Packers DBs set the tone with physicality

Tackling had been a big issue in openers the last 2 years
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers offense may have stolen the headlines in the win over the Bears, but the defense did the deed as well. Tackling had been a big issue in openers the last 2 years, in blowout losses. But when the defensive backs showed up early, with a shoulder shiver on Justin Fields and a couple tackles for losses, that set the tone for the entire team.

“You always expect your bigs, whether that is the front 7 on defense or the offensive line on offense, to kind of be the enforcers,” said coach Matt LaFleur. “When you are getting that from more of your skill positions, I think that intensifies the physicality of your defense or your offense.”

“That is what we want,” said cornerback Rasul Douglas. “We feel like we are the leaders of the team, the DBs. Because we have all been playing with each other longer. We just always want to set the tone.”

“I think we have some of the more charismatic guys on the team in our room,” said safety Darnell Savage. “So I think a lot of people look to us for energy anyways.”

“It just shows the mentality of our team and what we are trying to be about,” said defensive lineman Kenny Clark.

The defense insists they are not satisfied just yet.

“I don’t think anyone was excited,” Douglas said.

“We played good, but that wasn’t up to our standard,” said defensive back Keisean Nixon. “We have stuff to work on that we have been correcting all week.”

But defensive coordinator Joe Barry, moving to the coaches booth and simplifying things for the defense, like he did late last year, is making a difference.

“He is just letting us be us,” Nixon said. “And what we good at, he just tells us to go excel at that. And that’s what we do.”

“We are a lot more comfortable, which allows us to play a lot faster,” Savage said. “So it’s good. When you watch our film, it is kind of eye-popping. We have a bunch of big, athletic, fast dudes. In terms of the injury report, Quay Walker is navigating through concussion protocol, but was able to take part in some of Thursday’s practice. But Aaron Jones and Christian Watson were still missing with their hamstring injuries.