Packers’ run defence eager for redemption after playoff loss

Packers defensive co-ordinator Mike Pettine believes his team’s run defence is much better than its last showing.

And he expects the team to prove that this fall.

“When things are right, when things are clicking for us and guys have a good understanding of what they’re doing, we can stop the run as well as anybody else,” Pettine said Friday during a media Zoom session.

Green Bay hasn’t made many off-season changes to a defence that got run over by the San Francisco 49ers in last year’s NFC championship game. The Packers’ Super Bowl hopes disintegrated with a 37-20 loss in which Raheem Mostert ran for 220 yards and Green Bay gave up 285 yards rushing overall.

Pettine called it “beyond disappointing” and said it has made the run defence a point of emphasis during this unusual off-season, as teams try to improve themselves while being scattered across the country because of the pandemic.

“It’s tough to realize that we played our worst game at the worst time, but at the same point, we own it,” Pettine said. “We’re not running away from it. We went through it in detail with the staff. We talked to the players about it. There’s no excuses being offered. We just weren’t good enough in every aspect, whether it was scheme, effort, energy, technique. The key thing is to learn from it so it doesn’t happen again.’’

Since then, the Packers lost their leading tackler from each of the last three seasons when linebacker Blake Martinez signed with the New York Giants. The signing of Christian Kirksey could help the Packers make up for the loss of Martinez, though injuries caused the former Cleveland Browns linebacker to play just two games last season and seven games in 2018.

The only draft picks Green Bay used on defence were for Minnesota linebacker Jamal Martin in the fifth round and TCU safety Vernon Scott and Miami defensive end Jonathan Garvin in the seventh round. This marked the first time since 1985 that the Packers had waited until the fifth round to draft a defensive player.

Even so, Pettine remains confident the Packers have what it takes to stop the run. Green Bay ranked 23rd in the NFL in run defence last year and gave up 112.2 yards rushing a game and 4.7 yards a carry during the regular season.

“We’re not going to all of a sudden jump into a mode where (we say), ‘Hey, we’ve got to stack the line of scrimmage, we’ve got to stop teams from running,’ “ Pettine said. “The formula of the defence we played last year, we won 14 games. That’s a really good thing. So we’re not going to junk our approach over the last game. But we also know we’d be fools to ignore it.”

They certainly didn’t ignore it. Pettine said the Packers often break down plays that went wrong and try to figure out whether scheme, technique or personnel was to blame. He believes the Packers learned from what went wrong in the NFC championship game.

He wants to make sure that loss doesn’t carry into this season.

“We’re not going to let it be the dark cloud that hangs over us and let that define us,” Pettine said. “We have a confident group and they know that when they execute properly and they’re playing with the right leverage and energy and focus and technique — and all that stuff has to mesh together — they know when it’s done the right way, that it works and it’s effective. We need to raise our level of consistency, but at the same time, we’re not going to overreact to it.’’

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

OTTAWA — The federal government must do more to help provinces prepare… Continue reading

Woman reported missing in Red Deer

Red Deer RCMP seek public’s assistance

Scientist admits Sweden could have battled virus better

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s chief epidemiologist showed contrition Wednesday as criticism mounted over… Continue reading

Defence Department accused of using pandemic to withhold info from Parliament

OTTAWA — The Department of National Defence stands accused of trying to… Continue reading

Solidarity together: Central Albertans protest in Red Deer against racism

There’s no such thing as a little bit of racism. Even one… Continue reading

Former Canadian university defenceman Kodie Curran signs with Anaheim Ducks

CALGARY — Kodie Curran took an unorthodox route to an NHL contract.… Continue reading

Creator fires ‘Law & Order’ spin-off writer for online posts

LOS ANGELES — A TV writer who has worked on “S.W.A.T.” and… Continue reading

Nunavut RCMP order probe after video shows suspect hit by police vehicle door

Nunavut RCMP order probe after video shows suspect hit by police vehicle door

Joint federal-provincial inquiry into N.S. mass shooting a good option: top expert

Joint federal-provincial inquiry into N.S. mass shooting a good option: top expert

As U.S. boils over, calls for Canadian justice ring out in House of Commons

As U.S. boils over, calls for Canadian justice ring out in House of Commons

How proceedings in the House of Commons during pandemic differ from normal

How proceedings in the House of Commons during pandemic differ from normal

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Most Read