For the majority of Aaron Rodgers’ career (and that is putting it lightly), the Packers have been an offensive team. They have been offensive-dominant and offensive-focused. The franchise decided to take that route for good reason. The Packers have had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time at their disposal for more than a decade-and-a-half. They have also had some of the best receiving cores in the game. Fans, of course, remember the 2011 core of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb. Then, Davante Adams would later become a multi-time All-Pro. However, outside of the team’s Super Bowl defense in 2010 that was led by legends like Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews and Nick Collins, the franchise has had few top-notch defenses over its time with Rodgers at quarterback. That is why the Packers haven’t reached as many Super Bowls as they should have over the last decade-and-a-half. They weren’t complete enough. However, that is starting to change.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has helped Green Bay put forth a top-10 defenses in each of the last two seasons. They are led by All-Pros in cornerback Jaire Alexander and middle linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, along with Defensive Player of the Year Candidate in OLB Rashan Gary and two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kenny Clark. Those are just half the names on this top-five defense. They have arguably the best defensive back room in the game with Alexander, elite safety Adrian Amos, a standout midseason acquisition in cornerback Rasul Douglas, and talented young defenders in safety Darnell Savage Jr. and cornerback Eric Stokes. Preston Smith (career-high in sacks in 12) is another experienced veteran on the edge. The team also added two first-round picks in Georgia’s MLB Quay Walker and DT Devonte Wyatt. Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry is looking to build off an incredible first year in Green Bay and is well on track to doing so. This defense is extremely deep and very talented.
The Packers will lean on that elite defense early and often in 2022. This will give quarterback Rodgers time to gain a strong connection with his four new receivers in veteran Sammy Watkins and their three rookies (North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, Nevada’s Romeo Doubs, and Nebraska’s Samori Toure). It is natural to expect growing pains while integrating new offensive pieces. Luckily for the Packers, they very possibly have a Super Bowl-caliber defense this season. LaFleur can lean on his defense and keep the ball on the ground with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon while back-to-back MVP Rodgers grows with his new receivers. This might be the way they win the Super Bowl, and that is OK.
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