Not only did the Green Bay Packers lose to the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football last week, but the team gave up 211 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 43 carries. Naturally, Packers fans and the media, again, are starting to ask the question: Is this Green Bay defense going to get run all over for another season?
On Monday, Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry stood up at the podium to field questions from the local press corps, including his struggling run defense.
“It’s not one thing that you can pinpoint,” said Barry. “It’s one thing on this play. It’s another thing on this play and then there’s 30 runs that you play really well. So it’s a number of things, but we gotta correct it. We will correct it. We’re exploring everything right now. When we’re in one of those games, we have to put our foot down and stop it.”
On Friday, head coach Matt LaFleur claimed that, after watching the tape of the game, he believed that the Packers’ defensive woes could be solved with schematics. Judging by Barry’s responses to questions today, the defensive coordinator seems to believe that the true failure of the defense comes down to the details and assignments not being executed.
At one point, Barry even mentioned that the team doesn’t just sit back in a split safety shell all game. Based on a conversation we had with Next Gen Stats’ Keegan Abdoo, that is a true statement — as the Packers play about a league-average amount of split-safety looks and actually run among the highest rate of Cover 3 looks in the NFL. Cover 3 is a middle-of-the-field closed coverage with a single post safety that allows the non-post safety to play in shallow coverage or in the box.
If there’s any good news about Green Bay’s run defense, it’s that the Packers have an easy draw this week on Monday Night Football. Their opponent, the Las Vegas Raiders, currently ranks 30th in the NFL in expected points on the ground. On the season, the Raiders have averaged just 3.0 yards per carry — tied for the worst mark in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.