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Defense has Packers fans worried


Tom from Fairborn, OH

Our defense has turned fascinating. It gives up 460 yards but saves the day with three picks and two scores. Coach Capers must have drawn it up this way.

No, that's not the way Dom Capers drew it up. I think we might hear Coach Capers soon use the words "assignment football."

Hayden from Seattle, WA

The biggest weakness of this team is the lack of pass-rush. Agree or disagree?

In yesterday's game, yes, I believe it was the Packers' greatest weakness.

Jesse from Sun Prairie, WI

If someone watching Woodson's postgame interview had no indication of the team record, I don't think they would know he is playing for an 8-0 team. He was truly disheartened about how the defense played.

True leaders demand accountability, and that's what Charles Woodson was doing. I think you're going to see and hear that word, "accountability," being used, too.

Cody from Madison, WI

This season is starting to sound like a broken record. Offense is amazing behind an MVP quarterback. The defense is shaky and giving up tons of yards, but getting the takeaways to seal the deal. Hard to put the other team away, but still undefeated.

What you have just described is the identity of this team through eight games. The defense is both giving up and making a lot of big plays. The offense has been nearly unstoppable, yet, the Packers have found themselves having to hang on late in four of their eight wins. Will that remain the team's identity in the second half of the season? I'd say no. Late in the season, averages on both sides of the ball begin to level. If it doesn't do that on defense, then the Packers will have a problem.

Robert from Harvel, IL

Vic, why did Dom Capers keep sending six- and seven-man blitzes when the Chargers were consistently attacking the void in the middle of the field?

I don't know what the blitz percentage was, but I have no doubt that as the game wore on Coach Capers became desperate for a pass-rush. Philip Rivers isn't an especially mobile quarterback. Yesterday, I saw him make throws that made me wonder about the health of his arm. On one occasion, I saw him flushed from the pocket to his right, and I saw him look right at a receiver wide open in the middle of the field, and I watched Rivers pull the ball down because he knew he didn't have the arm strength to get it to the open guy. That's a flashing sign that says, "Rush me," and I have no doubt Coach Capers saw it. When a guy has arm issues, you wanna make him move his feet, but the Packers didn't do it often enough. It's something that'll have to be resolved.

Brian from Ames, IA

How do the Packers get game tape of their opponents? I've always wondered about this.

The NFL provides for a video exchange system. It mandates specific tolerances for quality and shooting angles and timeliness of delivery. Failure to comply with the system's demands would result in harsh fines.

Cindy from Apple Valley, MN

When is someone going to question Dom Capers about his defensive philosophy? Giving away yards to the opposing offense matters. We nearly lost today.

You wanna question the defensive philosophy of the preeminent defensive coordinator of the last 20 years because of eight games? You wanna question the standards and expertise of a man who took a bad Packers defense and turned it into a championship unit? Do you really mean that or have you just lost control of your emotions?

Zach from Woodstock, IL

You are a firm believer in the philosophy that players win games, not schemes. Then why do you believe the defense will get better simply because Dom Capers doesn't coach bad defenses?

Because I have belief. Try it.

Susie from Allegan, MI

Rodgers was sacked too many times. How can we improve the protection for him?

Block longer, throw quicker. I saw the need for both.

Joey from Marion, KY

Playing for the greatest NFL team alive today must come with a lot of pressure. How do you handle it?

Players and coaches have to turn a deaf ear to their critics, or they'll run the risk of losing confidence in their ability and faith in their pursuit. I cover a team that is 8-0, the only undefeated team in the league, but my inbox this morning was that of an 0-8 team. There was no joy, elation, satisfaction or delight. Those emotions were replaced by angst, anger, exasperation and desperation. This is the reason coaches like to wall up their players against outside forces. There's nothing wrong with fans expressing their emotions; fans drive the popularity of the game and the more passionate they are about their teams, the better it is for the game. The range of emotions that is expressed, however, is something a coach wants his players to avoid. Coaches want their teams to have a very sharp focus and to clear their minds of doubts and distractions, because they cause hesitation. The Packers will go back to work today to fix what needs fixing. That's how a team deals with the pressure to win.

Jesse from Providence, RI

What do you think about the last two calls against Charles Woodson?

I didn't like most of the pass-interference type of calls yesterday. I thought yesterday's officiating crew was hyper-sensitive to any kind of contact between a defensive back and a receiver. I think offense has been favored enough. I think it's time to call off the dogs, so to speak.

Aaron from Sacramento, CA

Why do you think the Chargers running game worked well against the Packers defense?

Nick Hardwick played a strong game on Sunday. He's a real good center and he poked some holes in the Packers front, and Mike Tolbert ran hard. A run-defense that was very stout early in the season has fallen in the rankings in recent weeks. It's a not a dramatic decline but I think it's something else that will be addressed. I think overall, some doubt and indecision has crept into the defense's psyche. Maybe it's time to simplify.

Ray from Bakersfield, CA

That back-shoulder throw Rodgers does with Jennings is amazing and impossible to defend unless the defender is playing trail technique. I was impressed when he pulled it off with Nelson on that TD catch. How many teams have the ability to pull that kind of throw off with more than just their No. 1 receiver?

The throw's the thing. Aaron Rodgers throws the best back-shoulder pass I've ever seen. Whew! It's nice to end on a positive.

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