The Packers defense has all the talent it needs to be elite. They were ninth in total yards allowed in 2020. They were decent against the run and pass but were not consistent. Mike Pettine clearly was not using the defense to its full potential and ability. However, he is no longer the defensive coordinator for the team. The Packers did not improve the defense in free agency. They brought back their own players as they look to make a deep run again. Still, the Packers’ defense can be elite in the 2021 NFL season.
Bounce Back Season From Preston Smith
Preston Smith did not have a good 2020 season. He was certainly a huge disappointment and even looked like he was out of shape. He was a candidate to be a cap casualty for the Packers as they entered an off-season with a decreased cap. Instead, he had his contract restructured saving the same amount of money if the team cut him. Now if the Packers defense wants to take the next step Preston Smith needs to show his 2019 form again in 2021. If he can bounce back along with Rashan Gary and Za’Darius Smith it would be huge. The pass rush can be deadly if Preston Smith returns to form.
Kevin King Needs to Prove Himself This Year
Kevin King will be back for the Packers in 2021. Now, this was not a popular move amongst the fand. Regardless, Kevin King has a chance to prove he can be the long-term answer at cornerback for the Packers. Most of the criticism came from the NFC championship game where he gave up a long touchdown before halftime. In addition, he has not been able to stay healthy. King has the ability to be a solid corner in the NFL he just needs to stay healthy. He showed some of the flashes that he can be a good corner. 2021 is really gonna be the make or break year for Kevin King.
Kingsley Keke Taking the Next Step
The Packers just re-signed Tyler Lancaster and have not really made any additions to the defensive line. That means that the Packers do have some faith in Kingsley Keke. He took a step up in 2020 and was becoming a force in getting after the quarterback. He had a monster game against the New Orleans Saints where he dominated pro bowl guard Andrus Peat. He had two sacks that game and also had a dominant performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. Now he needs to take a bigger step in 2021 and start to come into his own. If he can take that step this year the Packers’ defensive front will be better.
Joe Barry the new defensive coordinator for the Packers has lots of talent at his disposal. Before him, Mike Pettine had the same talent but just did not take advantage and put the defense in positions to succeed. For example, in The NFC Championship game, the Hail Mary touchdown before the half was on Pettine. Not to mention he got way too conservative, which is why he is no longer defensive coordinator for the Packers. Joe Barry states that the defense will play aggressively and fast, but we will see when the season starts. The Packers have the talent on defense to be Super Bowl contenders just need the right coach to lead them. Can Joe Barry lead them? We will see this season.
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