Nov 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) is tackled by Green Bay Packers corner back Jarrett Bush (24) and Green Bay Packers corner back Sam Shields (37) and Green Bay Packers corner back Micah Hyde (33) during the first quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers: Lights out defense?


Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) deflects a pass from Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Packers beat the Cowboys 37-36. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

 

One of the biggest off-season questions for the Green Bay Packers has been this: How in the world will they  improve their defense?

If you watched any game from last season you probably noticed how easy it was for opposing offenses to drive the field while converting first-down after first-down. To say the least, it was probably most fans’ number one complaint from last season, aside from the Aaron Rodgers injury saga.

It’s actually how their season came to an end against the 49ers. The defense will  remain under close examination until they can show some backbone.

To improve the poor defense, the Green Bay Packers have made a few moves in hopes a better defense will show up for the 2014 NFL season. In the NFL Draft, the Packers drafted four defensive players:

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (first-round pick)

DT Khyri Thornton (third round)

OLB Carl Bradford (fourth round)

CB Demetri Goodson (sixth round)

It was argued that the position the Packers needed to improve most was safety. Last season, the Packers were the only NFL team that did not get a single interception from the safety position.

Not a great stat at all.

Micah Hyde could be moved to safety in 2014. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Micah Hyde could be moved to safety in 2014.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay got a good value with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who addresses the need at strong safety where the Packers didn’t have much pressure or results last season. If they want, the Packers now can move Morgan Burnett, to free safety.

Also, coach Mike McCarthy has talked about getting Micah Hyde on the field more this season. That has included the possibility of Hyde playing some safety as well. Last season, he played almost exclusively in a slot cornerback position in the nickel and dime packages. In addition, Casey Hayward is expected to come back from the hamstring injury that limited him to only three games last season.

I really like the Clinton-Dix pick. To say the least, the competition for the safety and cornerback positions should be very fun to watch this summer. Look for the Packers to get everyone involved in different packages.

In free-agency, the Packers added Julius Peppers who will play a combination of DL and OLB. Speaking of the position, outside linebacker will be a strong position for the Packers. Peppers, along with Pro-Bowler Clay Matthews should form a dangerous defensive front along with others such as Mike Neal, Nick Perry, and Andy Mulumba.

Also this offseason, the Packers committed to cornerback Sam Shields with a four-year, $39 million contract, and veteran Tramon Williams will be back for the final year of his contract. Both can be major impact corners.

Though the Packers have no “legion of boom” per se, they do have some fresh talent preparing for the upcoming season as well as returning talent that should be good role models for the young guys. Green Bay’s talent on defense could finally start creating some chaos for opposing offenses. Even Mike McCarthy has made a big promise. He stated that, “We’re going to be a better defense this year. You can write that in big letters.”

He and Dom Capers are confident an improved defense will be evident come September.

I really hope his promise holds true and that the Packers defense is lights out this season.

We’ll find out in a few months.

Tags: Green Bay Packers

  • Nevin Paustian

    Health was more of an issue than personnel. At one point against the 49ers they had Datone Jones playing linebacker until mulamba got back into the game after spraining his MCL. Also, having rodgers out hurt the defense too. Before he went out, the defense was 3rd against the run. 3 and outs by an offense can help kill the defense. I agree that they are not seattle, but barring another injury epidemic, the defense could easily be top 10. Combine that with a top 5 offense and you have a very balanced team.

    • Brian

      I think if they start getting serious pressure up front they will look good everywhere else. And they have a lot of talent up front now. Remember Matthews was out and wrapped up for quite a bit last year as well.

      • Nevin Paustian

        If everyone can stay healthy, between matthews, peppers, daniels, and perry; the pass rush so be rather formidable.

        • Phillip

          And i’d still love to see them add Pickett and Jolly back for minimum deals if nobody picks them up, can’t ever have enough DL, and adding them 2 would at the very least add guys who can eat up blocks for other guys to make plays. It’d also give us a very very deep rotation up front, and a very very deep rotation would help keep guys extremely fresh throughout and help keep the pass rush consistent all the way through the 4th quarter. We ranked 8th in sacks last year, i don’t think it was so much lacking a pass rush as it was lacking a consistent every down pass rush.

          • Nevin Paustian

            I would really like to see jolly back. Hopefully his neck injury isn’t a career ender.

        • David Hofstedt

          My thoughts exactly. Perry was finally showing what he’s able to do just before breaking a bone in his foot. he had 3 sacks, 2 FF in the last 6 quarters he played before the injury. MM also acknowledged Perry’s effectiveness when rushing from the right opposed to the left. I know many fans were down on Datone Jones. Don’t be, the kid will be much improved this year, just like Daniels was. So will B.J. Raji, just like 2010 when he played NT and had a decent pass rusher next to him with Jenkins. The Packers just need to stay healthy.

          • Nevin Paustian

            I think fans underestimate how complex capers 3-4 is. When you factor his learning time in along with the fact that datone was hurt for part of the year, to say that he is a bust after 1 season is premature to say the least.

  • Mike Brand

    if its true mccarthy will run both sides yes if dom has complete control again no. dom is an amazing dc if he has vets that he does not have to develop but as a coach on a young team he is a complete disaster. i really hope mccarthy was serious about overseeing the entire team if he is super bowl here we come if not dom and he refusal to adapt and change will keep us out of round 2 in the play offs

    • Phillip

      Punctuation!! Maybe you should give it a try.

      • Mike Brand

        look who’s back lol

        • Phillip

          I’m always here!! Well at least until i get released back to full duty at work anyway, haha.

          • Mike Brand

            your alright in my book your as passionate about the packers as me so that makes you good people even i we dont see the same stuff we both want whats best for the team

    • Rodney Lawler

      Don’t worry about punctuation this a football website not an English lit website!

  • This writer sucks ass

    Dix isn’t a strong safety dip shit

  • Phillip

    Dude, have you paid any attention to Clinton Dix?? He’s been praised as being the prototypical Free Safety, not Strong Safety. He’s good in run support but better in coverage and out playing in center field, Dix will play the FS more times than not, not SS. Dix and Burnett will be interchangable and will play both positions, but Dix will be considered the free and Burnett the strong.

  • Peter Maiz

    Adding Peppers and Clinton-Dix as free safety should be an improvement. Plus a lot of healthy players on defense. We’ll see how it all plays out against Seattle.

  • Bob Wysocki

    OTHER THAN HA HA IS ANY OF THE OTHER PICKS GOING TO START? FROM WHAT I READ AND THE VIDEO I WATCHED IT WILL BE DOUBTFUL THAT THEY EVEN MAKE THE ROSTER. THIS DRAFT HAS ME SCRATCHING MY HEAD

  • Bob Wysocki

    BEST WAY TO IMPROVE DEFENSE IS NEW DEFENSIVE COACH