Youthful Defense Built to Last

This defense is young and on the rise. The core group of players will be together through 2023.  

Through two games, the Packers defense has put on a show. With all of the assets invested into that side of the ball, it shouldn’t be a surprise. This is a young, talented group that will be together in Green Bay for a long time. 

Let’s start with the big free agent acquisitions. We’ve talked extensively about General Manager Brian Gutekunst and his willingness to bring talent into Green Bay. Last year, tight end Jimmy Graham was the big name he signed, and the team was hopeful Graham could be a spark on offense. After a subpar 2018 season, fans were left wondering if Graham had anything left in the tank, and what Gutekunst would do to improve his roster in 2019.

Enter Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, and Preston Smith. Gutekunst said goodbye to the oft-injured Nick Perry, let veteran Clay Matthews head west in free agency, and brought in three 26-year-old stars on the rise looking for big second contracts. They're already paying dividends in Green Bay, too, with the three players combining for 2.5 sacks and two interceptions (one game-clinching) the first two games of 2019. 

Let me reiterate that for just a second. Za’Darius (okay he’s 27 now he just had a birthday on Sept. 8), Preston, and Adrian are all young players signed to four-year contracts in Green Bay. That’s a core nucleus that’s going to be together for a long time.

Couple that with the plethora of young drafted talent the Packers have acquired over the last few seasons. The cornerback tandem of Jaire Alexander and Kevin King are still on rookie contracts, and they’re playing some of the best football of their young careers to start the 2019 season. 

To add to their edge rush rotation, Green Bay drafted Rashan Gary out of Michigan with their first pick of the draft. To pair opposite Adrian Amos, the team drafted rookie Darnell Savage out of Maryland with their second pick of the first round. 

Some fans were concerned when Mike Daniels was released prior to the start of training camp. Then, defensive end Dean Lowry signed a three-year extension to keep him in Green Bay until 2023. He, too, played one of his best games as a Packer this past Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. 

Of the players listed thus far, Smith, Smith, Amos, Alexander, and Lowry are locked in through 2023. King, a 2017 draft pick, is signed through the 2020 season. Gary and Savage, the team’s two first-round picks this past year, are with the team through 2024. 

Those are all key players that are going to be contributing to the defense for a long time. And we haven’t even touched on the impending Kenny Clark extension. Clark, arguably the biggest star on a loaded defense, won’t be turning 24 until October. He could land a five-year contract that would still only make him 29 when he goes looking for a third contract. For context, Mike Daniels is 30 this year. 

Perhaps the biggest question mark still remaining on defense is what the Packers plan to do with inside linebacker Blake Martinez. He’s one of the leaders on the defense, and he plays a huge role wearing the communication helmet each game. He’s also one of the only inside linebackers on the team that can seem to stay healthy. The Packers have yet to see enough from former third-round pick Oren Burks and this year’s seventh-round pick Ty Summers to warrant letting Martinez walk in free agency. 

Even still, we’ve really only touched on the stars of a deep, deep defensive unit. Think about names like Tony Brown, Josh Jackson, Kingsley Keke, Raven Greene, Montravius Adams, and Tyler Lancaster. A mixture of drafted and undrafted talent that fills out a talented defensive roster. All of the men listed are young, ascending players at their positions. 

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for long-term excitement about this defense lies with the defensive coordinator himself, Mike Pettine. Pettine is only in his second year as DC of the Packers, and he’s already revitalized a unit that was the bane of Green Bay’s existence for a long time. 

Here are some stats to think about through the first two games of the 2019 season. Currently, the Packers rank 2nd overall in the league only allowing 9.5 points per game. In the red zone, opposing quarterbacks have gone 0/6 passing with no touchdowns and two interceptions, giving them a QB rating of 0.0. 

Overall, the Packers have allowed a 58.3 passer rating so far this season. The unit has also tallied six sacks (tied for 8th in the league), three forced fumbles (tied for 2nd), and three interceptions (tied for 4th), with takeaways being a point of emphasis all offseason. 

While the sample size is small, the promise is there. This is a young defensive group that’s going to be talented, and together, for a long time. 

