Despite a miraculous win by the Green Bay Packers, the defense for this team remains a major issue.
Any defense that gives up 466 yards of total offense and 36 points in a game needs to be reworked. Sure, the group played much better in the second half against the Dallas Cowboys, but that simply didn't make up for the overall struggles this unit has had over the year.
The reality is that the Packers have a porous defense and it needs to be repaired. Let's take a look at the blueprint for how Green Bay can fix things on the defensive side of the ball.
Replace Dom Capers
Capers has earned quite a bit of criticism this season. Unfortunately, the majority of it has been warranted.
The Packers defense has been absolutely terrible on the year as a whole. They currently rank 23rd in the league by giving up 369.4 yards per game. By giving up 466 yards this week against the Cowboys that ranking is definitely going to be dropping.
However, the real reason why Capers needs to be replaced is because the defense can't create turnovers and can't get pressure on the quarterback.
Before the game against Dallas the Packers only had seven interceptions on the season. Furthermore, the Packers have the ninth-worst pass rush in the league according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Considering that Capers has earned his fame by creating pressure and turnovers, the fact that the team is so terrible at both this year is a terrible sign. The first move Green Bay needs to make in order to repair its defense is to replace their defensive coordinator.
Sign One Big Free Agent
This is completely against what General Manager Ted Thompson does, but the Packers need to sign at least one big-name free agent.
The last big-name free agent the Packers signed was cornerback Charles Woodson and we all saw how well that played out for the team. In fact, it was Woodson who was so crucial to the Packers' defensive dominance back in the 2009 and 2010 season.
Green Bay needs a player to change the culture of the team like Woodson did a few years ago. One name that instantly sticks out is safety Jairus Byrd of the Buffalo Bills. Byrd is one of the best safeties in the league and would instantly improve the worst unit on the Packers roster.
If the Packers don't want to make a run at Byrd there are still plenty of other options for this team. They could sign an outside linebacker like Brian Orakpo of the Washington Redskins or a cornerback like Alterraun Verner of the Tennessee Titans.
One of the first moves the Packers need to make in the offseason is to sign a player who can step in right away and make a major impact on the defensive side of the ball.
Draft a Defensive Playmaker
The final way the Packers can repair their porous defense is by using a high draft pick to select a defensive playmaker.
They tried this strategy this past year by selecting defensive end Datone Jones. While Jones has had an up-and-down year, there is no doubt that Jones' future is extremely bright.
This year the Packers need to make a similar move by selecting a player who can step in right away and make an impact. One name that instantly sticks out is safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix of Alabama. Clinton-Dix is currently the No. 22 player on Matt Miller's Big Board and has the playmaking ability to make a huge difference from day one.
The only problem is that Clinton-Dix might not be available as late as the Packers are going to be drafting. However, this young Alabama safety is a special enough player for Green Bay to do whatever it needs to do to get him on its roster.
There is no doubt that the Packers' biggest issues on the year have been on the defensive side of the ball.
The bad news is that there isn't a quick and instant fix for this group. However, there is good news in the fact that Green Bay could make a few smart moves in the offseason—starting with the firing of Capers—and be on the right track to fixing the defense.
It won't be easy, but repairing their porous defense needs to be the No. 1 priority for Ted Thompson and the Packers.