The Three Ascending Players I'm Most Excited to Watch in 2021

Three Packers who could be a treat to watch in their continued development.

With every day we inch closer and closer to actual football happening once again. And while much of the hubbub surrounding the Green Bay Packers is related to a certain reigning MVP, I'm starting to get hyped about seeing the progression from some of the most promosing young players on the Packers.

Here are the three I'm most excited to watch this year, for different reasons:

Rashan Gary, Year Three

Rashan Gary didn't get many opportunities to show his skills his rookie year, instead spending much of the year sitting behind the Smith brothers and slowly transitioning to the NFL game. Many fans were thus quick to write the former #12 overall pick off as a bust, but Gary promptly made them look silly in 2020.

While Gary's raw sack totals may not have taken the world by storm in 2020, his pressure rate was among the best in the league this past year. Gary showed off an impressive motor resembling another former #52, and in addition to developing his game as a pass rusher, he also made some surprise improvements as a strong run defender.

Heading into year three in the NFL, I'd expect Gary to continue to take snaps away from Preston Smith and to become an even more valuable part of the Packers' pass rush. If he can make as big of a leap from year two to year three as he did from year one to year two, we could be looking at a special player.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Year Four

MVS continued the up-and-down trajectory we've seen from his career so far, but there's no denying that as the season went on, we saw more ups than downs from MVS. He's been Packer fans' favorite offensive whipping boy the last couple years, but the talent is very obviously there.

MVS was one of the few players who showed up and fought their ass off in the NFC championship game, and there were multiple games this season where he really displayed playmaking ability that would make him one of the league's premier deep threats. If the consistency he finally started to show toward the end of the year serves as a stepping stone for his fourth year in the league, he will not only earn a second contract with Green Bay, but could develop into one of the stronger second receiving options in the game.

Again, the talent is undeniably present. The big question has always been consistency, and the promising finish to 2020 has me excited to see what he can accomplish in the final year of his contract.

Krys Barnes, Year Two

Barnes came out of nowhere as an undrafted rookie to quickly become a team leader and one of the defense's most intense, hard-nosed players. Barnes certainly had plenty of rookie moments, but he deservedly graded out as one of the best rookie linebackers in the game.

With a full year of NFL play under his belt and an actual offseason regimen to help him learn even more coming into the 2021 season, Barnes should be an even more confident and intelligent player in 2021. He provides a mean streak the Packers have sorely lacked in the middle of the defense for quite some time. If he's able to develop into a long-term starter, that's a feather in the cap of Brian Gutekunst, who plucked him out of obscurity only to see him become a rare day-one starter as a UDFA.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

13 points

Comments (55)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
greengold's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:00 am

Great piece, Tim.

Rashan Gary might be my favorite altogether to make a big splash this year. He is without a doubt ascending, and I think he’ll eclipse Za’Darius Smith for snaps/opportunities this year. Can easily see him getting a bunch of reps at 3-tech too, with Z & Preston coming from the edge. All 3 at once. Gary’s got the size & quickness to be a difference maker at 3-tech.

Our pass rush should be fun to see this season, and Gary is definitely one to watch.

As for MVS, if he delivers consistency with finishing his plays, it’s all over. He’ll be a bona fide superstar. It’s really all about securing the football for MVS. If he can run his Catch% into the 70% range? Lookout. That party will be on!

Krys is about as solid a UDFA signing as we’ve seen from Gutekunst to date, but he’ll be in one hell of a battle with Kamal Martin, now that De’vondre Campbell is in the house. Wow. Who knows how that shakes out, but there’s a lot to like there.

3 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

June 10, 2021 at 06:58 am

Wish Gary had developed a little faster, as in the championship game. He had 2 tackles. In fact, Gary, Z, and Preston had a total of 8 tackles, no TFLs, and no sacks. They were invisible against a statue of a QB.

Brian Burns, who most had the Packers taking, has double the sacks and as many solo tackles as Gary has total. He's played more snaps, that's true, but the fact remains, when it was time to show up, in the championship game, after 32 games already played as a pro, Gary did almost nothing,

I'm still waiting for the great breakout. And hoping. But except for isolated moments in a few games, he hasn't shown yet that he was worthy of the 12th pick.

2 points
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greengold's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:16 am

Everything you say is true, JohnnyLogan. No question.

