Clay Matthews was one of the leaders on the Packers' defense this year, but many times was a step away from making the big play. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Trying to Explain the Packers’ Sudden Change of Defense


It seems like it was just a year ago when the Packers were the #5
pass defense and the #5 total defense in the NFL.

Oh wait, they were…

So what changed so drastically over the course of one year?

Was it because of the NFL Lockout? Possibly, though there were no new players
needing to be implemented into the Dom Caper’s defense.

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Was it because of teams taking advantage of the Packer’s inability to rush the quarterback from anyone besides Clay Matthews? Probably part of the reason, but Brad Jones, Erik
Walden, and Frank Zombo were the same linebackers opposite of Clay Matthews
last year and the Pack did just fine.

So what was the main reason for the
Packers’ defensive problems this year?

Veteran Leadership. Sure we have Charles Woodson but only one
player can do so much. Losing Nick Barnett and Cullen Jenkins to free agency
killed not only a major part of our pass rush, but two veteran players who took
command of the team whenever mistakes were made.

To top it off, losing Nick Collins early in the season due to a neck injury made our defensive back
communication seem to fall apart. Nick Collins was basically the quarterback of
the defensive backs as he always made sure everyone was lined up where they
were supposed to be at all times.

A combination of those three things ended up costing the Packers the 2011 season as they were ranked dead last in defense
and broke records as being one of the worse defenses in NFL history.

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Tags: Brad Jones Charles Woodson Clay Matthews Dom Capers Erik Walden Frank Zombo Green Bay Packers Nick Barnett Nick Collins