Turnover Differential a Major Key for Packers in 2019

The Packers defense needs to get back to forcing turnovers in order to see major improvement in 2019. 

The Packers typically do a great job taking care of the ball. It obviously helps when Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback. The offense will always work efficiently, however, the defense has failed to gain the upper hand when it comes to forcing game-changing plays.  Over the last two years creating turnovers has been a serious issue, especially interceptions. Just seven interceptions in 2018, tied for second to last in the NFL. Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix led the team with three despite playing in Green Bay for only seven games. This offseason, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has placed an emphasis on improving their rate of turnovers.

“We didn’t do a good job coaching it last year,” Pettine said during June OTAs. “Our awareness of the football and attacking just has to go up, and I think we’ve done a good job emphasizing it this spring. That falls back to ‘you get what you emphasize,’ and I think the players have done a good job responding to that request.”

Before players arrived, the coaches brainstormed ways to drill creating turnovers and installing a mentality of attacking the football. Pettine stated the phrase “ball awareness” was frequently used as different defensive position groups work on locating the ball then swiping and punching at it to possibly separate it from ball carriers.

When the Packers made the playoffs from 2014-2016 they were frequently atop the league in interceptions and turnover differential. In 2014, Green Bay actually led the NFL with a +14 turnover differential were tied for seventh after totaling 18 interceptions.

Those numbers have diminished in recent years but they were pretty solid up until 2017. During both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the Packers were top 10 in both turnover differential and interceptions.

With Rodgers out for most of 2017, their turnover differential fell to -3 as they sunk to 20th. When Pettine was hired in 2018 the differential rose to an even zero but interceptions were obviously still lacking.

Overall, Pettine did pretty well in his first season with the Packers in spite of an uninspiring roster talent wise. This offseason he has much more to work with as the team overhauled at both edge rusher and safety.

Entering his second year, it does feel like there is potential for vast improvement. They signed Adrian Amos during 2019 free agency and then drafted Darnell Savage in the first round following a surprise trade up. Amos is known for his consistent play and Savage has already begun to turn heads in the short time he has been with the team.

Green Bay’s addressed pass rush could likely lead to more turnovers as well.

It sounds like the Packers will continue to work on creating turnover opportunities throughout training camp. At that time, we may know a little more about this defense’s potential as far as making those pivotal plays.  

 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

NFL Categories: 
1 points

Comments (25)

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

June 30, 2019 at 12:28 pm

I do think that Savage patrolling the back end rather than HaHa, Amos' dependability, growth in Alexander and Jackson, and (of course) a vastly improved pass rush will result in a much better turnover differential this year.

I do think the defense will have to carry the offense at the beginning of the year. It's probably going to take time for the new offense to gel.

+ REPLY
12 points
12
0
dobber's picture

July 01, 2019 at 08:37 am

The schedule may set up well for them, that way. Using 2018 as a guide, the first team the Packers face in 2019 that finished above #14 in total offense is...KC in WEEK 8!

Aggregate stats rarely tell the whole story, but the optimist in me says that lines up a schedule in which a Packers defense, if it really is better front-to-back in 2019, could hold down the fort as the offense gets up to speed.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
CoachJV's picture

July 03, 2019 at 06:39 pm

If you're right (which I think you are), In week 8, the O should be one or two games into "gel mode" and really starting to put together full games. With the D holding it down, we could beat KC in Week 8.

Imagine what that would do for confidence going into the back half of the season... especially with a lot of it on the road.

I like our chances of making the playoffs this year (insert Jim Mora quote)... if the D can come up big early on and get off the field on 3rd down.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bryan Chisholm's picture

July 03, 2019 at 05:48 pm

"I do think that Savage patrolling the back end rather than HaHa, Amos' dependability, growth in Alexander and Jackson, and (of course) a vastly improved pass rush will result in a much better turnover differential this year."

Hit the nail right on the head.. I've been saying this since the draft honestly. Throw in a healthy King and maybe even a jump from Burks and surprise play from Keke and it could be a different monster. Don't forget what a boost from the offense can do.. let them get down a quick 14-21 points to start the 1st half.. they can be a lot more confident and aggressive on D coming out the 2nd.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

June 30, 2019 at 12:34 pm

I find it hard to believe that there's a lack of emphasizing on creating turnovers in any camp,weekly practices or games but do however believe there was a lack of talent to perform such emphasis and achieve the desired result.
If your staff isn't teaching the turnover with emphasis then your staff is in need of some coaching itself.

