Rodgers? Because no matter how fanatic the fans can convince themselves the team is tough, especially the Defense the last couple of years and especially hoped for this year, they aren't and haven't been and won't be until they can beat up their big brothers, the ones who they fight in the big boy games known as the playoffs. What matters most is what you do when it counts. 36-9 means nothing unless you win the last game of the year. Believing you're tough means nothing unless you beat the other tough team in the last game of the year. I know, enjoy the journey, and I do, but the falseness of the fantasy always ends with a reality-based gut punch, though I seem more prepared to fend off the pain than many others since I do not look for excuses as you have here, but deal in the now, and right now, nothing has changed until it changes in reality. Where will this team be in February of 2023? Reality or Fantasy?

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dobber's picture

June 20, 2022 at 01:18 pm

"Yes, the Packers have won 13 games in the regular season three times in a row, with most of those wins coming from non-playoff caliber teams. "

Packers regular season record against playoff teams during the LaF era:
2021 -- 5-1
2020 -- 4-2
2019 -- 4-1

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 20, 2022 at 02:04 pm

Yes, GB has won against teams in the regular season that made the playoffs and have even won a couple of playoff games against some of the same, but the total result is not what was fantasized, but rather the harsh expected reality, which again is being overly ignored with fantasy at the moment.

Let's not forget the shape of those teams when matched against GB when GB won. Catching those teams at the right time, the wrong time for them, I think dominates the reasons, and again, the rematch doesn't seem to justify the boast of those wins otherwise GB would have held the Lombardi at least once more with MLF/Rodgers and their tougher team.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 21, 2022 at 05:14 am

what an incoherent rant.

well below your usual pessimistic chatter.

oh well, it is the dead zone for posters too...

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Whitewater80's picture

June 20, 2022 at 11:01 am

Early injuries will be the key determing factor for this year's Packer defense. If GB can avoid the early injuries, the new defensive additions will have the time to grow into their roles and the Packers will begin to see defensive improvement during the 2nd half of season. I think a top 10 defense is possible.

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Whitewater80's picture

June 20, 2022 at 11:01 am

Early injuries will be the key determing factor for this year's Packer defense. If GB can avoid the early injuries, the new defensive additions will have the time to grow into their roles and the Packers will begin to see defensive improvement during the 2nd half of season. I think a top 10 defense is possible.

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splitpea1's picture

June 20, 2022 at 11:22 am

I largely disagree with this article. There are high expectations for this defense, and rightfully so. No, they're not going to be the 1985 Bears or the 2000 Ravens, but they should be very solid across the board for years to come.

The truth is that the defense DID win a couple of games for us last season, and they kept us in the game almost every time. They were a bit confused in the first game vs. New Orleans because they were in a new system and didn't see enough action in preseason; Stokes took some rookie lumps vs. Minnesota; and the last game in Detroit didn't even matter. They played their asses off in the SF playoff game and deserved to win.

I expect the defense to take another step forward this year with the additions of Walker and Wyatt; improvement from Stokes; and possible dominance by Gary. Depth at edge and safety is a concern, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

As it looks right now, I think there is more pressure on MLF and his offensive unit to replace the production of Adams, integrate the new receivers in the system, and keep the chains moving en route to the end zone.

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Turophile's picture

June 20, 2022 at 12:04 pm

It's the difference between 'Hope' and 'Expect'

I hope for a top 5 defense that is good at all levels in 2022.

I expect a top 10 defense that is mostly good in 2022.

Most of the defense is relatively young, so maybe top 5 in 2023 is a perfectly reasonable expectation.

As always, injuries will play a big part, especially at edge and safety.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2022 at 04:49 pm

We surrendered 371 points, good for a tie for 13th place. 7 fewer points...one play.....would have put us in a tie with KC for 8th place. To get into the Top 5, we'd have to trim just more than 1 point/game.... In other words, it's a couple of plays over the course of a season.

Our offense stays on the field, scores points, and does not turn the ball over very often, so our defense doesn't have to rush onto a short field to defend a warm offense. On the rare occasions when our offense doesn't get that done, we've given up more than 24 points and lost quite a few of them. but when the offense does their job, the defense plays well enough to win just about every time.