Gary has to make a giant leap in production this year.

Gary has had 4 starts compared to Burns’ 19 starts over the same period of time. This is his year to become a difference maker, start piling in sacks, forcing fumbles, getting FRs, more QB Hits and load up on the TFL. Those are all hustle stats we need to start seeing, because they change games. That’s what makes a player great.

Burns is doing all of that.

I want to see more sacks from our entire D. Winning that battle is the most consistent indicator in winning games, of all stats.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:30 am

Gary was the one guy I didn't want the Packers to pick in that draft, Burns was the guy I picked when our turn came up. I stand by that pick.

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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:42 am

Wrong pick. Thank God your not GM.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:49 am

The only guy beside Gary would have been Montez Sweat because of his speed and range.

3 points
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PeteK's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:31 am

In 2 games last season vs Bucs Burns had 0 sacks. Yes, overall Burns has been more productive, but I'm hoping that Gary's versatility as a OLB and DE will pay dividends.

7 points
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greengold's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:13 am

I think this is the most important point with Rashan Gary, Pete. Versatility.

Gutekunst was looking ahead when he drafted Gary. For the Burns argument, you have to ask, "Did he look too far ahead?"

He essentially drafted a Za'Darius Smith clone with that #12 pick, to learn from Z and to provide continuity of like production at multiple positions along our defensive front, for years to come. I can't argue against that, but we do need to see greater snaps/production now. I think we will.

Gary has that rare size/speed combination to work both inside from the 3-tech and outside from the 7 or 9.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Right now, Burns has a pile of stats to warrant that draft position. Gary does too in far more limited opportunities (roughly 20% of what Burns has had), and he's shown greater efficiency, getting near half or more in some stat categories.

For all we know, Burns might have helped us to get to/win the Super Bowl in 2019 and 2020. ??? I mean, throw Burns in to start opposite Preston, then work Z more/exclusively from the 3-tech, and we might be in a very different position today. Tough call.

I can't argue against those who wanted Burns for this reason.

Regardless, Gary might be proving all of us who were surprised, shocked or disappointed that draft day, wrong this year. Let's hope so.

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dobber's picture

June 10, 2021 at 10:31 am

"He essentially drafted a Za'Darius Smith clone with that #12 pick,"

I think we look at the H/W numbers for Z and Gary and think they're similar, but that's about where it ends. Smith is nowhere near the explosive athlete that Gary is. When it comes to athleticism, Z is only just a bit better than average. Gary is a freak.

6 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:18 am

They aren’t particularly similar, have been used at different rates and for differing purposes. I hate the winging about picks we didn’t make every time a player who looks really promising comes up. I’m glad Gary is on our roster. I’d have been happy with Burns, but Gary does things he doesn’t and has the potential to eclipse over their careers. I don’t care who you all would have drafted instead of Adams or Rodgers or Jones and so on. Time to can it and whine over Burks or Jackson alternatives if you really must.

5 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:44 am

Burns has also played a ton more snaps, because he wasn't behind P and Z Smith!

5 points
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Lphill's picture

June 10, 2021 at 10:01 am

If snacks was in taking up blockers in the nfccg then maybe the pass rushers would have had more success , Pettine and his soft fronts were to blame .

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 10, 2021 at 10:05 am

Another case of the inbred coaches, recycling tree of the NFL.

3 points
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greengold's picture

June 10, 2021 at 10:10 am

Hell yeah, Lphill! You are not kidding. Completely unimaginable that they wouldn't just let Snacks Harrison do what he does best. Pettine was a disaster for the Packers as DC.

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dobber's picture

June 10, 2021 at 02:11 pm

I ask myself just how much Snacks really wanted to play. He's kicked around retirement for a year or two, and asked Detroit to release him. He had suitors prior to the opening of camp last fall (e.g. the Packers) who he turned down. Waited until mid-season to sign with Seattle where he tuned up on the practice squad before being promoted due to some injury issues with their starters. When those starters got healthy and the team made him a healthy scratch, he asked for his release, then came to GB. I think he was more interested in getting some bonus $$ than anything else.

