Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two Areas To Improve On Before Facing The Vikings

QB Scott Tolzien's game against the Giants was "one of the better zero-touchdown, three-interception games you'll ever see" according to Football Outsiders.
It's obvious that going from QB Aaron Rodgers to Tolzien has been a step-down. While I'm not trying to ignore that fact, I'm focused on the defense which (with the notable exception of CB Tramon Williams) has taken a step back over their last three games.

The pass defense has been a mess all season long, but now the previously stout run defense has fallen apart. I don't know who leaked the supposed terms of DE B.J. Raji's contract extension, but I did find the timing curious because it came right after RB Brandon Jacobs described how easy it was to run against them. If Raji's going to find a big free agent contract next year, it will be based on his ability as a run defender. The team might be sending him a message that if he thinks he's really an $8 million a year player, he better start showing it on the field.

Before Rodgers returns, they need to win a game or two to keep up in the NFC North playoff chase and Tolzien has to get better. I'm not so much worried that he's not finding the end zone but he can't keep throwing one dumb INT per game. While the Giants don't have an elite pass defense, he'll likely be better at Lambeau against an inferior Vikings pass defense (No. 28 according to Football Outsiders). But the defense has to get better too. If nothing else, their run defense (which was ranked No. 8 overall during Week 8 but has fallen all the way down to No. 21 by Week 11) has to improve. I'm not hoping for anything more from the pass defense by this point in the season.

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