GREEN BAY—Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers relied less on strategy in Sunday’s 31-24 win over the New York Jets, and the result was a statistical performance Capers said is “what you want collectively.”
After allowing the Jets to take a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter, the Packers defense dominated the remainder of the game. Chris Ivory finished with 3.3 yards per carry and Chris Johnson was held to a mere 1.8. After a fast start, quarterback Geno Smith had to settle for a 64.1 passer rating.
Strategy? Not exactly. Capers said the volume and pace of the Jets’ substitutions caused him to be more conservative with his counter substitutions, to avoid the kind of substitution problems the Packers encountered in Seattle.
“I went ahead and made a call that might not have been a perfect call,” he said.
On one occasion, the Jets substituted themselves into 10 men on the field. It occurred during a play in which Smith pitched a lateral to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who turned the razzle-dazzle option play into a 37-yard gain. Go figure.
“It screwed up our alignment cause our guy was looking for the slot man and he wasn’t there,” Capers said.
The tide turned defensively for the Packers when they begin winning up front and stuffing the Jets’ running game.
“Much better job,” Capers said of the Packers’ performance against the run. “Those are the (stats) you want against a team that ran the ball for over 200 yards the week before. We have to be able to play the whole game like that.”
Capers praised the play of defensive lineman Mike Daniels (one sack, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries), and credited Clay Matthews (one sack, one tackle for loss, two hurries, one pass-defensed), Julius Peppers (one hurry, two passes-defensed) and Mike Neal (one tackle for loss, one hurry) with strong performances.
“Those kinds of hits take an impact on a quarterback,” Capers said of the hit Daniels made on Smith that forced a weak throw and resulted in an interception by Tramon Williams.
Capers also praised the play of cornerback Davon House (two passes-defensed), who appears to have supplanted Casey Hayward as the Packers’ nickel back.
“It’s going to be a week-to-week deal … depending on who has the hot hand. I like the way Davon played yesterday,” Capers said.
“There was a time we always played with a lead. We didn’t have to worry about coming back. It kind of defines what your team is all about when it’s going against you. It can get away from you if you don’t keep your feet on the ground, show your poise and panic,” Capers said.
He also said missed tackles were decreased by 50 percent from the Seattle game.
There was only one criticism of Sunday’s performance: “We’ve got to be able to start faster,” Capers said.
Everything else was reason to feel better, much better.
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