Missed tackles doomed Packers' defense vs. Eagles

Matt LaFleur also discusses QBs Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

GREEN BAY – After Sunday night's loss in Philadelphia, Matt LaFleur said the Packers' defense was charted with 15 missed tackles.

After reviewing the film Monday, it was worse than that. The number was over 20, a big reason the Eagles rushed for 363 yards and piled up 500 total yards in their 40-33 triumph.

"That was by far our worst tackling performance that I've seen here," LaFleur said Monday.

It's somewhat mystifying, too, because last year various statistical metrics rated the Packers among the top tackling defenses in the league, and most of the players and coaches returned from that unit.

But something has gone wrong, and while LaFleur reiterated it always starts with him, he wasn't singling out any players or coaches for blame. Asked directly if he's thought about specific changes, such as taking the play-calling away from defensive coordinator Joe Barry, LaFleur said he's not going down that road.

"If I thought there was an issue there then I would certainly, we'd make the change," he said. "But we work as a staff and collectively we're all in this sucker together, and it's never just one person. It's never one person."

The most distressing missed tackles came on various third-and-longs the Eagles had, where they completed passes short of the first-down marker, but missed tackles allowed them to convert, or get close enough to go for it on fourth down.

Philadelphia finished 8-of-15 on third down in the game, and 2-of-3 on fourth down. That's a combined 10-of-18 (56%) in the most crucial moments.

While LaFleur didn't deny there were some schematic issues, he said "most of the instances" the players were in positions to succeed. In other words, the majority of the time the calls gave the players chances for stops and they didn't come through.

"There was a lot of situational ball where we had opportunity where, all you can look at in my opinion is, are people in position to make plays?" LaFleur said. "And if they are, we've got to make those plays. Bottom line."

On the offensive side, there are more tests being done on quarterback Aaron Rodgers' injured ribs, so there's no definitive update on his status. LaFleur said he's feeling better and more will be known in the next couple of days.

If Rodgers is healthy enough to play, he'll play Sunday at Chicago, LaFleur said. Any other discussions about playing time should the 4-8 Packers be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention have not yet taken place.

Meanwhile backup QB Jordan Love's fourth-quarter relief performance looked as impressive on film as it did live in Philly. LaFleur praised Love's "decisiveness" in directing two drives for 10 points, including a 63-yard catch-and-run touchdown to rookie receiver Christian Watson.

Love's efforts, which began with the Packers down by 14 points, allowed the Packers a crack at an onside kick in a one-score game with just over a minute left. Green Bay's defense allowing the Eagles to kill 6:44 on the clock and kick a field goal in between Love's two possessions certainly limited what he might've been able to accomplish.

"How he responded in the moment … the footwork, the rhythm, the timing of it, I thought he did an excellent job," LaFleur said.


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