Cory's Corner: Better Late Than Never

It took all season, but the Packers defense has finally come together. 

Nobody saw that coming. 

The Packers completely embarrassed the Vikings 41-17 on Sunday at Lambeau Field and now control their playoff destiny.

I have criticized Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry plenty this season. In the season opener, Minnesota punished Green Bay 23-7 behind 184 receiving yards and two touchdowns from Justin Jefferson. 

On Sunday, the third-year pro was completely shut down. In a game in which the Vikings were still vying for a coveted No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, Jefferson melted and turned in his worst performance as a pro with one catch for 15 yards. 

“I was able to follow him,” said Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander in a postgame interview with CBS. “I was able to go to his side all game. And you know, I’m the type of person that’s going to match intensity. That’s what I did all night.”

That one quote speaks volumes. We all saw it in the season opener. There were numerous times when Alexander was on one side of the field and didn’t follow Jefferson to the other because that’s what Barry’s soft zone says to do. 

We’ve seen a season of that soft zone and finally, finally we are getting a chance to see the Packers defensive playmakers do what they were brought to Green Bay to do. The Packers didn’t draft four defensive players in the last five first rounds to just keep the ball in front of them. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst drafted them to attack the ball and impose their will. 

I’ve seen a lot of Vikings chatter claiming that what Alexander did wasn’t that big of a deal because Jefferson — who only caught one ball in five targets — also had a safety to deal with.

I’ve got two words for that: sour grapes. It just shows the Packers learned from their mistakes. I loathed Barry’s philosophy, because it hinges on keeping everything in front of you. Bend but don’t break. But it is obvious that perhaps coach Matt LaFleur had a chat with Barry and in not so many words told him to unleash the hounds. 

For the first time all season, this defense is playing with swagger and confidence. The only reason Aaron Rodgers said that they had to score over 30 points was because the defense could not be trusted. 

That isn’t the case anymore. The Vikings have one of the best receivers and one of the best running backs in the league — and the Packers held them in check. The Packers feasted on a poor offensive line and a quarterback in Kirk Cousins that got happy feet when Green Bay turned up the pressure. 

“Those guys up front are getting after it,” Alexander said. 

For the first time all year, this defense looks like one complete unit. It isn’t just a bunch of guys looking to make highlight plays. It’s guys playing for each other, knowing that they can trust each other to pick each other up. 

This is the brand of no fear defense that I expected to see all season. It took a lot of struggles and some head scratching play, but the Packers finally have found themselves. 

Like my mom used to say, “Better late than never.”

 

 

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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

__________________________

4 points
 

Comments (96)

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

January 03, 2023 at 06:47 am

"We’ve seen a season of that soft zone and finally, finally we are getting a chance to see the Packers defensive playmakers do what they were brought to Green Bay to do."

Before the season started I commented many times I thought this unit would be a Top 5 unit in overall defense. They drafted an ILB who athletically was off the charts and a DL who is pretty athletic himself. FINALLY, a defense that wasn't going to be a liability.

Obviously that didn't happen. That "Soft Zone" Barry plays stopped NO ONE and relief from that defense was NOWHERE in sight. Not even from MLF.

I don't know what Jerry Gray said at halftime in the Dolphins game, but they need to bottle that shit. Since the 3rd quarter started in Miami, the starting defense has played 12 possessions against the Dolphins and Vikings. They've had 6 interceptions, a forced fumble and recovery, and given up 3 points on a drive that started on their OWN one yard line. I know I mentioned this yesterday but it's worth repeating. They also did it against some pretty damn good offenses.

My BIGGEST concern is will Barry continue to employ this same defense. Will he put Alexander on St. Brown Sunday night or will he play that off coverage and let them march right down the field. My hope is Barry lets them play. I mean they've just throttled Waddle, Hill, and Jefferson, the number 6, 2, and 1 WRs in the NFL after week 17 for the last six quarters of defense they've played.

Just let em play Mr. Joe Barry. If you go down swinging at least you tried. The players can hold up their heads if they lose and know at least they didn't just give it away.

16 points
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Guam's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:28 am

Spot on comment NP! I would give you many thumbs up if I could.

I have grown to despise that damn soft zone and however the Packers finish the season, I hope LaFleur moves on from Barry. With Leonhard available and the Denver DC likely available, MLF will have some good options if he has the stones to terminate Mr. Soft Zone.

9 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:06 am

Thumbs up to you too, Guam.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:25 am

This leadership keeps people, whether “starters” or coaches, unless hell swallows them first. If the D performs, I don’t see changes. As far as Barry goes, was this a realization of a damascene conversion taking effect over the last few weeks or just good fortune shaped by circumstances? It’s really hard to tell.

If it was a flash in the pan, as the Championship game turned out to be, then we will probably see it this week. Unless LaFleur has a lot better passing game/personnel/red zone plan, this D is going to have to perform at near that level each week. If it goes, then Barry will not be going anywhere, and quite possibly rightly. That is something that seems unlikely, but we’ve seen plenty of unlikely already in the last month. Now we find out how much of that is real over the next one.

-2 points
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Packers2020's picture

January 03, 2023 at 11:47 am

Sorry Cold,

I usually love your posts and agree with you 95% of the time.