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (70)

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

September 20, 2019 at 06:42 am

Thank you for that excellent article.
The defense gives us fans a lot to be excited about now and in the future.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

September 20, 2019 at 06:43 am

A) Pray/cross your fingers that these guys have average to better than average health regarding injuries. If they can remain healthy, we should have a perennial top-10, top-5 defense like New England has.

B) Do y'all have to login everytime u come back to CTV to comment, as I do via my Samsung Galaxy? I don't know why it doesn't leave me logged in anymore since the recent software update.

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PackerAaron's picture

September 20, 2019 at 07:41 am

I'll forward the login issue to our dev team. Sorry about that and thanks for your patience.

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BELIEVER's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:31 am

I have an iPad and I do stay logged in

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Ben Bramm's picture

September 20, 2019 at 12:23 pm

I usually have to re-login every time i visit the site on my desktop browser. Also, not really a fan of the new format, with giant icons and large amounts of space between the comments, or that you have to expand every reply/comment.

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Since'61's picture

September 20, 2019 at 08:05 am

Solid job by Gute so far with the defense. Imagine if we had a similar defense from 2011 to 2016. What might have been!!!

Hopefully this offseason Gute revitalizes the offense. Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Sureshot's picture

September 20, 2019 at 08:25 am

Totally agree, we had a great window where a defense like we have today would have guaranteed fireworks.

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packerbackerjim's picture

September 20, 2019 at 12:52 pm

Gute did sign Graham; up to this point, I wish he hadn’t. I suspect any offensive improvements are coming via the draft. I just don’t see Gute signing a free agent WR, TE or RB.

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packerbackerjim's picture

September 20, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Duplicate

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

September 20, 2019 at 08:35 am

Another good piece by Maggie, thanks.

When Gutekunst signed the 3 free agents the first thing that struck me was their age. In addition to being so aggressive in the first days of free agency, that separated his MO from that of Ted Thompson who when he did venture into free agency generally acquired players near the end of their careers. (BTW, thanks to Thompson for building a championship team and for building one in 2014 which failed to reach the Super Bowl through no fault of Ted.)

Another impressive stat to add is although pressures are an unofficial stat at least one site has the Packers first in the league and Za’Darius individually leading the league in pressures.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2019 at 08:43 am

The scary thing is this defense still has a lot of room for improvement!

They have dropped I don't' know how many interceptions. King and Alexander both had 2 go right through their hands. Alexander missed the one in the end zone that became a TD. Savage missed a chance on one. There were a quite a few near interceptions too.

They have some young players that have yet to play too. They have Josh Jackson who was drafted because he was a ballhawk. They have Oren Burks who is very fast and could add another dynamic player to the defense. They have Gary who is being brought along slowly, but has a lot of potential and skills. Tony Brown has really improved this year and is a guy waiting. As is Hollman. Keke Kingsley could add another player to the DL rotation.

This list doesn't include players like Alexander, King, Savage who have already made a huge difference for the defense!
And the continued improvement from the Smiths and Amos.

The arrow is pointing straight up for this defense.

And once the offense gets rolling, it will take more pressure off the defense and this will be an extremely dangerous team!

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:07 am

The interception chances are really huge. Brought about by more aggressive and controlled pass rushers, Pettine-schemed blitzes, and better contained edges, these DBs should have a much easier time. The opportunities will continue and the turnovers will come if the front continues to play like this. The improved TO margin will be the largest contributor to what (I hope) is a much improved record.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:11 am

Sorry to reply to my own comment, but speaking of turnovers...

I never see the last play of the Viking game included in the turnover stats. I’m not saying it should be, but we did recover the errant pitch. Shouldn’t that be considered a fumble and shouldn’t someone get credited with a recovery on that one?

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:11 am

This team is getting its hands on the ball which is great! They just need to start making more interceptions when they have the chance. Those are plays that can change the game! Against the Vikings they could/should have had at least 3 more interceptions. Alexander should have had 2. Savage should have had 1. That is really my biggest complaint so far, which really is not bad.

