Cory's Corner: Sink Or Swim For Rashan Gary

When I say Rashan Gary, how close are you to saying the word bust?

Is it on the tip of your tongue, are you going to give it a little bit or have you already said it?

Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is taking a sink or swim mentality. He is going to give him an increased workload with more responsibilites and he will see how he responds.

"I think because of his skillset, we can use him more like we've used (Za'Darius Smith), on third down especially, where he can move down and rush from the tackle spot, as opposed to only on the edge," Pettine said via Zoom. 

I really like this. Gary only played 244 defensive snaps last year — which was only 23 percent. He is still plenty green behind the ears. What surprises me about the increased workload is that Gary's highest snap count game was 26 in a Sept. 26 win vs. Denver. After Nov. 3 — when the games really matter — he never tallied more than 18 and he closed out the regualr season with just 13 at Detroit. 

I'll be honest. I wasn't a big fan of the pick at No. 12. Gary can still showcase plenty of athleticism, but taking him at 12 left a lot to be desired.

Now Pettine is turning up the juice on Gary. He likely admits that he may have leaned on the duo of Smith and Preston Smith. But nobody thought that those two would become the defensive tidal wave that they became. Those two reshaped the locker room and gave the Green Bay defense a new look and more importantly, gave Pettine two important weapons. 

So Pettine is either thinking that Gary hasn't had enough experience to get it or he figures this will force his hand. If Gary can figure out spelling the Smith Bros. while also coming from the inside linebacker spot on third down, then the Packers have something cooking. 

However, if the Packers don't get production from Gary, it's a sign that the pick was a mistake. And I know that it's hard to label a player a bust after the sophomore season is a lot to say, but he was also the No. 12 pick and if he cannot be the versatile player that Pettine wants, what role can Gary play?

So if Gary didn't think that he was walking into a world of pressure, he certainly is now. The defense will be expecting him to walk into training camp — whenever that will be — with a baseline knowledge of where he has to be on the outside and inside. And when Pettine catches Gary with that deer in the headlights look, how much rope is he going to give him? If it's Week 8 against Minnesota, that will be too late. 

"We're looking forward to Rashan making a big jump," Pettine said. "It's a shame he didn't have this in-person offseason. I think that would have helped him."

Those are lofty expectations for a guy that hasn't proven anything just yet. Time to sink or swim. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (70)

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Renllaw's picture

May 23, 2020 at 06:55 am

They just need to let him play. Even if its at DE over Lancaster. A fresh set of Smiths can only make us better, so unless the kid is a total liability get him on the field more to spell them and see what happens.

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Lare's picture

May 23, 2020 at 06:58 am

In his rookie season, Clay Matthews had 51 total tackles and 10 sacks. In his rookie season, Rashan Gary had 21 total tackles and 2 sacks.

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Lphill's picture

May 23, 2020 at 07:13 am

What was the snap counts?

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Stroh's picture

May 23, 2020 at 04:58 pm

And JJ Watt started all 16 games as a rookie and had only 5.5 sacks. What's your point? Every player develops on a different path. If Gary wasn't behind Smith and Smith, I'm guessing he would have had more than 5.5 sacks! So I guess Houston should have dumped that scrub JJ Watt after his rookie year since he was clearly a bust right?!

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Bearmeat's picture

May 23, 2020 at 07:03 am

It was a swing for the fences pick when it happened, and just like the Love pick, many thought it was a big reach. You can't say Gute doesn't have nuts the size of Hong Kong. You can question his wisdom though.

Gary had better ball out this year. He was not good last year. And don't hand me the "well, there were 3 good players in front of him argument." If he was that good, he'd have played.

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Guam's picture

May 23, 2020 at 07:32 am

I think the larger issue for Gary last year was changing from a down lineman in college to a stand up OLB in the pros. That is a big change and is rarely accomplished in one season. I agree with Cory that this is a big season for Gary. He should be a lot more comfortable in the OLB position and ready for additional playing time.

The same argument applies to comparing Clay Matthews first season to Gary's. Matthews was a linebacker in college and ready to play the position from day one. Gary needed a transition period to play OLB in the pros.

Hopefully Gary lives up to his draft position this year.

