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.
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.