Is the Packers Defense As Good As Advertised?

The Packers are lucky to have a three-game cushion to fix things.

 
 
Last week I said the Packers were set up well to dominate the Patriots, to make a statement that they belong at or near the top of the NFC, and to establish they are a team to be feared.
 
Green Bay made a statement all right, which is that they can barely squeak by a team with some guy named Bailey Zappe at quarterback.
 
Much has been made of the Packers’ offensive constipation, which is somewhat understandable as the team feels its way through the loss of Davante Adams and the injuries along the offensive line. What’s more difficult to fathom is the performance of the much ballyhooed defense, into which the Packers have poured extensive resources. It’s time to ask if the team is getting its money’s worth.
 
By some statistical measures, the Packers have a top-10 defense, including points, total yards and yards per game allowed. But let’s take a deeper dive.
 
The Packers D is 17th in total DVOA, per Football Outsiders. It is yielding slightly more than 6 yards per play on first down, which ranks seventh worst in the league. It’s only a little less than that on second down. Consistently giving opposing teams third and less than 5 means that they have the entire playbook at their disposal, putting enormous pressure on the defense.
 
Weirdly, Green Bay has so far rallied on third down, faring much better and putting a deceptive shine on its overall defensive stats. Unfortunately, it’s a high variance recipe that is hard to duplicate week in and week out. Bend but don’t break went out of fashion a long time ago, and for good reason.
 
The biggest culprit in all this is the well-documented and seemingly endless inability to stop the run. There, the Packers rank 21st. Not to mention, opposing teams know this and resolve to run, and the Packers know this and still can’t shut it down.
 
The tape grinders can offer analyses of what’s going wrong at the Xs and Os level. What's clear is that the Packers are having trouble setting the edge *and* are too frequently getting gashed on off-tackle and inside runs.
 
Joe Barry’s scheme is a mish-mash, designed primarily to prevent the big play, which translates to a lot of soft zone that opponents are only too happy to exploit. And there just seems to be a lack of intensity, with the team preferring to react rather than dictate.
 
It would be one thing if the Packers simply lacked the talent of most other teams, but the opposite is true. It’s a roster studded with difference makers like Kenny Clark, Rahsan Gary, two highly touted first-round draft picks and a key free agent signing in Jarran Reed. The secondary is top tier. Brian Gutekunst went about as all in on defense as one could ask for this past offseason.
 
So the good news is, this should be fixable. And with the Giants, Jets and Commanders up next on the schedule, the Packers are fortunate to have the opportunity to figure things out. Saquon Barkley will be a good first test.
 
Otherwise, teams with top-flight offenses like the Eagles, Bills and Rams, and even the Lions and Vikings, could make for a dismal second half and a dim playoff future.
 
As Aaron Rodgers said, the Packers current way of winning is not sustainable.

__________________________
Jonathan Krim grew up in New York but got hooked on the Packers — and on hating the Cowboys — watching the Ice Bowl as a young child.  He blames bouts of unhappiness in his late teens on Dan Devine. A journalist for several decades who now lives in California, he enjoys trafficking in obscure cultural references, lame dad jokes and occasionally preposterous takes. Jonathan is a Packers shareholder, and insists on kraut with his brats. You can follow Jonathan on twitter at @Jkrim.

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6 points

Comments (78)

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

October 07, 2022 at 06:22 am

"The biggest culprit in all this is the well-documented and seemingly endless inability to stop the run. There, the Packers rank 21st. Not to mention, opposing teams know this and resolve to run, and the Packers know this and still can’t shut it down."

Those two consecutive scoring drives by the Patriots got me really concerned last week. Belichick put 6 O-Linemen on the field TELLING the Packer's Defense and Joe Barry he was running the ball, and the defense did NOTHING to adjust. Romo and Nance were talking about the Packer's defense being so great on 3rd and 8 or longer. Who gives a damn if the opposing offense is normally getting their first downs in 2 plays by running the ball down their throats.

The NFL has ALWAYS been a copycat league. I'd expect the Giants, Jets, and Commanders, to do the exact same thing. Then again, we're talking bout the Giants, Jets, and Commanders, 3 teams that aren't known for being smart football teams. The Packers have 3 weeks to really get things together both offensively and defensively before the tougher part of the schedule begins.

