Do the Packers Have the Worst Secondary in the NFC North?

Good teams can win with an average pass coverage. A high motored front seven that can stuff the run as well as get after the quarterback can make a secondary look better than they actually are. Not trying to take away anything from the secondary, but there are worst problems to have on a football team. After the Packers 2016 output that may be hard to believe. Despite a marginal free agent splash, the Packers did get better in the secondary during the 2017 offseason. Sadly, it is not likely that they could have gotten much worse. Davon House will add much needed experience, while the addition of rookies Kevin King and Josh Jones provides a lot of untapped potential. Even though the Packers have made these adjustments they may still have the worst secondary in the division. Yes, even more putrid than the atrocious defense out in Chi-town. The Bears (7th), Lions (19th), and Vikings (3rd) all ranked higher than the Packers 31st rated pass defense. Still, even with the offseason over halfway over, they may find themselves feeding at the bottom yet again.

Chicago

For the second straight season safety Adrian Amos was the best player in the Bears secondary. Outside of Amos there was much left to be desired. The Bears intercepted only 8 passes in 2016, a tie for 29th. Kyle Fuller was lost for 2016 due to injury, which pushed the Bears not to pick up his fifth year option. This led to Tracy Porter being thrown into the fire and forced to cover the top receiver game in and game out. Inevitally, he had the worst season of his career. The signing of first round bust Prince Amukamara and five-year vet Marcus Cooper hardly cures any coverage issues. This is Cooper’s fourth team in five years.

Detroit

The Lions’ lackluster secondary allowed a second to last 33 touchdowns in 2016. Staying kaput never really leads to improvement and that is exactly what the Lions did. They made only one move for improving conditions with the acquisition of DJ Hayden. Yes, Glover Quin and Darius Slay are still one of the best safety-corner duos in the game, but they can not do it all. Strong safety Tavon Wilson was one of the league’s best run defenders ranking 9th overall according to PFF. However, seven defenders not named Wilson, Slay, and Quin recorded below average coverage grades. The Lions did draft a solid corner in Teez Tabor, but he ran one of the slowest 40-yard dashes among all corners in this year’s draft.

Minnesota

Corner Terrance Newman is in a fight for ages against father time. Even at 38 years of age he still logged the best coverage grade for the Vikings. That alongside one of best young corners in Xavier Rhodes makes for a not too shabby corner tandem. Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith were voted to the NFL’s top 100 players list this summer. Strong depth keeps the Vikings atop of the NFC North as far as secondaries go.

If the Packers hope to climb out of the cellar they better hope young prospects contribute early and Damarious Randall can bounce back in extraordinary fashion. Randall has high hopes after stating, “I want to be about 200 percent before this season.” Right now the Packers only hope is to beat out the Bears’ pass defense to avoid ranking as the worst in the North yet again.

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Brandon Carwile was a cheese head at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over a year and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @BShmee.

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  • Yoop

    What a load of crap, in fact Ill say like the Rock that the two R’s Randall and Rollins will be the main reasons. Instead of the injured second year players we saw, we will see play like Adams in his 3rd year. You add House who is a PERFECT fit for the Capers defense who is bigger stronger as quick with a 4.37 40 and a better change of direction then Shields.
    You add Jones and King with Hawkins and Brice you have depth they have not had since 2010.
    And yes to go with them the front seven will take a big step up.

  • Peter Maiz

    I’m not sure about Randall. I think part of it is self confidence. Nevertheless, I expect progression, not regression.

    • Mike Sherman

      Agree, Randall should be better. Guy flashes serious ability at times, needs to be much more consistent. He should be a good nickel back with his safety experience, whether he can blitz and tackle running backs from inside is a big question mark tho

      • Peter Maiz

        We will see some improvement but the pass rush worries me a bit.

