Packers Hoping to say "bye" to Injuries After bye Week

Even without five vital defensive starters, the Packers managed to chalk one up in the "W" column on Sunday against the Lions. The scoreboard at halftime told one story that would be headlined 31-10, and the scoreboard by the end of the game read a frightening 34-27. A clear second-half tilt that was in favor of the visiting team.

Matthew Stafford and his troop gashed the Packers' secondary that was without the two leaders of their respective groups, Sam Shields (concussion) and Morgan Burnett (back). It goes without saying, even with those two manning down their assignments, the Packers' defensive backs have been less than optimal.

After undrafted corner Josh Hawkins, who was seeing his first NFL action during the regular season, slipped while he was covering Detroit's Marvin Jones. Ultimately leading to a 73-yard touchdown right before the first half concluded and the Lion's only touchdown of said first half. Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins were both coming off of subpar (or in Randall's case, horrifying) performances the week prior in Minnesota. Relying on the second-year cornerback duo to shoulder the load for the secondary was definitely far from desired. Ladarius Gunter, meanwhile, did have a few solid tackles to go along with his acceptable coverage.

As a result of the heavy expectations placed upon the secondary, Stafford eclipsed 300 yards in the Lions' aerial attack. A total that would amount to the sections of the field the Packers have faced evident challenge in.

One would rightfully presume the middle of the field in defensive coordinator Dom Capers' zone scheme had been the weakest destination. The truth is, the Packers' defense has given up 301 yards along the deep right sideline. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 81.82% of their passes when targeting that area of the field. Next worst is - you guessed it - the heart of the defense. The opposition hasn't paled in comparison to the previous number either, shredding 250 yards passing and a 74.29% completion rate that has essentially killed the Packers in third down situations.

The Packers allowed 17 first downs through the air on Sunday. Feeble in comparison to the nine the Lions surrendered to the Green Bay offense. The Lions in total converted eight of their 14 third down attempts, and that's perfectly attainable when the Packers on the year have allowed 82.33% of third down throws to be completed. 

As ghastly as the gimpy secondary has been, the requisite bye week that was originally regarded as "too early" has its perks and downsides for the group and other positions as well.

A significant perk that comes with the week four bye week is that the Packers couldn't have come across it at a better time. Datone Jones, Clay Matthews, Letroy Guion, Shields and Burnett, all hobbling with injuries will get an extra week to rejuvenate and return to full health before the Giants from the east make the trek to Lambeau Field next Sunday night. It also gives the Packers more time to adjust accordingly to the triple threat the Giants possess at wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard, as well as any other accommodations the coaching staff must formulate. 

A downside is the rust that the Packers may have evidently shaken off coming back to haunt them. Just as the offense had begun to click in the first half against the Lions, a week without live-action football could put a damper on the rhythm Aaron Rodgers was finally generating with his skill position players. Once the Packers return from that bye week, they'll have 13 straight games and whether or not they control the fate that's in their hands for the better, even more after that. It doesn't seem like much of a drawback at the end of September, but fatigue can and will take its toll. 13, 12, even eight games in the NFL is a rigorous schedule. The Packers will no doubt condition for those circumstances.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (24)

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The TKstinator's picture

September 29, 2016 at 06:14 am

"Bye" to injuries....I see what you did there!

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ray nichkee's picture

September 29, 2016 at 06:23 am

There will be no rust. Look for the secondary to rebound and have a game to remember, a game that will give al bundy a grundy. Sam shields will be back (I hope.) Eli doesn't know what color jersey to throw the ball to. The offense will make the giants D look silly. Look what the redskins did without their top two in the secondary.

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2016 at 09:45 am

I'll bet you that Shields isn't back for the Giants game, and that means big problems for the pass defense because there will be no miraculous solution during the bye. Capers isn't going to change the scheme, what he currently does, is all he knows.

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SpudRapids's picture

September 29, 2016 at 01:13 pm

Scheme won't solve the loss of Shields... at some point you have to have the proper talent to execute regardless of scheme. Any team that runs man coverage has a shutdown corner which is essential to making that work.

Capers switched schemes during the lions game from man to zone so it isn't about him switching schemes it's about execution of said schemes.

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Grandfathered's picture

September 30, 2016 at 12:06 am

The fact that the Pack has not placed Sheilds on IR is good, but I would be surprised to see him back within 8 weeks.

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lebowski's picture

September 29, 2016 at 07:32 am

That trio of wide receivers scares the bejeezus out of me, we couldn't even stop teams with one threat

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rdent's picture

September 29, 2016 at 08:24 am

My thoughts exactly,that secondary made two guys you never heard of look like all pros,they will have to be on their best game against that trio,cant count on Shields to be back or Burnett for that matter so they may have to go with what they have

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2016 at 09:47 am

It should.....given what we have to cover them with. If our pass rushers don't get to Manning, it will be lights out for our defense.

