The Green Bay Packers are off to a 1-1 start for the second season in a row. While the defense has been struggling in the run game and wrapping up ball carriers, their pass rush has been highly effective. Rashan Gary has recorded a sack in each of the Packers’ first two games. Additionally, Preston Smith had two sacks against the Bears while also leading the team in tackles. In the middle of the defensive line, Kenny Clark has been putting pressure on the quarterback at a higher rate than any other defensive tackle. In fact, Clark and the two aforementioned pass rushers rank in the top seven in the whole NFL in a key defensive stat.
Putting Pressure on the Quarterback in Passing Situations
According to a stat found by Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Rashan Gary, Kenny Clark, and Preston Smith rank in the top seven in the NFL in putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks on passing plays.
Quite the stat here. Top seven LB and DL in the NFL in % of pass-rush snaps resulting in a pressure among guys with at least 30 pass-rush snaps, per @TruMediaSports:
7. Rashan Gary
6. Myles Garrett
5. Kenny Clark
4. Nick Bosa
3. Randy Gregory
2. Micah Parsons
1. Preston Smith
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 19, 2022
As seen above, Preston Smith is leading the NFL (well, linebackers and defensive tackles) in how often he puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks. While the defense still has work to do in improving against the run, the pass rush appears to be in midseason form. This will be key for the Packers as they improve in other areas of the game. Missed tackles are a concern: they have already missed 20 as a team so far. Last year, they did not get to 20 missed tackles until Week Four. That being said, many starters did not play in the preseason.
As Gilbert Brown noted in our last podcast, he never missed any preseason games. He feels that there is a difference between physical shape and football shape. Some of the Packers’ defenders appear to still be getting into football shape (in terms of tackling). They will get there, and the league better watch out.
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