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Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:31 am

An article that opens by asking if a player that was picked last year by a team that made it clear that the pick was one for the future and that he would learn behind 2 high priced and ultimately very effect and healthy starters and to whom they gave relatively few snaps during which he was effective is as worthy of the trash can as this sentence is long!

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greengold's picture

May 23, 2020 at 03:12 pm

True.

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marpag1's picture

May 24, 2020 at 04:36 am

LOL. Just take this little "corner" of the internet for what it is: a brutal chain of mangled clichés and atrocious grammar, coupled with almost no helpful or interesting football information.

What exactly does "plenty green behind the ears" mean? Is it something like "being as wet as grass?" LOL. Classic example of writing without thinking....

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Spock's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:17 am

Well, Vulcans are plenty green behind their ears and seem to think okay, lol.
Spock out.

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Ahgreen30's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:31 am

That's because Gutty is a moron....

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Lphill's picture

May 23, 2020 at 07:15 am

This was an incomplete article, if his snap count percentage was analyzed equaling his pressures and sacks I think his numbers were pretty good.

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Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:32 am

They were, moreover, the team made it clear from the outset that he would be brought along slowly. Right or wrong, that’s on the team not him.

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PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:30 am

He was the 12 pick and should have contributed more. We were all glad the Pack didn't draft Davenport and he had a better rookie season than Gary. He was healthy this off season so let's hope that he worked hard and becomes the disruptive DE that we sorely need.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:26 am

Tell Pettine.

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Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 01:51 pm

Whether he should or shouldn’t have contributed more has nothing to do with him. He did when called on. Can’t say much more than that. Personally, I was very happy with what the Smiths did.

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murf7777's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:18 am

I also thought he improved his pass rush technique towards the end of the year....let’s hope it continues.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 23, 2020 at 02:51 pm

Snap count stats don't go back to 2009, so it is not possible to state them with certainty and thus such an analysis is difficult.

I think it is fair to think CM3 got 3 to 4 times more snaps than Gary. Stats indicate that CM3 started 13 games and played in all 16 games.

First, GB had a great defense. Jenkins, Pickett, Raji, and Jolly were all good DL. Kampman could not drop into coverage at all, but CM3 could and did, posting 7 pass defenses. [Barnett dropped into coverage as well, but not Hawk so much. Same for Propinga (3 starts) but Chillar (4 starts) could drop into coverage.] That can mean the player was good in coverage or just got picked on a lot. CM3 did not put his hand into the dirt to move inside, but was a very good A gap blitzer.

17 TFL for CM3 is an elite number. 21 QB hits is quite good, if not elite. 10 sacks is good. Gary's extrapolate to perhaps 10 or 11 for both QB hits and TFL and 6 or 7 sacks. That's decent. Tackles/snap are good.

A comparison might be made to Raji since there was an established and good starter at NT when Raji came to GB. Can't directly compare stats, though. The Packers already had some 325 pounders in Pickett and Jolly, and thus Raji started just 2 games, playing in 14. Jolly and Jenkins started all 16 games, but Pickett started 9 and played in 13. Based purely on memory, my recollection is that Raji got a decent number of snaps as a rookie.

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blacke00's picture

May 23, 2020 at 07:46 am

If Gary is that good? He said be on the field playing. The coaches need to "find" a place for him. My "gut" on him is that he's a wasted pick. This, IMO, was a classic Thompson move. You think you know more than anyone else and it falls flat on it face.

Only time will tell and I prayer i'm wrong. I've eaten crow before...I prefer mine sautéed.

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Turophile's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:46 am

@blacke00. "You think you know more than anyone else" as you applied it to both TT and Gute, is a description meant to convey arrogance on behalf of both of them.

I don't think you know what arrogant means. It would actually be hard to find a LESS arrogant person than TT. He was a private, reserved person by nature (just look at how he hated press conferences). He and McCarthy had a good relationship until bad health affected how well Ted could do his job. This is not the profile of a man who fails to listen to anyone else. Now if you were to call ex Packer front office guy John Dorsey arrogant, you might be closer to the truth, but not Ted.

