One of the most obvious holes in the Green Bay Packers defense this season has been the secondary play or lack thereof. For several weeks now, the Packers have been gashed by opposing teams’ receivers, and it seems that whenever the defense needs to make a play the secondary lets them down. This past week was no different.
Aside from cornerback Tramon Williams‘ great game, the secondary struggled again for the Packers against the New York Giants. On several occasions during the game, Giants receivers got into the second level untouched and unnoticed. The two most obvious breakdowns occurred in the first and third quarter of the game.
On the Giants’ first possession of the ball game, quarterback Eli Manning was able to step up in the pocket and found Rueben Randle running a post route down the middle of the field. Randle was able to split three defenders and had plenty of room to catch the pass and take it to the end zone for a score.
In the third quarter, Manning was flushed out of the pocket and looked to be in trouble. However, the secondary had another horrendous breakdown and Manning was able to throw a floater up in the air to a wide open Hakeem Nicks. Nicks got past (you guessed it) three Packers defenders and connected on a 35-yard completion.
These types of plays seem to occur way too often in the Packers’ secondary, and a majority of the blame has to go to safeties Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings. Both Burnett and Jennings have dealt with injuries this season, but both are back to 100 percent. However, they are playing like they are 50 percent. Burnett and Jennings have been downright awful this year trying to play the ball in the air and have been seen chasing down wide open receivers for pretty much the entire season. This is an area of concern for the Packers and is something they must correct ASAP.
Long gone are the days of having Pro Bowl safeties such as Nick Collins and Charles Woodson spying quarterbacks. The Packers no longer have safeties that can make plays on the ball, and along with that they have struggled to tackle as well. If this doesn’t change this week the Packers may find themselves at 5-6 and out of the playoff picture.
Burnett and Jennings have the capabilities to be very good safeties in this league, but for whatever reason this year they have been below average at best. The secondary as a whole has not done a good job, and if Burnett and Jennings don’t show they can be counted on in the secondary these next six games they may just find themselves on the market come February.