With the front getting more pressure we should expect to see more Int's.

One thing I do like though is they are creating more fumbles! We haven't had that in a while!

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Bearmeat's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:02 am

Ok Mr. Sparkle Pony:

I'm not buying GB as a title contender yet. It's early. And the offense is a "work in progress" which is putting it kindly.

But that defense and special teams unit? LEGIT.

You win this round. Eeyore is impressed. ;)

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:27 am

Hey Mr Tinfoil! its been a while.

Its honestly way to early for any title contender talk. To much can happen in a season. Look at the Saints and the Steelers and the Panthers with issues at QB. Anything can happen.

But this offense is almost there. They were rolling early against the Vikings. Basically until Allison fumbled. Then they were going again later when Linsley had a bad snap to end one drive. And the 4th down play where Rodgers messed up.
They also just missed one 4 big plays down the field in this game. 2 to MVS, 1 to Adams and 1 to Jones. Lets not forget we went against a couple of the best defenses in the league. Our offense will get there. But it takes time.

The defense has been amazing. and we have a special Punter right now. He has been a game changer especially when the offense has struggled a bit in these first 2 games.

Don't I win every round? At least in my mind I do. ;)

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Bearmeat's picture

September 20, 2019 at 12:58 pm

lol. Seeing as you are Mr. Glass Half Full and I am not, since 2016's NFC CG, I think I've won every single round.

And I do read your comments, I just generally don't comment unless there's something I really want to say. The trolls have found CHTV unfortunately. Too much poo-flinging for my tastes to get involved.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 20, 2019 at 02:10 pm

But here we are in 2019 and we are looking good. :)

yeah, I haven't been on here quite as much lately.

I have seen that and it gets old! Sorry but I come here to have some fun and chat about the team I love. I don't come here for the other crap.

I haven't really been commenting on others just saying what I think.

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Guam's picture

September 20, 2019 at 08:56 am

I love our new defense, but I am a bit more sanguine about "long term". The Packers have to be able to afford all this young talent and they don't have the cap room to do so now. TGR can give a more detailed view of the cap, but I suspect older/expensive players like Graham, TWill and Bulaga are going to be in some jeopardy next year unless they play exceptionally well (i.e. better than their contract) this year.

I would prefer to keep Martinez over Graham or TWill and I don't see how they afford Clark without unloading Graham's contract. Bulaga is playing very well right now, but his health is always a concern. This young defense will cost the Packers some veterans next year.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:24 am

Graham shouldn't have been resigned. His performance is a continuation of last year. No way he is on roster next year. Very obvious Tonyan better player at every key measurement. Baylis has good upside IMHO!

Tonyan, Baylis, and Sternberger will have Pack in pretty good shape next year.. if they get playing experience this year (Sternberger obviously wont).

With ILB aside the Pack already needing OT, QB, RB, TE, WR help in next years draft. Some of these rookies and young guys at these positions on the 53 need to get enough playing time this year to see what we have in them and whether Pack need additional help. I want to see a lot of Tonyan and Baylis, as well as MVS, Shepherd, Lazard, Boyle, Zeke, and William's at RB. Nothing like throwing them in for evaluation.

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Guam's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:36 am

I agree that Graham will not be with the team next year. I also think there is a very high probability that TWill, Lewis and Taylor will be gone and Bulaga a definite possibility depending on his health. Graham, TWill, Lewis and Tayor will free up enough cap space to sign Martinez and Clark with maybe some left over.

I would also add interior offensive line to your draft needs. If Taylor is cut, they will be thin inside with only Madison and McCray remaining (Jenkins moves to starter). Next year will need to be a year of drafting offense.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:44 am

Graham is gone, Tramon will hang it up. Bulaga would get only a fair deal, nothing staggering. He may well retire given the toll his body has taken. Definitely need to sign Clark. Martinez is a nice player but he is not a blue chip worthy of a mega-deal.

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Guam's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:43 am

I don't think anyone is saying Martinez is worth a mega-deal, but he is the kind of solid player that is worth resigning at a fair price. Will Martinez accept that level of deal or not I have no idea. Given what he currently does for the Packers, it would certainly be worth trying to arrive at a medium priced deal that works for both sides.