Now as for Gutekunst, he does seem confident, but then you wouldn't want a General manager to be lacking in that area (given the decisions he makes every day), or he wouldn't be very good at his job. BUT, confident isn't arrogant. I'll explain the difference. The CONFIDENT man seeks opinions from all around him - he weighs up what has been said, decides on a course and takes it. The ARROGANT man does not seek other opinions - he always thinks he knows best and he won't change his mind.

Next, let us address the pick of Rashan Gary. While he wasn't the guy I expected the Packers to get, he went in the general area he was expected to go, so your 'think you know better' quote doesn't really apply here.

What I think is closer to the truth is that you simply don't like the pick, so you invent a reason to dislike it. If you read the previous sentence you can see he wasn't my choice either, but unlike you, once I looked into the reason he was picked, I can see why they got a big edge guy - they want someone who can be used like Z.Smith is being used, that bigger type of edge guy. The Packers like that chunkier build, It's why they signed Julius Pepper a while back.

Now for the wasted pick comment, it's very easy to counter that because it is simply too soon to know what you have in Gary. Everyone (except maybe you) knew when he was drafted that he wasn't a finished product, and would need time to show his ceiling as a player. One rookie season for an athletic marvel of a player who would need time to be refined, is not enough. If he fails this year (2020) then maybe you are closer to your 'wasted pick' statement, but before that, it's just too soon.

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PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:51 am

These TT bashers must come from that cave in the Dark series. Eat crow, but stay away from bats in a cave.

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scoonie_penn's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:13 am

If you look at some of the other DE/OLB that were drafted after Gary last season, you'd see how many made an impact on their teams. That, to me, is the most damning fact. Gary even played sparingly on the ST's 33 total snaps 7.69%. Say what you will about changing positions and playing behind the smith bros, but he also was far behind K Fackrell on snap counts (D 415 39.9%, ST 182 42.42%). While Fackrell was serviceable as a pass rusher, he was terrible at run support. The jury is still out, but so far the returns for the #12 pick are not good.

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murf7777's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:22 am

I didn’t see it that way when I did a quick analysis if you use same amount of plays. Please provide back up to your analysis.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:33 am

How many of those guys played on a team that won 14 games? Did they have two other guys at the same position who got double digit sacks?

He will be in a rotation this year where he gets more snaps. Let’s see what happens.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 23, 2020 at 02:53 pm

Fackrell played because he was a good pass rusher and was good in coverage. The simple truth is that Gary could not play that coverage, meaning that Pettine could not hide who might be rushing and who might be dropping into coverage.

Fackrell had 10 QB hits in 415 snaps. Extrapolating out, that would be in the low twenties for a full season, which is a good number. TFL was down, and extrapolates to 4, and it is not as good as Gary's number. Ditto for tackles per snap, but the missed tackle rate is about the same.

OTOH, if Gute had drafted Dexter Lawrence, we probably would not be discussing picking up defensive line talent.

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Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 02:55 pm

Fackrell played cover role. It’s not a secret, it was openly admitted, as was the fact that Gary has little to no experience dropping back and wasn’t a candidate for that. In fact, Preston Smith likely will do more if that next year because he excelled there when he took on that role.

I didn’t see the Gary pick coming, and I think it’s fair to be concerned about using a 12 pick that way, but at this point I’m amazed at the lack of context and perspective.

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Stroh's picture

May 23, 2020 at 05:36 pm

Using the #12 pick what way? On a player w/ a very high ceiling who has to grow into and develop into his role? Would you rather the used #12 pick w/ a much lower ceiling, just so he contributes a little more as a rookie but doesn't have the ability to become great?

I applaud taking a bit of a risk on a player w/ immense upside who might not contribute immediately. Gutey has been consistent doing this, and did so again this year by taking Jordan Love.

Your perspective is that of most fans (and children), who want immediate gratification and aren't willing to wait for a much larger payoff in a couple years. Most rational adults grow out of that.

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Coldworld's picture

May 24, 2020 at 08:56 am

Personally I am a shoot for the fences person. If you see exceptional talent falling and you want to win in parity world, you take it regardless of whether it’s for this year.

My point was intended to be that I can see the above belief being a legitimate basis for discussion. Other philosophies exist, TT was an exponent if one in my view.

