Green Bay Packers: Too early to worry about the defense


For many teams in the NFL, the third preseason game is usually a dress rehearsal and in the past that was true for the Green Bay Packers. It obviously wasn’t a dress rehearsal for the No. 1 offense, but many expected it to be one for the defense since they got a lot of their players back from injury.

Given the way the defense played against the Philadelphia Eagles, it has a lot of fans worried and wondering if the defense will be a huge liability for the team this season.

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The Green Bay Packers had their main defensive players all nearly healthy (with the exception of Datone Jones) for the preseason game against the Eagles and many were hoping to see how good this defense could be this season.

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If we look at that game to draw our conclusions on the Packers defense, the Packers may be in for an extremely long season. The Eagles were able to put up 25 points in the first quarter and another 14 in the second to score a whopping 39 points in the first half against the Packers.

While there are some reasons to be worried about the performance the Packers No. 1 defense displayed on Saturday, there is no reason right now to be extremely worried for the regular season.

The Packers did have some individual players that really struggled on defense. Sam Barrington and Micah Hyde both struggled in coverage and B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels struggled to dominate up front. Tackling was also an issue for some on the defense.

But the Packers defense played a very vanilla defense. They didn’t scheme against the Eagles like they would do for opponents during the regular season. If this were the regular season, the Packers probably wouldn’t leave Barrington alone on coverage against Darren Sproles every time.

They probably wouldn’t let Micah Hyde continually get beat against the Eagles No. 1, Jordan Matthews, from the slot every time.

It’s hard to gauge defenses in the preseason, especially a defense lead by Dom Capers. The Packers defense relies heavily on schemes and the team as a whole is very careful of what they give away during the preseason. They don’t like to put out a whole lot on film for opponents to see.

If anything, there could be a positive spin to the subpar performance the Packers displayed on Saturday night. The Eagles may have exploited some weaknesses for individual players that the Packers now know how to game plan for or improve on. For example, we saw how much Barrington struggled to play in coverage against the Sproles.

While many linebackers would struggle to cover the speedy Sproles, it does give the Packers a good idea of how Barrington plays in coverage and they now know if they can fix some of his mechanics or how to scheme Barrington to fit his strengths and weaknesses.

If there was anything real concerning for the Packers defense that we saw Saturday night, it would be their tackling. This seems to have been an issue for this defense the past few seasons and every year it’s been one of the main issues the Packers defense tries to fix.

This could have just been an off night for the defense, but an explosive offense like the Eagles showcased proved how much of a liability a poor tackling defense can be for a team. The Packers defense must continue to work on improving their tackling. Otherwise it’s becoming the same song and dance and will continue to get even more frustrating if the Packers tackling woes continue.

It would have also been nice to see some Packers win in their one-on-one matchups. Raji and Daniels struggled against the Eagles offensive line and didn’t show an ability to put pressure on the quarterback or get into the backfield. The Packers need those two to be a dominant presence on their defensive line.

While it was alarming to see how bad the Packers defense played against the high-powered Eagles offense, it’s still too early to start worrying about the defensive unit. The Packers don’t like to give away too much regarding their plays and schemes in the preseason, so we really don’t know what the Packers defense will look like until the regular season hits.

Even so, the Packers and their fans are hoping that what we all saw Saturday night isn’t a prelude of what’s to come during the regular season.

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