Packing the Stats: Regression of The Secondary All Green Bay Packers All the Time

The Packers may be perfect in the win-loss column, but it would be foolish to assume that everything with the Packers is going perfectly.  The last 3 years the Packers have fielded competitive teams each with its own Achilles’ heel; in 2009 it was the offensive line, in 2010 it was the running game and this year it’s definitely the secondary.

While everyone one has heard that the Packers are near the bottom of the barrel in terms of passing defense, is it because they’ve played against elite passing quarterbacks? Is it because they’ve played against pass-first teams?  Or is it because the secondary simply isn’t as good as it was when they won the Super Bowl?

I decided to take a look at passing averages of teams that Packers have played.

The first section are the numbers posted by opponents while playing the Packers.

The Second section are the passing averages of Packers opponents not including the Packers game (i.e. how these teams did against other teams on their schedule).

The final section is the difference between the two and the last bit is the average of these differences.

For the columns, PASS is the total passing yards, COMP is completions, ATT is attempts, TD is passing touchdowns, INT is interceptions, COMP% is completion percentage and PY/A is passing yards per attempt.


NO 419.00 32.00 49.00 3.00 0.00 65.3% 8.55
CAR 432.00 28.00 46.00 1.00 3.00 60.9% 9.39
CHI 302.00 21.00 37.00 2.00 2.00 56.8% 8.16
DEN 273.00 22.00 32.00 3.00 3.00 68.8% 8.53
ATL 167.00 18.00 32.00 1.00 2.00 56.3% 5.22
STL 328.00 29.00 45.00 0.00 1.00 64.4% 7.29
MIN 219.00 13.00 32.00 2.00 2.00 40.6% 6.84
NO 343.00 30.00 41.67 2.50 1.33 72.0% 8.23
CAR 278.50 20.67 34.33 1.17 1.00 60.2% 8.11
CHI 233.33 19.33 32.50 1.17 0.67 59.5% 7.18
DEN 189.20 17.20 32.00 1.60 0.80 53.8% 5.91
ATL 252.67 22.67 36.83 1.33 1.00 61.5% 6.86
STL 213.20 19.20 37.80 0.60 0.40 50.8% 5.64
MIN 187.50 17.17 29.00 0.67 0.33 59.2% 6.47
NO 76.00 2.00 7.33 0.50 1.33 6.7% 0.32
CAR 153.50 7.33 11.67 0.17 2.00 -0.7% 1.28
CHI 68.67 1.67 4.50 0.83 1.33 2.7% 0.98
DEN 83.80 4.80 0.00 1.40 2.20 -15.0% 2.62
ATL 85.67 4.67 4.83 0.33 1.00 5.3% 1.64
STL 114.80 9.80 7.20 0.60 0.60 -13.7% 1.65
MIN 31.50 4.17 3.00 1.33 1.67 18.6% 0.38
AVR 63.23 2.40 4.12 0.42 1.07 0.6% 0.80

The results are pretty surprising.  Numbers marked in red are stats that the Packers have done worse in compared to the average opponent, and as you can see that there is a lot of red on the chart.

Conclusions that you can draw from this data are:

  1. Opposing offenses are gaining over 60 yards more through the air against the Packers than they do against their other opponents on average
  2. Opposing offenses throw the ball 4 times more on the Packers and complete 2 of those on average
  3. Opposing offenses are more likely to throw a touchdown, with the Packers giving up nearly half a touchdown more than the average opponent defense.
  4. Opposing offenses are throwing nearly 1 interception more against the Packers than they do against all the other teams they have played.
  5. Opposing offenses have the same completion percentage against the Packers as any other team they have played on average.
  6. Opposing offenses are gaining nearly a yard more per passing attempt than against their other opponents on average.

Just from watching the game you can see that this is true, teams seem to be throwing the ball much better against the Packers defense than it did last year but while the Packers are giving up the yards, they managed to keep opposing defenses from scoring, as is apparent from their interception rate.

Simply put, the secondary simply isn’t playing the way it did last year.  The blame shouldn’t be entirely put on the secondary’s shoulders; for one the Packers run defense this year is one of the best in the league which will naturally push opposing teams to prefer the pass (although they didn’t show it against the Vikings, to their credit it was Adrian Peterson).  Also, the secondary has played often with a sizable lead, meaning opposing offenses have been playing catch up, which naturally results in more passing plays.  Finally, the secondary has been banged up with every starting secondary player who isn’t named Woodson getting injured in some regard; safety Nick Collins is on IR with a neck injury, cornerback Tramon Williams had a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing bump and run (which he excels at), safety Morgan Burnett broke his hand at practice and probably won’t be intercepting a ball anytime soon and nickel cornerback Sam Shields suffered a concussion trying to return a interception out of the endzone.  Needless to say, the Packers only had 1 full game (the first against New Orleans) where all the preferred starters played on the secondary.

