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



One thought on “Areas of Emphasis Key to Defensive Turnaround

  1. I think this is pretty spot on, actually. But IMO, the author could have gone further.

    The Packer defense, especially the pass defense, did not ‘suddenly’ become bad….it had been bad for a while and we threw some draft choices at Randall and Rollins but we’d also lost guys like Hayward and Hyde. And when injuries struck, we had nothing except UDFA guys to throw in there.

    All Pass Defense starts with corners who can cover, and the last time we had one of those he hurt his neck and had to retire. Rollins is a fine athlete with one year of college football but who has not shown he has the ability to stay healthy and play well.

    Randall, who was probably our best cover guy, was IMO, a coward. I saw him do the ‘fake slip’ where he appeared to slip and thus was unable to initiate violent contact with the ball carrier. It just looked odd and so I looked back at other games and saw it numerous times. No kidding. Check for yourself if you’d like.

    I think it’s possible that Pettine saw that too, and got rid of Randall as fast as he could. You can’t win with guys like that.

    We’re hoping that Williams/King/Alexander/Jackson stay healthy and play well. If they do, we’ll be fine. If they don’t, we’re still looking at guys like Rollins and Linzy Pipkins. Let’s pray for good health.

    The HaHa Dix decision to sit out OTAs is disappointing. My advice to HaHa would be “show us how much you’re worth, starting right now”. Go out and have a Pro Bowl season, and if you do, you’ll get paid. But this sitting around whining about money when we’re trying to get ready to win games is kind of a pu**y move to me.

    It will be Brice and Jones at safety. They’ve both flashed a lot at times, they’re both speedy guys who hit hard.

    Our defensive line could be pretty good if we stay healthy. I like our linebacking, but you have to wonder how much the talent drops off as we go down the line at OLB: Perry, Matthews, Fackrell, Gilbert, Beigl, etc. etc.

    There is no reason at all that this defense shouldn’t be at least in the average range, and that’d be a big improvement over what we’ve had. I’d remind everyone that we made it to the NFCC game against the Falcons with a bad defense because our offense had been so kick-ass. I think the offense will be awesome again as long as we’ve got Rodgers upright..

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