10 points
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murf7777's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:39 am

Nick, Barry did do some adjustment. So, what adjustments did you think Barry should do during those two scoring drives?

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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:34 pm

He did make some adjustments, I agree. I do think we saw BB use his extra OL very well, but the fact remains that after the second drive (which may have been a field goal without the refs) they stopped the Pats.

I think the problem is in part personnel. I like Walker a lot, but he can be fooled at this pony. Campbell too had issues with what BB did, but the real problem is we have no OL who excel against the run beyond Clark.

Reed, as Kansas found out, is better disrupting. He’s good at times but not consistently in the run game. Slaton doesn’t get enough snaps perhaps but is also not as stout as his size would suggest. Lowry is just plain bad against the run. If anything he’s regressed.

That’s not a good mix against good run teams who commit to it throughout. I would bring up Hefflin and play Clark, Slaton, Reed as the base, with Heflin taking snaps from Lowry and both as rotational pieces this week. That’s more rest for the big guys and more stoutness too.

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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 07:15 pm

I think most of their problems have been outside the tackle box rather than inside. The ILBs are having to make sideline to sideline plays because the OLBs aren't pushing the RBs towards the middle of the field. Campbell and Walker have the range but shouldn't be asked to do it on every running play. Whether by design or some lack of execution that needs to change and fast.

0 points
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Barnacle's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:20 am

Joe Barry was hired with a weak resume and he will most likely leave with a weaker resume..

The Packers pay huge contracts to players, but then go cheap on coaches. Coach salaries do not count against salary caps. Take about $10,000,000 and dump it into great coordinators and I suspect we would have better results.

4 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

October 07, 2022 at 06:50 pm

LaFluer is 14th or so in the NFL with his $5 million per year salary ($1 million ahead of highly successful NFL coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys, and behind some new hires). Do you have a source for salaries for coordinators? I couldn't find anything. Isn't it more of a case of each head coach bringing in "his people?" I understand special teams has been it's own tortured road.

1 points
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porupack's picture

October 07, 2022 at 06:40 am

Nice post Jonathan, and you nailed it with the 'bend but don't break' notion which was and is a sorry excuse for a soft defense that ran on luck of the odds that most other team will make just enough mistakes.

Fully agree. The personnel should be there to be an imposing D. In fact, even after most of last season of up and down performances by the D, the D did impose at times late in season; playing dominate across the entire D. So....with added pieces this year....it comes down to either a) your theory that the pieces haven't meshed yet, or b) Joe B can't do what his long list of predecessors also couldn't do, or c) the franchise is jinxed on that side of the ball just as Detroit is jinxed to just fail. I'm kind of shifting to to (c) myself.

4 points
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croatpackfan's picture

October 07, 2022 at 06:59 am

Oh, yes. That D is bad. Maybe worse than Lions D?

I'm tired to read and listen how bad is Packers D. Yet, they are playing a lot of time in the game. Why? Because Packers O gave to opponents so many 3 and outs. Second, we are talking about so many investment on D. Let see. 2 first rounder at D line, 2 free agents, 2 5th round picks and 1 7th round pick and UDFA. In At CB 2 1st rounder, 5th round pick and the rest are free agents or UDFA signings.

At ILB we have one 1st round pick, and several free agents signings (or UDFA).

At safety 1st rounder, one 6th rounder and the rest are free agents...

On the O we have same holes as Bucks, but that excellent Bucks D was worser than Packers D.

Also, Packers D is the 1st D of entire NFL by defending 3rd downs. If Packers D is so bad how in the hell opponents ever come to that 3rd down.

Also, if we are so bad at D how the hell we are in top 10 by allowed points?

Also, mentioning free agents as huge improvement on the D side is somewhat self-delusional. Those players are w/o job for reason and they are coming on very favorable contracts. Ask yourself why is that! Reed plays so many snaps because he is better than the rest of the back ups. Not because he is game changer. If he was signed as game changer, he would command much wealthier contract.

Finally, everything starts with the HC/DC and game plan. For both teams. I see much higher problem with that, than with players. There is no inovative ideas on the both side of the ball.

At the end, I agree with AR assesment that the way Packers are producing wins is not sustainable. But I have strong feeling that he was talking about O, not D.

The main reason why Packers winning ugly is not D, It is O!

And yes, I want to add that I preffer "band but don't break" D than "don't band but break" D!

