Skip to main content


Presented by

Mailbag: Winning More on Early Downs?


How does this defense win more on first and second down? They don't seem to be forcing many third and-long attempts? Is it lack of discipline or being too aggressive as a unit? – Jack Jackson/Tyler, TX

Patrik: I don't believe they're still as weak in this category as they were earlier in the season, but it is an opportunity that can be improved, for sure. It begins with being able to stop the run, rinse and repeat. If an opposing offense can successfully tear off 2-3 yards or more on its first couple of rushing attempts (individual assignment: discipline, execution) on any given series, say goodbye to your pass rush, because that's a third-and-short situation waiting to happen — also giving the other team's offense a wide-open playbook as to which play to select next, seeing as you can't pin your ears back and go after the QB. I love the mantra from Mike McCarthy that "pass rush is a privilege" and it is, because it has to be earned in third-and-long but that doesn't happen without stops/TFLs on first and second down.

Related Content