Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Green Bay has a very nice offense going for it. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league, bar none, at the current time. He spreads the ball around to about 10 different receivers every game. The offensive line has looked good and James Starks does do some good things on the ground. People are calling them unstoppable, but I think that is not correct. You can hold Green Bay to under 28 points a game even with their offense. But the secret to that is not to overlook their defense.
Many experts write off the defense of the Packers. That is not the way to beat this team. The way to beat the Packers is to overestimate the defense. Make the offense that is going against them realize that the Green Bay defense is the key. Almost every game, the Packers have multiple takeaways and almost every game they have a defensive score or a turnover caused in the red zone of the opponent. I have seen enough Packer games to realize that the defense is looking for momentum shifting plays. The big hit causing a fumble, an interception that leads to a return for touchdown. So far, it has served them well. But if you take a look at ESPN and Fox Sports, they both learned something from last Sunday's Battle of the Bays. How to beat the Packers.
The first thing is a strong running game. The Packers defense is not built to stay on the field for 12+ plays of a drive that chews up yards and time off the clock. LeGarrett Blount and the Bucs proved it last week. When Blount is averaging almost 9 yards a carry, the opponent should realize that the defense isn't primarily playing for the run. But the thing here isn't lining up in a full house backfield and run up the gut. It is spreading out the defense with 3 or 4 wide and then hitting a gap in the defense. The Packers love playing 5 DB's against those formations and also play 4 LBs for most of that time. That leaves 2 DL in the game. If you watch Hawk and Matthews, they love speeding around the tackles for sacks. Use that against them and run between the Guard and Tackle. They aren't that speedy and there are lanes there which can be exploited.
The second thing is to use the short crossing passing game. This is where the majority of your passes need to be with the Packers defense. And I am not talking just one receiver. I am talking 3 receivers. You are able to pass with these routes because there are usually 3 blitzers coming out of the Packer defense. A slight pick on the man to man coverages that the secondary plays could spring the receiver for big gains. Running vertical with their secondary isn't the way to go. They are too good.
The third thing is to control the Special Teams battle. The Packers have good special teams but sometimes can be sloppy. Get in their heads with good and disciplined coverage on kicks and you might get a turnover because of that sloppiness.
Finally, on defense don't give up the big play. When playing the Packers, your defense has to play smart disciplined football. And even though the Packers scored 35 points on Sunday, you could tell by the reactions of their offensive players on the sidelines, they were getting frustrated by the Buccaneers defense. The Bucs played smart defense and did not let up most of the explosive plays that the Packers are used to.
Yes, the Packers were better than the Buccaneers on Sunday. And yes, the Packers are going to the playoffs, while the Buccaneers will only play 16 games this season. However, I will state right now that the first team that does beat the Packers this year, and yes there will be at least one, will do so utilizing some sort of plan based on the Buccaneers performance on Sunday against the Green and Gold.