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Matt Hasselbeck

Matt Hasselbeck and Mike Williams torched the Packers on Saturday

For the second week in a row, the Green Bay Packers offense looked unstoppable, while their defense looked suspect — this time in a 27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Just as they did against Cleveland a week earlier, the Packers employed a vanilla version of their defense. Unlike last year, when the team was installing Dom Capers’ system and needed the reps, the Packers are keeping most of their blitz packages under wraps this preseason. The resulting lack of pressure has been apparent and has lead to two big games by the opposing team’s No. 1 offense.

What compounded the problem on Saturday night was the Packers were missing several key players. Cornerback Charles Woodson, linebackers A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, Clay Matthews and Brad Jones were all held out for one reason or another.

The Packers were so thin at linebacker, they had to start undrafted free agent Robert Francois on the inside.

The results were predictable.

With Woodson out, the Seahawks targeted the Packers young cornerbacks, Brandon Underwood and Pat Lee, and they looked like young cornerbacks.

“We had some guys that got a lot of snaps,” Capers said. “We didn’t play the pass as well early in the game as I would like to have. So we’re going to have to take a look at it. There were some things that I think, again, were real correctable. We’ve got some guys playing new positions, and they just haven’t — we’ve kept pretty constant on our (simplified play-calling) ready list. We haven’t done a lot of additions, because we’ve got to find out if these guys can play the base fundamental aspects of the football.”

Interestingly, the Packers have been stout against the run, even with their generic scheme and starters being out. The team has given up 80 yards on 22 total carries in the first half of their preseason games, combined. That’s an average of 3.6 yards.

Perhaps it seems predictable after their struggles against high-powered passing attacks last season, but the Packers have really only struggled against the pass this preseason.

If injuries become an issue for the Packers defense, we could be in for a long season, but if the key players remain healthy and Capers is able to unleash the blitz, expect the unit’s fortunes to turn.


Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Abe Frohman August 23, 2010

    In the Browns game, I read that Capers told Woodson et al that they should play soft. So, it is somewhat easy to dismiss that. With Charles and Al out, it’s easy to see why they’d pick on Underwood. So, I agree that it’s not a panic situation….yet.

    What concerns me is the lack of pressure on the opposing QB. You shouldn’t have to blitz to get pressure if the DLine is playing well. So, good that they’re stopping the run – Picket is awfully big to move at end. But that same issue is precisely what prevents them from getting to the QB.

  2. jeremy August 23, 2010

    At this point, having the opposing offense throw at Lee, Underwood, Burnett, and Shields is the Best Case scenario. The Packers need to get those guys real reps now. Underwood playing against a ProBowl receiver is only going to help him learn. Who cares if the other team scores.

    1. Jurgens August 23, 2010

      Great point.

  3. Nick August 23, 2010

    Ah, no need to panic. Hello? It’s time to panic. Use your Brain.

    Who or what did Ted bring in to stop a team from putting up 51! points?

    Nothing like knowing that your weakness is “the spread offense” and doing nothing about it. Off-season GM of the year.

  4. Vijay August 23, 2010

    I agree with Nick…you’ve got to create a situation where guys are competing at the highest level for starting spots and create a situation where there is little, not significant drop off between the 1’s and the 2’s in your defense. The Packers are still toying with guys playing different positions to compensate for their deficiencies on the defense. This is the coaching staff trying to make the best of the roster they are dealt with by Ted and coaching ’em up in the hopes that they improve from within…lol.

  5. Nick K. August 23, 2010

    Thats been the issue since early last year on defense. Weak pass defense. Nothing was addressed this off season. TT is crossing his fingers everyone stays healthy. Burnett is not the answer. I really cant stand that fucker just sitting back and not doing shit.
    If the Pack win, he’s a genius because “he drafts well”. If they lose and miss the playoffs he should be on his way out.

    1. jeremy August 24, 2010

      This is the preseason, not the playoffs. Capers knows what he has at LB and DL. He wants to get these young guys reps so they can learn and so he can evaluate them. That means letting the other team throw at them.

  6. Shawn August 26, 2010

    Ah, this defense finished #2 in defense last year, and it was the first year in a new defensive scheme. There is plenty of reason to think the defense should improve. Just having even a mediocre Burnett instead of Bigby should be an improvement.

    Name me one guy except for Julius Peppers that we could have went after in free agency that would have made a difference. Peppers doesn’t want to play in a 3-4, regardless of what he said while in Carolina. He signed for Chicago; they play a 4-3. Dude wants to rush the passer, not drop into coverage. Understandable.

    We finished ranked higher than Minnesota, the Colts or the Saints in defense and what did any of them do to improve? Nothing.

    I am tired of hearing about 3 fricking games out of 17 last season. Everyone seems to have forgotten we nearly shut out Dallas, who was the #2 ranked offense in football when they faced us. Pittsburgh, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Arizona… blah, blah, blah. Everyone also forgets that we should have WON both those games. This team is built to win shootouts. We are not afraid of a shootout. Bring it on.

    Just keep stopping the run, and we’ll be fine.