5 points
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cdoemel's picture

October 08, 2022 at 12:33 am

I just loved reading this so much!! You go brother!!

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 07:29 am

This D was built to challenge teams in the passing game at all levels primarily. It’s only been challenged once that way really. There’s no doubt that it wasn’t good in game one. Barry got his strategy wrong in the first half and the execution was worse.

After that it’s been a succession of run to maybe pass games. We’ve played them pretty well about 80 percent if the time, but still seem predisposed to being caught out of position. I do think from rewatching that the one score last week was due to players thinking the play was dead (they shouldn’t have, but it’s a freak situation).

I really don’t think that the D had been bad, though I think we aren’t playing to our strengths and talent level enough and I don’t think we are using the right personnel on the DL. But the test will come when we face a decently healthy and balanced O. The jury thus remains out.

Unfortunately, I think this O is so inherently divorced from reality that our D is going to be out there far too long—half as long again as the Pats D in the first half last week—and given little support. For it to carry this ill thought out O I think this D would have to be up there with the best we’ve put out. That is, I think, beyond Barry. I think it’s beyond almost anyone. To blame him for that would be pointless.

Were it me, I’d have Heflin active this week. I’d use a base 3 of Clark, Slaton, Heflin. With Reed spelling Clark to disrupt and Lowry Heflin on more probable passing downs. Ideally we’d have a big run stuffer to spell Slaton, but that may have to be manufactured, as Ford looked nowhere near ready.

I’d look to use Walker to rush the lanes more too. He’s going to miss assignments, so use him aggressively early and see if they have a passing capability if we can shut down the run. I would consider a 3rd S (Ford or Leavitt) as a 3rd ILB type and alternative rusher early too. Stop that run and they will be a mess that even our O should handle.

5 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:26 am

yo CW, no role for Wyatt?

I know he has not been impactful thus far, but to make him inactive in favor of Heflin at this point in the season?

Wyatt needs some snaps to find his areas that need growth, this is the pain in draft and develop. Heflin is an injury substitute. I wouldn't take Reeds snaps away for Heflin, maybe some of Lowreys for Heflin, but then there is that pesky roster number for actives on gameday. Compromises must be made. The rotation seems to be OK short of benching Lowrey in favor of having heflin active and then redistributing the snaps.

Walker in the rush lanes? Do you mean pass blitzing or run blitzing? Walker is another rookie learning on the fly. Mistakes will be made, but that is the price that has to be paid for him to not make those mistakes later in the season and in the playoffs. Patience with the young man, he looks phenomenal at this stage of development and he is progressing week by week.

If the defense will have 2 ILB on the field, a 3rd safety is a luxury that only having 11 players at a time on the field will not allow. The trade-off would be a DL, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a 3rd safety for additional run support.

Patience Grasshopper, good things come to those who wait. Barring injuries this defense will be pretty darn good later in the year and into the playoffs.

The one thing I would like to see is at least ONE guy starting on defense that plays with his hair on fire and has energy to pump up his teammates. One player that is just plain mean and plays like the opponent has insulted his Momma. I get that todays NFL is friendlier, but it is still football between the whistles.

3 points
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murf7777's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:52 am

JB, in support of your thoughts, twice the Pack brought up the safety with an 8 man front against NE and those two plays gave up their two biggest passing plays on their back to back TD drives. One was for a TD and the other set up a TD.

My take on the game against NYG, who I don’t think is a very good team even thou they are 3-1 is to use Quay as a spy, similar to how he was used against da bears. Even thou Jones has a sprained ankle he is a big threat to run and score. Keep him contained and make him pass to very limited group of pass catchers. This is a game I expect them to beat the spread and win by double digits, it might even be a win pretty game.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:14 am

Wyatt missed practice this week and probably won't play.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2022 at 12:42 pm

Wyatt is coming along. He had some nice run fits and plugged the inside when NE. challenged the goal line and was rejected. He will start getting his mojo as the season progresses. Ford is a guy who knows how to hit, the rest seem worried about their pay day.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:41 pm

I am not expecting him to play. The run game isn’t his strong suit and he’s a player who doesn’t play a lot of snaps who is carrying a quad issue. That’s why I think elevating Heflin for this game is feasible as well as opportune.

