Last season the Green Bay Packers defense was ranked last in passing yards allowed, but were ranked first in the NFL in interceptions with 31. The Packers defense has been known for their play-making abilities the past few years and they are capable of creating a turnover on any play.
However, the gameplan for the Green Bay Packers this weekend will be different. This week Green Bay will be going against the San Francisco 49ers who were one of the best teams last season at protecting the football. Quarterback Alex Smith threw just five interceptions last season in 445 pass attempts, the best in the NFL.
In the open field, the Packers secondary has focused mainly on punching the ball loose and creating the possibility of a turnover, but this has led to poor tackling that needs to get fixed. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. reiterated this to the media.
“We know that interceptions are going to come from poorly thrown balls most of the time,” said Whitt Jr. “I’m more concerned about leveraging routes and making sure that we’re not giving up things, because we’re going to get the ball. That is no question in my mind.”
So while the defensive mindset for the Packers may still be the same throughout the season, to remain aggressive and go for the turnovers, it looks like at least for Week 1 Green Bay will try to be more conservative in their approach.
Players like Sam Shields, who will be seeing more playing time this season, have had struggles making tackles during their careers. Shields is a great playmaker, but has always had trouble wrapping up receivers for tackles. He is the type of player who leans with his shoulder or seems to back off of the big hits. That will have to change this season since he will be most likely put into the starting lineup.
With the Packers going against a well disciplined 49ers team, the Packers will have to make sure they play the same way. Safeties can’t bite on pump fakes or try jumping routes, the corners will need to make sure that they get their man down in one-on-one situations and avoid the big plays down the field. The risks the Packers normally take on the defensive side of the ball will have to take a step back this weekend to give the Packers their best shot at winning this weekend.
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