Perhaps one of the most telling comments came after the Packers beat the Vikings when Charles Woodson commented that he had played “99% in man”, and most of that away from the core of the formation (like a normal starting cornerback).  This worsens the secondary in two ways; for one Woodson isn’t as fast as he used to be and can be beat when playing a pure man technique (for example the Michael Jenkins touchdown)  and with Shields out, Woodson was forced to stay outside for most of the game, and that takes away Woodson’s ability to blitz the passer and generally cause confusion in the interior of the formation, which trickles down to the secondary having to cover for longer.

At this point in the season, the team can no longer claim its a one time incident; giving up over 400 yard to Drew Brees in the first game to be attributed to playing a great quarterback in the early in the season, but after 7 games and a wide range of quarterbacks exceeding their averages and a sample size of 40 games for opponent averages, these numbers are indicative of considerable regression for the Packers secondary.



Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


  • BrianGlines

    Great stuff Tom,

    I’m wondering how much of this has to do with scheme, or is it really just players’ inability?

    • Or is it opposing QBs having plenty of time to throw the ball?

    • Thomas Hobbes

      My assumption is that it wouldn’t be scheme, your defense just won a Super Bowl and ranked very highly in many defensive snaps, why would you go back to the drawing board? Add the lock out on top of that and I doubt that Capers did anything drastic. On the other hand would that give other teams an edge if Capers didn’t change enough to give opposing offenses something new?

  • ELo

    Agree – too many big plays. The biggest factor though is your 2nd point. Our offensive success is causing teams to play catch up and pass more against us. The more passes thrown against the Pack the more yards the opposing team is going to get. I do believe that Shields will get better and help the secondary – I just wish we could get more pressure up front. The opposing QBs have had way too much time to throw. I’d like to see a stat on that.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Unfortunately, I’m not sure there’s an accurate way of measuring quarterback pressure unless you actually went and watched every game and times how long until defenders pressured the quarterback; I know football outsiders has done this, but our blog simply doesn’t have the resources or manpower to attempt something like that.

  • Bearmeat

    How about all of the above. One playmaker makes all the difference. I read in McGinn’s analysis of the Vikes game that it seems Raji’s ineffectiveness is possibly due to fatigue from his high snap count for a second straight year. If Capers had even 1 more red chip player to take some load off Raji, it’s quite possible he’d be more effective and less tired.

    Same goes with another OLB outside Clay. Same for the secondary with Shields early ineffictiveness, Tramon’s injury. Collins’ injury.

    Bottom line: Wood is getting old and slow. Tramon’s been hurt. Shields regressed early. Collins was gone. Burnett’s cast. And the pass rush is below average – so it can’t hide the imperfections of the secondary.

    I expect things to get better, but GB will not have a stellar D this year at any point. More playmakers are needed. Period.

    • Michalske

      A good chunk is scheme, though.

      Against rookie QBs (Newton Ponder) Capers basically played ‘rope-a-dope’ until the kids showed favorite tendencies, and then turned Woodson and/or the safeties loose for INTs.

      Against running teams (Atlanta, Minnesota, etc.) The Packers concentrated on stopping the run and played more man, which is always going to allow for mor big passing plays.

      Against almost all of the teams, they have used Matthews in multiple ways, and not exclusively as a pass rusher. Often he has spied a particular threat (for example Newton) or dropped into covereage.

      Against every team, the offense has eventually built a lead and the defense has concentrated on playing cover — not prevent, just pain vanilla cover: keep the ball in front of the safeties and slow the other guys down.

      Plain yardage is not a very ggod measure of how good an defense is, efficiency statistics are better, and the Packers are in the middle of the league in opponent Passer rating and have some of the best red-zone performace so far this season.

      The bottom line for me is they are 7-0, the defense has different personnell and a different character this year, but they have still been effective and contributed to victories. They weren’t the best D in the league at the mid-point last season either — it took a while for the secondary to gel. They probably won’t be quite as good in the secondary as last year, but Burnett and Shields will improve, the younger linbackers and D-linemen will continue to develop, and IMO the defense will be just fine.