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splitpea1's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:59 am

Absolutely. If not Martinez at ILB, then who? Like the article said, he's the only one who can be relied on at this point. I've never really understood why the Packers don't place a higher priority on this position--it seems pretty important to me.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 20, 2019 at 02:23 pm

Mostly it was a matter of need. Both the secondary and offensive line needed replacements and rebuilding with the pounding both units took over the past two years. Gute chose the secondary first. Defense wins championships. It was a hard choice, there were real dangers in doing so, but rebuilding is nothing but hard choices, fans like to forget that nasty fact. Gute has focus on LB, but the type of player his front office is looking at is different than what we fans think they are looking at. We are only catching on to how the Packers front office think now that we can see how the Packers defense plays. I think we will see more LB drafted next year, as Gute focuses on that part of the defense.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 20, 2019 at 08:54 am

Clark and Martinez are must re-signs. Kenny will be expensive for sure. Martinez makes up in smarts what he may miss sometimes in speed. I would have been happy with just a minor improvement on defense. Now I am shocked and pleased with what looks like a major one.

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GatorJason's picture

September 20, 2019 at 07:04 pm

Kenny Clark's contract will be about 5 years $94M. You can only pay for so many blue chip/red chip salaries. The rest will need to be draft picks and UDFAs. Gutey needs to continue churning the bottom of the roster to find some more serviceable players to fill in the gaps. Batting 0.500 on draft picks will help but they can't keep unproductive picks when they do not pan out. That's like a double penalty and why I was happy the Packers jettisoned players like Kizer and Jones. Chances were given for them to develop and produce. They did not and they are gone. Too bad, so sad but it's much better than keeping them at the expense of others who could help the team win or make the team even marginally better.

Graham IMO is in the hot seat right now. If the other TE's produce, it may be time for the Packers cut him and accept the financial loss rather than keeping an aged veteran with health problems hindering his ability to perform at a high level. By mid-season, either Jimmy G either starts being productive or he needs to be given his walking papers.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 21, 2019 at 01:04 pm

The highest-paid 3-4 DT in the NFL is Damon Harrison at $11.25M AAV. If one thinks of Clark as an NT in a 3-4, he shouldn't come close to the $18.8M AAV you suggested.

A lot of comparisons were drawn between Grady Jarrett ($17.1M AAV) and Clark, but Jarrett is a 4-3 DT. Clark does his best work as a zero or 1 shaded inside, but his play is also excellent as a 3i technique. Linval Joseph ($12.5M AAV) is a 4-3 DT but he seems to act as a traditional NT quite a bit. I haven't watched tons of Falcons games, but I also tend to think of Jarrett more as a nose tackle type than a DT. I suggested in a previous article an extension for Clark at $13.7M AAV, though that was before the Jarrett deal last summer.

Should Clark be compared to 3-4 DTs, 4-3 DTs, or to some nebulous DI group? Clark's stats don't match up well with the big-name 4-3 DTs except for Grady Jarrett:

Atkins: Sacks - 11, 9, 9, 10. QB Hits: 19, 26, 20, 19.
F. Cox: 9.5, 6.5, 5.5, 10.5; 20, 14, 17, 34 (!)
Short: 11, 6, 7.5, 3; 18, 17, 15, 7
Jarrett: 3, 3, 6; QB hits - 9, 11, 16
Clark: 0, 4.5, 6; QB hits 2, 6, 9. [1.5 sacks and 3 QB hits in 2019]

Clark's stats are nowhere near the big-money 3-4 DEs like Donald, Watt, or even Jurrell Casey. Donald routinely reaches 30 or 40 QB hits, and Watt hit the QB over 50 times twice. Casey averaged almost 15 QB hits in the 3 seasons before he signed his current contract and earns $15M AAV.