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 08, 2022 at 10:02 am

given Wyatts quad issue, I could see the heflin move for a one game look-see.

for a season-long strategy, i am all-in on the draft and develop trajectory for Wyatt. If he is healthy, he is on the 46 and gets some snaps each week.

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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:19 am

I agree with more ILB Blitzing. We need a true run stuffer, and that is why Gutey should ask Washington if Daron Payne is available to be traded. The Commanders are likely entering a rebuild, and Payne is in the final year of his contract (they have said he won't be extended), so the Commanders might as well get some draft capital for him (I was thinking a 3rd-4th round pick and Dean Lowry). Also see what Heflin can do

-1 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

October 07, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Is there a player in the league you DON'T want the Packers to sign or trade for?

There is no way in hell that Washington is giving up Payne for Lowry and a 3rd or 4th rounder. Those are the type of trades that get GM's fired.

3 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 12:40 pm

The Commanders aren't going to extend Payne and he'll be a FA next year. They'd be lucky to get a 3rd-rounder for him - read this: https://www.si.com/nfl/commanders/news/washington-offseason-trade-rumors...
The Commanders are most likely firing Rivera and entering a re-build after this year. The Packers don't have a run stuffer, and Lowry is hogging cap space.

I am putting out my thoughts of what I think the Packers COULD do to improve their team - obviously they shouldn't do everything, but I think this is the "all in" year for the Pack - Rodgers (I think) likely is gone after this year, and he has been showing signs of age. NOW is the time.

0 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

October 07, 2022 at 12:52 pm

First off, you don't know that Washington isn't going to extend him or not. Or place a tag on him. Rumors are just that...rumors. Remember all the rumors that had Rodgers playing for Denver this year? How'd that play out?

If Payne came here, he'd still want a significant extension. With Jenkins and Gary both up for extensions as well, and the Packers up against the cap, I don't see that happening.

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:13 pm

Dean Lowry is a FA next year too, I doubt they'd have any interest in him. You've been spouting this for awhile and it's not going to happen. If they were going to move Payne they'd either want more than a 3rd or a 3rd and a player they'd have under control for another year or two.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:43 pm

If they valued Lowry enough, I’d take it for this season at least. I really doubt that is the case, but it would make us better.

-1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 10:40 pm

In a heartbeat but they'd be crazy to value Lowry that much.

-1 points
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murf7777's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:07 pm

Give them a 3rd rounder and keep the 4th. We draft much better in the 4th…lol

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:01 pm

Throw in a returner, they can have two thirds, one only slightly used.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:25 pm

You keep saying that but I noticed a big difference in last week's gameplan compared to the other three. They changed the short yardage formation for the better and threw more deep, and just as importantly intermediate, passes last week and Rodgers said yesterday he'd like to see more shots down field.

They are tied for 2nd in the league in explosive passes and third overall. It's not leading to as many points as you'd like to see and there still too many passes behind the LOS but it's trending in the right direction. Everybody knew the offense was going to struggle early. If the defense could actually stop the run when they know it's coming things would be a lot rosier right now.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:52 pm

The D is on the field too much. I see your point, in the second half they did try a few intermediate passes, if mostly to the vets. Not a great number and not particularly obviously part of coordinated route trees designed with that focus or of coordinated shift in overall calls.

Personally, I think that’s Rodgers getting more frustrated than anything and just looking for the deeper routes. Cobb and Lazard alone aren’t going sustain that kind of attack though. We need more speed and options to help draw coverage.

Doubs and Toure open a lot more route options with Lazard than Watson at this point. Mix things up, add speed, add variety to the routes. That would mean activating another receiver of course. We could also try to genuinely get Jones involved in the passing game out of 2 back sets.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 07:23 pm

I don't see them not using Toure just because he's a 7th round pick so I'm guessing they think he's still too raw to be very effective. If they moved Amari to the PS and used Toure among others for returning maybe he could get his feet wet on offense but I don't think we see him this year unless they have more injuries or Rodgers really messes up a return.

0 points
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Renllaw's picture

October 07, 2022 at 07:59 am

This is why the Barry hire was a head scratcher to me... He had little past success and was not particularly aggressive at any of his previous stops. To bring him in to coach a defense that has a lot of "in your face", "attacking" style players just made no sense. I would rather see use play tight at the line, stacking the box while letting our stud corners play man, and one of our safeties support the run. I'll take a bunch of pressure, forcing 3 and outs with the risk of an occasional big play over letting a team dink and dunk down the field while we wait to take advantage of a mistake any day. Great defenses FORCE mistakes with pressure, not react to unforced offensive errors.

