Read here for an article on the Packers’ secondary. I disagree with one statement in this article by Kurt Shottenheimer: “It’s all a combination of the pass rush, the linebackers and the defensive backs, all playing with the right techniques and the right leverages.”
Not true. A few of you (Ace, I believe DaveK, Brother Steve, others) have astutely observed that the Packers’ secondary has been dominating with very little help from the other parts of the defense. The Packers rank 22nd in sacks (with 16 – leader Pittsburgh has 34) and my guess is that they are similarly down the list in pressures and knockdowns. The D-Line has not been pressuring QBs well this year and opposing QBs appear to have plenty of time to complete passes. Packer linebackers have been below average overall, though I will allow for the possibility that the pass coverage piece from the LBs may be a bit better this year. I will also allow for the possibility we may be blitzing less and keeping 8 in the box less and that this may be helping with coverage (and possibly hurting our run defense).
But again, the thing that impresses me about this secondary is that it appears they are defending the pass incredibly effectively on their own. No secondary in the NFL, right now, is better than the Pack. Stats back this up big-time:
- Leading in passes defensed with 72 (Woodson #2 here and Collins #9 here)
- Leading in interceptions with 16 (Collins and Woodson lead the NFL in picks with 5 each)
- Leading in interceptions returned for TDs with 6 (3 more than anyone else)
- Leading in return yards after interceptions with 533 (2nd place? NYJ at 246)
- Leading in longest return for a TD at 99
This secondary, as the article points out, has done this in the face of some injuries to important players. If the Packers can get some wins, I think Charles Woodson should be a candidate for MVP this year – and I’m not kidding. His interceptions and TDs are huge yes, but his passes defensed and important down-field tackles separate him from most CBs in the NFL. (Antoine Winfield doesn’t have the game-changing interception talent Woodson does – probably only rookie CB from Tenn Cortland Finnegan is in Woodson’s league right now). Nick Collins should be looking at signing another contract soon the way he’s played this year so far. Tramon Williams has been phenomenal and Harris seems to be back to his old shut-down tricks. And Will Blackmon has been decent in coverage (unreal on special teams).
While this team needs a win badly this week and it sure has had its ups and downs this year, the secondary has been a really nice positive.