The body of work was pretty good for the Green Bay Packers on defense in 2012 but the body blow endured at Candlestick Park last Saturday night still has the wind knocked out of Packer fans. Continuing our season review, the Packers will have a hard time shaking off the 579 yard, 45 point pummeling at the hands of the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers doesn't want the unit judged from that one game, citing upward movement in several statistical categories during the season. Sacks were up, to 47, total yards allowed and points allowed per game climbed to just outside the top 10 but tackling was still an issue and interceptions were down. The hits to the defense came early when Desmond Bishop was lost for the year in the pre-season, his replacement, D.J. Smith didn't last long either. Charles Woodson missed 10 weeks, Clay Matthews missed a month. At times, six rookies were getting significant snaps. Capers believes the defense is still asending. Let's take a closer look from front to back. On the defensive line, Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji were true warriors. They logged a lot of snaps and held up well. C.J. Wilson provided a lift in run support but couldn't delivere much on the pass rush. Mike Neal flashed enough to show his injury history is in the past, finishing second on the team in sacks with 4.5, behind Matthews and his 13. Mike Daniels was a scrappy rookie and Jerel Worthy needs to apply at times painful lessons as he moves to year two. Matthews is the only true impact player on this side of the ball and could be a Pro Bowler for his entire career. The bookend outside linebacker got only flashes from Erik Walden, rookie Dezmon Moses and Frank Zombo. Number one pick Nick Perry got only a sniff of NFL life when a wrist injury ended his rookie season after a month. The attrition rate at inside backer was extreme, A.J. Hawk survived but Brad Jones had to finish the season at a new position. Hawk's future is clouded because he's due a big salary number next year. While he has many detractors, I've stayed in his corner. Never the splashy, blow 'em up backer a number five pick overall might suggest, he's steady and makes few mistakes, although coverage downfield has been a liability. The secondary was blessed with youthful enthusiasm all season, from Casey Hayward's six interceptions to M.D. Jennings and his pick six in Detroit, or his game saving (we thought) swipe in Seattle. Jerron McMillian also has an upside. Sam Shields came on like gangbusters after his ankle and knee injuries while Tramon Williams in my opinion, tailed off this year. Can't put my finger on exactly why but he gave up far more plays and seemed to shy away from run support. Don't forget, Davon House was penciled in as the starting corner when the season began until a shoulder injury ruined his season. At safety, Morgan Burnett assumed the leadership position and had a steady season. Charles Woodson's absence can't be discounted and if he's willing to take a cut in salary, should return to be the Gandolf to the rest of the secondary's hobbits next year. Mike McCarthy shouldn't panic from the 49er debacle, a change in coordinator and system, could set the whole team back. Quotes from the defensive coaching staff can be heard on the link below to get their spin on how the season spun out of control in San Francisco and how the defense could look as we move to 2013.