      • Bearmeat

        WIM, this is a head in the sand approach…

        Yes, they’re a SB favorite for a reason. But unless things get somewhat better, they’re not going to be ‘fine’. Yes, they’re 7-0. It’s awesome, but they’re not 18-0 (or any W/L combination that ends up with a Lombardi trophy) . Yes, turnovers and pts against are a much better stat than yards given up. BUT GB is playing with fire. Unless they start cramping down on the big plays a little bit they’re going to get burned at some point. I only hope it’s not in the playoffs.

        The personnel problem won’t get fixed until after the season. They have very little chance to be an elite D like they were last year for that reason. But they can be effective if a couple guys step up like they did last year. Effective will win them a SB with that offense they have…. then in the offseason they need to draft another couple DL and a pass rushing OLB. Maybe a CB/S depending on how Collins recovers and House comes on.

        • Bearmeat

          Sorry, Michalske, not WIM.. my bad

        • Thomas Hobbes

          I think the important thing is that teams can win a SB with a suspect defense, but not with a suspect offense. I don’t recall the Colts or the Saints having a stellar defense when they won. Defenses definitely help teams win Super Bowls, but you could have the 85′ Bears and still lose if you don’t have a good passing offense.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Well at some point, you are describing a Madden roster instead of a football team; no team is going to have stars in every position, for instance the Lions have a great defensive line, but they’ve sacrificed their linebackers and secondary to achieve that by drafting and signing heavily up front. Thompson’s not going to be able to draft start after star, statistics simply is against him on that.

      • Bearmeat

        TT has shown his track record is better than other GM’s. I’m not saying I want a Madden roster, but it’s not inconceivable for TT to find a few more red/blue chip players on D over the next couple of years.

        And yes, teams can win a SB with a suspect D. But it’s not too likely. NO’s D and IND’s D weren’t terrible, they were just average.

        GB’s D so far has been below average in regard to yds, and above average in regard to turnovers and points.

        • Thomas Hobbes

          Both the Colts and the Saints were in the 20s in yards and points allowed during their SB years. No team has that many star players, regardless of who the GM is, the short careers of players and the cap stop teams from building dynasties today; even the Eagles, for all their acquisitions are not a complete star team, for one their linebacking core seems to be underperforming at this point. And to continue with the Eagles, having all the star power in the world means nothing if you don’t know how to use them.

          • Bearmeat

            I really appreciate all you hard work Thomas. It’s excellent breakdown analysis that seeks to answer tough questions.

            But in order to make the 3-4 work properly, the D needs another red chip passrusher at least, hopefully from the OLB position. With TT’s track record and Capers’ ability to coach to a high level, it’s not out of the question to find on a draft board. And building depth/future star players is a must at other positions too. If TT has done it on offense, why not on the D?

            I understand about the salary cap and Free Agency, but if you draft well (which TT has done) you can get a number of years of a great player’s career in before he cashes in and demands a big cap number.

            • Thomas Hobbes

              I agree that the best passing rushing teams have a tandem that play across from each other, like the colts, steelers and vikings. I sure wouldn’t complain about a star outside linebacker, but a center and safety might be more of a concerns next year.

              • Bearmeat

                Why a Center? Wells is 31, and playing great right now. No rush. And let’s all wait to see about Collins. He could play again. We just don’t know yet.

                IMO LOLB, LDE, RDE (Pickett/Green aren’t young) are all more pressing.

  • Michalske

    Woodson has also been on the injury report. I know people discount that, because a 35 year old guy can aways find something that aches to sit out of practices, but Wood was considerably hampered by his chronic toe injury earlier in the season, and added some others (a shoulder and a knee IIRC) at various times.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Agreed, but you could argue that Woodson has been the healthiest of the bunch so far, and that’s bad news considering the comparable ages between him and the rest of the secondary.

  • WIM

    i just cannot figure why we can pass defend on second down, but not on third. the middles zones seem so soft with the underneath LBs never quite right. we seem to be having more assignment breakdowns this year, almost as if the DBs are a little too confident. and remember Tramon was simply a man possessed at the end of last season and lot of how good we remember the DBs to be last season is based on his making play after incredible play.

