Offense-minded defense puts up points for Pack Print
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Monday, 17 November 2008 13:31
NFL Headline News

 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -If a good offense truly is the best defense, the Green Bay Packers just might be on to something this year. They play defense as if they're on offense.
The Packers have scored seven defensive touchdowns this season, breaking a franchise record and giving them a shot at the modern-day NFL record of 10.
Packers cornerback Charles Woodson rallied fellow defensive backs before Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears, urging them to try to score.
``I told the guys when we huddled up as DBs that, 'Don't be afraid of success. We've got the potential to do something great, to go down in the history books, let's go out and grab it,''' Woodson said. ``We've got the record, now let's build on it.''
Then the Packers' defense went out and outscored the Bears' offense, giving up only a field goal while scoring on a 54-yard fumble return by backup defensive end Jason Hunter in the fourth quarter of a 37-3 victory.
he other guy want to do that. We're all happy for each other, but we're very competitive. When you have competitive guys and guys that are capable of making big plays, you're going to have big plays all over the field.''
The Packers entered the post-Brett Favre era hoping that a dominant defense would become their calling card. That hasn't happened yet; while the Packers have one of the league's best secondaries, they have been vulnerable to the run all season.
But the defense has covered up some of its shortcomings by consistently forcing turnovers and turning them into instant points, helping the Packers climb into a three-way tie for the NFC North lead at 5-5.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only seven teams since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger have scored more defensive touchdowns than this year's Packers. The 1998 Seattle Seahawks scored 10 defensive touchdowns, the most since the merger.
This year's Packers defense even is threatening to outscore the Oakland Raiders' offense, which has managed only nine touchdowns.
all things we want to be part of our identity.''
McCarthy said turnovers, and setting up returns after turnovers, are a constant point of emphasis during Packers practices.
``Having seven this year is just a credit to the players and the extra time that they've put in, particularly in our practice structure,'' McCarthy said. ``We emphasize it all the time, and you can just see the urgency and aggressiveness of our coverage units on special teams and defensively, when they do have an opportunity to get their hands on the ball. And we're finding the end zone, too, which is exciting.''
The scoring chances have led to a friendly competition among defensive backs. Safety Nick Collins has three interception returns for a touchdown, Woodson has two and safety Aaron Rouse has one.
Add in cornerback Will Blackmon's two punt returns for touchdowns, and the Packers have scored a total of nine times on defense and special teams.
``It's something the guys talk about in practice, they talk about it in meetings,'' cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington said. ``Everybody wants to score. It's caught on.''
The Packers are known for their aggressive, physical style of pass coverage. But when that style of coverage causes a turnover, the defensive backs' athleticism takes over.
ttenheimer said. ``When you look at Charles and you look at Will Blackmon and of course Nick Collins, these guys really are quality return people.''
And the rest of the defense pitches in. Although it might look like chaos, there's a strategy to setting up an interception return.
The closest defender without the ball tries to block the intended receiver. Defensive linemen should be turned around and facing the play, ready to throw a block in the event of a turnover. Everyone else must get out in front of the guy with the ball.
``We've got playmakers all over the field, guys that make the big plays, make the big hits, get the ball out - and when we get the ball, we know how to score,'' Hunter said.
And beyond putting points on the board, a defensive touchdown can demoralize an opposing offense.
``Certainly, they've got to come right back out there again,'' Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said. ``So once that happens, we've got a little better burst in us. It'll test an offense, I'm sure. We've played some that have bounced right back - and others that haven't.''
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during the course of the week, but it's nothing where he's missed any practice time,'' McCarthy said. ``That's probably why I'm going to give him a day this week to get back healthy.'' ... McCarthy said he wanted to get backup QB Matt Flynn some snaps toward the end of Sunday's game, but ``didn't get it done from a timing standpoint.''
 

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