The Green Bay Packers defense was disappointing, to say the very least, in 2022. While the cornerbacks, led by Jaire Alexander, were solid in passing yards allowed per game, the run defense was one of the worst in the NFL. The reason for this starts up front on the defensive line. Kenny Clark is a solid player, but he can only do so much on his own. Part of the reason for their poor season was personnel decisions by the coaching staff. There is no reason Dean Lowry should have played as much as he did before getting injured. However, other players that did get regular snaps did not step up.
One of these players was Tedarrell (TJ) Slaton. With Lowry gone and the defense under immense pressure to perform well in 2023, Slaton was singled out by defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery as a player that did not meet expectations last year that will need to improve in 2023.
Green Bay Packers Coach Jerry Montgomery Calls Out TJ Slaton
Several Green Bay Packers position coaches addressed the media on Thursday. One of them was defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery. He was asked about what his expectations were for his players last year, and he did not hold back in his comments regarding Slaton. According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Montgomery said,
““I had high expectations for T.J. last year and I don’t think he played those consistently, but he showed flashes. My expectation for him is to be the best version of himself every single day. That’s what we gotta get out of him.”
Last season, Slaton saw his playing time increase from 24% of defensive snaps as a rookie to 33%. Despite playing 78 more snaps, Slaton logged just eight more tackles than he did as a rookie. Additionally, PFF graded him as an average interior lineman for most of the season. His game-to-game grades from PFF also reflect this inconsistency:
As one can see, the PFF grades show that what Montgomery said is true. Slaton showed flashes of brilliance, especially in the middle of the season. However, he got off to a slow start and had some truly awful games. These will need to improve in 2023 if the Packers run defense and interior pass rush is to be more effective. With Lowry gone, Slaton will get plenty of opportunities on the field. It is up to him to make the most of them.
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