+ REPLY
0 points
9
9
Demon's picture

June 30, 2019 at 01:20 pm

Ill give Pettine a pass on that last year Taryn. He had plenty of fish to fry in his first year as DC. However the previous several years it doesnt appear there was much coaching going on anywhere on the team.

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
Tarynfor12's picture

June 30, 2019 at 01:33 pm

No free passes.....a 'main ' focal point of any defense is to get the ball back to the offense and creating the turnover is a main focal point. It should never be ignored as it should be embedded in any defensive coaches DNA as a main focal point of their defensive scheme no matter how many fish he needs to fry or serve. Without it, you're telling the defense to let the offense keep the ball until they want to give it up which means after they score points.

+ REPLY
-7 points
6
13
CAG123's picture

June 30, 2019 at 02:14 pm

What? No it doesn’t especially if you don’t have the pieces around you to make those type of gambles you don’t want your young rookie corners playing like Marcus Petters a guy that can give you 5 plus picks but also give up 8 plus touchdowns a season. With the lack of overall talent on last years roster you want to drill maintaining assignments in there heads and getting stops on 3rd downs etc.

+ REPLY
6 points
11
5
Tarynfor12's picture

June 30, 2019 at 02:34 pm

' A ' main focal point not ' The ' main focal point....try to focus. ' A ' meaning one of a few but one that should never not be emphasized.

+ REPLY
-8 points
6
14
Coldworld's picture

June 30, 2019 at 04:41 pm

When you have inexperience and lack of pressure on opposing QBs you are not going to encourage risk taking and you are not going to force errors. Pettine did well with a Swiss Cheese roster that ended up being mostly the holes. I’m glad he is focusing on turnovers this year: a reflection of having more experience and talent to work with.

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
Lare's picture

June 30, 2019 at 05:51 pm

The main focus on defense is making the stop/tackle. Turnovers during that process are a bonus.

+ REPLY
11 points
11
0
Packers2019's picture

July 01, 2019 at 04:30 pm

Exactly Lare.

The Packers tackling has been something to be desired the last three seasons. Until Pettine gets that problem improved, TO's will be hard to come by. Having said that, the QB pressure that has been upgraded and more experience in the backfield will not hurt matters.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

June 30, 2019 at 01:27 pm

Since 2011 the Packers defense has not even been aggressive in tackling, never mind playing aggressively for turnovers.

Hopefully the “don’t get off the field until we allow a score defense” we become a thing of the past and fade from our collective memory.

Make tackles, create havoc with our pass rush, make stops, emphasize turnovers and get off the field. At the least get off the field on 3rd downs and improve our red zone defense. Thanks, Since ‘61

+ REPLY
6 points
8
2
jannes bjornson's picture

June 30, 2019 at 03:23 pm

Aggressiveness comes from the head man, but you need the players to pull it off. Woodson and Peppers were old school. Hopefully Gutekunst weeded out some of the soft players.

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
RWood832's picture

June 30, 2019 at 04:46 pm

You get what you emphasize? If that's the case, I hope that the defense emphasizes being square to the ball carrier so that the tackle is made at the spot of first contact. There is nothing more demoralizing than to watch a ball carrier get an extra 3 to 20 yards after a GB defender contacts them.

How many first downs did the opposition team get these past few years because the tackle was not properly executed? The quality of tackling goes down every year. As my son said, they have outlawed the most effective tackling drill in football - the Oklahoma drill. Maybe we should go to flag or two hand touch.

+ REPLY
6 points
7
1
Lare's picture

June 30, 2019 at 01:42 pm

The improved pass rush will create turnovers, from both QB fumbles and interceptions.

You can't get the football if you're nowhere near it.