Our offense scored 27 points on Sunday. I know the D helped them with some short fields. Can they still work on the Red Zone and get better? Absolutely but the O had a solid game after the first couple of series.

Oh and by the way, the last 5 games our offense has averaged 27.6 points per game. And that is without the 14 points from ST's and the pick 6 from Sunday.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:21 pm

If you believe that the passing game functioned effectively against another weak secondary then we differ. The run game was good last week, but as you say, short fields, 14 points from D and STs. The best play in the air was a completely blown coverage (Tonyan TD). The rest doesn’t look so good if you actually break it down, didn’t to most during the game, and isn’t statistically and hasn’t over that period that period as a whole.

-2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:43 pm

It should be a Logical, business decision.

0 points
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bjkdad44's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:42 pm

An’t agree more!!!!

0 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:33 am

Well said NP.

If JA isn't following St Brown Sunday Night, we don't deserve to beat the Lions. (Stupidity should be punished and usually is.)

4 points
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Johnblood27's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:36 am

If stupidity gets punished then Mark Murphy will be "retired" after the season.

3 points
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murf7777's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:54 am

NP, I agree with you about man vs zone or playing with more aggression which is better said. . That said, there is a place for both during games and every team plays some of each. Being aggressive all the time will also be problematic. It might work in college most of the time, except when you are playing an elite team. An example was during the TCU Michigan game. In the 4th quarter, twice Michigan threw the kitchen sink blitz at TCU and TCU made a huge game breaking play. If Michigan would’ve played zone in those two scenarios they probably would’ve been playing the Natty. I believe Harbaugh was out coached in that game.

I’m not a supporter of Barry, I would like to see a change, unless of course we get to the SB. IMO, part of the issues have been the players. We keep going thru DC’s with similar problems, at what point do we point at the players and not just the coach? Did bringing in Ford and Nixon, in addition to playing Douglas at outside corner be more important to their success? Maybe it’s Wyatt and Slaton developing into better players during the year and Walker making fewer mistakes so his athleticism shines instead of being problematic to exposures of big plays.

I want them to get Jim Leonhard, but I also have a concern in the back of my mind. Will his aggressive style work in the NFL, or will he adjust accordingly? I believe he will adjust, as he learned a lot while playing in the NFL with Ryan as his Coach. When to press and when to play zone is important for a Coach to employ, you cannot do either all the time, IMO. Offenses are just to good and will pick apart either defensive scheme if that is all you play.

5 points
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dobber's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:14 am

"I want them to get Jim Leonhard, but I also have a concern in the back of my mind. Will his aggressive style work in the NFL, or will he adjust accordingly? "

I think you pose good questions here for whomever is the DC in 2023. As a group, we Packers fans seem to be really hung up on Jim Leonhard--and I like him a lot, too. He's played in the NFL and I think he's experienced enough to make the transition if he's the guy. Most of these 3-4 disciples come from a limited number of coaching trees, and they aren't far distanced from one another. There will be plenty of DC candidates out there.

I don't have a lot of faith in Chuck Barry--he's gone through these cycles a couple times now in two years. Remember last year where the defense played well early, sloughed in the middle of the year, but played better at the end in and in the Division round? Sound familiar? I don't think he's "figured it out" or "finally understands his players". These last two weeks, they looked better (after halftime in MIami) and they did play more physically, but he also benefited from a concussed QB in Miami and a beat up MN offensive line. We'll see how he fares against a healthier offense with a good OL on Sunday.

5 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:33 am

I’m always nervous about “home” picks, whether coaching or players and try to scrutinize them even harder because of the influence of familiarity. That said, I like the seeming fit of Leonard’s aggressive philosophy with what I see as the strengths of our defensive roster. I also draw some reassurance from the fact that he played a long time in the league: he knows the differences between the NFL and college.

For once, I think this might be a good fit as well as a local choice, if indeed Barry is released. What I do not know is whether there’s a better one out there who wasn’t last time.

3 points
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murf7777's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:34 am

Good point about a concussed Tua. I really feel for him, he should retire, before his brain is mush.

Regarding Detroit, their BIG offense happens at home or against bad defenses away. They average 17 away and 33 at home. Also, they scored 0 and 6 points in two games away and two big scoring away games were at Chicago and Minny, two bad defenses. I like our chances and am giving up the points and taking the Packers this weekend. I’m expecting a 31-17 type of game. Hope I’m right:)

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:48 am

If the symptoms truly weren’t detectable by those trained I’m told 2 things by people who work in the neuroscience field.

1) from a health perspective that the risk of playing is not diminished, but,

2) absent symptoms there’s no real basis for deducing his play was impaired during the game as the impairment should have been detectable were that the case. Apparently, it wasn’t according to the Union and I hear that can be how this works, though it’s not the norm.

In which case, still not good for Tua, but a false justification for that game.

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 04, 2023 at 03:55 am

Deleted.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:04 pm

They have a robust offensive line and Campbell uses his TEs to great effect. If it comes down to a grind it out field position game they can move people. Heavy fronts and they better get Slayton or Ford active for D-line depth. Bhaktiari can handle Hendrickson, but if he goes left side, Tom will need help all day. LaFleur has to remain committed to power running and keep Deguara as the lead dog. I attended the 2007 fiasco in 24 below when McCarthy thought they could run a spread offense? Anzalone is a wild man in the middle and the Detroit defense is finally healthy. See who wants it more.

