I know that it’s hard to look at the positives right now. The team is 1-2 and Aaron Rodgers lost to the Lions while playing the whole game for the first time in his career. The team has mirrored it’s 1-2 starts from the past two seasons, and in very similar fashion. Losing a game against an NFC contender to start, rallying and winning in week 2 before dropping a game on the road to a playoff team. While it’d be better if the team was 2-1 or certainly 3-0 it’s been proven twice now that 1-2 isn’t the end of the world. That 2012 team actually fell to 2-3 and still won 11 games.
In this time of darkness I’d like to look at the defense specifically. The defense struggled against the Seahawks. That can be attributed to a number of things. First of all, I think the Seahawks are a very good football team. They’re also an awful matchup for the Packers personnel and coaching staff. Without elite safety or inside linebacker play it’s very hard for the Packers to play against the option or the jet sweep. A lot of Marshawn Lynch’s 5.5 a carry can be attributed to his breaking tackles, but a lot of it can be attributed to the threat of Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin touching the ball on every play as well. Finally, I don’t believe the team was prepared enough to play their new 4 man fronts against a team the caliber of the Seattle Seahawks.
The nice thing to see, though is the YPC of the other backs the Packers have faced. 3.3 YPC for Chris Ivory. 1.8 YPC for Chris Johnson. Joquie Bell had 2.2 YPC and if you throw out Reggie Bush’s 26 yard TD that came after Clay Matthews left the game with an injury he only averaged 3.2 YPC himself.
You can’t really be all that upset with the pass defense either. Russell Wilson, Geno Smith and Matthew Stafford threw for 191, 176, and 246 yards respectively. These QBs have managed 2 TD passes against 3 interceptions. That’s pretty damn impressive work.
The harsh reality that we are left with then is that not only has Dom Capers still not figured out how to stop unconventional ways of moving the football, but that the offense is struggling. Right now the defense is 20th in the NFL. They are just 4 yards allowed per game of being 15th. If I would have told you before the season started that the defense was going to go from 27th in the league last year to 15th this year you’d have probably told me the team went 13-3. I’d have probably agreed with you.
The nice thing about the defense being better is that I believe that the offense is something that can be fixed, and I still trust Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers to fix it. This is still a team that finished in the top 10 offensively in the league last year despite missing Aaron Rodgers for half the season. Maybe everyone isn’t on exactly the same page yet, but they’ll get there. If the new defense continues to play the way that it did against Detroit, the season is far from lost.