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Packers defense isn't playing blame game

Wednesday’s practice could indicate whether it will be Bulaga or Sherrod at right tackle


GREEN BAY—The Packers' defensive players don't appear interested in passing the buck. At least Micah Hyde isn't.

The Packers coaches have admitted to communication problems that hurt the defense in terms of getting the right personnel on the field and the right call made during last Thursday's loss in Seattle, but Hyde said on Monday he's not laying the blame anywhere but on the players themselves.

"There's only so much the coaches can do for you," Hyde said. "They can give you some plays to get you in the right position, but at the same time, we have to go out there and play.

"The coaches are trying to take the responsibility for it. But as a player, it's definitely on us to go out there and compete against the other team, no matter what personnel they're in, no matter what defense we're in."

Monday was all about reviewing the film from the Seattle defeat and, as expected, the most frustrating thing to watch for the defense was the most obvious thing.

"It would probably be the tackles," Hyde said. "It's all about effort. It has nothing to do with your smarts of the game or your speed or your intelligence or anything like that. It's all about effort.

"If you want to get a guy on the ground, you can."

The Packers didn't do that well enough, surrendering 207 rushing yards and 398 total yards to the Seahawks. Running back Marshawn Lynch (110 rushing yards) and receiver Percy Harvin (59 receiving yards, 41 rushing) both hit the century mark from scrimmage.

It wasn't the start to 2014 the defense was hoping for after an offseason of new acquisitions and scheme tweaks, followed by a promising preseason.

In prime time, the defense didn't look much different than the unit that has struggled in big games in recent years, but the players aren't simply resigning themselves to more of the same after one game.

"We still feel like we can go out there and compete against anybody," Hyde said. "Yeah, we had a rough day. Coach, I think, said it best. You can't go out there and play a really good team and play your B game. You have to play your A game, and we didn't bring that into Seattle."

On the other side of the ball, whether the offensive line will be at full strength this week isn't yet known. The Packers return to the practice field on Wednesday, and that will provide the first gauge as to right tackle Bryan Bulaga's recovery from a knee strain.

If Bulaga remains out, Derek Sherrod will stay in his place and look to bounce back from two sacks he allowed on back-to-back third-quarter plays, one on fourth-and-5 that stalled a drive just across midfield and another on the next possession that led to a safety.

Sherrod has the support of his linemates. Left guard Josh Sitton said it comes with the territory for offensive linemen that a few bad snaps are going to get singled out.

"Derek probably had his best training camp to date, and we just need him to play like that," Sitton said. "He was playing well in training camp and, honestly, I think he played well (in Seattle), with the exception of a couple plays. They just happen to be the plays everyone's talking about."

Sitton added he sensed Sherrod was regaining his confidence during camp – his first full training camp since his rookie year in 2011 – and he must continue rebuilding it.

"He just needs to go out and have a great week of practice," Sitton said. "For him, it's mental. He's missed a lot of football the last couple years. I don't know exactly what he has to do to get that confidence back, but I think it starts on the practice field. If he can get that confidence, he'll be fine."

Additional coverage - Sept. 8

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