Giants vs. Packers: Hearbreaking Loss Proves Green Bay Needs Another Pass-Rusher

Chad LundbergCorrespondent IIIJanuary 16, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 18:  Linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers in action during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 18, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There are plenty of things the Green Bay Packers did wrong in 2011 on defense, not the least of which was only sacking the quarterback 27 times (compared to 47 times the preceding season).

They gave up the most passing yards in NFL history, and though they ranked 14th overall against the run, they were previously ranked No. 1 overall earlier in the season, obviously indicating the run defense got worse during the season.

The one thing they did right was creating turnovers, although that hardly matter when you're the one giving the ball away in the postseason.

Despite the fact the secondary gave up big play after big play, I don't believe it's right to say the Packers lacking talent in that area. Nay, I say the real reason is the fact that the only safeties we had to work with were Morgan Burnett and Charlie Peprah, and even they had a combined seven interceptions and 200 tackles.

Still, Burnett was playing what was basically his rookie year, and Peprah only played well last season because he was playing alongside Nick Collins.

If the Packers have a choice between selecting another safety or getting another pass-rusher, I would easily go with getting another pass-rusher. Here's why.

For starters, Green Bay is going to get Collins back. This secondary unit together was ranked fifth against the pass in 2010, and it's not like its talents just left it. Charles Woodson may be getting older, but his coverage skill are still above average and his coverage improved over the course of the season.

Secondly, defense took a bad turn this year. Three quarterbacks threw over 5,000 yards this season, and many more got close. This was simply a bad year for secondaries.

And third, name another pass-rusher the Packers have outside of Clay Matthews.

B.J. Raji never filled in some of Cullen Jenkins' duties as a pass-rusher. Not even close. Mike Neal never lived up to the hype in any sense of the word, spending the first 11 games on the bench with a bad knee and only three tackles in the time he did play.

When you only have one legit pass-rusher, it's too easy for opposing offensive coordinators to scheme around that. It seemed as if all teams did this season was triple-team Matthews ,and the problem was solved. Absolutely nobody was able to take advantage of the attention Matthews drew to himself.

It's a no-brainer: Get a pass-rusher, and get one now. I don't care if the Packers have to trade up to get one. I would have loved to have seen the Packers trade up for Von Miller in last year's draft, even if it meant sacrificing as much as the Falcons sacrificed to get Julio Jones.

Sunday's game might have been the greatest example of that. Eli Manning had all day inside the pocket to throw to an open receiver. If general manager Ted Thompson is to ever draft for need instead of talent, this is the time, plain and simple.