The Green Bay Packers entered a Monday Night Football game on the road against the New York Giants as favorites to win. With momentum on their side after winning three straight games, the most recent two coming against the defending Super Bowl champions, as well as the current leader of the NFC North, the Packers would go on to lose 24-22.

The source of this loss — while mistakes in all three phases played a role all night — was a game winning field goal that “Tommy Cutlets” and the Giants had no problem getting in range for with under two minutes to go in the game. Many fans, myself included, sounded off online about the fact that the defense seemed to be playing soft. There was hardly any attempt to send blitzes after the QB, and defensive backs were playing 7 yards off the line of scrimmage at an alarming rate.

While play-calling was seemingly the issue, why does it seem like the Packers defense can never reach that “elite” level, despite so often consisting of so many high caliber players? Former Packers defensive end Mike Daniels posed a similar inquiry on the website formerly known as Twitter.

So what’s the deal? Is it a culture issue in Green Bay? Is there a bias towards offense that is perpetuated from the top-down all the way to the media that covers the team? Obviously there is a focus on first year starter Jordan Love, and obviously there was a focus on the two previous Hall-of-Fame QBs, but what is the issue? Do the Packers need a defensive head coach in order to instill that culture change? The answer to that last question is probably no, since head coaches who specialize in offense seem to be leading most of the best teams in football.

It does however, certainly seem like the Packers’ defenses of late have almost never been anything more than… almost kind of good, despite all of the first round talent the Packers have added to that side of the ball over the years.

Looking to the Future

The Packers’ front office will have a decision to make in the offseason, and the best decision might just be to move on from Joe Barry, but it is ultimately beginning to feel like a new defensive coordinator isn’t the answer. Dom Capers was hated by a lot of fans. Mike Pettine was hated by a lot of fans. Joe Barry is hated by a lot of fans. At what point do we decide something — or someone — else is to blame?

When former players even struggle to pinpoint why the Packers defense can’t get over the hump it becomes increasingly clear that fans and members of the media certainly don’t have the answers. Ultimately, who knows? Maybe it’s just bad luck.

The Packers will look to bounce back from these issues next week when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who like the Packers, currently have a record of 6-7.


Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.