By standard statistical measures, the defense of the Green Bay Packers had its struggles last year.
Green Bay finished 22nd in overall defense, 21st in points allowed and were 31st against the pass as injuries to the secondary led to opponents finding room to move the football. The Packers did finish as the eighth best run defense in the league allowing just 94.7 yards per game on the ground.
But despite some of the obvious issues the Packers had, defensive tackle Mike Daniels feels the unit played quite well given the circumstances.
“Here’s the deal — I’d like to see anybody take a bunch of rookies and put them on the defensive line and at inside linebacker and have the No. 8 run defense in the NFL. And if you take away two plays, we’re the No. 2 run defense,” Daniels said on Total Access on NFL Network.
“Then, look at — OK, we had a lot of young guys on the back-end. On top of them being young guys, they were hurt. One guy had a hernia surgery in season and continued to play (Damarious Randall). Still No. 6 in sacks. So for us to have had the success we had, still make it to the NFC Championship game with as banged up as we were on the back-end, I think we did a heck of a job. Especially against teams coming in full power all season.”
Randall, Sam Shields, Quinten Rollins and Demitri Goodson all dealt with injuries last season that sapped the team’s depth in the secondary. LaDarius Gunter was also forced into a starting role in his second season.
Even with Daniels sticking up for Green Bay’s performances last season, the tenor of their draft class spoke to the team’s belief they needed some help on that side of the ball. Cornerback Kevin King, safety Josh Jones, defensive tackle Montravius Adams and linebacker Vince Biegel were the first four picks of the team’s draft.
But given the circumstances the Packers had to endure last year, there’s reason to believe their defense could take a sizeable leap back forward this year.