Areas of Emphasis Key to Defensive Turnaround

In Mike Pettine’s new defense, there will be a number of fluid, moving parts during the pre-snap and play areas of the game.

While former DC Don Capers instilled a sense of ferocity, intricate formations and uniqueness into his defensive schemes, Pettine has a better feel on formation concepts and blitz schemes that has stayed relevant in the ever-changing scheme world of the NFL.

Dependence on cornerbacks

Too many times did we see Packer corners get beat off the line and have no over the top help the past few seasons. Capers relied on a resilient pass rush that, to be successful, needed to get into the backfield to mask the defensive backfield mishaps.

While Pettine’s scheme involves the dependency of single coverage for corners, especially boundary backs, the team’s depth makes these schemes much easier to implement.

Drafting Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson with consecutive selections put into effect the team’s commitment to solidifying the defensive back line. Pairing those two with a hopefully healthy Kevin King makes for one of the youngest and highest potential corner groupings in the league.

Veteran Tramon Williams, who had familiarity with Pettine from Cleveland, has the upper hand in directly helping the younger players get acclimated to his schemes. Williams is also no slouch, and he will be counted on to help bridge the experience gap in the defensive backfield also while making plays on the boundary.

An aspect not focused on highly is how the team will need to fill the role of Morgan Burnett. With HHCD holding out from volunteer OTA’s due to reportedly wanting a new contract, the team’s last line of defense will need to step up.

Kentrell Brice and Josh Jones will each be looked to fill the role of Burnett. While Brice is more of a coverage safety, Jones brings the rushing, in the box area of what safeties are now being looked to do in the NFL.

Pass rush

A staple of his scheme, Pettine will count on our consistent and mostly healthy (watch the nose Clay) pass rush in 2018.

Having Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark man the line with offseason addition Muhammad Wilkerson will give opposing offensive lines a handful. Add in the rushing of Matthews and Nick Perry, and there are opportunities for everyone to eat, as they say.

Involved in the pass rush aspect of Pettine’s scheme is the dependence on the linebackers to make plays in the box while manning the underneath zones. Blake Martinez, who earned over 100 tackles last season, will be counted on again to lead the defense and align the troops.

Thoughts about how the defense will turn out this season? Leave your comments below!


Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23