Coordinators: Turnovers will come, Scott Tolzien will improve
Defensive backs are in position for takeaways, now they have to actually make the plays.
By PAUL IMIGFS Wisconsin
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After the Green Bay Packers lost their second consecutive game and fell to ninth place in the NFC standings, the team’s three coordinators discussed some of the current problems.
Here are three question-and-answer highlights from each coordinator:
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOM CAPERS
1. What has gone wrong with your defense this season in the fourth quarter?
CAPERS: “We’ve certainly tried to address it. I can just tell you this: In the last two weeks, we’ve had third-down situations -- third-and-9 a week ago and third-and-8 (Sunday) -- and we missed tackles on both those situations. You come down, you’ve got to make those plays. If you’ve got legitimate shots to get a guy on the ground, you’ve got to get him on the ground. And we haven’t done it. You let them lined up again, get three or four more shots, that’s a lot of time off the clock.”
2. It all comes back to you as defensive coordinator when there aren’t a lot of turnovers forced, but shouldn’t Tramon Williams have had at least one -- or maybe two -- interceptions?
CAPERS: “You guys have asked me a lot about taking the ball away, and my feeling is, you’ve just got to keep having guys in position and sooner or later we’ll start making those plays. It’s not like -- I’ve certainly been through it before -- where we’ve had balls in our hands and dropped them and that type of thing. And as I studied the Eagles, the teams that had beaten the Eagles had normally come away with three or more takeaways. When you look at us there late in the game when Mike Daniels and Tramon came through and sacked the quarterback, got the ball out and got the ball at the 13-yard line. Those are the kind of plays you want to make. Those are game-changing plays. We certainly had an opportunity on the first-down pass. The ball was batted in the air and unfortunately they came down with it, and then the one that you mentioned. If we make those, we have the three takeaways and it has a big impact on the game. We just have to keep working. I think we’re getting decent pressure on the quarterback. We had three sacks (Sunday). I think you saw Datone Jones come up with his first two. I thought Datone took a step in the right direction. We had a lot of moving parts. Obviously, Casey (Hayward) went down during the course of the game. As you’re moving people around, hopefully you can get a little rhythm and those plays will start going your way. That’s what my hopes are.”
3. Where’s the disconnect between the skill of the players in the secondary and the production of the players in the secondary?
CAPERS: “Well, every week is a new and different week. The quarterback last week, he played very well. We had a lot of respect for (Nick) Foles going in. The guy had thrown for seven touchdowns the week before, so we knew watching the tape what he was capable of. You just have to keep working. Again, it has to be a combination of pressure and coverage and I thought the first sacks were really coverage sacks because he didn’t have any place to go with the ball and he had to hold the ball, so we were able to sack him with good coverage there. Again, it comes down to technique and making sure you have plenty of depth and you can break forward on things and keep vision on the ball.”
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR SHAWN SLOCUM
1, a. What happened on the punt in which it initially appeared to be a Packers touchdown but was called back to the 16-yard line with the Eagles getting the ball?
SLOCUM: “The one thing I might want to consider is calling that something other than an ‘illegal touch’ because we have the option to touch the ball and down it. The ball hit Micah (Hyde) in the right upper arm and continued down the field. Micah made a play to keep it off the goal line at the 1, he knocked it back. Once we touch the ball as the covering team, it’s still considered a live kick as though it had not been touched at all and the return team has the option to go try to advance the ball. Then they get to either take the result of that advance or take it from where it was first touched, and that’s the way the rule is. That’s why the ball ultimately came back to the 16-yard line.”
1, b. So then the worst-case scenario for Philadelphia on that play was getting the ball at the 16-yard line?
SLOCUM: “It becomes the option of the return team to either take the result of the play -- the ultimate result -- or take it where it was first touched. So, obviously, they’re not going to take the result of the play -- because that would be a touchdown -- so they take it where it was first touched, so it’s now at the 16-yard line.”
2. What happened on Mason Crosby’s two missed field goals?
SLOCUM: “The 53-yarder, I thought he put a poor swing on it. The 42-yarder, he put a good swing on it and just misjudged the wind. The rest of his kicks were good.”
3. Why did you change back to Crosby on kickoffs after Tim Masthay started the season in that role?
SLOCUM: “Tim’s still ready to go. I thought over the last three weeks that Mason’s ability to place the ball on the kickoffs is something we needed. I think he’s done a great job of it and that’s the way we’ve gone with it.”
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TOM CLEMENTS
1. What are the hurdles and challenges of preparing Scott Tolzien this week to be the starter?
CLEMENTS: “I don’t think there’s a major hurdle. He’s a diligent guy. Getting the reps, I hope to see improvement in the performance, although, as I said, he performed well under the circumstances. Not just his first time playing, but we had our starting center go out and T.J., who hadn’t practiced all week, had to play a different position and Marshall (Newhouse) went in. Donnie (Barclay) moved to a different position. The line adjusted well. Everyone is to be commended for what they did under the circumstances.”
2. How did Aaron Rodgers help Tolzien during the game?
CLEMENTS: “He was just helping Scott out on what he saw out there. Over on the sideline, you talk about specific plays and maybe what to look for and what to do, technique. Like I said, this is the first time Scott has run these (plays) himself. He’s seen them run and watched them on film. Maybe he thought about it in his mind but he hadn’t actually done it. Aaron was helpful in that regard.”
3. Are you concerned about Eddie Lacy’s workload with so many carries?
CLEMENTS: “He’s handled it well. I think his highest has been 29 carries. The last couple games he’s been low-to-mid 20’s. That’s what we said going into it. We’d like to keep him around that level. So we’ll assess his carries as the year goes on and if we need to adjust, we will.”