Do you remember when the Green Bay Packers had a respectable defense?
Yeah, me neither.
Truthfully, we haven’t been able to put together a complete season in a long time. In 2010, our offense had trouble getting going. Our defense is what kept us in games and what put us in the playoffs. I know that’s difficult for fans to remember and believe right now, especially with what we are seeing from the current Packers defense.
In 2011, our offense was on a high from winning the Super Bowl the season before. Aaron Rodgers and Co. were hitting on all cylinders. And I do mean ALL cylinders. Rodgers
was putting up ridiculous numbers. He finished the season with a record 122 QB rating, 45 touchdowns against 6 interceptions. Absolutely VIDEO GAME numbers from all offensive weapons.
However, our championship defense had become subpar. To be exact, 32nd in the league.
How does one go from Super Bowl champion defense to dead last in the league?
Same guys, same defensive coordinator, same scheme. Different … year?
I mean, what happened?
Still, the offense was so high-powered, the Packers easily took a first round bye into the playoffs. In 2012, after an embarrassing display against the New York Giants to end the season the year before, the defense improved. Well, I say improved but we still landed in the middle of the pack. The offense was slowed by offseason adjustments to our high octane weapons. We were defensively EMBARRASSED by the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, ending our season with that familiar sour taste. It lasted until August.
This defense has been ultimately the same from year-to-year. Staple guys like Clay Matthews, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, A.J Hawk – it would seem that our defense would just be getting stronger and stronger. Take a look at the depth we are boasting on the defensive side of the ball:
1. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, our bookend pass rushers
2. B.J Raji, Ryan Picket, Johnny Jolly and C.J Wilson, our 1,200-pound fearsome foursome
3. A.J Hawk and Brad Jones, veteran inside linebackers and consistent tacklers
4. Sam Shields and Tramon Williams, our ball-hawking cornerbacks
The only real trouble area was our inside pass rush and safety positions. We just signed Morgan Burnett to an extended contract, he should be holding down the fort in the secondary, but is still struggling. We went out and drafted Datone Jones to help with the pass rush, he’s starting to pick up some steam. We drafted young guys like Micah Hyde and brought in Chris Banjo who are contributing early and learning the ins and outs of the defense.
Why are we still giving up MONSTER yardage? Why is there NO ONE within 10 yards of any completed pass? Why are we missing tackles that should be for a loss and watching them turn into big gains? It doesn’t make sense. At all.
It looks to me like our guys just don’t want to get their hands dirty. It looks like no one wants to bring a man down. And this JUST happened. We started off the season with a new identity; fiery, tenacious, physical. Somewhere along the way, we got injured, we got punched in the gut and we never got back from it. It’s been getting worse and worse each week. And now, without Aaron Rodgers under center, we aren’t even able to put up points to match the ones we are giving away.
It’s time for a change. The rest of the season needs to be an audition. Who wants to stay in green and gold? I am ready for wholesale changes on the defense. In fact, let’s just GIVE some of these guys away. The draft can only do so much, but we need to focus on the secondary. We need big, physical guys that are going to jam receivers at the line, bump and run and who ENJOY tackling. We need the Eric Reids of the draft. We need a guy that you stick on a power receiver and let him work.
I don’t have the answers. I’ve come up with a lot of questions this season, but nothing to console me or my fellow Packers fans.
Anyone out there have any ideas? Cause if not …
There is a defense for sale in Green Bay! And if we’re asking too much … just take ‘em.
The Packers are going in a different direction.