1 points
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mnbadger's picture

June 10, 2021 at 06:32 am

Nice job Tim on all fronts. Three ascending talents at three areas of need. You very correctly point out the team's trajectory matching these three players. Throw in steady qb play and one player stepping up in the oline and dline groups and we could be real good this year. I'm jacked and would love to attend camp. GPG

2 points
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stockholder's picture

June 10, 2021 at 06:48 am

My three players are Kevin King, Preston Smith and Savage. I feel everybody has Kevin King all wrong. That he will lead the club in INTs. The Smiths just know how to play football. And Barry knows what he can and can't do. Savage - It's TIME! Without Rodgers. This offense struggles. -No selection here.

3 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:14 am

A good set of three, Stockholder. I'm curious how this defense is going to affect the safeties; it is supposed to be a zone bend-but-don't-break, yet Joe Barry promised an "aggressive defense." Ummm....that's an oxymoron...

4 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:00 am

I agree on MVS; this is a big year for him, and we'll either see a very good WR or we'll shrug again and accept him as simply a useful deep threat.
I hope Gary can be full-time and continue his impact level, but I have nagging doubts...
I agree Barnes will get better with experience; he's that type, but I don't know how much we'll SEE of that difference, so I wouldn't put him on my list.
You didn't choose any rookies, who are always exciting to see, or Love, who is too obvious an answer, so my next choice is pretty tough:
Will we see a big step from Keke? Martin? Sternberger? St Brown? Josh Jackson? Sullivan?
Will Funchess surprise?
What about Ty Summers or Vernon Scott or another holdover DB?
I'm really curious who will be the roster-winners at OL.
And for me, it's those UDFAs that are always the most interesting: Gaither, Uphoff, and Gaines are my guys this year.

6 points
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barutanseijin's picture

June 10, 2021 at 05:52 pm

Sternberger just got busted for PEDs. Buh bye, Jace

-1 points
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Savage57's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:43 am

The problem with ascending players and the cycle to get them there, is productivity and expiration intersect when they're eligible for a second contract.

The NFL needs to develop a formula where a team can net out the years of suckitude before they're facing a choice of having to break the bank for a year's worth of impressive production.

9 points
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greengold's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:49 am

Keyword: suckitude.

Thanks, Savage. I agree.

5 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:52 am

Why, all investments have Risks. Prepare your Hedge or forever keep guys like Jackson and Burks on your roster.

2 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:20 am

Rashan Gary is a future star. The only potential downfall is if the pressure rate drops as the snaps increase. If he keeps the pressure rate up then sooner or later the sack numbers will go up. He is an athletic freak who also has a motor. The only other question I ever had about him was his very low Wonderlic Score, but someone here quickly pointed out that he has dyslexia. He s as close to can't-miss as you can get right now without actually being there.

I am not sold on MVS becoming a legit #2, let alone a 1B. Either Rodgers can't hit him or he can't adjust to the ball. One of the two. I think the latter. It got better as the year went on but he still looks awkward to me when it comes to finding the ball. He took a step forward in terms of raw production the NFCCG and a couple of other games. He needs to be way more consistent with his hands. And all of that is without analyzing his route-running skills, which I simply do not know enough about to attempt.

Barnes. Speed ain't everything, but it sure as hell doesn't help to not have it. As a replacement for Blake Martinez he is great. I don't think he has the tools to be a dynamic playmaker in the middle.

6 points
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Packerpasty's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:41 am

the NFL should do away with the Wonderlic testing all together...these kids are playing football not trying to get into M.I.T

-2 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:22 am

Hmm, every time I feel the same way, I find myself remembering boxing gloves and other examples of players who couldn't master a pro system. That said the fact that it can’t cope with dyslexia means the product should probably be changed for one that can or trashed as a poor tool. Certainly do not think results should be public.

1 points
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dobber's picture

June 10, 2021 at 11:33 am

We have to remember what the wonderlic test actually does test. It's not about remembering who the 12th POTUS was or how many feet are in a mile. It's about processing information under time pressure...because of that, someone who has dyslexia and may struggle with the reading portion may score disproportionately low.

Some info here and a brief sample test, for those who are interested.

https://beatthewonderlic.com/wonderlic-test/

3 points
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Since'61's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:41 am

Mark - I agree on Gary. I've been a supporter of Gary since they selected him. I'm expecting this to be his breakout season but the Packers need to get him on the field. He needs to get more snaps. However, given the salaries they are paying to the Smiths the Packers need to keep them on the field.

