Defensive Report Card
This report card will evaluate each defensive position group and assign them a grade. These grades should give insight for what your team’s needs are entering the off-season.
A talented unit on paper, the defensive line really struggled this year. The Packers were a disappointing 26th in the league against the run, despite having Kenny Clark on the roster. Clark is one of the best tackles in the league and is outstanding against the run. However, Devonte Wyatt didn’t have the impact the team thought he’d have in his rookie year. Lowry and Reed are free agents and are expendable. With that said, both players could add depth to the line next year if they are willing to take less. That said, this should be a primary area of focus in the off-season. The Packers will also need to see a significant improvement from Wyatt.
Another area of disappointment was total sacks. The team ranked 27th in the NFL with 34 on the year. Gary ended the year on IR, which greatly affected the defense. Preston Smith is a quality player, but not quite the double digit sack guy like Gary is. Outside of these two, there really isn’t much to get excited about on this team. Gary is going into the final year of his contract so talks of an extension should begin soon. Look for this team to add more depth to this position in the in off-season.
Finally some great linebacker play! Packer fans have been yearning for this for years! Quay Walker looks like a stud for years to come. Many thought he was over drafted but he proved doubters wrong. He’s had some boneheaded penalties this year and will need to channel his emotions on the field better. Campbell is a great compliment as well. Together, Walker and Campbell had 217 total tackles. Both are under contract for a few years and should continue to grow together.
The Packers were great against the pass this year (6th in the NFL). Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, and Eric Stokes are a solid trio of young corners. Now Stokes finished the year on IR, but should be slotted right back to CB2 for next year. The secondary as a unit has 17 INTS, tied for fourth in the league. The safety position is much more in doubt. Darnell Savage took a step back and is in a “prove it or lose it” season for 2023. Rudy Ford even started some games in place of Savage but he’s not a long term answer. Amos is still great but is a free agent and should be re-signed. With that said, Amos is 31 and Savage is an uncertain long term answer for the team. The team needs to begin looking for their replacements just in case.
The Packers were a middle of the road defense this past year. The talent on all three levels suggests they should be better. Their biggest weakness is along the defensive line, ranking in the bottom of the league in run defense and sacks. Despite the injury, re-signing Gary to a long term contract should be a high priority item for their off-season. Packers are notorious for getting their young players locked up a year before they hit the market, so I like Gary’s chances of getting a deal done. Amos is another important player to resign to keep the Secondary intact. Lastly, look for this team to address the defensive line, Edge rusher, and safety positions in free agency and the draft.
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As the confetti fell in victory lane in Daytona on the Hendrick Motorsports No....