Packers defense Will be fine

By Zuhayr Tahir Nov. 5, 2014

We are halfway through the season and the Green Bay Packers are 5-3 and a game back of the division lead currently held by the Detroit Lions.

After stumbling out of the gate with a 1-2 start, the Packers have won four of their last five games and are the top-scoring offense in the NFC with 222 points after eight weeks.

Offense is not the problem, and it has never been the problem with quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center. The defense, once again, continues to be a concern for this team. Or is it?

Of course you can throw out the stat that the rush defense is last in the league and that the entire defense looked absolutely helpless against the New Orleans Saints last Sunday night, but let’s take a step back and actually evaluate the defense’s performance over the course of the season.

There are only two games where I can point to and say, “That was a bad defensive performance.” They include on the road in Seattle against the Seahawks to open the season and on the road in New Orleans last week. These are arguably the top two toughest places to play in the NFL, and the defense still put together a good first half before coming apart in the second half.

As soon as the defense has a bad game, a good chunk of Packer fans want defensive coordinator Dom Capers fired, but when they play a game where the defense is not an issue, which is six out of eight this year, they keep quiet and wait for them to slip up.

Fans look at how Seattle’s defense played last year and for some reason they believe that it is the new standard for defense.

It’s definitely not because not even Seattle is that good this year.

This is a new NFL where defense is getting harder and harder to play each season. If your defense can just make a few stops, good teams can win games and go deep in the playoffs, and the Packers are a good team.

Every team has its bad defensive games. The Indianapolis Colts shut out the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago and looked dominant, but just last week they gave up 51 points to the Pittsburgh Steelers and looked helpless. It’s a week-to-week league.

The Packers defense has a plethora of pass rushers this season and can get after opponents’ quarterbacks. The pass rush has helped the secondary and as soon as cornerback Sam Shields and safety Morgan Burnett get healthy, they will return to being one of the best in the league.

If you’re still concerned about the bad rush defense, take a look back at the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. They were one of the worst rush defenses I had ever seen in a regular season, ever. But in the playoffs they were able to flip the switch and got significantly better. They won the Super Bowl that season.

The lesson here is if you have a quarterback like Peyton Manning, or in the Packers case, Aaron Rodgers, there is always a chance.

Fans complain about the scheme, but you don’t create a scheme to not work. In the end, it’s the player’s job to execute. You also can’t fire the coach and change the scheme midway through the season. This isn’t Madden.

One of the best things about the Packers is the continuity they have at key positions, on the field and on the staff. It’s the reason they can win any game and the reason they have made the playoffs for five straight years.

In the words of Aaron Rodgers, “R-E-L-A-X.” The Packers will be fine. Here’s to the second half of the season.

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