It was an offseason in which general manager Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers were a little more aggressive in terms of free agency. It was a draft in which the organization used it first four selections on one side of the football, which was in dire need of assistance. And now eight games into the 2017 season, Mike McCarthy’s team once again has issues on the defensive side of the football. Those problems are magnified these days, due to the absence of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a Green Bay offense which is stuck in neutral. Of course, there is still half of a season to go and Dom Capers’ unit could still get its act together.

But it is certainly worth asking: Is this year’s Packers’ defense actually a few notches below the group that struggled for the vast majority of ’16?

Disappointing showing

A year ago, the Green Bay Packers came within one victory of representing the NFC in Super Bowl LI. The team took an eight-game overall winning streak into the conference title game against the Atlanta Falcons. But McCarthy’s team was down and out early and often. Dom Capers’ unit couldn’t slow down eventual NFL MVP Matt Ryan and the highest-scoring team in the league in 2016. The result was a 44-21 setback, which was hardly surprising considering this was a defense that finished 22nd in the NFL in total yards allowed. And only the New Orleans Saints surrendered more yards through the air.

Green Bay defenders not only gave up 32 touchdown passes in 16 regular-season outings but surrendered eight more TD tosses in three postseason games.

Those are the main reasons that Thompson traded down in April and used a pair of second-round picks in cornerback Kevin King and promising safety Josh Jones. Add in the return of cornerback Davon House following two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and all should be well, right?

What’s gone wrong this season?

Those who were expecting a dramatic turnaround for McCarthy’s defense this fall have to be extremely disappointed. Entering Week 10 of this season, the Green Bay Packers had already been far too generous when it came to giving up yards either on the ground (23rd in NFL) or through the air (20th in NFL).

Three times this season, the club has allowed at least 30 points. All told, Green Bay defenders have allowed 19 offensive touchdowns in eight outings. This despite 14 takeaways by McCarthy’s squad this season. One of the issues has been a disappointing pass rush that has produced only 13 sacks to date. In any case, this is a Packers’ team shorthanded on offense. It would have been a good time for the defense to take up the slack. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened to date in 2017.