On Now
Coming Up
  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Packers at Detroit Lions Packers at Detroit Lions
  • Mon., Sep. 22, 2014 4:00 PM - 4:15 PM CDT Live McCarthy press conf. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy will be available to the media on Monday, September 22, in the Lambeau Field media auditorium.
  • Tue., Sep. 23, 2014 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM CDT Humana playground build (morning session)

    Scheduled to appear: Andrew Quarless and Casey Hayward

  • Tue., Sep. 23, 2014 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Humana playground build (afternoon session) Scheduled to appear: Datone Jones and Micah Hyde
  • Sat., Sep. 27, 2014 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT Packers Everywhere pep rally (Chicago)

    Packers fans 21 years and older are invited to bring the spirit of Green Bay to Chicago a day early with a free Packers Everywhere Pep Rally. Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy will take part in the pre-gameday excitement by greeting fans and participating in a Q-and-A session with Wayne Larrivee, the radio voice of the Packers. Packers alumni Mark Chmura and Don Beebe will also be at the rally to socialize with fans, sign autographs and discuss their thoughts on the next day’s game against the Bears. A round-table discussion with Packers.com writers Vic Ketchman, Mike Spofford and the audience will conclude the event.

  • Sun., Sep. 28, 2014 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Packers at Chicago Bears Packers at Chicago Bears



One last look: Takeaways a must on defense for Packers

Posted Sep 14, 2013

Redskins, RG3 didn’t turn ball over much last year

GREEN BAY—When the Packers defense didn’t generate a single turnover against the 49ers last week, it virtually assured Green Bay of defeat.

That’s what the statistics show since Dom Capers brought his ball-hawking defense here in 2009.

Annually among the league leaders in takeaways in Capers’ first few seasons running the defense, the unit on Sunday turned in just its 10th game without a turnover dating back to the start of the ’09 season.

The Packers’ record in those 10 games? 1-9.

Keep in mind that the Packers have lost just 18 regular-season games since the start of ’09, meaning exactly half of those defeats occurred when the defense didn’t get a turnover.

“It’s frustrating, because that’s how our defense is made, to turn the ball over,” veteran defensive lineman Ryan Pickett said. “We live on turnovers, and to not get any, to me, that’s the reason why we lost. We didn’t get the ball. We have to get turnovers on defense. We have to get them this week.”

That’s no easy task against a Washington team that had the fewest giveaways in the NFL last season, with just 14. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III threw only five interceptions last season as a rookie, fewest in the league among full-time starters, though he did begin his return from reconstructive knee surgery with two picks this past Monday night against Philadelphia.

It’s worth mentioning the 49ers as a rule don’t turn it over much, either. Their 16 giveaways last year were tied with several teams (including the Packers) for second fewest in the league. One of the Packers’ other nine non-turnover games under Capers came in the 2012 opener against San Francisco, and the 49ers’ only giveaway in their three meetings with the Packers over the last calendar year was Sam Shields’ pick-six early in January’s playoff tilt.

Of greater concern than the opponent, though, is that turnovers in general have been drying up for Capers’ defense over the past year.

In his first three seasons as defensive coordinator (2009-11), the Packers were blanked in the turnover department just four times, all losses (at Pittsburgh in ’09, at Atlanta and at New England in ’10, at Kansas City in ’11).

Last season alone, however, saw the defense fail to generate a turnover in five contests, including the aforementioned opener vs. the 49ers (also at Seattle, vs. New Orleans, at N.Y. Giants, at Minnesota). The lone victory was a 28-27 squeaker over the Saints in Week 4.

Last Sunday made it six zero-turnover games for the Packers in their last 17 regular-season contests.

“It was very disappointing on defense,” lineman C.J. Wilson said of Week 1. “It’s going to be a big emphasis every day until the finish of the season.”

With Seattle on the 2012 list, it could be argued that M.D. Jennings should have been credited with an interception on the game’s final play, thereby giving the Packers a turnover and a win. But at 1-8 in the other nine takeaway-less games, the Packers are still facing tough odds if the defense doesn’t generate a turnover.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy often preaches that protecting the ball and taking it away are “fundamentals” of the game. Daily practice periods are devoted to it, and have been since McCarthy arrived.

The head coach wasn’t thrilled with the offense’s two giveaways against San Francisco, either, noting the 49ers defense did nothing “extraordinary” as Eddie Lacy fumbled the ball while fighting for extra yards and Jermichael Finley had a pass bounce off his hands and into a defender’s for an interception.

Big picture, it’s the overall plus-minus turnover ratio that matters most, but obviously it’s impossible to come out on the plus side if the defense doesn’t get at least one. In a tight game between two NFC heavyweights like last week’s at Candlestick Park, one takeaway might have been all the Packers’ defense needed to turn the tide.

“Hits on the ball, we didn’t have enough of them, and when we did, the technique wasn’t quite what it needed to be,” McCarthy said.

Indeed, the opportunities were lacking. The 49ers never fumbled, and on Colin Kaepernick’s 39 pass attempts, the Packers were credited with just four break-ups. The Packers have averaged 7.6 passes defensed per game over the past four seasons.

Whether it’s deflecting more passes, anticipating routes better or just plain getting the ball out, the Packers have to do more of it. With two playoff teams from 2012 on the slate the next two Sundays, Green Bay's hopes of avoiding an uphill climb for the bulk of 2013 could depend on it.

“When you’re playing a good team, a playoff team, you have to make the critical plays in a game,” defensive lineman B.J. Raji said. “Sometimes you don’t know when they are, and we just didn’t get the job done last week.”

For a look at the rest of the week's Packers-Redskins headlines, click here.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest News

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Final Thoughts: Packers at Lions

    (3:29) Posted 3 hours ago

    Packers.com's Vic Ketchman and Mike Spofford preview the Green Bay Packers' matchup against the Detroit Lions. Vic and Mike talk about what's at stake, players to watch, and ways the Packers can win.

  • Trailer: Packers open division slate at Lions

    (2:01) Posted 10 hours ago

    After a comeback victory against the Jets in Week 2, the Green Bay Packers face off against their division rivals, the Detroit Lions, at Ford Field in Week 3.

  • Playbook: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

    (2:21) Posted Sep 19, 2014

    NFL Media's Sterling Sharpe thinks the improving chemistry between Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Jordy Nelson is a major key to the team's success.