GREEN BAY, Wis. — It was the offseason brainchild of head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers, a secret defensive stratagem they would spring on the unsuspecting Seahawks on opening night 2014 in Seattle.
Green Bay’s version of the 4-3 defense, known internally as “Quad,” hurt the Packers more than it helped before vanishing from the playbook after four games.
“We don’t run it anymore,” linebacker Sam Barrington replied when “Quad” was remembered. “Since we don’t run it anymore, I deem it as irrelevant.”
The Packers might have been more competitive in their 36-16 setback at CenturyLink Field if “Quad” had never been hatched.
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Hoping the element of surprise would work in their favor, the Packers worked on their new defense during four practices in August that were closed to fans and also during inside workouts when reporters weren’t present.
In retrospect, Capers indicated surprise wasn’t all that valuable if the Packers weren’t ready to execute “Quad.”
“We didn’t show it at all in preseason,” Capers said. “We got some good snaps out of it. Ideally, you’d probably like to have had three or four games prior to playing 15 snaps in the opener.”
The team that appeared mystified by “Quad” was Green Bay, not Seattle.
The Packers lined up on the first snap in the 3-4, their traditional base defense since Capers brought his fire-zone scheme in 2009. As the Seahawks slowly broke the huddle on second-and-six from their 39, Mike Neal hurried on the field and Datone Jones sprinted off.
Brad Jones transmitted the call to the players. A.J. Hawk hurriedly was getting people lined up properly. Confusion, which dogged the Packers throughout the dreadful showing, was evident.
In their first three possessions, the Seahawks drove 48 yards for a field goal, 80 yards for a touchdown and 70 yards for a touchdown. They seemed to have an answer for everything whereas the Packers had answers for nothing.
In “Quad” for 15 plays in those three drives, the Packers allowed 49 yards in seven rushes and 109 yards in eight passes. They went back to the 3-4 on early downs in the second half, but the damage had been done.
“It was just a combination of everything,” defensive end Josh Boyd said. “It was more on us. They gave us some unscouted things, and we could have done a lot better.”
With “Quad,” the Packers hoped the athleticism, talent and experience of their deep corps of hybrids would allow them to not only contain the run but also the pass.
However, Seattle averaged 10.5 yards per play (15 for 158) against “Quad” and 4.7 (51 for 240) against the Packers’ 3-4, 4-4, 4-2 and 4-1 defenses.