In contrast, the conclusory gibberish regarding success or otherwise of Gary and his career at this point is beyond idiotic at this point in my view.

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scoonie_penn's picture

May 25, 2020 at 07:31 am

To be fair most adults don't believe in Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy they grow out of that as well. Brian Burns (RAS 9.91) was drafted 3 spots below Gary. His season was stellar and he's already being touted as one of the Panthers defensive leaders. Burns played OLB in college, and was productive.

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ReaganRulz's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:19 am

I’m sensing a lot of negativity on Gary....probably even more now after his output last year and drafting a QB in the first round doesn’t provide much positivity either. Let’s all just root for the guy and see what he can do this year. Its fun to pick up the crystal ball during quarantine, but we will know sooner than later who will be eating sautéed crow.

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Tarynfor12's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:09 am

"Let’s all just root for the guy and see what he can do this year. Its fun to pick up the crystal ball during quarantine, but we will know sooner than later who will be eating sautéed crow."

If we wanted to do this only, this site wouldn't be here. Do you and others who constantly think this way have any idea why this site is here. It's to discuss and argue, politely, the different mindsets fans have about football and all that implies. If you don't want to debate, fine, but stop telling us what we shouldn't do.

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PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:00 am

Not everyone throws tree trunks on the fire like you. LOL

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Tarynfor12's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:53 am

Thank you, and I take pride in doing such, when needed. : )

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Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 02:57 pm

And his opinion is as valid as yours. Especially with an article as abject as this one is as to its core premise. Picked for the future, performed when played, behind two players who were stars last year and doesn’t control his snaps. Yes, this particular article deserves that kind of response.

There are old sayings about the log in one’s own eye and pride coming before a fall. Can’t think why they are springing to mind.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 23, 2020 at 03:14 pm

Dude, Gary had a 54 PFF grade. Actual stats when extrapolated are decent. But saying he performed when he played fittingly lacks an adjective! (Oh, I miss the smiley face emoji right now).

It looks to me like Gary will have to play his own 244 snaps plus Fackrell's 415, and that is with the Smiths not getting hurt and probably playing a few too many snaps. Maybe Garvin, Greg Roberts, Tim Williams, or what's his name UDFA type provide some snaps. So far, that's a good-sized ask. I have little doubt that Gary will be tossed in to play even in situations where he wasn't put on the field for in 2019. Sink or swim seems like a reasonable description.

Everyone performs when they play: the issue is the adjective.

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Coldworld's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:03 am

In PFF we trust? Does that account for learning a new role? Are you saying Gary was bad when in the field? He wasn’t in my book, and looked more comfortable later.

Did we really want the Smiths off the field? This year Preston will have more coverage responsibilities. That’s where Gary fits in. I hope he comes on, but the fact is that none of us know for sure one way or the other. This article should embarrass the author for its complete lack of justification as to its CB premise.

See you at the next Polluted Mindset.

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dblbogey's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:58 am

You're extra cranky today.

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dan_elhumano's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:23 am

Yeah I also think his numbers were great, just look at the pressures and his snap count percentage. If we didn't have the smith bros, maybe he would've played more and he would have more sacks and pressures.
And if he's really good, Pettine will find the way to put him on the field, I think he will surprise a lot of people this year.
Let's just not put him the bust label, yet.

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nostradanus's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:36 am

Gary will be fine but he will of course be expected to be much better than fine due to his lofty draft status and physical attributes. The times he did play last season were a mixed bag, his instincts seem to be lagging behind his physical gifts and that can be an issue.

We all hope this kid can be a great one and that may not happen until year 3 or 4. The fact that he was not productive in college was a major red flag for me and I personally was not a big fan of the choice.

However he was the Packers choice, I trust in their judgment although this years draft has me waffling in that trust just a little bit.

Let’s all hope Gary makes a major jump this year, Love looks like mini-Mahomes in the pre-season and Dillon starts truckin some fools when he’s sharing time in the backfield this year!

If not, Gute is gonna have some“splainin to do!”

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SugarCain's picture

May 23, 2020 at 08:46 am

If Gary gets the snap counts of even Fackrell he is getting 4-6 sacks
If he gets Preston Smith snap counts he is getting 9-11 sacks which is what clay Matthews got his rookie yr. For me, the real questions are is Mike Pettine a bust? Is his scheme a bust? Is his ability to get the right guys on the field and rotation a big fat bust?

