He said two things that should provide the Packers with some heat as they move forward in the 2013 season, and I would like to address them both:
1. The defense has not improved from the previous two seasons.
2. The focus on improving the running game has stalled Aaron Rodgers & Co. and their dangerous air attack.
First of all, we need to get a technician out to Jerome Bettis’ house, stat! His television is in desperate need of repair.
Dear Mr. Bettis,
With all due respect, your assessment is embarrassing … for you. What games have you been watching?
In 2011, the Packers enjoyed GREAT success on offense and very LITTLE success on defense. And I do mean, little. In fact, by the end of the regular season, our defense ranked 32nd of 32 teams. That is only the third time in Packers history that we have ranked dead last. However, we ranked 18th in opponent’s PPG and had a league high 31 takeaways in the secondary. We are a defense that has been known for “bending, but not breaking.” It was a defensive embarrassment and it is what helped end a very productive (15-1) season in the divisional round of the playoffs.
In 2012, Dom Capers went back to the drawing board. Even with another rash of injuries, including star playmaker Clay Matthews, the Packers’ defense ended the regular season ranked 12th overall. That is quite a step forward from 32nd, Mr. Bettis. As opposed to letting QB’s throw at will and complete anything and everything in 2011, this 2012 team was ranked 12th in overall opponents passing YPG, and seventh in opponent’s PPG. I’m just beginning to wonder why you aren’t seeing an improvement here? Yes, Adrian Peterson had his way with this run defense. Yes, Colin Kaepernick killed us with the read-option in the playoffs. I get all that. But, you live and you learn. The Packers have learned.
Through five games in 2013, the year in question from your remarks … we’re just boasting an overall third ranking in run defense, no big deal. We’ve shut down Frank Gore, Colin Kaepernick (legs), Alfred Morris, Giovanni Bernard, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Reggie Bush and Ray Rice. No big deal. Oh, and we are holding opponents to just more than 70 yards rushing and under 300 yards passing per game. Mr. Bettis, this Packers’ run defense would have frustrated you in your prime. Maybe you are confusing the Packers with the Steelers, who have no takeaways on defense and can’t rush the passer? We have a depleted depth chart and we are still coming up with turnovers and terrorizing QBs.
To say this defense is no different from 2011 and 2012 is … just silly. Stats aren’t everything, Mr. Bettis, you should understand that.
Jerome … can I call you, Jerome? We are rebuilding an identity here. We haven’t enjoyed the success of a balanced offense since Ahman Green. We have a stud in Aaron Rodgers and (up until now) we have been wasting his talents.
Defenders just drop everyone in anticipation of the big play. Eddie Lacy is the answer to Packers prayers. To say that our focus on developing our young running game into a complement to Aaron Rodgers is stalling this offense is … again, it’s just silly. Our patience is going to pay off.
Injuries are stalling this offense, not Eddie Lacy. We are having some troubles in the red zone, but that has nothing to do with our perseverance in the running game. We still have Aaron Rodgers and we still have The Big Three, no matter how banged up they are. You watch, the running game is just going to propel this offense into the next dimension, not stall it.
Stop being silly, please. It’s not becoming.
PS: I sure do hope your words are up on a bulletin board somewhere in the Packers locker room. I do love to see an edge to this team week-in and week-out.