7 points
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murf7777's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:57 am

Renllaw, if you watch the NE game, Barry did bring up the safety on a few occasions while playing Cover 1 and in two of those alignments NE had their two biggest pass completions, one for a TD and one that set up a TD. That’s not necessarily the answer.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2022 at 12:50 pm

If he's(safety) coming up, then he should be blitzing fast through the gap to stymie either the runner or get in the QBs face. Stasis accomplishes very little.

2 points
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murf7777's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:15 pm

JJ….Thank you for at least giving a response. I’ve debated with facts for the past few days that Barry didn’t play a light box and ask for a response from folks who state that. Guess what….crickets. That’s because many on here don’t do there homework and just pass along what another have posted, heard from a game commentator and/or Get up, etc…. Guess what, many times those folks are wrong. I feel if you are making comments from watching a live game, unless you are only concentrating on one thing you don’t have a good opinion on that issue.

So, to answer your response. I would have to go back and look at if they blitzed as I was just concentrating on how many in a box for each and every play. My thoughts are they didn’t blitz from that package and after watching NE make two long passes on that scheme I think you are right, if your going to expose your back end with an 8 man front than apply pressure. What I noticed is when they did blitz is when they put 2DL, 2OLB and 2ILB all on the line and that seemed to work last game. Gary got his sack/fumble on that scheme.

1 points
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T7Steve's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:08 am

This D and the previous one (Patine's sp?) appear to be designed to work well only if they have a lead. This year the Packers aren't scoring much on the first drive or are letting the other teams score on their first drive and have barely ever had more than a one score lead. The Packers are used to scoring, dominant offenses against anyone since they've had Rodgers. I think they're slowly, getting adjusted and better on both sides of the ball. The other teams are just adjusting faster, however.

That they are first in stopping conversions on 3rd downs is, I think, a little misleading. Other teams are converting before they get to 3rd down unless they have a penalty or try to pass and are backed up, which is when the Packers do well, but it's a small sample.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:12 am

Things shouldn't be difficult! And with this defense, it is. Compare the DL to 2010. Clark knows what he's doing. The rest don't.
Unless there is a flat out rush. Lowrey gets beat up. Reed is still a new comer. And Rookies don't play like a veteran overnight.
It's not hard to describe; they're just not physical enough! Barry must rely on his Lbs to over-achieve.
And have you noticed how many tackles the secondary make? Only to end up with a concussion, or nursing a body limb.
Intensity isn't the word I would use. A defense must be physical. Especially in the trench.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:23 am

If Jones plays at QB, and is close to healthy, then we are effectively facing Fields. The risk is not just from Barclay but from QB too. Contain Jones and stop Barclay. That will require more close to the line types. The Giants have a pretty decent OL, particularly at run blocking.

On O, expect a lot of blitzes. More than we have seen. They are going to try to get to Rodgers early and often. We will have to run early and often and be willing to try to prevent them crowding the first 10 yards. It sets up to be a physical grind unless LaFleur has a lot better game plan than we’ve seen.

5 points
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dobber's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:05 am

If Jones plays, he'll be limited by a gimpy ankle AND he'll be missing most of his receivers. He's not in a good spot as a passer...which means he'll be handing and dumping off to Saquon all day.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:09 pm

It depends on his mobility. It’s always dangerous to assume that he’s as gimpy as you are. If he’s not, he’s a genuine threat with his legs. He is third in the NFL in QB rushing yards, with 193 yards. Jones ran for 68 yards and scored both of the Giants' touchdowns against the Bears. He only completed 8 of 13 passes for 71 yards. That’s why I compared him to Fields.

2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:09 am

Maybe the Giants' O-line is decent at run-blocking, but they are, outside of their LT, HORRENDOUS at pass-blocking. They made 31-year old Demarcus Lawrence look like T.J. Watt vs. the Cowboys.

2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:11 am

Wink (the Giants' DC) will be blitzing a lot, but Rodgers had been good against the blitz. Stick to the run will be the recipe for success, and choose passing moments carefully.

4 points
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GLM's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:28 pm

You beat an aggressive blitz with screens. How good are the Giants linebackers?