I'd like to see Gary get about 75% of the defensive snaps this season. Maybe Barry will come up with a plan to keep Gary and the Smiths on the field at the same time. I think that Gary can wreck an opponent's game plan if they give him the opportunity. He has the speed and the physical tools to be a dominant player in a full time role.

My next breakout player is AJ Dillon. He only had 43 carries last season. I'm looking forward to Dillon getting more snaps throughout the season and becoming an effective RB in every game.

My third choice is Keke. We need him to take a leap and support Clark so that our DL can generate an effective pass rush and stop the run. Again we'll see how Barry chooses to use Keke. Thanks, Since '61

6 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:55 am

He was deprived snaps in both of his previous seasons. P Smith should have been moved after last season and a five tech brought on board. See how the cards play out in '21.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:05 pm

Agree jannes. Thanks, Since '61

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:11 am

I would have gone with Savage as much as any of those named, personally. If Lazard can stay healthy I’m also really intrigued to see how many yards he will contribute.

6 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:39 am

Come on man... Gary didn't make any surprising development vs the run last year. He was always a very strong run defender! Heck its almost all he was asked to do in college and entering the NFL was looked at as his forte of sorts. His pass rush was what was always going to need work to take his game to the next level and last year he started to show that. This year is pass rush should start to approach being dominant, but his run defense was always a very strong part of his game.

For MVS, he is terrific in his role. Being the deep threat to open the defense up. He'll continue to be a terrific deep threat, just like last year. I don't see him becoming a great all around WR . He might improve slightly in some other regards, but he lacks the agility to be a great route runner and a guy that creates seperation in short spaces. His speed and ability is as a straight line speed guy. He's very much a straight line sprinter, but lacks the agillity and quicks to be a guy that creates seperation on other routes besides the top of the route tree.

Barnes will improve somewhat, but not significantlhy.

4 points
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dobber's picture

June 10, 2021 at 11:37 am

I might argue that bringing in a mediocre ILB like DeVondre Campbell tells us something of what they think of Krys Barnes and the current ILB group: it needed more help.

1 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:55 pm

Campbell is a decent vet on a very cheap contract. Like Kirksey but vets minimum. He's not much improvement IMO over what they have, just that he has some experience. I'm hoping Martin makes a push for the job. He seems by far the most athletic of the group, with the highest upside.

3 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 10:42 pm

Campbell is a decent vet on a very cheap contract. Like Kirksey but vets minimum. He's not much improvement IMO over what they have, just that he has some experience. I'm hoping Martin makes a push for the job. He seems by far the most athletic of the group, with the highest upside.

0 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

June 10, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Now that you mention college with relation to Gary, by the end of his time there, he was considered an underachiever although there were a ton of excuses; he was double-teamed, he wasn't asked to rush, blah blah. So it's essentially six years of waiting for the freak skills to show themselves on a regular basis, all we've gotten are glimpses.

We did see great plays, athletic plays, speed, power, and maybe with more snaps he'll become dominant. But for now, it's a hope and a prayer. He's been far from dominant.

0 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:57 pm

Not Gary's fault the coaches at UM didn't give him much chance to succeed. If he was at UW he would have been a monster entering the NFL. Like on the level of the Watt's! UM was the problem in his development in college, not Gary!

1 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 07:57 pm

Not Gary's fault the coaches at UM didn't give him much chance to succeed. If he was at UW he would have been a monster entering the NFL. Like on the level of the Watt's! UM was the problem in his development in college, not Gary!

0 points
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dobber's picture

June 10, 2021 at 10:54 am

Bob Tonyan--I'll thump my chest for picking him as the lead TE coming out of camp last year, and I was mostly right. 53 catches and 11 TDs might not qualify him in this discussion anymore, but if Love or Bortles is the guy under center, I'd expect Tonyan to be one of the prime beneficiaries and a very important lifeline. He'll need to step forward and be someone defenses account for regularly outside the 20s.

Darnell Savage--Virtually every great defense gets great S play, and Savage, while better than what we've seen in recent years at S, still misses some coverages and takes a few too many bad angles on plays. Year 3 for a S should be where we see that leap...if it happens, this becomes a top 5 secondary.

AJ Dillon--AJones will be the lead dog, but Dillon will get his chances and this offense, especially if #12 is history, will need productivity, consistency, and versatility in the run game. You can expect AJones will miss some time at some point due to injury, and Dillon will need to show he can be the man.