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Archie's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:36 am

The Smith brothers performed well in this scheme so it is not scheme when it comes to Gary. Gary can stop the run well enuff but he has little instinct for rushing the QB and finishing the play. Was true in college and remains true today. In other words, it's all mental for the guy. Can we afford to pay him for 4 years to watch and hopefully learn with no guarantee and be faced with a 2nd contract and still no production?

Pack should have traded out of that pick. Would have saved themselves two R4 picks plus whatever they would have acquired in the trade. Probably could have still drafted same two guys with 3 or 4 additional draft picks.

All three of Gute's drafts have to give one pause. Yet the jury remains out a bit longer.

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Stroh's picture

May 23, 2020 at 05:27 pm

It IS the scheme. I'm not saying it was right or wrong, but it most certainly was the scheme. The Smiths did great because their only real responsibility on just about every play was to get after the QB and it sacrificed the run D to get that pressure. That is the Pettine/Rex Ryan Defense at it's most basic. Its all about getting disruption in the backfield and particularly on the QB and it does so at the expense of gap integrity. The Packers last year were terrible playing w/ gap discipline but were really strong in pressure on the QB. That, again, is the essence of the Pettine/Rex Ryan D.

It gave Z and P Smith freedom to just get after the QB and they did that very well, but it did sacrifice the run D to do it.

Gary will be in much the same position, but I suspect that Pettine will stress gap discipline quite a bit more in an effort to shore up the run D. That however, will come at some loss of pressure on the QB.

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LambeauPlain's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:25 am

I was hoping for a lot more out of Pettine in HIS sophomore season in GB.

He is a lot like MM. Both talk big about run game but it is mostly talk. MM lived on chunk plays to the perimeter and the result was many 3 and outs.

Pettine goes light on the with lots of dime. And while the pass D improved, the run D regressed...and at times was comical. The result was giving up many first downs.

Maybe Gary can get the stops in the run game and play more there, I just don’t like always drafting D line guys to try to turn them into Edge/OLBs. When CMIII came in he was an OLB. When Neal, Datone Jones, and Perry came in, all high picks, they were DL and told to stand up. Like Gary, it was a long learning curve. Peppers was the exception but he had played a lot of Edge in the NFL when he came to the Pack.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:32 am

Gary was picked because he's a big guy who runs fast. Gute was measurably inspired to draft him and bought all that nonsense that Gary would have been good in college but he was double-teamed all the time. He made his teammates better. Yeah, sure. Watching him last year, and in college, you saw poor instincts, no moves, awkwardness. He's a big guy who runs fast. That's it. I think he was a 3rd round pick at best and he didn't even play at that level. I have zero expectations. The Love pick I completely understand, but Gary at #12 when you had just signed two expensive DE's? Insane.

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mrj007's picture

May 25, 2020 at 08:10 pm

Agree. Gary looked lazy at times. I don’t recall hearing his name make a play after Thanksgiving. Plus Pettine seemed to regress last year. I expected more from both last year

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Leatherhead's picture

May 23, 2020 at 09:44 am

A few days after a draft and develop article we’re discussing giving up on a first round pick after one year.

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PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:16 am

I told you already. go read a great book, start with Last Stand of Fox Company and Target Tokyo.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 23, 2020 at 05:54 pm

I have a little bit of knowledge about the Dolittle raid.. I’ve been to Dolittle Hall at USAFA and got to meet one of the last living Raiders.

Balls of Steel.. I wonder what they would think about the courage of Americans today.

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PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 07:33 pm

Damn, I've been to the USAFA but missed that. When provoked the way we were in WWII the vast majority would rise up furiously to protect this country. I retired 3yrs ago after teaching 38yrs and coaching for many of those. I taught in an urban setting comprised of new immigrants in the bastion of liberalism in Northern Jersey and I can tell you that they would not hesitate to fight for this country. Criticizing is part of being an American, but when threatened watch out. Check out the Fox Company bk, it's totally absorbing.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:41 am

After years of seeing college players "Who look like Tarzan and play like Jane", Packer fans were disappointed in the Gary pick from the onset. He failed to excel in college and has followed suit thus far in the pro's. If he were a 3rd round selection, physical potential can certainly be a significant factor, but in a top first round guy, Packer fans want a football player. I've got fingers and toes crossed that he can produce like we expect out of a top first round selection, but my confidence is waning.