2 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 03, 2023 at 03:23 pm

Let dobber's reference to "Chuck Barry" be the push you darn kids need to dial up some good ol' rock and roll on the internet machine. Listen to Chuck Berry: Promised Land. Around and Around, and Johnny B. Goode. It'll make your ears happy, I promise.

3 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:03 pm

We shall see on Sunday NP, but you've got me pumped. 6 excellent quarters is reason for this team to have some serious swagger going into a rematch begging for retribution. Throw in some more Watson and Jones and we can take this handily.

0 points
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Lphill's picture

January 03, 2023 at 06:57 am

I would have liked the score to have remained 41 to 3 the backups gave up points fast, this Lions game will be on Barry, however this season ends he still should be replaced .

8 points
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dobber's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:19 am

If you're all about the scoreboard, then you need to be willing to absorb injuries to your starters in garbage time.

6 points
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Johnblood27's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:40 am

Just because players play doesn't guarantee they get hurt.

enough with the bubble wrap attitude!

0 points
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dobber's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:49 am

We're just going to disagree here, but you're up more than 4 scores, there's 8 minutes to go, and the game's in hand. Maybe 4 times out of 5 nothing happens, but don't risk your key players just to preen your ego with a 3 on the scoreboard.

3 points
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Johnblood27's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:13 am

there are only 2 or 3 players who are key enough to pull late in games.

Rodgers
Jaire
Clark

Bakh due to injury
Jones due to injury

Not Amos, Savage, Dillon, Campbell, Walker, Cobb, Tonyan, etc...

-3 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:00 pm

That's not bubble wrap, that's just being smart. Not to mention the extra experience the backups get should we make a playoff run and need them. The way they played all game was NOT bubble wrap. They deserved to cheer on the sidelines while the backups got some time on the field.

5 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:40 am

Just go to the Vikings blog to see if the garbage time scores had any consolation even to fans.

5 points
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OrganLeroy's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:41 am

You are absolutely right, no matter how the defense plays the rest of this season, Barry needs to be replaced!

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:46 pm

They are backup players for a reason. They can play zone defense, but not whiff R' Tag.

0 points
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GregC's picture

January 03, 2023 at 07:08 am

That season opener against the Vikings was infuriating. It wasn't just that Alexander was not covering Jefferson. On several plays, NOBODY was covering Jefferson. He was simply unaccounted for. And the next week the Eagles put their best CB on Jefferson and shut him down, which made me even angrier. Let's hope Joe Barry has learned his lesson. I'm not at all confident that he has.

Lions first round draft pick Jameson Williams is starting to get some playing time now, after the recovery from his college injury. He will be a player to watch. He's only caught one pass so far in his career, but he had a 40-yard run against the Bears. St. Brown is obviously the one who Alexander should be following, though.

10 points
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T7Steve's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:05 am

The Packers need to use their D-line against the Lions. Get pressure up the middle and stop the run. If we get a 41-3 lead like against the Vikings, I might forgive an extra DB, but then they should send Quay after the QB to help keep him uncomfortable and his feet moving. I know they don't run it except on the goal line, but against the Lions O-line I'd like to see 4-down linemen to help keep them off the ILBs so we can stop the run. Control the front line and it won't matter which of our outstanding DBs covers any receiver.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:59 pm

Run the 4-2 just like the Lions. They have OTs that can handle edge guys. Yes, pressure up the inside.

2 points
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Starrbrite's picture

January 03, 2023 at 07:20 pm

10-4 jannes.

0 points
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jvole's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:10 am

This defense is loaded with talent and should be better. Barry is slow to make adjustments and rarely makes them in-game. He has arguably failed at two previous DC positions and was on nobody's short list for any positions outside of the Packers.

The defense has improved but they have gotten pretty lucky with opposing teams suffering key injuries. But based on the two recent games, some seem to think he should be around forever. I'm afraid that a fully functioning offense with a above-average OC will shred a Barry defense.

7 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:43 am

Best case scenario: We beat the Lions, hit the playoffs as underdogs, blaze through, win the Super Bowl, and Joe "Dingle" Barry is hired away as the new HC of the Denver Broncos! (Lol)

4 points
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jvole's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:15 am

Agree 100%!

1 points
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bjkdad44's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:50 pm

😂🤣😂

0 points
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murf7777's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:01 am

“I'm afraid that a fully functioning offense with a above-average OC will shred a Barry defense.“.

Certainly, being concerned about Barry’s defense is valid. To state the above is wrong because they just beat the crap out of two fully functional offenses two weeks in a row.

They are playing very good defense the last 4 games, will it continue, who knows, but there is hope it’s not just a fluke.

2 points
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dobber's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:25 am

Wish I'd read a little further down before I posted above. Clearly, we're in agreement.

LaF was shopping for a 'system', not for a brain, when he hired Barry. That was a mistake.

6 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:05 am

Which is my main concern about Leonard, whom I noted earlier that I otherwise like, along with general concern LaFleur’s ability to conduct any hiring process and evaluation.

1 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 03, 2023 at 08:09 pm

"Barry is slow to make adjustments and rarely makes them in-game. H"

No thanks to keeping Barry. No team needs that type of coach. Especially us! Weve had enough of that for decades it seems.