4 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 11:09 pm

If I get my wish Savage will the Star CB and they'll move someone else into Safety. Savage is great near the LOS and played quite a bit in the slot last year. In college Savage was a terrific slot CB and made a ton of plays at slot.

Barry's D if it is modeled after the Rams last year mostly has Safeties in 2 deep coverage. Savage struggles in deep coverage, its not the best fit for his skill set and athleticism. His improvement at the end of last year was mostly from playing closer to the LOS or slot.

Safeties in 2 deep dont need elite athleticism its more about instincts, intelligence and playing your responsibilities. IMO Savage would be wasted playing 2 deep coverage all the time.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 10, 2021 at 11:40 pm

If Barry kills the talent in that D backfield he should be shit-canned before the season starts. If Passivity and stasis is your mode of operation, then they could have kept Dom or Pettine.

0 points
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greengold's picture

June 11, 2021 at 02:30 pm

Stroh, I love this idea. Savage at the star.

Can't begin to say how stoked I am about the current group of Safeties to pick from to fill that remaining Safety spot along with Amos. I like Uphoff & Gaines immensely from the UDFAs signed recently.

Innes Gaines looks to have the best experience coming from TCU, vs. Uphoff, who is from Illinois State, but we'll see how that shakes out. I do like Vernon Scott a lot too. Uphoff, being 6-3 209 with 4.4 speed plus big STs skills should be really, really fun to watch. Modeled his game after Jeremy Chinn. Not much tape exists of Uphoff, since their entire season was shut down by COVID. Check out Gaines' highlights if you have not already. You'll be in for a real treat. Excellent competition in that room.

I'm thinking Redmond has the uphill battle this year, which could make Amos, Savage, Scott, Gaines & Uphoff the new group of 5. Those are some quality players there.

0 points
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Swisch's picture

June 10, 2021 at 10:58 am

Great to see Jordan Love come through on the second day of minicamp yesterday with reportedly an array of excellent passes.
Normally, I wouldn't be as excited about that with a young quarterback at a practice, but under the circumstances I would call Love's performance clutch.
With all of the controversy surrounding the drafting of Love, intensified by the melodrama of Aaron Rodgers, the young guy really came through to send a surge of confidence through the entire team -- and this after an inaccurate first day that made his standing even more shaky.
Why was it so highly important for Love to show everyone that he has the skills with a superb display of mastery in his throws? The many ups of yesterday for Love will be a huge help to him -- and his teammates -- during the downs that will inevitably come along during his development.
Love not only showed the skills, but the poise and the heart to give us good hope for the future of quarterback with the Packers. It may have been a day that will go down in team history.

1 points
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splitpea1's picture

June 10, 2021 at 11:42 am

Two I would add are Keke, who I would like to see getting in the neighborhood of 60% of the defensive snaps (and taking snaps away from a couple of others); and Alexander--while he may be the best shutdown corner in the league, snagging a few more interceptions would really be helpful (however, his opportunities are more limited if opposing QBs throw at other defenders much more often).... In reference to a previous article, coming up with more turnovers might be the "missing link" that vaults this defense to a new level.

3 points
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dobber's picture

June 10, 2021 at 02:31 pm

I'd like to see Keke run away with a starting job on the DL, but wonder, given that the Packers have all but guaranteed spots on the roster to Lowry and Lancaster based on their contracts--and have drafted Slaton--how the snaps are going to be distributed on the DL.

"In reference to a previous article, coming up with more turnovers might be the "missing link" that vaults this defense to a new level."

Yes! Yes! Yes!
With the exception of 2019, the Packers have been among the poorest teams in the league in taking the football away for a long time. Must change!

...although, they had more than enough TOs against Tampa in January (would have liked to have seen one more, Will Redmond) and fat lot of good it ended up doing them.

2 points
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splitpea1's picture

June 10, 2021 at 03:21 pm

Last season Lowry was in there for 59% of the snaps and Keke 40%; so if that could be somewhat reversed, it would be a good sign; with Lancaster/Slayton, who knows how long it will take to get Slayton in there, so I would still expect to see more of Lancaster, at least early on.

