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New-look defense shows promise

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Associated Press
August 24, 2009
— The Green Bay Packers’ defense was tough to watch last season. Two preseason games into the reign of new defensive coordinator Dom Capers, they’re suddenly making opposing offenses look bad.

Green Bay’s new-look defense forced turnovers on three of Buffalo’s first four possessions, powering the Packers to a 31-21 preseason victory over the Bills on Saturday.


Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers’ nine takeaways in two preseason games were “something special” but warned that there’s more work to do.


“The reality is, there’s things we need to correct,” McCarthy said. “There’s no reason to be striking up the band or anything like that.”


Starter Trent Edwards was 7 of 11 for 45 yards and an interception for a Bills team trying to showcase its no-huddle look without wide receiver Terrell Owens, who is nursing a sprained toe and did not make the trip to Green Bay.


Injuries to safety Nick Collins and backup quarterback Matt Flynn were the only potential bad news for the Packers. McCarthy said X-rays on Collins’ ribs were negative but the extent of Flynn’s shoulder injury wasn’t clear Saturday night—a concern, given fellow backup Brian Brohm’s inconsistency. Flynn said afterward that he didn’t think the injury was a “big deal.”


Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch was held to six yards on six carries as the Bills had trouble moving the ball without Owens and were held scoreless until late in the third quarter. Bills backup Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a TD and an interception. He was 12 for 16 for 112 yards.


It was the second straight dominant defensive performance of the preseason for the Packers, who are making the transition to a 3-4 alignment under Capers. The defense had four interceptions in a 17-0 shutout of Cleveland last week.


“We’re in the beginning stages and I want to make everybody aware of that— we’re just beginning,” linebacker Brady Poppinga said.



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