0 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:05 am

I don't know who to give the proper credit too for the 2nd half of the Dolphins game and the entire Vikings game (minus the late TD's given up by the backups.) But I will just say that it was a collective effort and they all deserve credit!

The way they were playing on defense was aggressive! They were attacking the WR's and smartly had help deep. I also saw the comments about Alexander wasn't covering Jefferson 1 on 1, and that he had help over the top. Who cares. That is smart football. That is making sure their best player doesn't beat you.

If the defense plays with this approach they can be a force! I liked the DL rotation better. Slaton played maybe his best game as a Packer. I really liked how much more physical the defense has been and how much more aggressive they are!

Better late than never!

Something to consider moving forward. The Packers just beat the NFC North champs. It wasn't that they beat them, its how they beat them. They played a complete game in all 3 phases for the first time all year. It was a hell of a win!

6 points
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T7Steve's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:45 am

Complementary football. When we made a mistake (i.e., blocked punt) the next unit covered it up.

Notice we didn't make the bonehead drive extending/drive ending personal fouls?

5 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:14 am

"Notice we didn't make the bonehead drive extending/drive ending personal fouls?"

There was the one by Walker. But if I remember right the very next play Amos got the interception.

Even that play though I didn't mind it. Yeah it was unnecessary and it was rough, but I didn't mind it because it was an attitude that they brought. But it was dumb and can't afford to do it.
That being said, it goes back to your first statement. Complementary football. When a mistake was made, they turned it around and forced a mistake.
Similarly to the blocked punt followed by the KR for a TD.

3 points
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T7Steve's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:47 am

I forgot about the body slam. That might have been a turning point in that young players' career. Rather have him punish instead of being the one punished.

I feel the KR was icing on the cake after the D made the goal line stand that held them to 3 points after the block. Set the tone for the rest of the game, along with body slams and stuff.

2 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 03, 2023 at 11:53 am

I thought the body slam was different from some other bonehead penalty's that has cost the team. Luckily it didn't cost them.

The defensive stand I felt was a huge win. And the KR just energized the team. That was the changing point in the game.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 03:54 pm

Jaire displayed ALL-PRO form. The safeties job was to pick up the pieces. Great game by Douglas, tipping the ball and Savage hawking the rebound for six. Fundamental defense played fast. Swarm to the ball. Keep up the Intensity.

0 points
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Starrbrite's picture

January 03, 2023 at 07:23 pm

Yes—swarming to the ball—it seems like the first time all year there were a number of tacklers at/near the ball carrier.

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:20 am

The Packers again gave up more total yards than their opponent. Very soft middle.

But the fun difference maker has been those turnover bundles in the last two games. The DL has been more effective with Kenny leading the way with Reed, Slayton, Watt all showing up. Campbell has played much better and Walker just continues to get better as you hope rookies do. Preston has been solid all year and is getting some help on the other side. And the DBs are making plays finally making plays too.

I am of the opinion the D is currently playing better in spite of Joe Barry...there is A LOT of talent on the D. Barry does not employ it for maximum performance. His "keep them in front of you, limit big plays", soft zone stubbornly wastes talent on the field.

I do believe the Packers would be a very attractive destination for DC candidates.

3 points
4
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MainePackFan's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:18 pm

"The Packers again gave up more total yards than their opponent. Very soft middle."

I would expect that would be the case when the team behind is throwing all the time and the team ahead is simply trying to keep the clock moving. Check out the time of possession.

Not to mention the amount of time they were playing against the 2nd string.

4 points
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Packers2020's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:54 pm

They gave up alot of those yards after the back-ups came in with 7 min left.

Just saying.....

4 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:04 pm

That's a ridiculous take on this game after they shut down Jefferson and Dalvin Cook and held MIN to 3 points until garbage time. Yes, the turnovers were the difference, but the very first goal line stand showed their determination. It was only the TE that had any real traction in this game.

5 points
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croatpackfan's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:31 am

Cory, I agree D, started with DL and ILB played as top performance unit. But... Everybody do not forget that Packers D played vs very weak Viking OL, with 3 2nd stringer, and late in the game with 3rd center in their depth chart. " penalties on delay of game Packers got because of that fact.

I believe Packers has talent on D that they can play any team similar to the Sunday performance, but we still did not see them (except vs Cowboys) at that level. I hope this last game was booster to players on D and ST to perform better vs higher quality opponents. I was thrilled with Slaton and Clark because when one was double teamed, other produce havoc in the backfield. Wyatt played small number of snaps, but showed some promise with restricted play time. Reed had good game. Enagbare, when he put some muscles may become very god edge/OLB for Packers. Hollins should be very good rotational player. McDuffie may be that for ILB as Barnes already is. Packers need to boost Safety, but last game woke up the hope that Savage can reach his potential (no matter what PFF says). Secondary is in much better condition than it was looked through the season. So, there is some hope that rebuilding/retooling can be short term for Packers...

It will be nice if Packers keep this fire under the as* through the rest of the season and postseason (if they catch that 7th WC spot).

2 points
2
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Johnblood27's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:48 am

The last few drives of the minny game revealed that the Packers are onion skin thin in the defensive backfield.

