Defense gets on same frequency

First time using helmet communication system was a success, linebacker Nick Barnett says.

Not only did the Packers' starting defense pass its first test on Monday, but so did the defense's first game experience with the helmet speaker communication system.

"It went good," said middle linebacker Nick Barnett, who gets the call from coordinator Bob Sanders and relays it to his teammates. "They were able to communicate, even with the crowd noise (at home against Cincinnati). I thought that might be a problem for our defense because usually the crowd cheers, but it wasn't a problem at all. We'll continue to get adjusted to it."

Barnett continues to look to the sideline for the signal as a safety precaution should the high-tech system go haywire.

Time is of the essence, since the system goes silent with 15 seconds on the play clock — the same protocol as the system that offenses have had the benefit of since 1994. That wasn't a problem against the Bengals.

"Usually, our calls, once their personnel comes in, then we get our calls out," Barnett explained. "That's the way we worked it, even with the signals. But it's just easier. Maybe they won't steal our signals. It's definitely been an advantage for the defense."

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at

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