Does the Packers’ High-Powered Offense Make Their Defense Suffer?

packer-defenseI was reviewing some stats from the 2011 season and one particular stat caught my eye… defensive scrimmage plays. I suddenly found myself wondering if the defense wasn’t hitting the field tired halfway through the game because the offense was scoring so fast that there really wasn’t much time for the defense to rest.

Packer High-Powered Offense

The Packer offense ranked 1st in net yards with an average of 8.3 yards per game which was almost a half yard better on every play than the next best team in the league (New Orleans). When you’re chewing up ground at a rate of 8 yards each time you snap the ball, it doesn’t take long to make it to the endzone (12 snaps by my calculations). At an average of 45 seconds per snap (being generous about the time it takes for the official to spot the ball) that’s only 9 minutes of defensive rest per snap.

This offensive average is a big reason why the Packers sat atop the leader boards in the scoring category. When you’re averaging 8.3 yards per snap, you’ll score a ton of points… 560 to be exact… and you’re offense will leave the field very shortly after it arrives.

Heavy Workload for the Packer Defense

Only eight teams played more snaps defensively than the Packers. The Packer defense took 1,049 snaps against their opponents in 2011. That’s a lot of snaps to ask of any defense, but it’s even more challenging to ask that of a 3-4 defense.

The front three in our 3-4 have been selected because they’re massive individuals. They’re built to hold the run gaps and make a push against the same line that 4-3 defensive lines attack with four linemen. Needless to say those guys are going to find it hard to keep going 100% if the offense isn’t chewing up the clock and giving them a chance to recuperate.

The Problem with the Theory

The only problem with the theory, of course, is that the Packer defense is in complete control of how many snaps they have to play. If they cause our opponent to go three-and-out or create a turnover early in every drive, they get more rest. So, while I suspect fatigue may have played a part in our defensive struggles this past season, that could all change in 2012 if we become the defensive powerhouse we have the potential to be.

Does the Packers’ High-Powered Offense Make Their Defense Suffer?
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2 thoughts on “Does the Packers’ High-Powered Offense Make Their Defense Suffer?

  • July 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    The amount of snaps was high,but the killer was the 3rd downs.Teams get their 1st downs on some 2nd and longs and that helps the drive and add time to the defense being on the field.But,when compared to the total lack of a pass rush on 3rd down becoming another 1st.
    Each 3rd turned into a 1st equates to another 3 downs per se,just cutting that in half would be a huge change in defensive snaps on the field.

  • July 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    You’re right about the pass rush on 3rd Taryn. It’ll be really interesting if Perry has what it takes to step in and make an impact from day one.

    It’s also going to be interesting to see what Dom has up his sleeve for the defense this season. Cross training Jones and Lattimore to play either middle or outside linebacker, and the talk of using dime packages more often. I think he’s got something up his sleeve that no one has seen yet.

    Regardless, I have every confidence the defense will improve immensely this season.


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