They better hope nobody goes down or it will be a track meet for their opponent.

Overlooking depth at the safety position has hurt them this season with Savage being a season-long bust until just the last game. Thank goodness Rudy Ford showed a little pluck and filled in a humongous hole. There is little to no depth back there and now Abernathy was picked from the PS by ATL.

Draft need for sure. Potential glaring weakness if Amos or Savage goes down - fo sho!

4 points
5
1
dobber's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:54 am

"Overlooking depth at the safety position has hurt them this season with Savage being a season-long bust until just the last game."

Packers sacrificed depth at S for players to stock STs (Leavitt, Ford). Leavitt looked bad in the PS at safety, but Bisaccia seems to want him around. Ford has turned out to be a credible player in limited action, but it doesn't look like teams have attacked him, specifically.

Past years, the Packers used that 3rd S a lot in nickel and dime coverages. Drafting Walker and better depth at CB earlier in the year diminished snaps for that 3rd S. Stokes' injury changed things for this defense.

4 points
4
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Johnblood27's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:11 am

I would have liked to see Abernathy get a solid look vs NFL first teamers.

3 points
5
2
jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 04:24 pm

They liked Gaines more.

0 points
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Johnblood27's picture

January 03, 2023 at 07:01 pm

I'm a Tide Pods guy myself...

1 points
1
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:13 am

SJC’s fall from grace is possibly another issue. His replacement on D, Nixon had been fine, but he was not playing D last week.

I do think we overlook the fact that we threw every fit active player out there at the end. That group of starters and STers has not played together, probably ever, not even in Preseason if they were here, and it looked like it. Too much angst over that. That game was, for once, stone cold dead. We don’t need an injury we can avoid in that situation.

5 points
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Packers2020's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Actually, Savage was no different. He missed tackles and still had issues.

The pick 6 just covered it up a little.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:32 pm

He had one missed tackle assessed as far as I see.

1 points
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Packers2020's picture

January 04, 2023 at 09:25 am

Cold,

I read 3 missed tackles on Packers Wire, I believe.

0 points
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asmith1969's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:03 am

Regardless Cory what happens in the season finale, Barry may have saved his job. Yes he dialed it up but players stepped up & executed. In addition, aside from Gary, this team is possibly going into the playoffs as healthy as any team right now. Truly, that’s the key to any post season run. War Packer Nation & Go Pack Go! 👍👊🏈

7 points
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stockholder's picture

January 03, 2023 at 10:41 am

This Defense will save Barrys job. Beating Detroit will keep him in Green Bay. And it will put all the criticism in its place.

-5 points
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brenner's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:45 pm

Hopefully the defense plays so well through the playoffs on the way to the SB that some desperate (idiotic) team deems Barry worthy of a HC job. Then we can start fresh next year w/ Jim Leonard coaching the D.

0 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 03, 2023 at 11:27 am

There is ONE player who I feel has impacted the play of every GBP player regardless of where they play in recent games. He has electrified the team and helped motivated & electrified his teammates. More than any coach and that is Nixon. I guarantee every single Packer on the sidelines is now watching each kickoff intently. Nixon's value & impact cannot be underestimated!

He is putting fear in opposing Special Teams and both offense and defense are starting in better field position throughout the game because of Nixon.

8 points
8
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Swisch's picture

January 03, 2023 at 11:55 am

Good call, Knock, it seems you have hit on a real insight for us fans to ponder.
It is a team game, after all, and Keisan's Nixon's play does seem to have sent a charge of electricity throughout. It's not just what he does, but how he does it.
Apparently, even Aaron Rodgers has sat up and taken notice, and perhaps been given a jolt of enthusiasm. Perhaps even the defense in general, including coordinator Joe Barry, has been infused with a new attitude of aggressiveness.
I hadn't thought of Nixon's overall spark as merely a kick returner, but it seems to make sense that his positive impact has been extraordinary.
The whole dynamic of a team is a fascinating aspect of football, with so many players needed to cooperate for the common good. It may very well be that Nixon has set a tone that has brought the fading and flickering Packers to a renewed level of brightness.

-1 points
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MainePackFan's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:37 pm

Knock, nice take on Nixon. I would take it a step farther and say Bisaccia's Wefense approach, which has incorporated more starters from both offense and defense on teams, has added to the overall culture of the team. Players that may not have been invested in teams now are.

That not only adds to the cohesiveness of the unit, but brings a sense of camaraderie with those who are ST specific. An all for one and one for all mentality so to speak.

3 points
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Swisch's picture

January 03, 2023 at 04:17 pm

Good stuff, Maine, in my opinion.
I don't know for sure about the effects of Bisaccia and Nixon, but it seems to make a lot of sense that their impact has been substantial in energizing and organizing and toughening the team -- and is well worth further discussion.

1 points
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croatpackfan's picture

January 04, 2023 at 08:14 am

Do not forget that last Season Raiders fired their coach and put Rich Bisaccia as interim coach. And you know what? Raiders started to play much, much better. They become fighting team no bow to anyone.

Thanks to Raiders they let him go. And kudos to one who hired him!