Maybe a more aggressive approach from our DC and DBs will result in more turnovers--and it would really help if they didn't play so far off the receivers, who in the past have had plenty of time to catch the ball, secure it properly, and head upfield before encountering any contact. We're still waiting for an improvement in tackling, and it would nice to see some effective stripping here and there to go along with it.

0 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:15 pm

Jury very much out on Keke. Other than the 2 games w/ 2 sacks each he was invisible to my eyes. Those 2 game might very well have been aberrations and against poor OL/OG.

Alexander has the opportunity to convert alot of his Passes Dfefended into INT's. He has seemed to be content w/ breaking up the passes in many cases instead of going for the INT. It has to become 2nd nature for him to go for the ball. but so far its more 2nd nature to get the pass defended. Woodson was so great because he was just the opposite and he ALWAYS was looking for the INT. Alexander could be in that neighborhood if he changes his mindset and becomes aggressive going for the INT.

2 points
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splitpea1's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:32 pm

Agreed. Keke needs to show more consistency in his third year; it would be nice to know what we have here given more playing time.

0 points
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scullyitsme's picture

June 10, 2021 at 11:24 am

Love is 1. It’s his team now I think, savage is my number 2. If he puts it together back there we could be tight in the secondary this year. I’ll agree with Gary but like others he was the number 12 overall pick 3 years ago and has not been able to get on the field..not sure if that was more about him or pettine. MVS, keep dreaming… he’s a nice role player and you can’t coach speed, unfortunately in his case you can’t coach catching and route running either.

1 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:20 pm

Gary not getting on the field alot more was almost entirely due to Z and P Smith. If he was on a terrible team w/ terrible pass rushers he would have been forced to start. The Packers were in position to allow him to learn and develop at his pace. He needed plenty of development entering the NFL as a pass rusher and the Packers have given him what he needed. A poor team might have forced him to play immediately and that can ruin a rookies confidence. It had nothing to do w/ Pettine. Just Gary needed to put in some work to improve, since the UM coaches didn't do their jobs w/ him!

-1 points
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vppackerfan's picture

June 10, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Before crowning Kuntsy, let's not forget that Barnes didn't make the final roster cut and had to make it through waivers before being signed to the practice squad. Glad he wasn't on any other team's radar.

-2 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 08:24 pm

Dumb. They released Barnes because they KNEW no team would claim him and they would be able to bring him back! They needed the roster spot immediately to carry a player on the roster who they immediately put on PUP so they were able to then have the roster spot open for Barnes again. if they put the other player on IR in training camp he would have been ineligible to return. It was a very smart strategic move by Gutey!

-1 points
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vppackerfan's picture

June 10, 2021 at 09:45 pm

KNEW?? I totally disagree. Why would they gamble losing their week 1 starting ILB to waivers? Gotta hand it to you though, your love and devotion for Kuntsy is impressive. Enjoy wearing his jersey.

0 points
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Stroh's picture

June 10, 2021 at 11:34 pm

Yes they ABSOLUTELY KNEW no other team would claim him. He didn't show up in preseason games and give other teams something to judge him on. It was a calculated, savvy intelligent move by the Packers and in particularly by Gutey!

The man has made the moves to allow the Packers to 2 13-3 seasons an d NFCCG appearances. You literally have no clue how cutdown day works and the maneuvering teams do when cutting a player and carrying another on the original 53, then put a player on PUP immediately and bring a guy back just as quickly!

0 points
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HankScorpio's picture

June 11, 2021 at 06:05 am

It is nice to have multiple, legitimate guys to watch that are primed for bigger and better things than they've shown so far. The listing of guys that have a year under their belts but are not yet eligible for full blown FA is rather impressive: Gary, Savage, MVS, Alexander, Dillon, Keke, Barnes and Love have been mentioned. All those names are legit players, IMO.

Not mentioned: Elgton Jenkins, Josiah Deguara, Kamal Martin, Jon Runyan, and Alan Lazard. And then there are guys that have shown enough to give some hope but don't really rise above hope just yet: Henry Black, Vernon Scott, Dominque Daffney. And still more that have rated mention based on college play but have not really established anything at the Pro level: Simon Stepaniak, Ben Braden and Patrick Taylor.

And that completely ignores the rookie class that has some exciting names.

It is nice to have shaken out the misfires of the mid 10s when it comes to young player acquisition. You simply must have a strong core of players that have not yet hid UFA eligibility.

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