GREEN BAY – Dom Capers is challenging his defense to redeem itself against Carolina.
“Our play style wasn’t what it had been,” the Packers defensive coordinator said of his defense’s performance in a 29-10 loss in Denver on Sunday night. “We have to take a good look at that. We have a tough opponent on the road this week, with a totally different style of offense. We’ve got to play better against the run.”
The Packers defense allowed 500 yards of offense for the second consecutive game. Against San Diego, however, the Packers defense was stiff in the red zone and it stopped the Chargers’ running game. Neither was true against the Broncos on Sunday night.
“That has such a big influence on every aspect of the game,” Capers said of stopping the run. “We ended up giving up five big runs. To me the biggest culprit of the game was their ability to get big runs, and that allowed them to get into their play-action game.”
Through seven games, the Packers are tied for 26th in the league in run defense. Making the situation critical is the fact the Panthers are No. 1 in rushing.
“We’ve got to come back in here on Wednesday and get back to work. We’ve got to make sure we get back to our play style … against a team with a diverse offense and a quarterback that can do a lot of different things,” Capers said.
“I’m confident we can play good run defense,” he added.
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy expressed disappointment in his team’s playing speed. Capers blamed his defense’s lack of playing speed on a slow start.
“Any time you’re on the road and the team can have success early in the game, it’s a game of momentum and it can affect a team’s playing speed. I thought we had good energy when we started. The next series they had a 16-yard run and then they hit a 30-yard pass. They came back the next series and put another nice drive together,” Capers said. “They hit a number of big pass plays on us. You can’t let them get yardage in big chunks.”
The Packers lost No. 1 cornerback Sam Shields to a shoulder injury early in the game. His availability for the next game won’t begin to be known until the Packers begin preparation on Wednesday and the team divulges practice participation.