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2023 at 11:34 am

I can't agree with the basic premise/narrative, that this was a horrible defense that suddenly has turned it around. I've said all season that the hyperbole was off base, that this was an average-ish defense. We started off the season giving up less than 70 points in our first four games, which is good, then we had a stretch during the losing streak where we weren't as good for a variety of reasons (including an offense that couldn't stay on the field, and some good opponents, like the Eagles.) Eagles got 40, Cowboys got 28 (and lost), Giants, Jets, Bills, Titans all hit 27 on us. Some of those are pretty good offensive teams. So I can't castigate these guys for giving up 27 to the Bills on their home field. And during this latest 4 game surge, we've clamped down. We strangled Tua and Cousins, and we're going to strangle Goff, too.

In fact, if you look at the probable playoff teams in the NFC.....you could make the argument that SF has the best defense and everybody else is just a guy. Dallas is next best with 316 points, (6th in the NFL) followed by the Eagles and Bucs with 328. Giants and Packers with 349 and 351 respectively, even after the garbage points, number 16 and 17 in the NFL.

SF is clearly good, but the others.....I'm not sure any of them are really better than the Packer defense. Or Worse, except the Vikings, who have a bad defense. (31st in the NFL). I've watched a bunch of Dallas , and every play with these guys seems to be a big play or a big mistake. Hell, our anemic offense got over 30 on them.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Looking forward, we have quite a few of our defensive guys under contract for next year. According to Spotrac, Clark, Alexander, PSmith, Gary, Campbell, Savage, Douglas, Stokes, Walker, and Wyatt (that's 10) should all be back, unless we decide to save money to spend on a shiny object, which would be foolish, IMO.

Additionally, we have Slaton, Shemar, McDuffie, Enagbare, Ford the Safety, Ford the DT, Tariq, Nixon and a few others like Gaines and Ballatine and Hollins.. That's about 20, and it's the core of what we're going to see on the field next year. It's always possible we might add somebody, and we should, but basically, this is what we're going to be going with next year.

4 points
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Swisch's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:33 pm

It seems a good point, Leatherhead, that the defense hasn't been all that bad, and may be comparable to the defenses of most other playoff teams in the NFC.
You may agree, though, that inside the stats the defense has been largely awful in setting a tone of passivity that seems to demoralize the whole team.
It's not so much the numbers they allow opposing offenses in total, but how and when they give up critical first downs and big plays by playing soft.
It's been infuriating see defensive lapses at just the wrong times, and especially for the wrong reasons of being too cautious.
***
A key question going forward this season is whether Barry will maintain the recent aggressiveness overall, while also being able to maintain discipline, even to pull back at times.
In other words, can he adjust during games with a shifting of gears up and down to fit changing conditions on the field.
I don't think a defense can do basically the same thing all the time, whether aggressive or passive, but has to mix it up to keep offenses guessing.
I'd much prefer to have our defenders moving forward more often than in retreat, but there has to be some restraint and balance.
To me, that's the key for the Packers to continue to thrive on defense, and so the test of strategic agility for Barry to keep his job for next season.

-2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:59 pm

""""You may agree, though, that inside the stats the defense has been largely awful in setting a tone of passivity that seems to demoralize the whole team.""""

Not at all. I think they've set the tone of "we'll keep this game close and give our offense a chance to win it.", and they've done that. And I know it's infuriating when the other team gets a first down, or a big play, or a score, but it happens to every team in the league. I would say that if we had given up just a few less big plays, it might have improved our ranking, and might have even improved our record.

0 points
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Swisch's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:39 pm

Fair enough, it's okay to disagree, and even good at times.
I would point to the debacle of the softness of the defense in the first Vikings game compared to the effective aggressiveness of the second Vikings game.
I think most defensive players need to be let loose most of the time to be at their best. It has to be a controlled ferocity, but with a greater measure of aggressiveness than passivity.
There are times to pull back, and even times to allow the offense a cushion, but not in a way that has our guys on their heels for the most part.
A good measure of dash and daring is good for the mentality of the defense, and an energized defense is good for the whole team.

-1 points
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Swisch's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:22 pm

Wonderful to get all of the support and good conversation around my posts today, very uplifting to enjoy all of the camaraderie ;-).
Not only do I get more downvotes than upvotes, but there's little to no indication as to why -- other than not being liked in general, I guess.
Perhaps, for just as much fun, I'll just scribble down thoughts on scraps of paper and then throw them in the fireplace.
Oh, well, it's a tough world. I guess that's true even here at CHTV.
It'll be okay, though.
My best to all.

-2 points
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GregC's picture

January 03, 2023 at 05:05 pm

I agree that there has been a lot of hyperbole about the awfulness of this defense, but they have still underperformed significantly until recently. The organization has poured a lot of resources into this defense, particularly during the past off-season, so it was rightfully expected to be a much better than average unit--top 10 at least and maybe even top 5. For most of the season, the defense has looked out of sync and there were even some grumblings from the players about the scheme. The past six quarters has demonstrated just how much the defense had been underachieving.

5 points
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Starrbrite's picture

January 03, 2023 at 07:55 pm

A really good post LH and I agree for the most part.
What I don’t like is our scheme—it can/should be improved.

