Packers' McCarthy won't make big changes with porous defense
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) As the yards and points allowed add up at a huge rate, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is staying the course.
McCarthy reiterated Monday what he said after the Packers' latest crushing loss the previous night: now is not the time to make any drastic changes, especially with a defense that is low on manpower and high on allowing big plays.
''There's no reinventing the wheel,'' McCarthy asserted. ''We've talked about this since the day I arrived here. We have a system of football – offense, defense and special teams – that accommodates any football player on our roster. If we've got to reinvent the wheel in Week 11 or Week 12, we haven't set our plan the right way for the season.''
There's not much time left for the Packers to get the season turned back in the right direction after host Washington pummeled them 42-24 on Sunday night.
The Packers are in the throes of their first four-game losing streak since late in the 2008 season, the last time they didn't make the playoffs. At 4-6, they are two games behind NFC North front-runners Detroit and Minnesota.
Most troubling for Green Bay is opponents have figured out the clear way to beat the Packers is to go deep against the porous back end of their defense.
Kirk Cousins exploited a short-handed secondary that thinned out even more during the game by throwing for 375 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers allowed 515 yards, a season high, and 40-plus points for the second straight week after giving up 47 in a 22-point loss at Tennessee.
''You can't win ballgames giving up that many points, no matter who's on offense,'' defensive back Micah Hyde lamented after Sunday's game. ''Our offense can score a lot of points and move the ball, do what they do, but if we give up that many points, we're not going to win any games. And we've seen that the last couple of weeks.''
The hemorrhaging with the defense has been going on for nearly a month. Green Bay has given up 30 or more points in each game during the skid, its longest such streak of allowing so many points in a game since 1953. The 153 points allowed are the most by the Packers in a four-game stretch since the 1951 team gave up 156 its final four weeks.
The Green Bay defense has been responsible for all but seven of those points in the last four contests, during which the opposition has averaged more than 420 yards per game and thrown for nearly 1,250 yards and 12 touchdowns.
To the chagrin of McCarthy, the Packers have forced only two turnovers in those games. They've had zero the last two weeks.
''The biggest hole in our football team is our turnover ratio,'' said McCarthy, whose club is minus-6 in turnover margin. ''I've been talking about it all year. We're not taking care of the football, we're not taking the football away. Until that changes, we're going to be fighting uphill.''
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers simply said, ''No excuses,'' on Monday even as the injuries mounted for the defense.
Already playing without top cornerbacks Sam Shields and Damarious Randall, the Packers lost replacement starter Demetri Goodson to what McCarthy termed a significant knee injury in the first half Sunday.
Green Bay later had starting rookie linebacker Blake Martinez (knee) and contributing rookie safety Kentrell Brice (neck) leave the game as the Redskins pulled away in the second half with touchdown passes of 44 and 70 yards and a few other big plays.
''That's when kind of all hell broke loose,'' Capers said.
McCarthy said Randall is getting closer to returning to action, perhaps by next Monday night, when the Packers end their three-game road swing against the Philadelphia Eagles.
''I think what happened (Sunday) is very correctable, and we've got to go back to work and correct it because we know we've got to go to Philly and find a way to win a game,'' Capers said.
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