Tom Clements says avoiding Sherman wasn't by design

Substitution issues troubled Packers on defense


GREEN BAY—Packers Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements said not throwing in Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman's direction in last Thursday's season opener wasn't the result of design.

"You have a progression. It just played out that way. It wasn't by design not to throw at him. It's the way the plays unfolded," Clements said.

Star wide receiver Jordy Nelson was lined up on the side opposite Sherman, which meant Nelson spent the entire game in competition against cornerback Byron Maxwell.

"That was by design," Clements said.

Asked if the Packers have used the jet sweep the Seahawks' Percy Harvin ran with success against the Packers, Clements said: "We haven't done that."

Clements made his comments to reporters on Monday in the traditional game review session with media. In this case, the Packers' coordinators had four days to evaluate the most recent game, a 36-16 loss to the Seahawks.

Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers spoke mainly of missed tackles and opportunities, and of a run defense that didn't always execute its scheme.

"The missed tackles has to improve. You're got to be able to get people on the ground. It affected our gap fits, our leverage against the run, and that influenced third downs," Capers said. "Any time you have eight third-and-fives or less, that's not in your favor."

In other words, the Packers lost the early downs to a Seahawks rushing attack that pounded out 207 yards. Many of those yards came after first and second contact.

"You have to be at your best when you're going against physical runners. We felt good about our tackling in the preseason and it just didn't show up," Capers said.

The Packers' defensive boss prepared a multiple-looks strategy that employed a lot of four-man fronts in the first half of Thursday's game. The Packers experienced substitution problems trying to match up against the Seahawks, and that caused Capers to dial back his strategies in the second half.

"We played a lot more of it in the first half," Capers said when asked to comment on the performance of his four-man fronts. "One of the reasons we didn't play a lot of it in the second half was because of the substitution issues we had in the first half. It made us late a couple of times.

"It has to happen fast," he added of the substitutions the Packers need to execute to use the multiple-personnel packages Capers has designed for this season. Those packages were withheld in the preseason, of course, to avoid giving opponents a chance to prepare for them.

Stopping the run is Job 1 for the Packers defense this week against a Jets team that posted 212 yards rushing in its win over the Raiders on Sunday.

What are the fundamentals for stopping the run, Capers was asked?

"You've got to be able to play box, play your gap and fit the run. It becomes assignment football and it has to be able to fit like a glove," he said.

"Everybody is disappointed with the opener."

Additional coverage - Sept. 8

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