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 10:46 pm

Well Blake Martinez is gone....

1 points
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lecko's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:51 am

sorry to write off topic .. I managed to get 1 ticket to London face-value. I know it is not Lambeau, but to us form Europe it is still closer. I hope for a good and entertainig game and packers win. Anybody from Cheashead tv community will be at the stadium ?

4 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 10:47 pm

Aaron Nagler and one of the other guys were getting Packer fans together at a bar in London but I don't know if that was today or tomorrow.

2 points
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Ahgreen30's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:55 am

EVERY year the Packer defensive players go off with the mouth cute on how they're going to be dominant. EVERY year they end up giving up late game long drives at key points in games. Therefore they are NOT dominant and NEVER will be. They are PRETENDERS.....

-7 points
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dobber's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:03 am

If you look at the gamelogs and at the number of "successful" drives the Packers have surrendered, the number is remarkably low. In fact, the Packers have been surprisingly good at forcing punts and surrendering drives of 5 plays or fewer (and a high number of negative drives). The pressure rate is only OK. What's missing on the defensive side is takeaways--those inherently stop the opposition, and usually put your offense in good field position, leading to points.

I don't disagree: this team has only seen one good, balanced offense, and--like last year--wasn't ready for it. They have work to do to get ready for the next one, but they also have time.

11 points
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murf7777's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:21 am

Good comments Dobber, our D isn’t as bad as some are describing. The big issue is take aways and I’d add our own turnovers on O. If we clean those up we will be fine.

Quite frankly, there is a lot of parity in the NFC. Only team that might look somewhat dominating is the Eagles. BUT, when you analyze the Eagles you notice their easy schedule with wins over Jags, Washington, Lions and Vikings. They almost got beat by the Lions and the Vikings game was their only really impressive win. WE thank Eagles for that win.

Some think 49ers are dominating after looking good in one game against LA. They have lost against the lowly Bears and Broncos and LA certainly isn’t looking like the team last year. Right now, if they don’t get a big game out of Dabo their offense sucks.

We all knew the offense would be a work in progress and as they develop to a better O our defense will get more rest and start showing their potential. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. I’m quite happy at 3-1 with a pretty good possibility of being 7-1 after 8 games.

4 points
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Packers1985's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:07 am

Agreed with your comment"our D isn't as bad as some are describing". The reason why we are seeing such statements because in the off season with all the defensive team intact and in the 2nd year of Barry's scheme and some new toys added to the team 2 1st rd's and a DL many got excited that this team would be a top5 if not top 10. The problem so far is it didn't look like one. After years of drafting the 1st rounders many would expect the defense to be doing better than what it is doing now.
With all being said yes one of the main problems is creating turnovers. The D isn't getting that many turnovers to offset the Turnovers given by the offense. To be called a top defense in NFL we should definitely amp up those numbers.

0 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:17 am

Our D isn't bad - it's actually one of the league's best at its peak. However, they have been insonsistent in their play. When they can become more consistent, they will be dominant

3 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:11 am

Easy answer-no. I thought maybe it was just believing their own hype and they'd settle in after the 1st game or two but they are far from a dominant defense right now.

0 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:15 am

They have been dominant in stretches (vs TB, most of CHI game, some of NE game), but they need to be more consistent. When they can do that, they will be a dominant defense.

4 points
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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:35 am

The premise of this article is off base. The Packers defense has allowed 62 points in their first 4 games. That is a little more than 15 points per game. They are tied for 3rd fewest points allowed after 4 games.

If they continue to hold opponents to 15 PPG the Packers will win most of their games as long as the offense doesn’t stop themselves with penalties and or turnovers.

The Packers defense can use to create more turnovers. But points are the only stat that matters. Keep opponents off the scoreboard and the Packers probably win the game.

We should also note that the defense is playing without Alexander. This is important because he shuts down his side of the field in the passing game and he is a solid tackler against the run. When Alexander is playing healthy he changes the entire defense because of his shut down ability.

I have been a critic of the Packers defense for many seasons since the 2010 SB season but I’ll happily take 15 PPG per game any time, especially in this era of rules that favor the offense. Thanks, Since ‘61

8 points
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porupack's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:48 am

Can't disagree with you, but just warrants the consideration that the packers played against 2 teams missing their key offensive players. Takes us back to the premise of the article, that the potential is there, but expectations of dominant D not there. We all saw that they couldn't stop the run when the opposing team determined to run, and that issue has been around a long, long time.