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stockholder's picture

May 23, 2020 at 10:50 am

Gary is a Bust. Don't expect the jump. Just another Datone Jones. Another career wrecked by the packers switching guys around. This is exactly why I don't trust Gutey. You scout a player at his natural Position. Then you try to out think his current coaches. Then you push him off the DL, when you needed DL. Common, does that really make sense to you? . Gutey was a scout. He watched him play DE. Not LB. And he refuses to draft a guy whose played it all his life. I feel sorry for Gary. He belonged on the DL.

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ricky's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:11 am

The number of fans screaming to cut that "bust" Davante Adams in his second season was deafening. Does that mean Gary can make the same impact either this year or next? No, but it is a cautionary tale of calling a player a bust after not playing to expectations his first couple of years. Also, like Adams in his second year, Gary was playing while healing from an injury- in Gary's case a torn labrum in his senior year in college. He chose not to get corrective surgery, which may have slowed him down and affected his play. Add in the stellar play of the Smith's, try to give the guy a little slack just because he didn't tear the league apart his rookie year.

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stockholder's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:26 am

Players that play their natural position can improve. #1 Especially when a staff goes all in on them. #2 Especially when a all star qb ties him to his apron strings. #3 Especially when you want to prove everybody wrong. #4 Surrounding Gary with All-pro Talent was also a key. Nelson and Cobb were great mentors. Had Adams been on another team him would have been a bust.

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Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 03:04 pm

Ok, think I just lost the will to participate at this level of analysis. Perhaps this article has simply descended to the appropriate level based upon almost everything about that comment and some of the others here. It’s not about agreeing, it’s about the absence of cogency, perspective or even the will to engage with open minds.

Goodbye save for Al’s polluted mindset.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 23, 2020 at 05:29 pm

Mostly I write for myself (and self-amusement). And sometimes I delight more in the thumbs-down than the thumbs-up - as I know that I've brushed an exposed nerve. So please re-considering staying. To acceptance and transcendence!

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mrj007's picture

May 25, 2020 at 08:13 pm

Adams WAS a bust entering his second season. So is Gary. Packers haven’t made any good rd 1 picks since Rodgers.....

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PeteK's picture

May 23, 2020 at 11:48 am

Nobody's right if everybody's wrong

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 23, 2020 at 01:14 pm

It seems that the written and spoken drift on Gary is that he is trending to more of a "bust"than a "boom." Such are the only choices for many - as we now are living, more than less, in the Age of Instant Gratification and Results. However, the next year "sink" or "swim" scenario for Gary seems to be premature, simplistic and unlikely. Judging from the results of his first year performances, there is more reason to be optimistic for his continued development and production - than not. And it may not be in the jaw-dropping fashion that so many are clamoring for. What must be considered is that Gary is still a very young player - whose mental attributes may not have yet dove-tailed with his outstanding physical measurables. Only further practice and play experience will augment this connection. In the meantime, Gary may only have a solid or a good year, which will no doubt be a disappointment to many, but, would still represent a positive contribution to the Team. In reality, we still may be a year or two of Gary from reaching his peak - developing only on a gradual and incremental basis rather than the more popular "leaps and bounds". Fortunately, the Packers seem to be more patient with their draft and development players than many of their fans.

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Stroh's picture

May 23, 2020 at 05:55 pm

Most fans here are just like children. They want / need instant gratification and have no sense of waiting for a greater payoff in year 2, year 4 and year 10. The only thing that matters is that they didn't get what they wanted NOW. Even tho in reality they did because the Packers won 14 games last year. Its beyond frustrating and amusing (almost) at the same time!

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 23, 2020 at 06:18 pm

Yes, we did have a 14 win season and how great was that that - for many! Then there is that part of Packers fandom who can't see the forest for the trees. Perhaps more of a general commentary on our society than an anomaly.