Jarrett was hours away from being on the franchise tag at $15.2M for 2019 when his deal was struck. Atlanta saved $4.2M in 2019 by extending Jarrett. Atlanta is one of those teams that has managed to stink and not have any cap space at the same time. Even after the extension, Atlanta clocks in with just $3.2M in cap space for 2019, has a negative $7.8M for 2020 while also having a whopping $182M in salary obligations for 2021, easily the most in the NFL, where the median number is $105M. Should Grady Jarrett's contract be looked at as an outlier agreed to by a panicked and poorly GMed team?

Clark has 1.5 sacks and 3 QB hits in just two games, and there were reports of a lot of pressures to go with those stats. Extrapolating those numbers leads to 12 sacks and 24 QB hits and a huge payday.

It will be interesting to see what Clark eventually gets. My own guess is Jarrett is a ceiling, but Clark's play this season (before any possible extension at any rate) is a wild card.

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bbarryirish's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:05 am

Well done Maggie!
Thanks.
Go Pack Go

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Lphill's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:06 am

I used to get thumbs down whenever I said Mike Daniels was nothing special, he was just another body on the line, I like Martinez but I see him miss big tackles or be out of position to make the tackle, I would not break the bank for him, I think Clark is more valuable to the defense.

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Guam's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:19 am

I don't think the Packers will need to break the bank for Martinez, but he is a solid contributor and would be hard to replace in the short term given that he calls all the defensive signals and the guys behind him are all very young. I think a reasonable veteran contract ($6-8 Mil???) would keep him with the team. Think cutting TWill and Lewis to keep Martinez...…..

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holmesmd's picture

September 21, 2019 at 04:38 pm

He led the league in tackles the last 2 years but you’re opinion I guess?

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JerseyAl's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:08 am

NOTE TO ALL COMMENTERS: WE ARE WORKING ON A SOLUTION TO LET YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO SEE ALL THE COMMENTS/REPLIES AT ONCE OR KEEP THE CURRENT FORMAT. STAY TUNED.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:13 am

OK, but you’re hurting my ears...

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Since'61's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:15 am

Way to go Al! Thanks, Since ‘61

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Spock's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:17 am

That's great, Al. I'm more concerned that EVERY SINGLE TIME I comment or reply after I submit I'm back at the top of the article and now have to page back down (multiple times because of the twice-be-damned triple spacing or whatever that is that makes all these comment areas triple the size they need to be) to get to the dialogue spot I was reading. That SUCKS. Thank you for your ATTENTION on this. :)

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JerseyAl's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:21 am

I have reported that one also.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:28 am

Yes that is the same issue I noticed. Otherwise I like the new look of the app. I was switching back and forth to the browser because otherwise my replies weren't in line,with the post intended. New app format solved that problem!!! Thanks.

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Barazinho's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:38 am

Other suggestions:
- improve the blank space handling, so it's more compact. The larger letters/display make the blank space less necessary.
- make it easier to see your comments - link to them in your profile page - that way you don't have to remember what article you posted in to check on the comment.

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JerseyAl's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:09 am

Those are on my list! Thanks

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Qoojo's picture

September 20, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Like the packers' offense, the redesign is a work in progress. Just need to stop holding onto the posts. Work within the rhythm and timing of the forum and display those replies!

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flackcatcher's picture

September 20, 2019 at 02:27 pm

FONT LEVEL TOO HIGH!!!!!

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flackcatcher's picture

September 20, 2019 at 02:43 pm

Thanks Al. Over all I like the redesign. There was a need to clean up with so many new features added, and with the push to video and smartphone, this was necessary. I'm a PC guy, so if this one of the only features upgrades that needed to be fixed I'm a happy camper.

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Turophile's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:10 pm

Thanks Al.
Glad that CHTV has their ear to the ground.............

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ShooterMcGee's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:23 am

It's time we draft a stud ILB to really solidify the middle of the defense. If he plays next to Blake or replaces him is a good question. The problem is how do we spend a high draft pick on the defensive side again. We will also need a Right Tackle, WR, and a TE in the early rounds

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 20, 2019 at 07:07 pm

QB by round three 2020

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LambeauPlain's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:29 am

What has been a nice development is the consist inside pressure by Kenny and Dean. That has made the Smith Company’s job so much more effective and efficient. And it has made the route to the ball carrier shorter for guys like Martinez.

