Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Nov 2009

Green Bay Defense Tears Knees Apart

The Packers defense was #1 in the league in DVOA heading into this week. That's unlikely to be the case the rest of the way.

Cornerback Al Harris has a torn ACL, ending his season; meanwhile, linebacker Aaron Kampman has a yet-unspecified knee injury, but it will also require his placement on injured reserve.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 23 Nov 2009

12 comments, Last at 25 Nov 2009, 1:39am by zlionsfan

Comments

1
by Noah of Arkadia :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 3:57pm

#1? Funny. Everyone is always talking about how much they suck.

4
by evenchunkiermonkey (not verified) :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 4:45pm

especially Packer fans.

12
by zlionsfan :: Wed, 11/25/2009 - 1:39am

I thought everyone was talking about the offensive line sucking.

In either case, help is arriving on Thursday. The Lions made Brady Quinn into a starting QB; the Packers' OL will become the 1995 Cowboys OL, and the defense will show they deserve their #1 ranking as Stafford and Johnson miss another game.

Hey, I think I just heard Daunte Culpepper fumbling again.

2
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 4:02pm

Green Bay's convention stats are good, but it seems like ( my guess) is that their defensive DVOA is #1 due to being tied for 3rd place with 22 turnovers.

An interesting side note is that the Packers are the #1 +/- team in the NFL winning the turnover battle at +14 ( followed by New England, New Orleans, and Philly).

3
by andrew :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 4:41pm

Could it be on virtue of what offenses they face? (side note, should'nt offenses have an "OVOA", instead of "Offensive-Adjusted Value Over Average"? or perhaps "opponent-adjusted"?)

Offenses played by Green Bay's defense thus far (current DVOA & rankings):

    TEAM OVOA RK
    CHI -16.5% 27
    CIN +17.9% 07
    STL -13.6% 25
    MIN +17.9% 07
    DET -29.0% 30
    CLE -36.1% 31
    MIN +17.9% 07
    TAM -15.1% 24
    DAL +20.3% 04
    SFO -12.9% 24

Hmmmm not exactly a rundown of elite offenses. Only four games were positive, and of those one looks to be clearly be trending downward (Dallas).

Doh. I just realized I could have saved myself a lot of time and compared their weighted vs non-weighted defense ratings, and they are close, with them being #1 in both.

But I can't bring myself to delete this after typing it up.

5
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 5:35pm

So basically they played weak compeition, and that weak competition made mistakes.

Kyle Bollier, Matt Stafford, Josh Freeman in his 1st start, Alex Smith, Derek Anderson, Jay Cutlers first game with the Bears etc.

6
by Jmagik (not verified) :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 5:40pm

Uh... guys? DVOA takes other teams' strength into account. If you are playing the Raiders every weak you damn well better be getting 10 picks per game. Which is basically what the Packers have done is beat up on bad offenses (like my Cowboys for the past 2 weeks :X)... although, at the same time, I admit that there's no way they're the best D in the league.

7
by t.d. :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 7:21pm

Yeah about that- apparently it doesn't account for that very well

8
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 9:14pm

10 picks per game?

That's one thing I've always argued. DVOA doesn't factor for competition the way they should. You are better off playing and beating crappy teams, than small losses to good teams, or fighting it out with average teams. By nature guys like Jemarcus Russell, Josh Freeman, Kyle Bollier, Browns QB etc. will shoot themselves in the foot and make mistakes on their own.

Plus, some teams are obviously better at beating up on bad teams, and losing to good/better teams.

Some teams could beat anybody, but play down to their competition. They might beat a team better than them, but they play down and lose to teams worse than them.

The Packers have beat the bad teams ( minus Tampa), but have lost to Minnesota twice, and Cincy in a close one.

11
by RickD :: Tue, 11/24/2009 - 8:10pm

Don't forget the Cowboys. The Packers did a very good job shutting down a high-powered offense.

9
by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Tue, 11/24/2009 - 3:58pm

Aaron Rodgers represents the biggest success Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have achieved. But their many smaller failures are the inability to find and devlope replacements for the non-Wrangler-wearing stars they inherited.

First Tauscher and Clifton became useless, now Harris and Kampmann, and soon Woodson and Driver will be either too old or unproductive (or both) to contribute, and other than Jennings and maybe Jermichael Finley and Clay Matthews (the jury's still way out on the last two, and the former seems to be slipping this season), a potential blue-chip player has yet to emerge at any position.

This team seems to be talented, has remained mostly healthy, and has had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL over the last two seasons. Yet they still sit at 12-14 since the NFC Championship game, and with these injuries, will be fortunate to grab the last playoff spot in the NFC. Meanwhile, in two years it apppears likely that Rodgers will be surrounded by mostly sub-par talent.

10
by roguerouge :: Tue, 11/24/2009 - 5:12pm

Wasn't there some article FO wrote about Guts and Stomps, and that beating up on weak teams was more predictive of strength of the team? I know that in baseball, it's not uncommon for high quality teams to have a .500 winning percentage in close games, but an absurdly high winning percentage in routs.