Packers defense needs to improve, particularly against the run

Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary - Mandatory Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK
Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary - Mandatory Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK /

The Packers defense needs to improve.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 on a cold, windy day in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The win improves their record to 7-2, first place in the NFC north and first in the NFC conference.

The Packers didn’t play like they wanted to, but they did enough to win. The offense looked sluggish at times: turning the ball over twice and only converting 38 percent of third downs.

Aaron Rodgers proved to be the saving grace for the Packers, finishing 24/34 for 325 yards and three touchdowns (two passing and one rushing) and one interception. Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling stepped up and had a big game with four catches for 149 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, the Packers gave up 109 rushing yards and only 151 passing yards – without their two starting cornerbacks, Jaire Alexander and Kevin King, who were injured. Linebackers Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Rashan Gary each recorded a sack (two of which were on Jacksonville’s final possession).

Safety Adrian Amos intercepted Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton late in the second quarter for the Packers’ fourth interception of the year. Despite the close final score, the defense only gave up 13 points.

In order to be competitive, the defense needs to improve… especially the run defense. It lacks physicality and toughness. There are far too many missed tackles and big plays given up in the ground game.

Many fans have called for the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. I’m not a big fan of his either (given what happened in last year’s NFC championship game), but football is played by the players… and the Packers simply need better players. If I were the general manager, I’d be looking for better defensive linemen and inside linebackers.

The Packers are currently the #1 seed in the NFC, and own the tiebreaker over the New Orleans Saints for having beat them in Week 3. Under the new playoff format, only the #1 seed gets a first-round bye. Securing the bye and getting a week of rest would greatly benefit the team in the playoffs.