The Green Bay Packers appear to have a top-level defense. They finished the 2021 season:
- 10th in pass yards allowed
- 10th in rush yards allowed
- ninth in total yards allowed
- tied for ninth in points allowed per game
- tied for fourth in interceptions
- seventh in completion percentage allowed
- 10th in QBR allowed
- ninth in passes defensed
- second in turnover differential
- tied for sixth in total takeaways
It is a fact that they are a top 10 defense. GM Brian Gutekunst decided to build off of an impressive season by re-signing stars in First-Team All-Pro MLB De’Vondre Campbell and standout CB Rasul Douglas. He added talented, young pieces in Georgia’s Quay Walker (MLB) and his teammate Devonte Wyatt (DT). Both came in the first round of April’s NFL Draft. Free agent DT Jarran Reed (career-high in sacks of 10.5) was also signed to a one-year deal.
This defense is extremely talented and aiming to become a Super Bowl defense starting this September. The Packers have stars at every level, including Pro Bowl DT Kenny Clark, EDGE Rashan Gary (DPOY candidate), Campbell in the middle of the defense, All-Pro CB Jaire Alexander, and a very solid duo of safeties in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage.
However, there is still one more move they could make to ensure that their defense has everything it needs to dominate opponents: sign a veteran a edge rusher.
Gary is about to become a superstar. The former Michigan Wolverine has increased his sack total in every one of his three career seasons. He and veteran Preston Smith both recorded nine-plus sacks last season. That was impressive considering they held down the fort while former Packers All-Pro edge rusher Za’Darius Smith missed most of the season with a back injury. Preston Smith’s career-high in sacks came in 2019, his first season in Green Bay, when he brought the opposing QB down 12 times. That should’ve resulted in a Pro Bowl season.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry knows what he has in his starters. However, there is not much behind them. The team did draft EDGE Kingsley Enagbare out of South Carolina in the fifth round of April’s draft, but third-year EDGE Jonathan Garvin only has 1.5 sacks in his career while 2021 undrafted signee Tipa Galeai only played in seven games last season. The defense needs experience behind Gary and Smith.
A name like Justin Houston sounds very intriguing. Houston’s career-high in sacks came in 2014 when he recorded a whopping 22 for Kansas City. The former First-Team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection is currently a free agent and looking for a new home. He is 33 and has played for three teams in the last four years, but his experience and production could very well make the Packers’ pass-rush scary. Keep in mind that Houston has recored at least 7.5 sacks in eight of his 11 career seasons. He has been very productive in his long career.
Bringing in Houston on a one-year would be a great signing, especially because the door is closing with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. A trio of Gary, Smith and Houston coming off the edge at Lambeau Field would be a dangerous, dangerous sight. Green Bay could be the best destination for 102-sack man if he wants to earn his first-career Super Bowl ring.
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