GREEN BAY—Dom Capers spoke of his unit’s positives, including six three-and-out series, two momentum-changing interceptions by safety Morgan Burnett, and having caused quarterback Christian Ponder to suffer a 41.9 passer rating. Spoiling the glow of all of that were three long runs by Adrian Peterson.
“If you take those three plays out, I like the way we played,” the Packers defensive coordinator said, referring to runs of 82, 48 and 23 yards by Peterson, who totaled 210 yards rushing and a 10-yards-per-carry average in the Vikings’ 23-14 loss to the Packers on Sunday.
Taking those three plays out of the game would’ve reduced the Vikings’ yards gained to 206, but it’s the missed tackles that allowed those three big gains by Peterson that is of greatest concern. This is not the time of the season for missed tackles, especially with a rematch with Peterson set for the final day of the season.
“There were an awful lot of positives. We just have to get the tackling cleaned up,” Capers said.
On only the third Monday of the season that the Packers have enjoyed a share of the NFC North lead, the Packers’ three coordinators spoke mainly of positive performances by their units.
“I think it was a positive result for all of the work he’s put into getting himself right,” Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum said of kicker Mason Crosby, for whom it’s hoped a personal slump ended on Sunday when Crosby rewarded Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s faith and booted a 47-yard field goal in the third quarter that cut the Vikings’ lead to a point and seemed to give the Packers and the crowd an emotional lift.
“We need him to make field goals. That 47-yard field goal was very important,” Slocum said.
Other than for Crosby’s slump, which included a short kick that hit the left upright and cleared the crossbar early in yesterday’s win, and a miss from 53 yards on the final play of the first half, Slocum’s units have been consistently strong performers this season. He’s looking for a return to its big-play ways of early in the season.
“We need to get back to making some impact plays,” he said.
Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements got an 18-play, 11-minute field goal drive out of his unit late in yesterday’s game, and Clements had several positives he could cite, including 435 total net yards, 152 yards rushing, 22 first downs, nine of 16 in third-down conversions and a whopping 17-minute time of possession advantage, but Clements also spoke of wanting more scoring.
“We haven’t done as well in the red zone. We’d like to finish it off and get more points,” Clements said.
One of the big positives in yesterday’s win was the play of rookie offensive tackle Don Barclay (pictured), who replaced T.J. Lang in the second quarter after Lang sustained an ankle injury.
“He did a good job. It wasn’t perfect but he’s a battler. We structured things to help him at times. He blocked very well in the run. Mike (McCarthy) called the game he would normally call,” Clements said of Barclay.
It’s also a positive that Greg Jennings made a triumphant return from surgery and played 51 plays, the result of filling in for Jordy Nelson after he left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury.
“He played probably twice as much as we wanted him to. We’re happy for the way he played,” Clements said of Jennings.
The Packers offense is 16th in the league overall, 20th in rushing and 11th in passing. The defense is 15th, 16th against the run and 17th against the pass. Additional coverage - Dec. 3