Camp questions: How do the Green Bay Packers fix the defense?

Andrew Dice Clay on a career roll with Woody Allen film, autobiography, TV show

Tomorrows camp question: What should the Indianapolis Colts expect from Andrew Luck in Year 2? The Packers have had great success in their aggressive 3-4 defense overseen by savvy schemer Dom Capers. So that made what happened in their divisional playoff loss to San Franciscogiving up 181 rushing yards to quarterback Colin Kaepernicka shocking disaster. B.J. Raji was taken ninth overall in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Packers. (AP Photo) Teams will say one game doesnt weight on them, but such embarrassing results tend to linger. What doesnt help is the fact the Packers learned Kaepernick and the 49ers were first up Week 1 when the 2013 NFL schedule was released. Given they also face Robert Griffin IIIs Redskins in Week 2, Green Bay had no choice to make stopping the read option their offseason priority. It comes down tom something simple: Front seven discipline. The Packers are used to flying upfield with Clay Matthews leading the charge, getting in quarterbacks faces and pressuring them into mistakes on which the ballhawking secondary is built to capitalize.

Green Bay Packers sign safety Morgan Burnett to long-term extension

All outdoor practices are expected to be held on Ray Nitschke Field (across from the Resch Center). Type of practice (pads or shells) is subject to change without notice. All times indicated are Central. Wed., Jul. 31, 2013 8:20AM – 10:20AM CDT *Public practice *Any practices moved inside to the Don Hutson Center due to inclement weather, poor field conditions or for any other reason will be closed to the public due to space limitations. All outdoor practices are expected to be held on Ray Nitschke Field (across from the Resch Center). Type of practice (pads or shells) is subject to change without notice. All times indicated are Central. Thu., Aug. 01, 2013 8:20AM – 10:20AM CDT *Public practice *Any practices moved inside to the Don Hutson Center due to inclement weather, poor field conditions or for any other reason will be closed to the public due to space limitations.

49-Day NFL Warning: Aldon Smith, Clay Matthews, and the Rest of the All–Pass Rush Team

Type of practice (pads or shells) is subject to change without notice. All times indicated are Central. Wed., Jul. 31, 2013 8:20AM – 10:20AM CDT *Public practice *Any practices moved inside to the Don Hutson Center due to inclement weather, poor field conditions or for any other reason will be closed to the public due to space limitations. All outdoor practices are expected to be held on Ray Nitschke Field (across from the Resch Center). Type of practice (pads or shells) is subject to change without notice. All times indicated are Central. Thu., Aug. 01, 2013 8:20AM – 10:20AM CDT *Public practice *Any practices moved inside to the Don Hutson Center due to inclement weather, poor field conditions or for any other reason will be closed to the public due to space limitations.

Clay Matthews will Be Filling That Leadership Void

Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews

Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN’s media platforms. Learn more . RECENT UPDATES ABOUT THIS BLOG David Ubben Ubben joined ESPN.com in March 2010 after covering Big 12 football for two seasons at the Columbia Missourian and The Oklahoman. Ubben, a native of Springdale, Ark., lives in Dallas. Send questions and comments Richard Durrett Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. A co-host of Fitzsimmons and Durrett on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, Richard also writes about the Rangers, Cowboys, Mavericks, colleges, golf and motorsports. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools. Send questions and comments Tim MacMahon Tim MacMahon joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. A co-host of ESPN Dallas GameDay on 103.3 FM, Tim also covers the Cowboys and Mavericks. He covered the local sports scene from high schools to pros during his six-year tenure at The Dallas Morning News.

He has 5.5 more than Julius Peppers, despite playing two fewer seasons. Allen needs just 25 more to pass Michael Strahan for no. 5 on the all-time list. Allen wasnt the same player last year he was during his 22-sack season in 2011, but he was still in the top 10 in both knockdowns and hurries, according to Football Outsiders. Simply put, he belongs in any conversation about the best pass rushers of the past decade. Chris Clemons, Seahawks Far down the list of stars returning from ACL injuries this year will be Clemons, who was again a pass-rushing monster last year. He ranked in the top 10 in hits, knockdowns, and hurries, all while turning 31 last October. His return to health will be important for Seattle, even with the offseason additions of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Most importantly, Clemons has taken the spin move championship belt long held by Dwight Freeney. I fully understand I am the only person in America who cares about that.

