The Green Bay Packers will be facing the Minnesota Vikings for the third time this season as the two teams prepare for their wild-card matchup and if the Packers want to win this game they must be a more disciplined team on defense when pursuing Adrian Peterson.
In their two meetings in the regular season, Peterson was able to rush for a combined 409 yards, including 199 yards last week in the Vikings home victory. While the team had plenty of missed tackles and at times seemed scared to tackle Peterson, defensive coordinator Dom Capers thinks the Packers defense was overaggressive in their approach of the league’s leading rusher. While he wants all of his players to flock towards Peterson, Capers thinks the defense is letting their emotions get the best of them and are not following their jobs on running plays.
“You have to be very disciplined,” Capers said. “If you’re not disciplined in your run fits, he makes you pay. We had an awful lot of good run snaps for a 1- or 2- or 3-yard gain. But when he came out of there, I think our guys had a chance to look and realize you can’t be overaggressive. You can’t let your emotions get the best of you in terms of everybody going to the ball. Sometimes you have to be patient and hold your leverage on the backside.”
Capers is spot on here. Peterson is the type of running back who can easily break out of tackles and make something out of nothing. He can reverse his field or turn the smallest hole into a big gain down the field. The defense has to surround him and not over-pursue him and be better fundamentally.
“It’s a matter of you have to (beat) blocks and you have to make tackles,” Capers said. “So I don’t think they reinvented the wheel in terms of running the football. It’s a matter of execution. …You can’t be too over-aggressive and get your nose stuck inside because Adrian’s a rare guy in terms of his ability to stack in there behind and he’s going to go to the open area and he has the speed to out-run you.”
Peterson was going to have a great game last week no matter what the Packers did, but there were probably about 50 yards that Peterson shouldn’t have had because of poor execution by the defense. When he is stopped at the line of scrimmage, Green Bay needs to make sure that they wrap him up and finish the play. The team can’t become lazy and lose focus of what their job is on the play. Peterson will get big runs during the game, the Packers just need to make sure that when they stop him at the line to not over-pursue him and give him extra yards that he doesn’t deserve.
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