New Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman produced some of the elite offensive units in the NFL from 2001-2004 while serving as head coach for the Green Bay Packers, which is one of the main reasons he was hired by A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne. But his defensive units left something to be desired, which is one reason Aggie fans are so interested in the hiring of a defensive coordinator.
In 2000, the 9-7 Packers were pretty mediocre on defense, averaging 311.6 yards per game. They were No. 8 in the league at stopping the run though, allowing just over 100 yards per game (101.1). They weren't so tough against the pass though, averaging 230.9 yards against them through the air, and that was with pro-bowl defensive back Darren Sharper. They weren't much better at keeping opponents out of the endzone, allowing 20.2 points per game (No. 14 scoring defense in the NFL).
In 2001, the 12-4 Packers were better at holding opponents to fewer points, giving up just 16.6 points per game, which was No. 5 in the NFL. Their rushing defense was worse though, giving up 110.6 yard on the ground and another 219.1 yards through the air, which were both in the middle of the pack among other NFL defensive units.
The following year, in 2002, it was much of the same. But the passing defense, led once again by pro bowl defensive back Darren Sharper, improved to No. 3 in the league, allowing just 186.7 yards through the air per game. The scoring defense gave up more points though, allowing 20-plus points per game once again.
In 2003 and 2004, the Packers defense was not very good at all, but Sherman's offense was still good enough to win the NFC North in each of the two seasons. Sherman and the Packers were the No. 17 ranked defense in the league in 2003 and finished 2004 with the No. 25 ranked defense in the NFL.
The 2004 defense allowed more than 24 points per game, up eight points per game in just two years, and although the Packers were still able to win the North Division, their record had fallen from 12-4 to just 10-6 because of the drop off in defense.
There's no doubt that Sherman wants to bring back the Wrecking Crew defenses that he enjoyed during his last stints in Aggieland, and there's no way to tell without asking him, how involved he was with the Packers' defense. But don't be surprised to see the defensive coordinator, which will arguably be Sherman's most important hire this month, call most of the shots on defense.
How did Sherman's Packers defenses perform?
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