2 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

January 03, 2023 at 11:48 am

The word 'fraudulent' has become the moniker for the Vikings, not only here with CHTV commentors, but also in the Media world. Would it not be prudent to be wary about the glorification being placed upon the Packers, especially the Defense against a team recognized as frauds? Yes, the Packers have a 4 game win streak, but which of those games were against teams not deemed complete frauds, but aren't too far removed from that description. Which QB has the Defense played well against over this win streak is worthy of the praising of this Defense is worthy of any significant value to justify such? I know, Prescott will be mentioned, but the Cowboys, as well as Prescott and McCarthy, are well-known for their gift baskets to any team, any given week. Let's stay within the 4 game win streak.

Chicago and that was close and all they have is Fields.
LA Rams and they had nobody, less grocery clerks.
Miami, and a second half concussed Tua.
Minn, the frauds of the league whose luck ran out.

I'm not denying the Packers defense played well against the frauds. I'm not convinced enough to believe this defense will equal what the 'fraud' game bestowed upon them against the obvious better qualified to come.. The Lions game may be a blowout, or it may be a back to reality check even with a win, but it will raise the red flags of worry in the playoffs.

I said the road of improbable has become the road to the impossible,(Vin Scully credit), but the impossible road was opened by the defeat of 'frauds' and that needs to be kept in mind. Does this team truly have two feet grounded for the playoffs. I hope so, I just don't think so completely yet. Let's, at least, get the first playoff win before the pre-SB coronation happens here at CHTV and Packer land.

2 points
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Swisch's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:15 pm

It's been a fun ride with the Packers, but it is your point, Taryn, that makes the next game against the Lions so fascinating, and any other games that may come after in the playoffs.
Are the Packers for real?
I don't think it's probable, but that it's possible the Packers could achieve the almost impossible in a run to the Super Bowl.
Sunday night is the gateway to a new realm of possibilities. How the Packers respond is to me a matter of hopeful but wary wonder.

-1 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:39 pm

The Lions themselves are Jekyll and Hyde. They can be highly effective or collapse.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:04 pm

Well, we beat the Cowboys, and they're going to the playoffs. And we beat the Vikings, and they're going to the playoffs. And we beat the Buccaneers and they're going to the playoffs.

Six teams and the Packers are going to the playoffs in the NFC. We've beaten 3 of them already. We lost to the Eagles and Giants, and didn't play SF.(who I think is the best team in the NFC, even with a Day 3 7th round rookie QB.)

Would I be happy to make the NFC's Final Four? You bet I would.

4 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:51 pm

Dallas is the only legit playoff team, as the Vikings have been proven to be frauds, though more so than many a fraud team the Packers have produced over the last decade. And the Bucs are so mired in inconsistency and bad overall play, winning the Division at 8-8 or possibly 8-9 isn't as legit. And certainly aren't without the heroics of Brady, which is the only thing at the moment making them half legit. The only heroic thing the Packers are doing now is beating frauds, and an unhealthy 2nd half QB who after 4 losses was closer to a fraud, a totally collapsed former Championship team, and the Bears. It all honesty, the Packers are still as much a fraud as any of the others. Beating fraud and unhealthy teams doesn't make you good, it makes you a fraud, and unhealthy team beater. Let's beat a team with real recognized aspirations and proven ability first, then talk about the coronation.
Keep things in perspective and not allow heart fandom reign over the brain fandom.
I still offer a GO PACK GO from the heart.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:44 pm

You can have your opinion about "legit" playoff teams, but 7 are going.

According to you, most of the league is frauds.

-1 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

January 03, 2023 at 03:48 pm

As the number of teams admitted to the playoff picture grows, when do the playoffs become closer to fraudulent, 8, 9, 10? When do the playoffs become like Bowl games with 4–7 teams go to one? What becomes the lowest number of wins for auto qualification, 7,6,5?

The more something is allowed to be diluted, the more fraudulent it becomes.

Making the Playoffs doesn't mean you're worthy, it means there was a backdoor to sneak 1-2-3 in. And 50% of the 6 Wildcards are frauds who might get a couple of breaks and win. The best team doesn't lose/get beat, they get robbed by fraudulent entrances of others.

3 points
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Swisch's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:45 pm

So much is up in the air in the NFC -- with no team really standing out -- that the only way for a team to prove it's legit is to prove it on the field.
Not just with any and all Packers games ahead, but the entire playoff picture, is going to be fascinating to see which teams step up with both intensity and intelligence.

-1 points
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Gman1976's picture

January 03, 2023 at 12:26 pm

Surely, our defense succeeded for 4 reasons: (1) Coach Barry chucked the the soft zone for most of the game except the last several minutes which resulted in 2 quick TDs. I know we had some starters out at the end, but did you see how far the corners were off the line scrimmage?!! The prevent defense didn't prevent anything except injuries (which is a victory in itself). As long as Cousins was in the game, I would have let our starters punish him just to let the Vikings know how much better we are. (2) The injuries on the Viking's OL. I didn't count how many penalties their OL had, but they had a lot of issues there. (3) The home field turf. The Vikings looked like they were not use to playing on grass. Even their excellent kicker had troubles. (4) We had an almost healthy OL which kept our offense on the field and rested our defense so it could be energized and aggressive. When it comes to Coach Barry's future, it all depends what he will do or not do with his soft zone and soft play of the corners in the next game(s). Does he have a killer instinct or not? Does he play the best players or not? Can he develop a defense that can make opposing teams fear and loathe playing against or not?

