Benny Sieu- US PRESSWIRE
Going into last weekend’s game against the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers had the number one ranked pass defense and number three overall. Even though the Saints were 0-3, the Packers knew this would be a big test for their improved defense. After the game was over, there was a mixed result of what happened on the field.
The defense allowed 27 points and after looking like they couldn’t stop Drew Brees and the offense in the first half, they were able to turn it around in the second half and get some big stops. Early in the game, defensive coordinator Don Capers tried incorporating a new defense to stop the Saints and all of their deadly receivers. The Packers put in seven defensive backs along with four pass rushers.
In theory, the concept was good, but when it was utilized in the game, it wasn’t successful. On that drive the Saints were able to drive 80 yards down the field in just 10 plays, which saw Brees complete all seven of his passes.
The main problem with having the seven defensive backs in the game was the play-calling. When the Packers have their normal defense in the game, A.J. Hawk is the play-caller. With seven corners in the game, Morgan Burnett had to be the play-caller which is unfamiliar territory for him. As a result the plays were coming in slower to the players on the field, making it hard to get adjusted before the snap of the ball. However, as Capers points out, the communication improved after that series.
“You’re putting a lot of young guys out there against one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league,” Capers said. “The communication was much better from that point on. If there were two things we could change, it would be the second series and the 80-yard pass.”
So while the Packers defense did struggle in the first half, Capers was right, besides for a few bad series, overall the Packers did a good job controlling the Saints. The best example of this was in the fourth quarter when the Saints had first and goal at the one-yard line and the Packers defense was able to hold New Orleans to just a field. Also, the defense was able to hold the Saints to multiple three and outs in the fourth quarter allowing Aaron Rodgers and the offense to take the lead.
As a whole, the defense did a solid job against a high-powered Saints offense. The new scheme may not have worked as planned, but the ability for the Packers defense to make adjustments in the second half to slow the Saints down is a positive thing to see going into the rest of the season.
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