The Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots suspended play following a horrific injury to Patriots rookie linebacker Isaiah Bolden. The injury occurred early in the fourth quarter. Players on both sides were too overcome with concern to be able to continue. Thankfully, Bolden was released from the hospital this morning and was able to travel home with his team.
That is the most important thing that could have resulted from this game: everyone who played is going home to their families.
Green Bay Packers Top 5 PFF Grades on Defense
Despite the early suspension of play, the Packers were able to get over three quarters of play in. During that time, many players were able to display their abilities and stood out due to big plays that they made. Among these players was one of their sixth round picks from the 2023 NFL Draft:
- Kingsley Enagbare- 96.4
- Karl Brooks- 80.4
- Quay Walker- 79.4
- Justin Hollins- 78.7
- Kiondre Thomas- 77.0
Enagbare, of course, was the defensive star of the night. He had two sacks, including a strip sack that he also recovered himself.
Karl Brooks perhaps had his breakout game (for the preseason) as he was an absolute force up front on the defensive line. Had it not been for a defensive holding penalty, he too would have registered a sack. Instead, he settled for a tackle for loss on an attempted run up the middle (a rarity for the Packers defense) and was a disruption the entire time that he played.
Quay Walker was an excellent sight to see here as the Packers will be relying on him heavily again this season, especially if De’Vondre Campbell misses any time with his current ankle injury (they do not expect him to). What was most promising, though, is that his run defense grade was 65.4. Last season, it was a woeful 35.1.
Justin Hollins, who was acquired mid-season last year and re-signed this offseason, only played 11 snaps. However, he was efficient in his limited playing time, registering a hit on the quarterback.
Kiondre Thomas is an interesting addition here because the eye test showed that he had an up-and-down game at best. However, he registered a single tackle and only gave up one reception in the three times he was targeted.
Green Bay Packers 5 Lowest PFF Grades on Defense
Unfortunately, the bottom five graded defenders consist of several recent draft picks (late rounders) that may find themselves hard-pressed for playing time come the regular season, if they make the team at all:
- Tariq Carpenter- 25.1
- Arron Mosby- 28.7
- Jonathan Ford- 32.6
- Shemar Jean-Charles- 42.9
- TJ Slaton- 53.1
In all fairness, Tariq Carpenter and TJ Slaton played just 12 snaps apiece. Slaton is penciled in to be a starter alongside Kenny Clark and Devonte Wyatt this year, so his playing time was limited. Carpenter will likely see most of his time on special teams as he continues his transition from safety to linebacker.
Jonathan Ford is going to be hard-pressed for playing time behind that defensive front, especially with how well Karl Brooks has been playing. He particularly struggled in the run game. His pass rush grade was 65.8, but his run defense grade was 35.8.
Shemar Jean-Charles is facing some staunch competition in the cornerback room, especially with how well rookie Carrington Valentine has been playing. In this game, SJC gave up four receptions on seven targets (Valentine gave up two receptions on targets).