Defending the run is not a new challenge for the Packers defense, but it is receiving a lot of attention following their 34-20 defeat to Detroit. Green Bay’s defense had allowed 150 yards or more on the rush in nine games since the start of last season. A pattern that did not change versus Detroit.
The Lions ran for 211 yards throughout the game. It was the second such effort by a Packers opponent in three weeks, following the Falcons’ rushing for the same amount of yards in Atlanta. Following the recent setback, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur stated that something needed to change.
“It’s insane to do the same things over and over,” he says, channeling his inner Albert Einstein. Before speaking with the media on Monday, defensive coordinator Joe Barry reviewed all 42 run plays from the Lions’ loss. However, finding a solution is not as straightforward as it appears.
“It’s not one thing. It’s one thing on this play, it’s another thing on this play. Then you have 30 runs that you play really well. When you’re in one of those games, we have to put our foot down and stop it,” said Joe Barry. After contact, Lions running back David Montgomery did the majority of his damage against the Green Bay defense. According to NextGen Stats, he rushed for 113 yards after first contact.
LaFleur stated that their problems can be solved schematically and that they have the players in the locker room to turn things around. Barry, his third-year coordinator, is under pressure to find a method to do this.
“Personnel groups, we have different fronts. We have different coverages. We absolutely can do that. We don’t just sit back and play split safety shell every snap,” said Barry.
“When you’re in a game like that you’ve got to be able to have an answer. It’s my job to give our players an answer, and we will moving forward.”
On Monday night, the Packers’ defense will face the reigning running champion, Josh Jacobs, and the Las Vegas Raiders. Jacobs just had his greatest game of the season, both on the ground and in the air, with 25 touches for 139 all-purpose yards and a score.