GREEN BAY—The Packers defense heads into the bye week coming off its overall worst performance of the season in a 44-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. The team’s run defense will likely be the focus of improvement.
“I’ve seen us play pretty good run defense. I feel like we can. Last night you might question that a little bit,” Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers told reporters on Monday.
The Packers surrendered 193 yards rushing to the Saints, 172 of those yards to Mark Ingram. It allowed the Saints to mix run and pass to dominate the second-half action.
“We played one of the best quarterbacks in the league and didn’t play our best football, and that’s a bad combination,” Capers said.
Drew Brees threw for 311 yards, three touchdowns and a 138.4 passer rating. Included in that production is a 50-yard touchdown pass.
As of Monday, the Packers defense is ranked 22nd overall. The run defense continues to be the defense’s nagging problem. It fell back into the No. 32 spot.
“I know we can make progress. I don’t know that we need to make radical changes,” Capers said.
Capers will use the bye week to self-scout his defense.
“What was good, what wasn’t so good. Where we are from a personnel standpoint. There are parts we can do better and we will get better,” Capers promised.
The pass defense is what’s been good through the first eight games of the season. The Packers are No. 9 in pass defense and No. 3 in interceptions. The failure to win the turnover battle in New Orleans was a strong component in the loss.
“We weren’t able to get the takeaways we had been getting. In the second half, they got the run game going and scored far too many points,” Capers said. “The problem was we weren’t able to control the tempo of the game. We didn’t eliminate the big play. Because of the efficiency of their run game, we didn’t have our ‘dime’ on the field much.
“I’d like to see us dictate down and distance more,” Capers added.
Doing that means stopping the run on first and second downs. The Packers fell far short of that goal against the Saints and will need to improve that part of their game before Matt Forte and the Bears come to Lambeau Field on Nov. 9.
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