Pettine and his staff have so many options now with combinations and pass rush schemes.

This is gonna be fun!

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Dzehren's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:26 am

Extending Clark is priority #1. Martinez can be replaced if GB is unable to come to terms.

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calabasa's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:36 am

Love Clark, but the thought of paying him almost as much as Donald is unsettling. 18-20M for nose tackle will be tricky to navigate around long-term.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:30 am

The defense is what had me feeling optimistic about the path of the team. The offense still needs work and still trying to figure out if it's the players, new scheme or the habit/ego/ of one specific player or the process of all trying to come together.

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Lphill's picture

September 20, 2019 at 09:55 am

no more defense made up of a bunch of un drafted free agents, with a few mid range picks sprinkled in, how many times did we watch the opposing team receive the kickoff and march down field and score , or stay in the game because we couldn't get a stop on 3 rd down, always playing from behind, now lets watch this defense grow and put some fear into opponents .

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BELIEVER's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:36 am

There was many first round picks, either they were lousy picks or just not coached up. By By Dom and hello Pettine

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BELIEVER's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:38 am

wow

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BELIEVER's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:34 am

There was many first round picks, either they were lousy picks or just not coached up. By By Dom and hello Petine

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BELIEVER's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:34 am

There was many first round picks, either they were lousy picks or just not coached up. By By Dom and hello Petine

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BELIEVER's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:34 am

There was many first round picks, either they were lousy picks or just not coached up. By By Dom and hello Petine

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Sol's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:21 am

The defense looks great but only two games and it is a very long season. With that being said I feel better about their depth than I have in years. We should be able to weather the storm as injury's occur.

Our new GM meant it when he would leave no stone unturned while trying to improve our roster. Just by looking at the past two years of his track record, I am sure there be more changes in the roster this year and next but they will all be made at the cost of improving the overall team without send the team into salary cap Purgatory.

His legacy will probably be decided when and how he transitions the quarterback position in years to come. He and his team are very good a picking athletes and team players but that issue alone could probably decide if it is just a few good years or the creation of a dynasty.

Good Luck This Weekend
Go Pack Go

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CheesyTex's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:25 am

Sol,

Re "...send the team into cap Purgatory".

It sure looks like Gute solved problem #1 (Defense), but with very little cap room left.

He and Ball face one heck of a challenge to shore up weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball -- not many $ left for free agents, and I believe Packers will now be drafting towards the end of each round again.

I hope someone with greater insight than I can give details of just how big is the $ mountain Gute will face next year.

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PackfanNY's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:40 am

The way the defense looks in a small sample is very, very promising. Hard to ignore. Also harder not to think about next season as well. Think of the position the Packers could be in. I expect that they sign Clark and 50/50 on Martinez. Graham and Tramon are probably gone. The draft could be focused on a TE and possibly a big playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. Gute can also think about an ILB to provide the finishing touches. Could even be time to look at a QB for the future to develop. Who knows if we can fit a free agent but I wouldn’t count that out.

Now I get we have a very long season yet to play and the best placed plans sometimes go sideways. Although, I am very impressed with the talent upgrade Gute seems to be injecting on to the roster. As Nagler says, whole lotta ballgame left but today I am feeling good for short term and long term.

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Qoojo's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:58 am

When I heard that Green was out, and Savage was in a boot, my first thought was "here we go again", as in right back to problematic safety issues as they are forced to use 3rd string safety. Then combined with, they are one CB injury away from playing musical chairs in secondary again. But all that went away when it was revealed that the boot is/was precautionary.

The defense is built to last as much as anything can be built to last in the current nfl. Packers still have pay Clark. Then it's a decision on Martinez and whether they can afford him due to cap space. If King stays healthy there is another bill due in two years, followed by Alexander, followed by Savage.

It's a nice problem to have. Your own draft picks deserving to be paid, instead of scrambling and paying in the FA market for draft failures. Of course this is all very premature, but the signs are promising.