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oceanstrength's picture

May 23, 2020 at 12:57 pm

I am uneasy about drafting 'potential' that high. I hope but dont really believe Gary will ever be a blue. Maybe a red, maybe but not likely.
Is it mental or physical? Who knows. Skill must be tested in games. That Gary did not get better over the season is not at all about the Smiths. You cant have too many good players on the field at one time.
I hope he can bust out, but just dont see it.
Cory's right. Its bust out or bust.

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Coldworld's picture

May 23, 2020 at 02:01 pm

But he did improve so ....

Who knows whether he will be worthy of his pick? But that doesn’t excuse this kind of aspersions at this point, no matter how devoid of activity at this point in this unusual off-season.

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greengold's picture

May 23, 2020 at 03:14 pm

This is click bait level stuff not worthy of commenting further. Disappointed.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 23, 2020 at 03:28 pm

Agree. But with many of the social protocols still in effect - I had some time to allocate to non-essential matters.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 25, 2020 at 07:55 pm

GG,
Have to be fair....this is really a long slow down time for GBP football. Any football distraction is positive!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 23, 2020 at 03:49 pm

Gary is a first-round pick playing a new position. Lots of 1st rounders don't do much as rookies or get a lot of snaps. Even if he had played DE, loads of first-round DL prospects play a modest number of snaps and don't play well with consistency. Some of such prospects explode in year 2 (or year 3), and others don't or regress.

I don't see how to project which trajectory Gary's career will take. I also am curious as to what weight he will report at. I expect something like 260 to 265, but if he is still around 280, that's interesting.

As a cap nut, I think from each draft teams need to get contributions from 2 or 3 players in year one. The most likely source is the premium rounds, that is, rounds 1 through 3, but teams find gems in the 4th and 5th through UDFA.

So far, given that he was the 12th pick, I'd give it a C- to date since I think he could have played some of Z's snaps if necessary at a serviceable level. I do suspect he will be asked to play 600 to 800 snaps in 2020.

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Stroh's picture

May 25, 2020 at 11:26 pm

My guess is Gary may drop weight slightly. Being a 278 lb OLB is a bit heavier than I think the Packers would want him to be. But he is a naturally thicker built than either of the Smiths. I expect him to be closer to 270 than 280, but at the same time I don't see that he really needs to drop alot of weight. If we're right in projecting him playing both OLB and some pass rush snaps at DT, the 270 seems like a really good weight for him.

I see alot of potential in Gary and he seems to be a worker, even if some questioned that about him. I think his trajectory is definitely going upwards. How high is a bit of an unknown. I don't expect JJ Watt, that is asking too much. Cameron Jordan is another really close comp being similar size and athletic potential and somewhat limited college production (he had 16 sacks in 4 college seasons. Jordan went from 1 sack as a rookie to 8 sacks in his 2nd season then to 12.5 in year 3. I think Gary will be on a trajectory that should be very similar in yr 2, but slightly higher during his career. Jordan has 5 seasons of double digit sacks, and 87 total sacks in 9 seasons. Slightly different postions for each and Gary has others to take some attention off him w/ Z and P (and possibly steal some sack production from him), so its not an exact comparison, but both are outside and sometimes inside rushers. That seems like a pretty damn good pick at #12 to me, if it works out that he's another Cameron Jordan or slightly better.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 25, 2020 at 05:46 pm

The Packers win 14-games last year and nearly all of them were nail bitters right down to the end. Throw in the Smith Bros and the close ball games who would you play more frequently? I know Gary had the shoulder issue just do not know how extensive the injury was. Playing a new position and at a higher level of competition behind quality starters is going to be tough for any rookie.

Personally, I was not disappointed by Gary's play last year but because I did not have high expectations in year 1. My expectations will definitely be higher this year and I expect a sizable jump along with significant more playing time. Playing with the Smith Bros and learning behind them has to be a huge positive in his development. Much like Love will be behind Rodgers!

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PDX_Packfan's picture

May 27, 2020 at 06:38 pm

I wanted him to see the field more for sure, but I suspect the monster production from the Smiths was one inhibiting factor, but I also think his shoulder was more jacked than the public was led to believe. Let's give the guy an actual chance to perform...

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