On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., May. 02, 2015 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM CDT Packers' 2015 NFL Draft Party Evolution is located at 233 E. Chicago St., Milwaukee, Wis. Event parking is available in the parking structure next door (225 E. Chicago St.), where full day parking passes will be $10.
  • Sun., May. 03, 2015 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Jared Abbrederis appearance

    Staff Appreciation Week

  • Tue., May. 26, 2015 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM CDT Green Bay Packers Blood Drive

    Green Bay Packers Blood Drive

    Sponsor code – Packers

  • Sun., May. 31, 2015 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM CDT Packers Coaching School

    The Green Bay Packers are set to host the team’s second annual “Green Bay Packers Coaching School” at Lambeau Field on Sunday, May 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    The complimentary coaching school has a curriculum exclusively designed for youth football coaches, and can accommodate a maximum of 300 coaches. The event will feature innovative classroom sessions in the Lambeau Field Atrium, as well as on-field football instruction from top local high school and youth football coaches in the Don Hutson Center.

  • Sat., Jun. 06, 2015 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM CDT Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic The 18th annual Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic is set for Saturday, June 6, inside the Don Hutson Center, the Packers’ indoor practice facility.
  • Sat., Jun. 20, 2015 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM CDT Jared Abbrederis appearance 11th Annual Youth Football Golf Outing

News

Print
RSS

Casey Hayward, Sam Shields trigger Packers' rise on defense

Posted Dec 21, 2012

Dom Capers' confidence grows as young defenders score more wins than losses

GREEN BAY—On the day last spring when Charles Woodson was “officially” moved to safety, the cornerback position “officially” became the pivot point of the Packers defense. Any chance Dom Capers’ unit had of improving depended on a young player emerging at cornerback.

“If you don’t have corners that can cover, you’re going to be playing a lot of ‘cover two.’ How much you do is going to be based on how well you cover,” Capers said on Friday, as he put the finishing touches to his unit’s preparation for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.

As the postseason nears, Capers’ defense is growing in scheme and is shooting up the rankings. A defense that was dead last in the league overall and the same in pass defense and in sacks per pass play last season is now 14th, 16th and sixth respectively.

How did it happen so quickly? You could certainly make a case for the emergence of rookie cornerback Casey Hayward and the re-emergence of third-year corner Sam Shields as being the catalysts to the defense’s rise.

Hayward leads the team with six interceptions and Shields is tied with cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Morgan Burnett with two picks each. Shields’ improved tackling is the real story, however, because it allows Capers to keep Shields on the field and not worry about teams running at him.

“I think we have the fewest missed tackles of any team in the league,” Cornerbacks Coach Joe Whitt said. “Sam Shields is the one I’m most pleased with. His physicality has totally changed. He was challenged in that area.”

Hayward is a strong candidate to win league rookie of the year honors. He’s been more than a contributor, he’s been a star, a player who has made game-winning types of plays.

“He does not miss assignments. He does not give up plays. I think he’s as good as any rookie playing,” Whitt said of Hayward.

With Williams playing at his expected high level at the other cornerback position, and with second-year man Davon House also an ascending player, it would appear the Packers are set at the position for a long time. More to the point, cornerback gives the Packers the look of a defense playing at peak performance heading into the postseason.

“One of the critical things is the kind of momentum you carry into the playoffs. How we play the next two weeks is critical. You want to be ascending going into the playoffs. You want to be playing your best football now in December,” Capers said.

Is the Packers defense playing its best football?

“I think so. We played our most complete game on Sunday. That’s how you gain confidence, being able to go out and do it on the field,” Capers said. “I grade every play as a win or a loss. My confidence is greatly increased when we have more wins than losses.”

The Packers defense will attempt to continue that trend two more times before the postseason begins.

Additional coverage - Dec. 21
 
blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Prospect Primer: DT Christian Covington, Rice

    (2:23) Posted 8 hours ago

    Packers.com presents 'Prospect Primer,' a video look at an assortment of draft-eligible players who attended the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Rice DT Christian Covington had four sacks among 11 ½ tackles for loss as a first-team All-Conference USA selection in 2013, his last full season after a knee injury cost him most of 2014.

  • Prospect Primer: C B.J. Finney, Kansas State

    (2:10) Posted 8 hours ago

    Packers.com presents 'Prospect Primer,' a video look at an assortment of draft-eligible players who attended the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Kansas State C B.J. Finney started 52 consecutive games in college, the last 51 at center, and was voted a team captain three times.

  • Prospect Primer: TE Blake Bell, Oklahoma

    (1:45) Posted Apr 24, 2015

    Packers.com presents 'Prospect Primer,' a video look at an assortment of draft-eligible players who attended the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Oklahoma TE Blake Bell played just one season at tight end after converting from quarterback, catching 16 passes for 214 yards and four touchdowns.