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cheesehead1's picture

September 20, 2019 at 11:23 am

Very impressed with the D so far, they seem more agressive and more in position. Still want to see them against an elite QB though. Cousins and Trubisky don’t fit that mold and neither does Flacco. Go Pack and stay healthy.

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Branden Burke's picture

September 20, 2019 at 05:20 pm

Cousins is better than average. He hasn't won a lot. But his stats are just as good as Rodgers have been over the past 4 years or so.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 20, 2019 at 12:56 pm

My top 10 G.B defense comments:

1. Impressed with secondary!! Especially, Savage.

2. Praying we get R. Green back by week 13 he was playing great.

3. Biggest surprise is Dean Lowry. He is really playing good. Twice as good as last year.

4. Both Smith's have been. Awesome.

5. Amos, Alexander, King. Can't say enough. J. Alexander is one tough son of a gun. He knows he's good and he is not afraid to cover the best receivers in the NFL just to show his skills.

6. We really need R. Gary to come in and contribute soon

7. Blake Martinez- Just smart, solid player!!

8. Kenny Clark- Beast mode

9. Montravious Adam's? I don't know what to say about him. Coaches were so high on him they let M. Daniels go and not to say Daniels is going anything, but concerned.

10. Fackerall- Now he has doesn't much, but I have seen him getting into the backfield he does have some squirminess about him.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 21, 2019 at 01:37 pm

I pretty much agree with all of your points. I am not going to nitpick but instead pick up on one thing you listed that I've also noticed and commented upon:

A. Our DBs all seem like tough SOBs.

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Mojo's picture

September 20, 2019 at 04:28 pm

Gary is the wild-card. If he plays up to his immense potential, this defense will really take off and should be top ten, maybe even top five for several more years (provided good health).

In addition to Clark, I'd like to see Martinez extended. Don't know why so many knock him.
He just needs someone fast and capable beside him. I'm not sure Oren Burks is that guy, even when healthy. I haven't seen anything yet to make me think otherwise. We'll see I guess.

I like the depth with Hollman, Keke, Brown and Jackson not even being needed yet.

For the future they should resign Clark and Martinez and somehow acquire a top-notch ILB to go with Martinez. Assuming Gary comes through, they'd have quality at all three levels.

Having a dominant D for years to come would be one of the best ways to extend the Rodgers window.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 21, 2019 at 01:48 pm

Biggest needs for 2020:

1. Re-sign Clark.
2. Find or pay a RT. Turner is the only RT under contract in 2020.
3a. Re-sign Martinez or find his replacement if his price is too high.
3b. Fine a #2 WR in the draft or FA if MVS* doesn't develop.

*If Allison is the one that shows out this season, he'd have to be paid, so it would be nice if someone under GB's control develops, like MVS, ESB, or even the longer-shots like Shepherd and Lazard.

1, 2 and 3 add up to a boatload of money. A competent starting RT is $10M AAV plus. Clark is probably $15M AAV plus. Martinez is $8M to $10M or so. Some of this has to be done in the draft or by internal development.

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alforno54's picture

September 20, 2019 at 03:59 pm

A lot depends on King staying on the field

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 20, 2019 at 08:17 pm

Like to get Josh Jackson out there for some reps

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GLM's picture

September 20, 2019 at 10:37 pm

Ya' gotta' like where this defense is right now, and where they are trending. Well done, team! Keep it up!!!

On Martinez, I think the only way the team could possibly upgrade from him would be a big-ticket free agent. Is that likely to happen? I don't think so...he needs to be extended/re-signed...love his tenacity and play-making. Is he Ray Lewis? No, but he doesn't have to be, either. Another good draft, or solid free agent at ILB is all the team needs to solidify the linebackers.

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Cartwright's picture

September 21, 2019 at 10:40 am

It's just 2 contests but I've been wondering if we are seeing the beginning of a new era where it's the defense that wins the games for Green Bay and fans should expect that now and the offensive good but not explosive puts up just enough numbers. For how many years have the Packers relied on the offensive to win with the hope that the defense can hang on. It's feeling like the other way around now.

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