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#1 Posted : Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:26:37 AM(UTC)
Twelve months ago, the Green Bay Packer defense was like a marathon runner hitting the homestretch with a broken ankle.

The Packers were hemorrhaging points, yards and eventually a season.

Not this season, though.

Green Bay is getting healthy at just the right time. The Packers' gaggle of rookies, who have been force-fed snaps since Day 1 - are no longer rookies.

And by the looks of it, the defense Green Bay will bring to the 2012 postseason party will be much closer to its 2010 BMW than its 2011 jalopy.

"We can be real good," said outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who made a dynamic return to the lineup in Green Bay's 21-13 win over Chicago on Sunday. "We've shown flashes of it.

"We'll just continue to stay the course and have our playmakers continue to come back and help us out. But there's a lot of depth and a lot of young guys making plays. And that's only going to help us out."

Two weeks ago, the Packers welcomed back cornerback Sam Shields and defensive end Mike Neal. Matthews joined the fray Sunday, and all three players were vital in Green Bay's victory that gave it a second straight NFC North title.

Shields, who missed six weeks with shin and ankle injuries, had terrific coverage all day on Bears' No. 2 wideout Alshon Jeffery. Shields held the rookie without a catch, and in addition, drew three straight pass interference calls on Jeffery in the second half as the Bears were trying to rally.

"I can't remember a time, at all, that I've seen that," Packer cornerback Tramon Williams said of Shields getting the hat trick against Jeffery. "It was refreshing. I can't even lie to you. I was more impressed with the referees today than our performance.

"You never see it. You see the situations week in and week out and they show the replay and you're like, 'Man, that's offense.' But they got it right."

Matthews, who missed four games with a hamstring injury, looked like the same player that began the season in the hunt for defensive player of the year honors. Matthews had two sacks, four tackles for loss, one pass defensed, and most importantly, finished the game healthy.

"When Clay Matthews is on the field, we are a different defense," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He is an impact player; he made an impact today. He is clearly one of the best defensive players in the game, and I think that says it all."

Then there's Neal, the man who the Packers believed could adequately replace Cullen Jenkins at the start of 2011. Perhaps Neal will never be that guy, but he's beginning to flash hints of that ability.

Neal, who missed four games earlier this season due to suspension and another with a shoulder injury, had 1½ sacks against Chicago and another tackle for loss. A healthy and disruptive Neal gives coordinator Dom Capers more options and flexibility with his defensive front.

In addition, safety Charles Woodson - out since Oct. 21 with a broken collarbone - figures to return either this week or in the regular-season finale.

link to rest of story

The defense is looking pretty good despite all the injuries.
#2 Posted : Saturday, December 22, 2012 10:05:12 AM(UTC)
Not the topic I thought it would be by the title.

#3 Posted : Saturday, December 22, 2012 2:08:32 PM(UTC)
When this crop of rookies has a full offseason of film study and coaching they will be much better next year and the year after that.

This next draft they have to find a long term replacement for Pickett and Raji back up.

Other than that Ted will always be looking for an upgrade in quality.
#4 Posted : Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:52:37 PM(UTC)
CaliforniaCheez said: Go to Quoted Post
This next draft they have to find a long term replacement for Pickett and Raji back up.

Other than that Ted will always be looking for an upgrade in quality.

That's why I was hoping they would grab Steelers DT/NT Alameda Ta'amu... if he's legal troubles weren't going to put him in jail for a year plus. Seems like a good kid who did something extremely stupid (DUI + run/drive from cops) ... but IF he learns from that and doesn't do it again, he might become a good player in the NFL.

I know the knocks on the kid... he's a NT that doesn't play like one. But that's because in college he wasn't asked to play a true NT style or technique (and nether was Raji for that matter)... it took Raji a couple years but he finally adjusted and figured it out. I figure Ta'amu could do the same.
#5 Posted : Wednesday, December 26, 2012 7:47:22 PM(UTC)
#6 Posted : Sunday, December 30, 2012 10:47:20 AM(UTC)

this has a lot to do with our improved defense
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