+ REPLY
10 points
11
1
flackcatcher's picture

June 30, 2019 at 05:37 pm

Last years team was far better talent wise than given credit for. (Yeah yeah, I hate Ted so nothing good happened. I get that.) But, and we all knew this, is that team was so thin at backup and some core postions, that any injury no matter how minor would deeply effect this team. You don't get to be 6-2 (ok 7-1 if the fracking NFL had not screwed with QB protection rules. AGAIN. I hate what Goodell has done to the game.) and then go 6-9-1 with having injuries effect your team at all levels. Coaches can teach all they want, the ugly reality is if your talent sucks at the level your playing at, then your team will lose. If the Packers have a normal NFL injury year, then with the returning talent they have, they should make the playoffs. But if they have a Packer injury year like last year, No matter what Pettine or MLF does, they will have a losing year. Talent, first, coaching second, tells the tale in all pro leagues. That's just the way it is.

+ REPLY
0 points
3
3
Packers2019's picture

July 01, 2019 at 04:48 pm

Hmmm....

I am confused. What happened when we won the SB in 2011? Oh yeah, we were one of the most injured teams in the NFL but still won it all. It happens every year. You will have injuries.

That is called depth at most positions and players stepping up. IMO, the issue was after the first 4 years TT started drafting for need. CB, CB, and more CB's. DL, DL, and more DL. You do that and if they do not pan out your depth at ever position suffers. Do you realize we have not drafted a offensive skilled position in the first or second round since Adams in 2014? You have to go BPA 90% of the time. Sometimes you go need, I get that. But TT went way beyond that and thought he was smarter than everyone else which he wasn't.

You need depth and players that step up to win the SB. We have had neither in the last 8 years. Hopefully, Gute has changed that a little.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
flackcatcher's picture

July 02, 2019 at 12:55 am

Not disagreeing at all. 2010 team was young and deep with veteran talent on both lines. Injuries were spread out so no one unit got hammered. Couldn't do that in today's NFL, not with current contract. And Thomspon's drafts were fairly high across the draft board with his trading up because of his stacking up picks previous years. Once Packers traded Favre away, that free up massive cap space for TT to work with. Outside of Rodgers signing which has restricted Gute somewhat. IAM is following the same formula the on Wolf and Ted Thompson did in rebuilding the Packers. Question is can he sustain the roster like Ted did from 2010-2016. I believe Gute can, but we will not know till 4-5 years from now.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

June 30, 2019 at 07:04 pm

Barring injury this year's defense will generate significantly more turnovers. Anything less would be a shock to everyone here at CHTV. 2nd year in the defensive scheme. Many talented young players heading into 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seasons. Strong DL and pass rushers along with a promising defensive backfield. Throw in FA and this should be a top 8 defense.

On top of that I believe the offense will be more balanced with more talent eating up the clock significantly more this year. End result, it will cause opponents offenses to be in catch up mode more often than in the past creating opportunities for an opportunistic defense.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
EddieLeeIvory's picture

June 30, 2019 at 09:01 pm

Gotta rush the offenses. Pressure the QB. Blow up the intended holes.

Pettine has so much more talent than last year. I expect 10 more turnovers.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

July 01, 2019 at 08:29 am

" I expect 10 more turnovers."

The sad part is that 10 more than last year would have barely been above league average (22) last year. It was that bad. I'd bet that 10 more TOs generated in 2018 would have made last year's team--as frustrating as last year was--a WC contender.

Let's not get into how many ARod passes bonked off the chests and hands of opposing DBs last year, though. ;)

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
IceBowl's picture

July 02, 2019 at 09:12 pm

dobber,

I hope for more than 10. Pettine was given a lot of tools.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Sol's picture

July 01, 2019 at 10:07 am

Talent means a lot, but I believe coaching and proper management allows players to succeed at even higher levels. It is OK to say we are going try to create more turnovers. We need to do a better job at understanding the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and match your strengths against their weaknesses. Couple that with training that makes going for the ball almost like a natural reflex and that will probably help create or generate the turnovers we so badly need.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
IceBowl's picture

July 01, 2019 at 01:59 pm

Boy, you guys are putting a lot of pressure on 2 new safeties (1 a rook), 1 basically new corner (King) a basically new LB (Burks), 2 new OLB's and 1 rotational DL. That is 7 out of 11. Yes, most have some NFL experience. That does help, but still have to learn a new system.

The best part is the other 4 are Pro Bowl caliber players that you can build on.

Expecting a wall right away seems like a lot to hope for.

I hope the Pack finds some quick setting mortar.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.