Packers inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti scoffed at the notion, even though he’s an old-school coach who remembers when tackling was a colossal part of any NFL training camp.
“The expectation is the same, but the process is obviously different than it was awhile back,” Olivadotti replied last week when asked if missed tackles are to be expected in the preseason when scarcely any team — certainly not the safety-conscious, injury-unlucky Packers — tackles in practice anymore. “The progression of (working on it) probably has changed, but the expectations on our end haven’t changed.”
If that’s the case, then the Packers will be expecting a major improvement in that area against the Ravens after, by LaFleur’s count, they missed a whopping 24 tackles on defense and special teams against the Texans.
“In today’s NFL, there’s very few teams that are going to bring guys to the ground and have a bunch of tackling practices, full contact,” LaFleur confessed this week. “You have to get it in the drill work, and we stress it and drill it, and you have to drill it every day.
“The expectation is you always bring the guys to the ground. The standard is never going to change and it’s never an excuse. But I do think you get some younger guys in there that maybe aren’t quite accustomed to this level of play yet. It might take a minute for them to figure it out. But the standard is the standard.”
Added Gutekunst: Obviously in our first game, we didn’t particularly tackle very well on defense. So let’s see how we get to Game 2 to Game 3 to Game 4, and with individuals, specifically. Again, it’s the first game and first time going to the ground. But if those issues stay the same in Game 2, 3 and 4, then maybe it’s more of a problem.”