Green Bay, Wes. Football isn’t played on paper, but until there is real football that can be played, that’s all anyone has to keep going at this time of year. Even when you get close Aaron Rodgers Concerned about the prospects for the Green Bay Packers defense in 2022, he did so with a notable caveat.
“It’s one of the best defenses on paper that we have,” Rodgers said at one point during a session with reporters at a training camp.
“I definitely like our defense on paper,” Rodgers said as part of another answer.
More than a month later, when he was presented with the possibility that it was the best defense of firmness on paper in recent memory, there was another evaluation.
“In the field, I think it looks better,” fourth year safety Darnell Savage He said.
Day after day, exercise after exercise, the defense appeared in a training camp.
was noon rashan running And the Preston Smith Beat the edge and press the midfielder. He was a defensive lineman Kenny ClarkAnd the Gran Red And the Dean Lowry A blockage in the middle. she was Defender Campbell And the Kwai Walker More floor coverage than it should be able to. It was Cornbucks Jair AlexanderAnd the Eric Stokes And the Douglas messenger Not only break up passes but with confidence letting everyone at their hearing level know. safety was Adrian Amos and Savage, when he wasn’t suffering from a hamstring injury, which prevented anyone from hitting too deeply.
“We have two really good strikers, we have four really good players, we have three really good corners, we have two really good security, [and] Defensive coordinator Joe Barry said: “We have two really good ‘pros’.
“It will be interesting to see what the rest of the roster is going to be. But I think when you have really good players, they are great players who have the first goal in common and they don’t care who just achieves the success they want to achieve, which is the thing I am most proud of with This group – they work and grind and compete every day, and at the end of the day all they want to do is win.”
The last time anyone saw Barry’s normal group on the field, they held the San Francisco 49ers by just six points in an NFC 13-10 loss game.
However, the narrow loss left a bitter aftertaste.
“Maybe if we just gave up on three, we’d go in overtime and see what we can do in overtime,” Smith said. “Maybe we give up anything, now 10-7, we win, us [advance in] Playoffs against the Rams. We’ve beaten them before, we’ve kind of gotten them, so we might have had a better chance – who knows, we go to the Super Bowl.
“There’s always a ‘what if’ and all these assumptions. I just feel like there were a lot of big plays we might have missed in that match that we could have done to stop us being in certain situations.”
Even before that, the Packers ranked ninth in overall defense during the regular season. They did it without Alexander for most of the season and as a full-back Zadarius Smith (which was released that season) over almost all of that. Alexander played only the first four games of the regular season. (He returned for a limited role in the playoffs.) In the previous two seasons, opponents grabbed 6.3 yards per attempt as the closest defender in coverage, which was the third-best of all defensive linebackers in that period, according to NFL Next Gen stats.
Rodgers was pretty much joking early in training camp when he said, ‘We’re a defensive team now’, going after all the questions about their attack after the goalkeeper. Davant Adams It was traded with the Las Vegas Raiders.
In fact, general manager Brian Gutkunst has been building defense since he took office in 2018. He’s used six of his seven first-round picks with defensive players, including Walker (#22 overall) and a defensive tackle. Devonty White (No. 28) this year. They drafted Walker to play right away, and he will. They don’t need White yet, which is a good thing, because he was slower to develop.
Most of his free agent’s major signings came with Gutekunst on that side of the ball as well, and Smith, Amos, Campbell and Douglas are still in that group.
“The important thing in defense – and that’s something we’ve been emphasizing since we all got here – is just the contact aspect of it and it’s all on the same page,” Savage said. “I feel like the majority of us have been here for a long time, and even the guys we just brought in, seem to have been here forever too. We’re family, we expect the most from each other, and we get the best out of each other. Really, I’m excited about our whole group.”