No matter how many times Brett Favre postpones his retirement in search of another Super Bowl title, the Green Bay Packers aren't going anywhere until they improve their porous defense.
One season after the fourth-and-26 debacle at Philadelphia in the conference semifinals, the Packers finished 10-6 and won the NFC North despite the NFL's 25th-ranked defense. The unit betrayed the NFC's best offense (397.3 total yards per game) and allowed 31 points to Minnesota in a playoff loss at Lambeau Field.
So for the second straight season, there's a new defensive coordinator in Titletown. Jim Bates, former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator and interim head coach, uses a conservative scheme. When he took the job in January, he vowed the Packers would improve their tackling -- a glaring shortcoming last season. Green Bay also managed 15 take-aways in 2004, tied for fewest in the NFL.
"Sometimes a team not made up of a bunch of stars can be the best defense, and that's our goal," Bates said.
As for Favre, it's easy to see why the team devoted 27 pages of its media guide to his bio. At age 34, he had one of his best seasons (4,088 yards, 30 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a passer rating of 92.4). He and wideout Javon Walker (1,382 yards) were one of the best duos in the NFL last season. For Green Bay to win a fourth straight division title, the offense likely will have to compensate for the defense again.