The Green Bay Packers defense has historically, been very good at forcing turnovers under defensive coordinator Dom Capers. But this season, turnovers have been hard to come by.
You can blame the lack of big plays on injuries to Clay Matthews, Sam Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. But in the NFL, there are no excuses.
Generally, the Packers have been among the league leaders in takeaways, but this season, with just five interceptions and three fumble recoveries, Green Bay currently ranks 19th.
Turnover margin has always been a strong suit of Mike McCarthy’s Packers, a staple in fact. But this season, sitting at minus two for the year, that’s been far from the case.
A lack of turnovers was an obvious factor in Green Bay’s loss to the Falcons Sunday. One turnover by the defense, probably at any point, would have been enough to win the game.
One big play was all that was needed and unfortunately, despite multiple chances, the defense was unable to make it.
Green Bay is short handed right now, but with guys like Julius Peppers, Mike Daniels, Nick Perry, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett, there is still more than enough there to do the job.
Burnett and Clinton-Dix have just one interception and one forced fumble between the two of them and for two players that are supposed to be Pro-Bowl caliber, that’s unacceptable.
But they aren’t the only ones struggling in the secondary. As a team, the Packers do have five picks, but only two of them have come from defensive backs, a staggering number nearly halfway through the season.
Certainly, the return of Randall and Rollings will help. Capers could start being aggressive again, especially when it comes to pressuring the quarterback.
Against the Falcons, he blitzed less than 10 percent of the time an insanely low number compared to his tendencies. And he did so, to protect his backup corners thrust into starting roles.
Matthews healthy return will also be a major factor, even though in five games, he has just three sacks and has zero takeaways.
In truth, the problem is hard to diagnose, but the answer is simple.
The Packers’ defensive studs need to start making more plays. They need to get more turnovers and sacks; they need to give Aaron Rodgers a short field. Coaches can only call plays, they can’t make them.
Certainly, the Packers know they need to improve in this area and it will be interesting to see if soon, Capers throws caution to the wind and gets back to the aggressive style that has served Green Bay so well.
He may be able to wait for reinforcements and he may not.