If there’s one thing that continues to plague the Green Bay Packers’ defense and could tank an otherwise promising season, it’s the gaping hole in the middle of the field.
There are a few theories as to how it has gotten so bad and why it is staying that way.
Is it poor inside linebacker play? Is it the lack of use of someone like Oren Burks who can play a hybrid safety/ILB? Do they really miss Raven Greene?
It could be a combination of any of those factors but the truth is that’s the part of the defense that’s had the most moving parts aside from linebacker Blake Martinez. Safety Adrian Amos has been available but he’s in his first year in the defense. Fellow safety Darnell Savage is a rookie who’s improving by the week but not without some growing pains (and literal pains as he’s been banged up). Ibraheim Campbell has come back but he’s also only getting up to speed.
Those pieces are going to have to click or teams like upcoming opponent San Francisco are going to exploit that weakness over and over again. If the 49ers are without tight end George Kittle on Sunday, that would be a big help to the Packers.
Regardless the middle of the defense is a hole Mike Pettine will have to plug otherwise it threatens to sink what’s been an otherwise promising season in Green Bay.
Here are the rest of today’s cheese curds.
Chunk plays are the Achilles’ heel for the Packers defense and they’ll face a potent test right out of the bye in San Francisco. If ever there was a game to play more Burks, this is the one.
San Francisco’s defense meanwhile will present their own challenges. The pass rush will test the offensive line and their secondary will take away big play opportunities for a quarterback who hungers for them. The Packers offense will have to take what they can get and be patient. Getting frustrated like they did on their last west coast trip will just lead to more trouble.
Green Bay will have to win in San Francisco at some point, says quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They’d just rather do it now than wait until a do-or-die matchup in the playoffs in January.
Kenny Clark returning to disruptive form and David Bakhtiari locking down elite pass rushers will be just two critical factors for the Packers down the final stretch of the season.
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