3 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:17 pm

💯 3rd in points doesn't mean anything without looking at who they played and when they played them. Look at what the Chiefs did to the Buccaneers when Brady had his top 3 WRs back.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:15 pm

We won’t know until we play a decent, healthy O. This team isn’t really built to be a premier run stuffing unit, it’s built to be tough enough to run on and tougher to pass against. Barry also seems to believe that he’s slowing opponents (a pet peeve) but is also daring them to pass over the last 3 games, I’m not sure that was necessarily a bad tactic.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:33 pm

The Chiefs allowed 31 points to Brady and the Bucs.

More importantly the Packers defense has played inconsistently but the Packers have won 3 out of 4 games and have limited their opponents' scoring. Dominant play would be great but I prefer for the Packers to reach their peak level of play later in the season and during the playoffs when it matters. For now the Packers are still figuring things out on offense and defense. If they improve and become more consistent during the course of the season they will be fine. Thanks, Since '61

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 10:50 pm

Yes, but at one point it was 38-17 and pretty obvious the Chiefs took their foot off the gas.

-1 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

October 07, 2022 at 10:09 am

"The Packers defense has allowed 62 points in their first 4 games. That is a little more than 15 points per game. They are tied for 3rd fewest points allowed after 4 games."

I get where you're coming from, but the premise you offer is more off-base than you accuse the article of being. You're completely ignoring the lack of efficiency of the Offenses played to garner the stats you employed, and it is foolish to believe our Defense will do like wise against the more proficient Offenses on the schedule.

The play of our Offense weighs somewhat heavy on the Defense, but the play of the Defense these first four games cannot, and should not, be heralded as dominant because of stat interpretation, or by simple finger-pointing toward the Offense, as there are enough errors on the Defense that have nothing to do with the failures of the Offense.

4 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:14 am

I would say that the defense had been dominant in stretches...but if they are to become a truly feared unit, they need to be more consistent

3 points
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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:26 pm

Taryn - I agree that the defense has not played great and that we have not yet played against what one might define as a very efficient offense. However, the Packers have won three of their first 4 games with inconsistent play on offense and defense.

I'm fine with taking early season wins with less than dominant play particularly early in the season. I expect/hope to see the team improve as the season goes on and reach their peak level of play in December and in the playoffs.

The Packers can't win the division or win any playoff games in September. They don't need to be a dominant team at this point in the season. Yes, I would like to see better play from our offense and defense but the Packers are winning and that is what matters. I'd prefer to have inconsistent play now rather than be dominant now and watch it slip away over the course of the season.

I would add that we have had some questionable coaching decisions over these first 4 games and hopefully our coaching will improve along with the team as the season continues. Are we going to become a dominant team later in the season? It's impossible to know. But the team has several talented players and if the team stays healthy the Packers can play well against any opponent. Take the wins and take it one game at a time. As we know this is a week to week league and the Packers can turn for better or worse at any point in the season.
Thanks, Since '61

1 points
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wildbill's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:01 am

The Packers have allowed 69 points in four games. Weather the opposing team takes possession by turnover or by kick or punt return, the Packers are on “defense” and we have the opportunity to stop them from scoring. In the same respect if our defense scores, on a turnover, we become the “offense” as soon as we posses the ball in play. I know that’s being technical but that’s just the facts Ma’am.

-1 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:13 am

Actually they've just allowed 62 - NE scored a pick-6

4 points
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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2022 at 08:37 pm

Yes the Packers have allowed 69 points but this article is about the defense and the defense is not accountable for points allowed when they are not on the field. Thanks, Since '61

1 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 11:12 am

The D-Line will never dominate with Lowry as a starter. He's bad against the run. If the Packers TRULY want to have an elite defense, then they should ship him and a 3rd-4th round pick to Washington for Commanders DL Daron Payne. Also, they should elevate Heflin and Abernathy for this game to see what they can do on defense

-1 points
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PackAttack4155's picture

October 07, 2022 at 01:50 pm

To me, the play calling against the run is worse than Lowry's ability to defend against it. Barry is the problem.

2 points
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Packerpasty's picture

October 07, 2022 at 03:27 pm

I agree,,,Barry is a rather mediocre coach, doesn't like to take many chances, this "D" would really be run to watch if they were let loose a bit more, like the Eagle's defense, now they're fun to watch as they wreack havoc...

