Defense may take years to rebuild

I guess if there is one thing the Packers can take from yesterday’s loss to the New York is that the Giants are an example of what the Packers hope to do now that they are no longer champions. The Giants won the Super Bowl after the 2007 season then fell off the map. They did make the playoffs the following year but like the Packers lost in the divisional round. Rebuilding followed.

The Giants were able to get back to doorstep of the Super Bowl in just four years. The Packers may need more time than that to get back. The Giants had better core players and just as many on defense as on offense. The Packers are woefully offensive heavy on their core players – Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Brian Bulaga, Scott Wells, Jordy Nelson and maybe guys like James Jones and Reggie Cobb. On defense they have Clay Mathews and nobody else.

Charles Woodson is well past his prime, can’t cover at all anymore and now can’t get home on blitzes. Tramon Williams went from serviceable to replaceable in one year. The linebacking core is a mess, the Packers shouldn’t be playing a 3-4 defense with that crew. The defensive line couldn’t fight its way out of a wet paper sack.

Barring a change of coordinators and schemes it seems unlikely the Packers can improve the personnel in one offseason, especially considering general managers Ted Thompson’s disdain for free agency. Moving Woodson to safety might help but probably should have been done this year when Nick Collins got hurt. Certainly defense will be the focus of the upcoming NFL Draft.

Just to touch on the offense I think head coach Mike McCarthy relies too heavily on the passing game which severely handicaps the team in games like yesterday when the Giants stifled the Packers’ air attack. You simply have to be able to run the ball in this league to be successful. And that doesn’t mean breaking a long one here and there, it means controlling the clock and slowing the pass rush. Just think how good Aaron Rodgers would be with a running game and more time to pass.

Thompson always says if you’re not getting better your’re getting worse. After seeing his team get worse for a year it will be interesting to see how he handles it. I don’t think there will be any major coaching changes unless Joe Philbin gets a head coaching job somewhere, which I hope he does. After the tragedy here it would be a good time to get a fresh start. Dom Capers will more than likely return barring the same scenario, which one would thing would be unlikely following the Packers poor play this year.

I also hope McCarthy takes his self-scouting serious as it was his play-calling in both losses this year that was highly questionable and a big part of why the team lost. I don’t know what was going on yesterday with all the Harry High-school stuff. Why the Packers didn’t just run their normal stuff is beyond me. Vince Lombardi told you we were going to run and they still couldn’t stop it. The Packers’ offense for 21 of the last 23 games was like that. When you try and get too cute you end up shooting yourself in the foot.

Well, as my Pops always says – “this too, shall pass.” Yeah, it will. But opening day can’t get here soon enough. I hope it’s in East Rutherford on Sept. 6.

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