The analogy I like about this defense goes to baseball, where they always talk about being strong up the middle defensively. The Packers are strong up the middle. Kenny Clark et al backed up by Walker and Campbell and Amos and Savage behind. Right up the middle.

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dobber's picture

June 20, 2022 at 05:53 pm

" To get into the Top 5, we'd have to trim just more than 1 point/game.... In other words, it's a couple of plays over the course of a season."

To piggyback onto your comment: how many garbage time, meaningless TDs and FGs did this team surrender last year?

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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2022 at 09:36 pm

That’s why I don’t like points per game and would rather talk about what you do compared to the average. I mean, if you’re on the road against a team that’s averaging 30 ppg at home. And you hold them to 26, that’s still better than average defense.

Do you remember, Week 3, the bogus TD that the Officials gave SF right before the half? That ONE PLAY is the reason we were 14th in scoring defense instead of 8th.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 20, 2022 at 12:32 pm

The difference between hope and expectation is hope is based on a fantasy where points of emphasis and facts from prior stats are mostly ignored or perverted to fit the narrative of the fantasy. Expectations are plausible ends based on previous stats, player growth, loss, and other relevancies that equate to a reality-based achievement/expectation. The last three seasons proved the hope/fantasy was beyond that of reality, especially since all three ended in near the same manner and proves that fantasy will never surpass expectations based on reality. The Packers were expected to win the Division, as usual, and then lose when the fantasy became the narrative or false expectation.

The addition and loss of personnel are not an automatic equal or greater benefit to a Defense, less the fantasy-driven, as it always ignores the three-year rule many clamors about with rookies and the stepping up from the previous rookie players, to make the hope/fantasy more the reality in the mind and not on the field in the games being played, where afterward, they create a narrative to support a hope from the outcome, which are usually more excuse than accepted fact.

Again this preseason, the fantasy dwellers are expecting jumps from some younger players, dismiss that some will step back, that veterans will play all year, over compute what rookies will supply, and that the play of a couple could be nothing more than fluke or that the Packers just bring out the best in those that other teams couldn't., and that a revitalized player doesn't stay charged long, because being in the right place at the right moment doesn't equate to solid play, think HaHa Clinton-Dix, his INTs were mostly off deflections but was enough to convince many he was awesome until the deflections didn't go to him and his bad play was exposed. Be careful of what the fantasy makes you see and be more mindful of what should be seen.

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Turophile's picture

June 20, 2022 at 04:03 pm

I don't find 90% of people here being hopelessly optimistic (though it is obvious by the 'likes' handed out, that readers generally like to read optimistic posts).

You are applying a generality (criticising others for an over-optimistic EXPECTATION) to something that is rarer and more specific than you suggest.

Even though in my previous post I pointed out the difference between hope and expectation, it seems you want to label other peoples hopes as though they were an expectation, otherwise you would never come up with such an absurdly high 90% being 'detached from reality'.

In fact, just by reading other peoples posts it can be difficult to differentiate which of the two THEY are writing about, so it is easy to create a false narrative based on your interpretation in each individual case, of whether what you are reading is a hope or an expectation.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 20, 2022 at 04:53 pm

"...it seems you want to label other people's hopes as though they were an expectation,"

Hope is an expectation.

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Turophile's picture

June 21, 2022 at 03:46 am

It is in the nuances of language where the difference lies.

Hope is at the upper end of expectation (ie very likely a low probability).

When you describe something as an expectation you are describing something you expect to happen (ie a high probability).

Dream scenario > hopeful scenario > expected scenario > gloomy scenario > Worst result imaginable.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 21, 2022 at 05:25 am

all that's missing here is a post from our Dragon friend with some horoscope bullshit piled on top of Taryns thesaurus-like definitions.

when does camp start?

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Starrbrite's picture

June 20, 2022 at 06:08 pm

We will absolutely NOT pump the brakes on our defense—absolutely not!!!

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