    • Bearmeat

      This is true and VERY frustrating. I don’t know if it’s execution or scheme, but it needs to be fixed. Now.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I would argue that it’s probably not that the Packers are less efficient on 3rd downs, only that you remember 3rd downs more vividly because its a chance for the defense to make a stand and get off the field. I don’t have the numbers to be sure, but I know I’m more anxious on 3rd downs than the first two.

      • I suspect that your supposition is correct…

  • Tarynfor 12

    Last year the offense wasn’t playing lights out and thats not a dis toward Rodgers so easy does it.The defense needed to play at a high level and the roles are reversed this year.Is it due to actual bad play or by some or more bend-Tampa2 thinking to save something for the playoffs.
    The parts that enable a win are still there,turnovers,points allowed,points being scored in opposition to allowed,injuries have occurred but not to a devasted level as last year.
    MM says his offensive playbook can do a triple header,I’m thinking Capers has a little playbook sitting on his desk for just the right time…January and one game in Febuary.

  • Chad Lundberg

    This is exactly why I’m so ecstatic that the bye has finally come. These players need to get healthy:

    It’s not JUST the secondary, but the front seven has done an average job of stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. Mike Neal is this year’s James Starks (remember when we were calling him the savior?), he’s the key to turning everything around.

    The pass rush should pick up, the linebackers can focus more on run, and the secondary (a healthier secondary)won’t be forced to cover for 5-6 seconds on every snap.

    I’m optimistic this will turn around. Especially once Mike Neal returns to the lineup.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I’ve very hesitant to put a savior role on Mike Neal, first not many players are really going to be able to pull off what Starks did last year and Starks plays in a position where one player can make a difference. It’s not going to matter if Neal is lights out if the rest of the line plays poorly.

      • Chad Lundberg

        The rest of that line is either tired or old. Adding another young play maker like could “potentially”, turn things around. Pickett and Green only play at starter level, Wilson and Wynn are capable back-ups. Raji is the only consistent threat on that line, but he’s playing 90% of the snaps. Putting Neal in the line up should, in my opinion, really help turn things around.

        • Thomas Hobbes

          I’m still not convinced that any player other than a quarterback can change the outlook of a team enough to make a huge difference. Keep in mind that in a 3-4 defense, DEs are supposed to cover offensive linemen so linebackers can make plays, so often they aren’t rushing the passer

          • Chad Lundberg

            I don’t think he’s going to change the the look of the defense, just that he’s the guy that’s been missed the most out of any position. A player does not make a team, but the lack of one player can potentially break that team apart. I believe Neal is that guy, and that’s why I can’t wait for him to return.

            I know that defensive ends aren’t primarily used for pass rushing, but that’s why they were so confident in letting Mike Neal take Cullen Jenkins spot.

  • BTF

    Given the banged up nature of the secondary, which the article describes well, and the pass rush not quite getting home it’s not shocking that our pass D is struggling. Hopefully with the bye we can get Shields and Williams fit, Shields can get back to his standards of last year and everything should flow from there. CB/S would definitely be one of my priorities (above DL) in next years draft regardless. Woodson cannot go on forever..

    This defense is not playing as well as last years vintage agreed however as someone (I think Oppy) posted on another thread you only have to go back 2 years to find a similar defense on the Super Bowl winners (Saints) and a few years before that the Colts likewise went all the way with a less than dominant D. The point I’m trying to make is that while I’d like to see the defense playing better even at it’s current level it’s not necessarily fatal to our chances-we are after all 10th in PPG…

    What it does to my blood pressure is a different matter..

  • Hey Al: Question, it appears to me that passing is up all over the league? The teams with good QB’s are throwing first then running. With what GB did last year with their passing, it appears to me that the better teams are all trying to copy them so it does not surprise me that the passing stats are up too. But I do wish our D was better at defending the pass. You never know when this might really burn you.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I think that a handful of quarterbacks are challenging Dan Marino’s records and that there have been more 300 yard passing games than in the history of the game does mean that passing is trending up. I wouldn’t say it’s copying the Packers; for one you need a good trigger man and a stable of receiver to do what the Packers do. Really, everyone is still just copying Walsh’s WCO; in fact there’s no team that doesn’t employ the WCO in some capacity at this point

    • Without even looking, i would wager that you are correct. the NFL is a copycat league. Look at what Atlanta gave up in the draft to get themselves a WR playmaker…

  • CSS

    What are the numbers in the red-zone, what are the numbers in the 2nd half compared to the 1st? Those are far more important than game-to-game differential.

    Also, it’s a schematic adjustment to no interior pass-rush. So much nickle and dime coverage, tough for any secondary to hold up.