    • Nick Perry

      If Randall doesn’t progress Rollins will. Either one of those two can play in the slot, Randall is just a it faster. Rollins had a better rookie season actually finishing with a much better passer rating allowed over Randall. No one is talking about Rollins. He still may end up being the better of the two. Remember this is only his 4th season playing football since high school.

      • Peter Maiz

        I hope one of the two, or better both.

  • caruso81

    A click-bait for a Thursday afternoon. How about we let all those new pieces find a place in the puzzle and THEN apply your towering expertise to the situation.

    • Brandon Carwile

      Says the guy who clicked on it

  • Mike Sherman

    ” The very raw Tracy Porter” What???? Porter has been in the league forever! Is 38 year old Newman “very raw” too?

    • Brandon Carwile

      Mike Sherman? Go ahead and excuse yourself

  • James C. Drumheller III

    Minnesota may have the most veteran team defense,but the Packers secondary will reign supreme in a year or two. With House’s return and ability to play in Capers scheme,he can pass it along to the younger players. All the Packers lack is time playing together and learning the defense together. The talent is there and only time will tell just how good this defensive secondary can become. Clinton-Dix is a pro bowl safety and I believe one of the two new draft picks will become one also. GO PACK GO!!!!

  • Ben Pearson

    Of course we have the worst secondary in the NFC North. Last year we had statistically the second worst secondary in the entire NFL.

    Don’t tell me a couple of rookies who’ve never played a snap in the NFL, or a veteran corner who was cut by a non-contending Jaguars team puts us over the top….lol. Our defense is a joke.

    • James C. Drumheller III

      My guess is you don’t watch much football. The Dallas Cowboys added two rookies last year and went from 7 and 9 to 13 and 3 with a first and fourth round picks and won the division and almost went to the Super Bowl. The Packers drafted Raji and Mathews and went to the Super Bowl. Ray Lewis was drafted by the Ravens and went to the Super Bowl in his rookie year. Do a little researching before you open your mouth next time.Perhaps it time you become a Minnesota Vikings fan. They have the defense you’re looking for and also hold a 0 and 4 record in Super Bowl appearances.I’m a loyal Packers fan of fifty years and truly believe with the additions to our secondary and our defensive front we can make it this year to Super Bowl 52. GO PACK GO!!!!!

      • Ben Pearson

        You’re everything that is wrong with the Packers bud. You like your research huh? What does 31st in passing defense mean to you? What does an average passer rating for our starting Corner backs last year of 119.33 mean to you? You think cause you’ve been a fan a long time it makes you educated..? I bet you were hollering this time last year about how good Rollins/Randall would be and how we’d win the 2016 Super Bowl too. You’ve been a fan a long time but you’ve got a lot to learn friend.

        • James C. Drumheller III

          First of all Ben my names not Bud. Your everything that’s wrong with this type of commenting on football. I do know for a fact that every time the Packers have made it to the Super Bowl they were either leading or at the top in pass defense. All I was trying to say is that it’s capable of adding one or two players and making a drastic improvement in a teams overall success. Your problem is you can’t except criticism and want to be a right fighter.Opinions are just that opinions. No one is going to agree with everything people have to say all the time. I’m ready to move on so good luck and God Bless my friend.

  • Nick Perry

    I think Kevin King will have the biggest impact on the Packers defense other than House. King will need some time but he’ll be matched up most times on the opposing teams #2 WR and I think he’ll more than hold his own. By the end of the 2017 season I wouldn’t be surprised if the King and House are the best CB combination in the NFC North
    I’m not judging House on last years statistics when the Jags switched to more of a zone than the man to man they played in 2015. In 2015 House was a STUD and it shouldn’t be an stretch to believe he couldn’t be the same for the Packers as he was in 2015 with the the Jags.
    Jones and Randall and/or Rollins are the wildcards. It seems the Packers are putting a lot on the plate of Jones, hopefully he can handle it. This secondary barring injury will be better as the year progresses.

    • Peter Maiz

      Well Nick, I think the secondary will improve but what about the pass rush? Will that improve or are we at risk here.