Packers look to rediscover big plays in 2012
By Jude Wilbers FOX 11 Sports
~GREEN BAY – Last year the Packers defense led the league in takeaways, and the Packers offense routinely had long-scoring touchdowns. This year, those explosive plays have been in short supply.
Through four games the defense has four interceptions, all against Chicago, and hasn’t recovered a fumble yet, something that doesn’t sit well with the defensive players.
When asked whether opponents’ schemes had led to the lack of turnovers B.J. Raji said the fault lies within the defensive huddle.
“That’s on us,” said Raji. “You know especially with how the coaches stress turnovers and ball security. We’re obviously not doing a good enough job in that category.”
Rookie teammate Jerel Worthy agreed with as much as the team talks about takeaways the unit must be better.
“It has to be a point of emphasis,” said Worthy. “Any time you get two or three guys on the ball somebody’s got to be stripping at the ball. We’re a team that thrives on turnovers so we have to be big at those.”
The defense has also had its share of missed opportunities, like last Sunday when Tramon Williams and Morgan Burnett collided, likely costing the team an interception.
Williams addressed the issue after the game and said he wants to see his team remain aggressive.
“I would rather have two guys that are going for the ball rather than look at each other and have it fall between us,” he said.
“You don’t want to go out there guessing trying to force it to get interceptions”, said Burnett. “You need to trust your defense and if you’re in the right spot the interceptions will come.”
The 2011 Packers offense was defined by the big play, so far this year’s unit hasn’t been lacking but Aaron Rodgers says that’s something the unit has to deal with for now.
“We’re going to continue to take what the defense gives us,” said Rodgers.
Opposing defenses have made it a point of emphasis to take away according to Rodgers.
“If that’s a lot of umbrella coverages we’re going to have to take it the distance that’s what some teams are going to try and make us do,” Rodgers said.
“We’re just running what’s called and trying to make something happen with what’s there,” added wide receiver Jordy Nelson. “I think we kind of showed that last week with just running our basic stuff and winning the one-on-one battles.”
After four weeks of the regular season, punter Tim Masthay still owns the team’s longest touchdown pass of the season.
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