The Packers' assistants faced tough questions on all fronts Monday.
By PAUL IMIGFS Wisconsin
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Less than 24 hours following the beatdown that the New York Giants handed to the
Packers, defensive coordinator Dom Capers, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum and offensive coordinator Tom Clements addressed specific issues from the 38-10 loss.
Three question-and-answer highlights from each coordinator:
DOM CAPERS, defensive coordinator
1. What was the reason behind cornerback Casey Hayward not playing many snaps?
CAPERS: Obviously, with (Hayward's) playmaking ability, we'd like to keep him involved. It was a different game last night because we weren't in sub (packages) as much as we have been as of late. You go back to the Lions game, he played sub every down. They were in a lot more two-back personnel, whether it be one tight end and two wide receivers or two tight ends and one wide receiver, so that put us into more of our okie (3-4 defense) personnel. We kind of liked the matchup we had in terms of (Davon) House on their bigger receivers. I don't think there's any question we've got to keep Casey involved.
2. How much did all the missed tackles hurt the defense?
CAPERS: Well, it was a factor. I think our tackling has been very good; it wasn't as good last night. I think you saw it on that screen play. We had our opportunities (to make the tackle). I think tackling and leverage to the ball -- whether you're outside-in (or) inside-out. Every scheme has a certain number of people that are outside-in on the ball and inside-out on the ball and a couple of times we lost our leverage. A couple other times, we missed tackles. You saw it influence the game.
3. Was a performance like that a big step back defensively?
CAPERS: Well I think it's a reality check is what it is. I just points out that, I don't care who you are, (or who) you're playing. The Giants are a good team, they struggled the last couple of weeks offensively, but all you had to do is go back and look and see what they did against the 49ers. I watched the ball, and they took that ball against the 49ers and after that game everybody was saying they were the best team in football. Then they struggled the last couple of weeks. That's just the way this league is. You better be ready to play, and you've got to have a way of generating momentum and changing momentum in each and every game. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get that done last night, and it snowballed on us.
SHAWN SLOCUM, special teams coordinator
1. How did Mason Crosby look in his kicking opportunities?
SLOCUM: I thought he kicked the ball well. On the 55-yard field goal attempt, that was our max distance, and, in that game, the situation was the game was tied, we were trying to score points with the wind behind us, a slight wind behind us, a little right to left. He hit a good ball that . . . what I was pleased with was his rhythm and tempo were good. He struck the ball properly, and the wind kind of blew it out of the uprights. It would have been nice to make the kick and then he came back and made the other field goal and extra point. Kicked off well.
2. Why try a 55-yard field goal in a tie game in the first quarter with a struggling kicker?
SLOCUM: I don't think it was a big gamble. I think it was a situation we looked at as an opportunity to score points. In those games like that, scoring points is a premium. We made a decision to do it because Mason is well capable of doing it. He's missed more than we would like from 50 yards this year, but at the same time, we're going to continue to be aggressive the way we play the game.
3. Were there a couple missed opportunities to recover muffed punt returns?
SLOCUM: We had a chance on the 48-yard punt that they muffed. Jarrett Bush made a great play, and he was tied up with a blocker and the ball went on the ground and we were close to recovering it and they got it.
TOM CLEMENTS, offensive coordinator
1. Are extra blockers needed to keep Aaron Rodgers better protected?
CLEMENTS: Well, each plan that we have, we have a seven-man protection, a six-man protection and a five-man protection. And we utilized all of those last night. And we also utilized an eight-man protection at one point. So we just have to try to mix it up and see what we can do to shore it up a little bit.
2. What has been the biggest issue in beating Cover 2 defenses this season?
CLEMENTS: I don't know if you can put your finger on one point. Obviously, a team that plays Cover 2, they're in defend mode. Hopefully what they're trying to do is get a pass rush with their front four. They have five guys underneath and two guys deep. A lot of times, the holes are there underneath, and that's where they're vulnerable. Obviously, down the middle and the side, they try to take that into account as they play those defenses and are hoping that you have to hold the ball a little longer than their rush can impact the timing of the play.
3. Where can you improve in the run game?
CLEMENTS: I think at times last night we ran it pretty well. I thought Alex Green ran well. Unfortunately, we had some gains nullified by holding penalties, which were kind of thin calls really, and that impacted it a little bit. Then, we obviously fell behind by a large margin, and you don't want to abandon the run entirely, but it's hard to really focus on it when you're behind as much as we were.