Packers Are Tackling Problem

Every layer of the defense had a major hand in the Packers finishing a woeful 27th in missed tackles. The secondary, however, was the major problem.

Since the end of last season, one of the constant drumbeats coming out of 1265 Lombardi Ave. is the need for the Green Bay Packers to clean up their shoddy tackling.

According to team-by-team analysis compiled by, the Packers ranked 27th in tackling last season with 109 missed tackles. For context, San Francisco missed only 67 tackles, a difference of 2.6 per game.

Chief among the problems was the secondary. Among the 109 cornerbacks measured by Pro Football Focus (based on 25 percent playing time), Tramon Williams ranked third with 16 missed tackles, Charles Woodson fourth with 15 and Sam Shields tied for 10th with 10. Williams was hampered by a shoulder injury and nerve damage while Woodson's position on the defense makes a high missed tackle count almost inevitable. Shields was guilty of indifference, more than anything.

Among the 87 safeties, Charlie Peprah tied for 22nd with 10 missed tackles and Morgan Burnett tied for 31st with nine.

Among the 50 inside/middle linebackers (regardless of scheme), A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop were two of the seven tied for 26th with seven missed tackles. Among the 28 outside linebackers who play in 3-4 schemes, Clay Matthews was one of four tied for third with five missed tackles and Erik Walden was one of six tied for seventh with four missed tackles.

Among the 32 defensive ends who play in 3-4 schemes, Ryan Pickett and Jarius Wynn were two of 15 tied for 14th with one missed tackle. C.J. Wilson didn't miss any. Among the 88 nose tackles and defensive tackles (regardless of scheme), B.J. Raji was one of 15 tied for 10th with three missed tackles.

Even in these offseason practices, when the players are not in pads and full contact is forbidden, tackling remains a focal point.

"The single biggest thing is getting yourself in position to make the tackle," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "Most (missed) tackles are because guys don't ever gather and come under control. The best tacklers I've been around had a great habit in practice, whether you had pads on or not, is they would get themselves in position to make the tackle every time. They would go full-go, come under control, sink their base and be in position to make the tackle. If you get sloppy at that, it affects your ability to get guys on the ground."

Here's the team-by-team list from Pro Football Focus.

San Francisco: 67

Buffalo: 68

Dallas: 70

Pittsburgh: 72

Cleveland: 75

San Diego: 75

Oakland: 76

Houston: 77

Seattle: 77

Chicago: 78

Baltimore: 82

Arizona: 82

Jacksonville: 84

Cincinnati: 85

N.Y. Jets: 85

Washington: 88

Minnesota: 89

Kansas City: 92

Tennessee: 92

N.Y. Giants: 97

Carolina: 103

Denver: 104

Miami: 105

St. Louis: 105

Atlanta: 107

Philadelphia: 108

Green Bay: 109

New England: 114

New Orleans: 114

Indianapolis: 117

Detroit: 129

Tampa Bay: 169

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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