4 points
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harleycops's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:06 pm

Hindsight better than foresight. But if we had just played the schemes at season's beginning as the Pack are now, what's our record? Sometimes DCs get locked into one system, and don't let the players play. Why do we need 15 weeks to make adjustments? All that matters now is a Packer victory Sunday night. Then all that matters is surviving the game from injury and get up for our 1st wild-card game. Seems there were no big setbacks from the Viqueen's game (e.g. Bakhtari, Watson, etc) Let's heal up for Sunday and GO PACK GO!

2 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 03, 2023 at 03:39 pm

It is often said that "hindsight is 20/20," meaning that it is easy to understand and interpret events that have already happened. In contrast, foresight, or the ability to predict or anticipate future events, can be more difficult because it involves making predictions about uncertain outcomes.

In general, it is useful to have both hindsight and foresight. Hindsight helps us to understand and learn from past events, while foresight allows us to make informed decisions and plans for the future. It is important to recognize that both hindsight and foresight are limited by the available information and our ability to correctly interpret and use that information. Regardless, it is fascinating to ponder!

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 04:38 pm

In other words, in terms of Behavioral Economics, Barry is a quick study?

2 points
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PatrickGB's picture

January 03, 2023 at 04:12 pm

I agree. But I hope he has learned his lesson. A lot of teams use a similar defense as his, so my guess is that he tried to match the players to the defense rather than the defense to the players.

2 points
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marpag1's picture

January 03, 2023 at 01:17 pm

So many fans seem to have no clue when it comes to the whole zone / man debate. They somehow imagine that good defenses can and do play man the majority of the time, and bad defenses play zone, which they believe is inferior.

There are a million different hybrids between man and zone, but it's not too hard to divide plays into primarily a zone coverage or primarily a man coverage. According to PFF, through the first 10 weeks of this season, NFL teams played zone 71% of passing plays, and man only 29%. In other words, zone is employed on more than twice as many snaps, leaguewide. And this is true because the league as a whole - the league being made up of people who understand football pretty well - recognizes that in the majority of cases, zone is the better way to go. People who know something run zone coverage more than 7 plays out of every 10.

Only one team - Carolina - ran man more often than zone, and that was 51% of the time.

And it's NOT just the bad defenses that run zone. Right now, the Bills, Eagles, Niners, Bengals and Jets have surrendered the fewest total yards on defense. Through the first 10 weeks, the Bills ran man coverage 27.1% of the time, the Eagles 27.3%, the Niners 21.7%, the Bengals 32.9% and the Jets 24.3%. Or to say it differently, 4 out of the top 5 defenses ran man coverage LESS than the league average, and zone coverage MORE than the league average.

Tampa always has pretty good defenses, and the very name Tampa is almost synonymous with zone.

None of this means that you should always run zone, or that every team that runs zone will be good against the pass, etc. It is certainly possible to run a shitty version of zone coverage. But when people imply that zone is somehow bad by nature, or when they get all pissed off because they saw one play when the Packers were in zone, or when they imply that having Jaire means that you should play man most of the time, you should probably question if those people really have a clue what they're talking about.

FYI: Through the first 10 weeks, the Packers - who are statistically strong against the pass - ran man coverage about 26% of the time, just slightly less than the league average, and certainly not out of the norm.

6 points
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Guam's picture

January 03, 2023 at 03:38 pm

I am not sure the issue is so much zone versus man, but more running a zone properly when you play zone. All year the Packers have had communication issues or improper alignments within the zone. I suspect anyone who has watched a Packer game this year has seen WRs running free in the middle of the field because the handoffs between areas are poorly communicated / handled. And if I see another CB lined up 10 yards off the receiver when it is 3rd and five, I am going to throw something at my TV.

The Packers play a poor excuse for a zone defense.

1 points
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bjkdad44's picture

January 03, 2023 at 02:44 pm

Can’t

1 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 03, 2023 at 03:40 pm

I'll betcha could if you tried. Stay strong!

1 points
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PatrickGB's picture

January 03, 2023 at 04:20 pm

I, kinda…, buy into Barry’s defense. He is not the only DC to use it. But I think that his players have struggled with it. Going man coverage all the time has its own weakness’s. My guess is that you don’t want that against running QB’s or in certain pass plays. The bottom line is that the defense needs smart players who are assignment sure in zone. And all it takes is one player to screw it up.

0 points
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Since'61's picture

January 03, 2023 at 09:04 pm

The Packers defense has 9 interceptions in the last 4 games. Whichever coach has taught our defenders to catch and hold on to interceptions should be promoted to DC immediately. Executing those interceptions has done as much as anything else over the last 4 weeks to keep the Packers alive in the playoff chase.

For years we have watched Packers DBs drop pick after pick only to have the Packers burned on the next play or later in the drive. 2020 NFCCG against Tampa, we dropped a pick and on the next play Brady threw a TD pass right before the half and the Bucs had a 3 score lead at halftime.

Holding onto the picks has been huge for the Packers over these last 4 games. Keep it going against the Lions. GPG! Thanks, Since '61

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 03, 2023 at 11:06 pm

The guys dropping the rock, for the most part, have been replaced. Get the water hot. Keep it rollin'.

0 points
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