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At age 36, Tramon Williams – who took all 73 defensive snaps – is in a generation all his own on the Green Bay defense. From there we had (age, with snaps in parentheses):

27 – Kyler Fackrell (23)

26 – Adrian Amos (73), Preston Smith (72), Za’Darius Smith (67), and Fadol Brown (3) – Z turns 27 on Sunday

25 – Blake Martinez (73), and Dean Lowry (47)

24 – Kevin King (42), Tony Brown (27), Montravius Adams (22), and Tyler Lancaster (14)

23 – Kenny Clark (56), and Josh Jackson (3)

22 – Jaire Alexander (73), Darnell Savage (73), and Raven Greene (56)

21 – Rashan Gary (6)

Defenders who might soon be making their first defensive appearances of the year include: B. J. Goodson (age 26), Oren Burks (24), Ty Summers (23), Chandon Sullivan (23), Ka’dar Hollman (22), and Kingsley Keke (22).

Blake Martinez 50

Aug 15, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) is tackled by Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez (50) in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Packers Soaring UP, Vikings Heading Down

For the sake of comparison, let’s pick out another team, the Minnie Vikings. Of their eleven projected defensive starters, only Danielle Hunter and Ben Gedeon (both 24) are younger than 27. Those who are 27 are Trae Waynes, Anthony Barr, and Erik Kendricks. From there we have: Shamar Stephens and Anthony Harris (28), Xavier Rhodes (29), Harrison Smith and Linval Joseph (30), and Everson Griffen (31). The window is starting to close on the team to the west.

Back on October 16, 2017, I did a post titled “Have the Vikings Over-invested in Their Defense?” They loaded up on good defenders in part due to having two first-round choices in 2012, three in 2013, and two again in 2014. I pointed out that they had so many highly-paid defensive stars they would run out of money to pay them all.

The Vikings have done well to keep most of that lineup intact, but they haven’t translated their investments into championships. Based on their ages, last year figured to be the peak for this team. They did finish fourth in total defense, but their 8-7-1 record didn’t even get them into the playoffs.

This is the last season Minnesota will be able to pay on some of these gaudy contracts. Like the great Seattle Seahawks defenses of a few years ago, Vikings defenders will start to be dispersed at the end of this season – due more to finances than age. It figures to be the last hurrah for a while for the team Green Bay will face in a week.

But let’s get back to the Packers. Almost every starting defender is in, or about to enter, his prime. It was re-assuring to see Brian Gutekunst’s big defensive acquisitions perform so well against the Bears. Equally encouraging, however, was to see some players with little acclaim or experience step in and play decently.

I’m particularly referring to Raven Greene, Tony Brown, and Darnell Savage. Three others, developing defensive linemen Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, and Tyler Lancaster, also acquitted themselves well.

The Packers not only have quality starters, but they are fairly deep in backup defenders. Barring a succession of serious injuries, these youngsters – who are bound to only get better – should keep Green Bay in the thick of the playoffs hunt all season long.

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Rob Born

Someone else said it first but I popularized it: “Athleticism is important in athletic pursuits.” It took three years, but the Packers finally listened. My new mantra: “Trading down is fine, but never trade up.”

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6 Comments

  1. PF4L September 9, 2019

    Interesting

    Reply
  2. David Born September 9, 2019

    How about some deeper insights into JK Scott and the punting game? I think that unit should get as much credit for the win as the D…. If you are focusing on youth… let’s see the comparative analysis on where Babyface Scott’s game ranks vs. the last few years.

    Reply
    1. PF4L September 12, 2019

      Right on…in a field position game, it could be argued that Scott and the special teams share equal responsibility for that victory.
      ***
      In case anyone missed it…after Rodgers had a ho hum boring game where he didn’t look god-like..it should be noted he didn’t care after the game. He cared that they won and he was giddy when mentioning the defense to the point i haven’t seen him that happy in a while. That’s because a good defense that can win a game is not only rare in Green Bay, it takes a lot of pressure off QB #1.
      ***
      In that same vain, Bakhtiari’s weekly interview on The Fan revealed his glee over the defense helping win the game. He mentioned he can only remember a few games in his career where the defense had a hand in the outcome of a game. So yea….having a decent defense matters. If only the Packers had discovered that years ago.

      Reply
  3. Kato September 10, 2019

    Stat that I like from last week. 31 pressures in 47 pass plays. They averaged 17 per game last year. The Smiths alone combined for 16

    Reply
  4. Deepsky September 10, 2019

    Rashan Gary played in only 6 snaps, but he had MUCH more effectiveness than what he showed in the preseason. He beat his defender on nearly every play, had a quarterback hit, helped out on a sack and had free reign to the QB where only a quick throw prevented a sack.

    Reply
    1. PF4L September 12, 2019

      He should have, he came in fresh.

      Reply

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