Defense aims to get off field faster

There is no arguing the fact that Green Bay's defense needs to improve in many areas. One of those areas is the team's third-down efficiency.<p>

"We've been one of the best third-down teams in football the last three years," said Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman. "For whatever r eason this year we're not quite as effective."

The team's inability to put pressure on the quarterback is one of those reasons. In turn, the Green Bay's secondary has gotten picked apart. The Packers enter Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings ranked 13th in the NFC in having allowed opponents to convert 45.5% of their third downs, or 46 of 101 attempts. Last year at this point, the Packers were only allowing opponents to convert 37.4% of their third downs.

In beating the Packers 30-25 in the season opener at Lambeau Field, the Vikings completed 8 of 14 third downs (57%).

"The biggest area we're looking at is third down," Packers defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. "We've been keeping ourselves on the field for a long time. We want to have a much higher standard for that. For what we've been doing here the last couple of years, this performance hasn't been matching that. That's everything together – coverage, rush, calls, coaching. You put that all together and roll your sleeves up, and that will improve."

The Packers have closed practices to the media this week, which likely means that there will be changes in personnel. And players and coaches were tight-lipped in the locker room today about detailing anything specific about their attack against the Vikings.

"You'll have to wait and see," said defensive end Aaron Kampman, with a smile.

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