0 points
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Fubar's picture

October 07, 2022 at 12:30 pm

How can we really judge this D considering who we played? The Vikes embassed this d. The other teams lacked a QB or an old QB who wasnt mobile and looked his age.

-2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 07, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Yeah, Tom Brady is no better than Matt Ryan or Andy Dalton!

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:20 pm

The D flustered Brady. He also had no one to throw it to really. Perriman was not helping and their FA slot played last week and hung up his boots after very few snaps.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:37 pm

As a Vikings fan you should realize that if your coach spends all off season focused on beating their 1st opponent they probably have a decent shot at doing so. How has Cousins been since then? Seems like trouble in paradise since then(obviously I'm not saying Minnesota is paradise, merely that Vikings fans thought they were in paradise after they won their annual SB).

1 points
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PackAttack4155's picture

October 07, 2022 at 01:38 pm

With all the starters healthy, the talent is overflowing on defense. Joe Barry doesn't know what to do with them. A terrible play caller, with no ability to adjust to the opposing offense. This has been his calling card since the early 2000s. How is he a DC in the NFL? That is one of those questions where the data available just doesn't add up.

0 points
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jhtobias's picture

October 07, 2022 at 01:53 pm

The players are definitely as good as advertised. The defensive coordinator is as bad as advertised.

That is on Lafluer he hired him . Something tells me Lafleur is a control freak and he k ows Joe Berry is his puppet. Joe Berry is an excellent linebacker coach just not a coordinator.

3 points
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PackAttack4155's picture

October 07, 2022 at 02:03 pm

Is LaFleur the one with the final say? I figured its by committee with Murphy and Gutekunst having the final say. In any case, bad choices feel bad, and the committee made a bad one.

I was thinking about LaFleur and his initial staff when he was first hired. I can't find the article, but if my memory isn't failing me, LaFleur wanted a competent ST coordinator, I think he's with NO, and the powers that be said, "No." Meanwhile, NO has had terrific, and consistent, top ten, top five, special teams play.

Edit: Darren Rizzi is his name. He's a helluva ST coordinator too, for NO.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:23 pm

Gute doesn’t hire coaches. Murphy may be involved. Ball was supposedly behind blocking LaFleur’s first ST hire, Rizzi, as too costly.

2 points
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PackAttack4155's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:46 pm

With there being no salary cap for coaching staff, Ball should stay out of those decisions. The Packers gave Bisaccia the swankiest contract a ST coordinator has ever scene in the NFL, and he's had nowhere near the sustained success Rizzi has. Its unfortunate, but at least ST is improving now.

0 points
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jont's picture

October 07, 2022 at 03:41 pm

I think we're all disappointed in the D. The pre-season talk had a top ten-- no, a top five!-- defense out there, and after four games they're right in the middle. Doing enough to win, the defense is no more impressive than the offense. It's a good thing that what really matters is how they play late in the season; the pieces are there to be a pretty good defense.

As an armchair coach, though, I really wonder about the apparent lack of intensity and aggressiveness. And it is the offense too. The whole team seems to be trying for clinical-- read, align, be in position-- instead of running through the guy. Vincent T. Lombardi (PBUH) said "dancing is a contact sport, football is a hitting sport." I'd like to see less choreography.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 07, 2022 at 10:37 pm

They actually are 5th in yardage and 7th in points allowed but in the context of who've they played I'm not sure it means much. Buffalo will be a good test.

If they can figure out the run fits and cut down on getting gashed so many times on outside runs they could still end up top 5. But dominant to me means 1st in points allowed or top 5 in points allowed and top 2 in takeaways and I'm not sure that happens. They're facing some good offenses in the 2nd half of the year and I don't see them finishing like that. Will top 10 be enough to make a run in the playoffs? Who knows, but it's a lot closer between 10 and 20 than 1 and 10 most years as far as points and yardage given up.

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:06 pm

Can the guy on Defense who gets the plays called in to him have the right like Rodgers does to change the D before or during a play? Often wondered that and never got an answer!

0 points
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GLM's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:40 pm

We are 3-1... that's a positive... could be worse, really. Is it time to panic? No, but it is a time for urgency... time to get things fixed. The second half of the season will define this team.

1 points
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