  • FireMMNow

    for me it all comes down to the play of tramon. last year he was absolutely lights out. teams could not thrown on him. how many big plays did he give up last year? very very few. He has give up atleast 4 big plays that i can remember. i know he is injured. but last year he was anticipating. this year it appears that he is reacting. the bye should be good for him if he is as smart as i think he is.

    capers needs to figure out what the packers have done well and build on that. this defense is lacking an identity right now. our blitz scheme seems to have some major tendencies right now. and i know for a fact that is something capers will recognize. it is an amazing feeling to have trust in your defensive coaching staff. i have complete faith that he will get the d turned around in the second half.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I think another issue is that teams are playing max protect, which is definitely slowing down the pass rush and as a result the cornerbacks have to cover for longer, and in a 3-4 zone blitz scheme, someone is bound to get open with enough time. Yes Tramon’s injury is definitely a factor, but I think Capers will probably move back to more base 3-4 looks to generate more pass rush, because if the Packers are in the nickel, and Matthews goes out to coverage, you are looking at 3-4 rushers vs. 6-7 blockers on the offense.

  • PackersRS

    This, right here.

    This is the reason I come to this site, because of GREAT works like these, from knowledgeable, interested guys that put in the work to make a differentiated piece, that you can’t get anywhere else.

    This is great work Thomas. I know it’s not an easy work to accomplish, and it’s definitely not obligatory to reach the conclusion you did, but what I would really like to know is how the pass defense is performing in the redzone. Just the pass defense, not the redzone defense.

    • Thanks for the kind words RS. And you’re right, it takes A LOT of time and work to put together a post like this. Thanks Thomas!

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Thanks alot! Unfortunately, I don’t have any data on red zone play alone, are there any sites that have this data listed?

      • PackersRS

        Tried to find one, couldn’t. This site ( lists redzone stats, but it doesn’t categorize between pass and run…

        BTW, on a side not, Al, you were absolutely right. Re-watched the game and I was seeing ghosts. I still came away with the impression that Starks ran much harder the final drive, but he wasn’t hesitating before, he was being tackled by the feet behind the LOS a lot of times, that’s why he couldn’t push forward. Running to the right usually had much more success than running to the left.

  • Ron LC

    Agree on your compliment to the contrubtors. This is the best site I’ve seen.

    For me, I’m going with MM’s issue with the big play. The queenies had 6 big plays on Sunday. The goal should be none. If they resolve this problem they can struggle through with a middle of the pack D. Capers WILL solve this by the SD game.

    • Thank you Ron…

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Thanks alot! I agree big plays are an issue, again maybe the fact that offenses are going into max protect has something to do with that; I can’t recall from where but one GM mentioned that he doesn’t like the 3-4 “blitzburgh” defense because there is no help behind a cornerback (must be from a tampa 2 team from the sounds of it). If you can’t get enough pass rush, theres no way the cornerbacks can cover for the scheme

  • Jim Hurly

    This is an excellent analysis, and one that, deep in our hearts, was very true even without reading the actual numbers. Pete Dougherty over at the Press Gazette website looks at it in a little different light (Packers’ defense has issues, but does it really matter?). His analysis is somewhat comforting when looking at points allowed per game and opposing QBs’ ratings which are actually better through 7 games than they were last year. The injuries to the secondary are all important, as you pointed out, but I think the key is the lack of inside pass rush. We miss Cullen Jenkins, and that may be one of the rare mistakes made by TT. Hopefully Mike Neal can rectify this situation in December.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Thanks alot! I agree that most fans already knew that the secondary wasn’t as good as it was last year, but the numbers do point at a rather consistent underperformance by the defense. Actually, I’m beginning to believe that Capers is dialing back the blitzing because he’s running into so much max protect schemes, and the secondary hasn’t been able to hold up. I think if Capers goes back to be a little more aggressive, things should look up.

    • Hey, is Rob stealing my “It doesn’t matter” mantra?