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Booner's picture

September 29, 2016 at 07:38 am

Packers zone scheme on defense needs to go! Opposing teams gash it every game. Either we don't have the talent to play it or we don't have the coaches in place to coordinate this style of defense. I know we have been missing key players and the guys we have out there are young but I would rather they just play man until they get their starters back on the field. Wake up Capers!

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2016 at 09:48 am

Capers isn't going to wake up, he's in "coast mode", on the way to retirement.

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Razer's picture

September 29, 2016 at 01:04 pm

Always amazed at the disrespect for Capers. We start three sophomores as corners (a college safety, a BBall player and UDFA) and we are missing our key veteran safety. They are play a very good QB and an offense with numerous weapons. Capers tries a man to man scheme but is forced to play zone to hide the weaknesses and we hang on for dear life.

Whether it is a chronic lack of talent at ILB, a 5 year DLine rebuild or now a secondary full of rookies this defense is general a man or two short. Overall, Capers has done fairly well given what he's been asked to work with. If the pass rush shows up, we will be pretty good on defense, if not, then good enough will have to do.

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2016 at 02:56 pm

This is because his defensive schemes always give up massive yardage and make every game into a nail biter because we can't shut anyone down. Stop the run, the pass defense is a sieve, stop the pass, and opposing RB go off for 150+. It's all too familiar and can't believe they stand for it up there. There's a reason nobody's snagged him as a head coach anymore, and it isn't his age. The game has passed him by!

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2016 at 08:20 am

I really hate the bye week being in week 4.

That being said right now it will be nice to get our players back healthy.

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2016 at 09:50 am

Its sad to think the Pack has this many injuries in week 4, but when you don't play any of your starters in preseason, this is what you get.

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SpudRapids's picture

September 29, 2016 at 01:14 pm

injuries come down to sheer luck... you can't make the argument that playing in preseason prevents injuries

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2016 at 02:54 pm

I disagree....I'm old school. You harden the bodies and acclimate players to game speed and intensity by playing against other teams trying to compete, not by practicing. Too much of practice is going thru the motions, but the intensity and stretching beyond your physical limits is not there. Then when they get into games during the season suddenly they're dropping like flies because they aren't used to it. NE has injuries too, but they are always competitive, same with Seattle the last 4-5 years.

What we do know is, NOT playing in preseason has generated just as many injuries as PLAYING. This season is a perfect illustration. Week 3 and we had how many starters out? 4 on defense?

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4thand1's picture

September 29, 2016 at 03:53 pm

It seems the more careful they prepare, the more they get injured.

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holmesmd's picture

September 30, 2016 at 07:53 am

Ask Nelson how that worked out for him last season?:( You cannot "harden" an ACL anymore than it has already been. ;)

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Finwiz's picture

September 30, 2016 at 09:59 am

Tearing an ACL is called, "an anomaly" and can happen at anytime. Strained hamstrings and sprained ankles can happen anytime too, but are more prone to happening when not playing at game speed and acclimating the muscles.

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bad-y's picture

September 29, 2016 at 08:15 pm

Although the Packers can benefit from this early bye now, I also don't like a week 4 bye. Now I know the NFL will never do the smart and fair thing (it would cost too much) by giving every team a bye in week 9. but is there a reason why all the team byes could not occur during weeks 7 - 10? Just wondering if anyone knows why it is so spread out. Even with only four bye weeks, there would still be 12 games in those weeks, enough for coverage in all the normal time slots.

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packrat's picture

September 29, 2016 at 09:19 pm

I think it is spread out as it is for financial reasons. The NFL is very motivated by $$.

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packrat's picture

September 29, 2016 at 09:41 pm

IMHO, Capers is a very good OC. Apparently MM thinks so too, or Capers would be gone.

Capers has had a ton or very young players to train and has turned out some fine teams.

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Finwiz's picture

September 30, 2016 at 10:03 am

Uhhh-hem.....Capers is NOT an OC, guess you didn't get the memo? And he isn't really good at anything anymore except skating along into retirement. No adjustments during games, players out of position, defenses gashed for huge yardage, giving up explosive plays at historic levels. This is almost as bad as Slow-wit. (Slowik). Whatever happened to that guy...I don't think he's in the league anymore, and neither will old Dom when he leaves GB.

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Charvid's picture

October 01, 2016 at 06:31 pm

You kinda sound like an asshole, ya know that?

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