This offseason, the Packers made a couple valuable changes/additions to the defense that had Packers fans excited about what this year could bring. The signing of Julius Peppers, drafting of Clinton-Dix, and Micah Hyde’s move to the safety position all indicated that the Packers were no more satisfied with their defense than Packernation.
While it took awhile to come to fruition, and many including myself are still in “wait and see” mode, the Packers defense shows signs that it has turned the corner. This week, some of the things I have been writing about and thinking about were echoed by defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
One fact that I have stood on from before the second half of the Jets game on is that the Packers defense, no matter its faults, has become stingy on points. That is the MOST important stat for a defense no matter how they get there. Dom Capers echoed that this week. This team gave up a total of 46 points in the three games against NFC North opponents of the past few weeks. That is an average of barely over two touchdowns per game. If they can keep that up, this team CAN win a championship…period.
Also mentioned by Capers is something that I have raved about after the Bears game and Mike Davidsen wrote about post Vikings slaughter, that the safety play (particularly that of Morgan Burnett) has seen a considerable improvement. There are games when you watch your safety make tackles because nobody in the first two lines of defense can…and we certainly saw our share of that last year. But there is nothing prettier than to watch a strong safety make a quick read and blow somebody up at the line of scrimmage. That is a true sign of a defense that is ready to control games.
One thing that cannot be overstated and has yet to be mentioned as far as I know is that the Packers defensive confidence is trending upward at a steep incline. That confidence will carry them into a Dolphins game against a team that may have a false sense of security after putting up 38 on the lowly Raiders. The Raiders put up 14 on the Dolphins…how many points will the Packers put up against the Philbin led ‘phins?
If the Packers offense continues to shine and the defense continues its upward trend…opponents beware! There is something to be said for a defense with a new look and new players as it “comes together” and finds its identity. If the Packers defensive identity is becoming what we saw last week where the front four alone get pressure on the quarterback and the backfield gains an extra cover man, this team could be special. There is still too much football to play to be sure, and all of us in Packernation are waiting to see this defense get it done against a playoff team, but the Lions and the Bears…”Oh my!”, those were two fantastic offenses and the Packers defense handled them. Can’t wait to see them continue to shine. But what do you think? Float me a comment in the comments section below.