Packers’ defense can’t stop the run: déjà vu?

The Green Bay Packers are coming off a weekend of uninspiring football, and because of that, I was sort of uninspired to write this blog.

After the team’s first loss, I wrote about how the sky wasn’t falling. I was confident that the Packers would rebound and learn from that loss. While I’m still confident the Packers can be a tough football team to beat come January, I’m not as positive after this loss as I was the last.

Dalvin Cook ran all over the Packers’ defense. He rushed for 163 yards and scored four touchdowns in Minnesota’s 28-22 win. And, as much as it kills me to say this, Green Bay’s players that matter in stopping the run were primarily all active and healthy.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams were fantastic together on offense, connecting for three touchdowns. The problem was, they only had three offensive possessions in the first half – and one of the possessions, the offense just ran the clock out before half.

I’m not worried about offensive production in the second half as much as I am about another game where a healthy defense gets dominated by a run-heavy team. How many times can you get the same result without changing something?

Dating back to when Matt LaFleur first took over, there’s a trend that happening in all five of the team’s losses. Green Bay’s defense can’t stop the run.

In all five losses, the Packers have given up at least 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The only time the defense didn’t allow 150 yards or more on the ground was in the Week 12 38-7 loss to San Francisco – where Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman each scored a rushing touchdown.

I’m not going to be one of those fans that call for Mike Pettine’s job. I’m not sure if you can confidently say that yet.

What I will say, is that the Packers have to be more physical on defense in the run game. Green Bay has all the talent in the world at the DB position to compete with pass-heavy teams. It’s when the interior can’t consistently make stops – that’s when it turns ugly.

The Packers have one of the best offenses in the league. If the defense can figure it out and turn the ship around, Green Bay has a legitimate shot at competing for the Super Bowl.

I think back to last year when the Chiefs were superb on offense and terrible on defense for the first half of the season. The team was good, but wasn’t great – because the defense was holding them back. Once they played decent defense in the second half of the year, Kansas City went on to become champions.

Again, I’m not worried about the Packers’ offense. Once Allen Lazard, Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari return – that side of the ball will be better.

As Packers’ fans, I think we’re just hopeful to see change. What better way to start than on Thursday against the team that dominated them both times in 2019.

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Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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