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Does Green Bay Packers' defense lack effort?

The Green Bay Packers have an effort issue on defense, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn.

Linebacker Clay Matthews has an NFL-wide reputation for relentless pursuit. McGinn believes there aren't enough players with that mentality on the defensive side of the ball.

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"By no means is the energy level of the Packers' defense terrible," McGinn wrote. "Several experts who watch a ton of tape each week corroborated that.

"They say, and I agree, that the Packers rank somewhere in the middle on the effort meter. That's fine, but if it keeps up such mediocrity isn't going to produce a division championship, let alone another Super Bowl, regardless what the offense does."

McGinn listed high draft picks who were considered underachievers and haven't shed that reputation: Nick Perry (2012). Jerel Worthy (2012). B.J. Raji (2009). Mike Neal (2010). McGinn even said Charles Woodson lacks intensity on an every-down basis.

"Woodson's hustle, for 36, is adequate," McGinn wrote. "He has never been a facilitator for teammates. He does his thing, and does it well, but down in and down out he just will not sell out. He remains somewhat aloof, an old lion looking to pounce."

The Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears certainly don't face those accusations. Some personnel losses have contributed to that in Green Bay -- Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett, Cullen Jenkins, Nick Collins and even Desmond Bishop, who's out for the season with a torn hamstring.


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The Packers were extremely opportunistic in the turnover department the last two years. They tied the New York Giants for creating the second-most turnovers (70) from 2010 to '11. The defense clearly was a more swarming unit in 2010 than 2011 and 2012. Green Bay won the title that year.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers had the following passage written into the playbook in 1997 when he coached the Carolina Panthers: "We must be a team that attacks and forces errors by relentless pursuit. We must punish the ball carrier by converging and swarming ... ability alone is not enough. The success of your defense requires your dedication, concentration and pride in our unit."

There's no question about the natural talent the Packers have on defense. Has the unit lived up to the spirit of that philosophy? Not in 2012, at least.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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