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When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, they missed 81 tackles during the regular season, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Last season, they missed 120.
They’re not alone in taking a sharp turn in the wrong direction. Since the current collective bargaining agreement kicked in for the 2011 season, tackling has become something of a lost art. In 2010, only two teams missed less than 102 tackles. In 2014, only two teams missed less than 102 tackles.
That’s hardly a surprise. Practice makes perfect, after all. Under this CBA, two-a-days became a thing of a past. Once the regular season begins, teams are allotted 14 full-pads practices. It’s made for players dealing with fewer nagging aches and pains and strains, which is inarguably a good thing. The trade-off, however, has been an inferior product on the field from a defensive coordinator’s perspective.
In 2010, the league average was 80 missed tackles. That climbed to 117.7 last season, based on ProFootballFocus.com’s film study. In 2010, Detroit missed a league-high 107 tackles. In 2014, that would have tied for the sixth-lowest rate.
It’s not as if the Packers don’t practice tackling. They get themselves in position to make the tackle. They work on their form against enormous red balls that force defenders to get low and wrap up. But that kind of practice isn’t exactly a perfect simulation for trying to bring down Marshawn Lynch.
Over the last five years, Green Bay ranks 18th with 98.8 missed tackles per season. San Francisco, Denver and Seattle – three teams that have been regular contenders – comprise three of the top four tackling teams over that span. Of the 14 teams ranked below Green Bay, none have been regular contenders.
Five years of missed tackles
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.