  • This why I come here too, good analysis and people who can talk real football without all the name calling and dirty talk. It is what we see happening on the field of play that matters. For example: On another site some bear fans were there saying how much better the bears were than the Packers. It makes you wonder what they are seeing on the field. GB has only beat chi-town the last three times the Packers have played them and two of them were in chicago. Hell itself will freeze over before chicago will ever live down the loss at home in the NFC Champ game, and yet according to some of their fans the bears still own the NFL. Whatever is going on in chicago, we know not to drink their water.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      You have to admit its alot easier to be rational when your team is 7-0. Frankly, I rather prefer that Bears fans think their team is the best in the NFL, I’m sure the team fights harder when their fans believe in them. It’s better than when fans are apathetic like in Miami where they came to game to watch the opposing quarterback play and to “suck for Luck”

  • Jim Hurly

    Yes, Bears fans! You gotta love their loyalty, but their reality is akin to a guy shooting an arrow into a wall, and then walking up and painting a target around it with the bullseye in the center. They’ll believe what they want, and they are passionate, but their offense still stinks.

    • Ron LC

      Have you guys ever listened to Buffone and O’Bradovich on the SCORE after a Bear loss? A Bear fan is the dictionary definition of bi-polar. I deliberately listen to them after a Bear loss just to remind myself how good it is to be a Packer fan. All of you should try it sometime. It never fails to cheer me up when I’m morose about some Packer deficiency I’m obsessed with.

  • Collins’ absence is a significant one, and that affects all the rest, the whole secondary scheme. Williams and Shields are still young and hopefully should improve. And yes, it would be nice to have everyone healthy for an extended period of time.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I wonder what the relative impact of injuries is; for instance I think everyone would agree that if Rodgers got hurt, the season is pretty much tanked. But whose next on the list? Matthews? Jennings? Collins? Williams? I’m not sure but I think the Packers took losing Finley last year better than Collins this year

      • Ron LC

        Letting Jenkins go was not a bad decision. Counting on Neal to play was a bad decision. If he comes back this year, he needs to prove his worth as a player and his abiltiy to play an extended period. At this Halloween season the ghost of Justin Harrell is lurking in the Packer locker room. My advice to Neal bet an exorcist.

  • zeke

    i, too, find my visit to this site as valuable for its depth of insight. thanks to all for their input. having sat back and observed and curses tt for moves he made, but more often for moves that he didnt make, i have learned to be a lot less critical of him because he is on the inside, and i am on the outside looking in. he knows more about whats going on than i do. i hated to see jenkins leave, and have been real concerned about his replacement, but at the same time, i wonder if jenkins would have performed up to his standards this year as opposed to last years had he remained in green bay. his lost time due to injuries may be the red flag that sent jenkins on his way. i am curious as to whether jenkins is losing playing time this year and how effective he has been so far.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I think usually players the Thompson lets go have the capacity of playing well for another year or two, but it probably not worth paying a long term deal for such a short period of time. Its unfortunate that Neal hasn’t played, but on the flip side, Jarius Wynn has made his fair share of plays this season (less so in the last two since it was against Turner and Peterson) and he might be on pace for Jenkin’s sack numbers from last year

  • aaronqb

    The Packer defense is ranked #9 in opponents passer rating (last year they ranked #1). And the secondary is as banged up as I can remember. Williams is just starting to get from his shoulder injury, Collins is out, Woodson is hobbled, Burnett is playing with a club, Shields was out with a concussion. And with the unexpected loss of Neal in the preseason, they are missing one of their top inside pass rushers and are overtaxing the other guys.

    If they are playing poorly in week 13 or 14, I’ll be concerned. Right now, I’m not,

  • Tyler Negrete

    I think defense in general has really evolved in the last couple of years. Now that the NFL is such a pass-orientated league we have to look at different stats to really gauge how good a defense is. Back in the day (you know, a couple years ago) I would have argued that yards allowed was pretty much the best gauge for how well a defense was performing across the board. Now though, I think defense is a lot more about the big plays and red zone defense.
    With how skilled offenses are nowadays and how every team is trying to throw for 800 yards a game it’s pretty much inevitable to give up huge chunks of yards. At least a couple plays a game the defense is going to have the pass rush figured out and a receiver is going to get open. It happens. The Packers compensate for this two ways: takeaways and red zone defense. They’re tied for lead in the league in takeaways at 16, and they’re number 8 in the red zone. Once those gaps close up a bit and the linebackers don’t have to sprint downfield they really tighten it up. The only big statistic they’re down on is sacks at 23rd, but their pressures are through the roof, eventually they’ll start getting through.
    Ultimately, they’re in the top third in the league in points allowed and the secondary is banged up like nobody’s business. Once everything calms down I think we’ll be back in the top 5 in PPG easily, and those interceptions are going to just start rolling. Hopefully without any glory-concussions afterwards though.