Packers defensive confidence surging after win

Green Bay Packers' Eric Stokes celebrates after intercepting a pass during the second half of...
Green Bay Packers' Eric Stokes celebrates after intercepting a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 27-17. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)(Mike Roemer | AP)
Published: Oct. 3, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers’ defense gave up just 1 touchdown in the first 55 minutes of their win over the Steelers. And that score came on Pittsburgh’s first drive on a play that probably should have been called back for offensive pass interference. Diontae Johnson pushed off on CB Jaire Alexander.

To put it simply, this unit has become no pushover. The Packers defense has 2 sacks, forced 2 turnovers, and had 2 fourth down stops as well. Their confidence is growing.

“Just going through the week, we wanted to (make) an impact,” said Rashan Gary. “We believe that we are the best in the business as far as rushing the passer and stopping the run. So every down we have to hold ourselves to that. That is just reaping the benefits of working and pushing each other to be great.”

“Week 1 wasn’t us,” said Kinglsey Keke in referencing the season-opening 38-3 loss to the Saints. “We knew we were going to come back and get right. Sometimes a loss like that can get us back to working on things we need to fix. It is about communication and trust.”

“I thought our defense was playing hard,” said Matt LaFleur. “I thought they were well prepared. It seemed like there was pretty good pressure on Ben (Roethlisberger). That was important going into this game. I just think our defense is getting better and better. Hopefully we can continue that. I think Joe (Barry) is doing a good job of getting the calls into our guys, and that has gotten better as the season has progressed. I think that is always important. To make sure we get those calls in quickly to our guys so they can kind of see the offense make their formation and go out and play well and make sure the communication is on point, which I thought was pretty good. I thought the tackling for the most part was pretty solid. There were a couple of instances were they were able to break some tackles, but all in all I thought it was a pretty good plan.”

As the year progressed, rookie CB Eric Stokes has made more and more plays. Yes, he was called for pass interference leading to a late Pittsburgh touchdown, but the next drive he turned around and ended the game with an interception.

“That was great,” LaFleur said. “That was awesome. Stokes (Eric) making that big time interception there at the end. I was really proud of him. He is a guy that is wired the right way. He comes to work with the right attitude, with the right mentality, and I think he will continue to get better and better as we progress through this thing. I just love what he is all about as a person. I think he has a really great skill set to complement that. We are fortunate to have that guy on our football team. We definitely were thin there in the secondary towards the end of the game to, it was cool to see some of the young guys get out there and make some plays.”

“That is a big play for him on the last drive to have a pick like that,” said Aaron Rodgers. “I think he has contested really well. The more confidence he gets the probably the tighter he is going to keep playing. The most impressive play to me was this: they were running a bunch of quick outs. Off their run action they were going quick out, quick out, quick out. I was telling MVS right next to me, ‘look they are going to try to double move him at some point.’ And sure enough they did. In the 3rd quarter and he was all over it. For me that was the most impressive play. For a young guy to give up some of those, and then you knew at some point they were going to double move him and for him to be sitting all over that, that was pretty impressive.”

Stokes’ confidence is no doubt growing and perhaps will one day rival that of fellow corner Jaire Alexander. but the All-Pro left this game with a shoulder injury. NFL Network is reporting it is an AC Joint injury. LaFleur refused to talk about the severity of the malady.

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