Packers Hall of Fame to honor Clay Matthews as MVP

Last year saw improvement as the defense improved to 22nd out of the 32 teams. Improvement is the key word for the defense this year. If the Packers can have a top 15 defense to go along with the high powered offense, theres no reason the Packers cant make a deep run in the playoffs. With that being said, here are five key players on the Packers defense. 5. Sam Shields During the Packers Super Bowl run, Shields shined in the NFC Championship game against the Chicago Bears with two interceptions and a forced fumble. That playoff game solidified Shields spot on the 2011 roster, and he did not disappoint. The last two seasons, Shields has nine interceptions, including two during last years playoffs. With Charles Woodson now gone, Shields needs to keep up his level of play to ensure his half of the field will go without problems. 4. A.J Hawk Back in 2006, the Packers selected linebacker A.J. Hawk with the fifth overall pick. While his play has not been a total bust, it has not been on the same level as Clay Matthews. The last two seasons, Hawk has had zero interceptions. With the departure of Desmond Bishop, Hawk has to continue to step up his play in order to maintain his spot as a starter on the defense. 3. Tramon Williams Williams burst onto the scene in 2008 where he had four interceptions. In 2010, Williams had a career high six interceptions during the regular season, and added three more in the post season, including a pick six against the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round. Since that season, Williams has consistently shown his big play ability. With Sam Shields on the other side of the field, the Packers cornerbacks look to be set for a long period of time. 2.

Green Bay Packers: 5 key players on defense

So youre going to see that, especially in light of the last few years for our defense. Were trying to turn it around and get this thing back to where we were when we had the Super Bowl run. Matthews has always been a good player, but youve never seen him being overly vocal in the locker room or on the field. He just kind of fit in and let his play speak for him. That low-key demeanor appears to be a thing of the past. Matthews was reportedlymuch more vocal than in the past during minicamp and OTAs. He also worked extensively with the younger guys on the defense, who now look up to him. I think its definitely something natural as you get more comfortable in the system, being a leader, Matthews said. A lot of these young guys look up to you, especially having some personal success myself. Im going to do everything I can to help this defense get to where we need to go.

Clay Matthews calls on young defenders to rise up

I did the clubs, did theater, but didnt make any kind of moves to have this resurgence until they were old enough. The Diceman as devoted dad? My persona is one thing. Who I am off stage as a human being is really different, said Clay. Hes a relative newlywed, married three years to Valerie Vasquez, 29 (Im crazy about her). Allen spotted him on Entourage, Clay said, leading to his role as a divorced blue-collar dad in Blue Jasmine, which has been singled out by some critics (Variety called him an especially offbeat and rewarding casting choice). Clay, whos pursued both acting and standup, was so delighted by the chance to work with Allen and beside stars Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin that he agreed to let his hair go gray for the part. I said, You dont have to ask me twice. Ill hate it, but if its good for the movie Ill do it, Clay recounted. Next May, hes set to co-produce and judge The Big Big Show, which Clay calls a cross between American Idol and The Gong Show, and which will include his buddy Tom Green on the panel. Also scheduled for spring 2014 is his autobiography, The Filthy Truth, from Simon & Schuster and co-authored by David Ritz, whos written books with Ray Charles, Etta James and Don Rickles.

Video: Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews

Related Stories Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driverannounces retirement at Super Bowl GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers have locked up another defensive starter, signing safety Morgan Burnett to a long-term extension. Burnetts extension, reported by NFL.com to be worth $24.75 million over four years, follows earlier offseason deals with linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones. Burnett had been due to be a free agent following the 2013 season. With Charles Woodson missing most of last season with a broken collarbone, Burnett took charge of the Packers secondary. He led the team with 123 tackles, and was one of only two defensive players in the NFL to play every snap. Burnett also had two sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions both against the Minnesota Vikings. In three seasons with the Packers, Burnett has 244 tackles and six interceptions.

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