Rest Easy Packer Fans, Green Bay's Better Half More Than Compensates

Aren DowCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 18: Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers tries to run after intercepting a pass as Jeff Backus #76 of Detroit Lions drags him down at Lambeau Field on October 18, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I have not seen a more dejected group of fans after their team shut out the opponents, 23-0 no less.

But following the Packers-Lions game on Sunday, there were cries of anguish from the Green Bay loyal.  

Complaints ranged from the offensive line giving up five sacks to an inept Lions defensive line and Ryan Grant has continued to under perform compared to his 2007 season. Aaron Rodgers could not muster a touchdown after the first quarter and the penalties continued to plague the offensive line.

Apparently, defense isn't so much a part of the team anymore.

So what if Calvin Johnson wasn't in the game. This is not the same Lions team as last year; Detroit averaged 20.6 points for the first five games. Those five games were against the third, fifth, ninth, 13th, and 18th ranked defenses. Johnson is a freak and is a big part of the offense, but not all of it.

Bringing up the fact Matthew Stafford was not playing is invalid. Despite holding the title of number one overall draft pick, Stafford is a below average quarterback.

What the Green Bay Packer defense did do was stop Detroit at every turn. No, the Lions do not have the most explosive offense, but give the Packers credit for what they accomplished. They went and did their job exactly how they were supposed to do.

Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton are not good quarterbacks. Green Bay reinforced the notion as they forced the quarterbacks to combine for 11/25, 105 yards, and 3 INT. The Packers' defensive front seven complimented the secondary by racking up five sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

Atari Bigby certainly provided a huge impact to the defense. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Bigby's absence meant a more conservative pass rush. It showed, there was no Al Harris yelling at a bewildered Derrick Martin, the quarterback had to move besides when he felt like it, and Bigby even picked up an interception in the red zone.

The defense executed during the game as well. Of the 13 penalties accumulated by Green Bay, only three were on the defense. Surprisingly none were on Harris or Woodson. That may have broke a streak.

It seems Dom Capers utilized the bye week effectively. Fans knew the transition to the 3-4 would take some time, but this defense looked good even just in Week Six.

As I mentioned in a previous article, Clay Matthews is filling a vital part of the defense. Outside linebacker was a question mark before the season, but between Matthews and Kampman is showing signs of becoming effective, it is encouraging.

It also can not be understated how important Cullen Jenkins is to the defense. So far, the Packers have kept relatively healthy. Sunday showed the capability of when the 11 starters are 100 percent.

Last year, our rushing defense killed us. Continually late in games last year, teams moved past defenders at will. This year, the Packers have just cracked the top half of rushing defenses despite playing against some of the better running backs. The secondary has continued their affinity for plucking the ball away, tied for third in the league in interceptions.

I don't know about the rest of my fellow fans, but that makes me pretty damn happy.

All in all, last Sunday the defense looked good. Really good.

Good enough to carry a team by themselves.

The offensive line is a complete mess, but if the defense plays the way they played against Detroit, they have time to clean up the offensive line woes. 

So be patient Packer fans, there is a rock this team can lean on while fixing the leaks.