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Kenny Clark has been a part of some very good rosters since entering the NFL in 2016. Clark has played for four different Green Bay Packers teams to reach the NFC Championshi Gamep, only to come up short each time. This year’s team feels different for Clark, especially on defense.
“We got a lot of talent,” Clark said. “This is the most talent I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here, so we can be as good as we want to be. Every single level of the defense, we’ve got Pro Bowl and All-Pro caliber players.”
Clark is right in that the Packers have a stud at each level of their defense. Between him, De’Vondre Campbell, and Jaire Alexander, Green Bay has a standout on all three levels with either a Pro Bowl or All-Pro nod. Throw in Rashan Gary, and you have a pass rusher who will soon be another Pro Bowler.
Last year felt like a golden opportunity. Alexander was hurt for most of last season but returned to the lineup for Green Bay’s divisional-round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. It was the first time since week 4 when the Packers had all their defensive stars playing together. The defense showed up, holding the 49ers to just six points. Unfortunately, a poor offensive showing squandered what was arguably Green Bay’s best defensive unit in quite some time.
With 2021 being an exception, past defenses for the Packers always had a hole. A poor run defense or costly secondary has typically led to their demise.
If last year’s defense had a flaw, it was their depth on the defensive line. For years, the team has failed to surround Clark with adequate help in the trenches. So, they went out and signed a reliable veteran in Jarran Reed and used one of their two first-round draft picks on defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt. Insert those guys into a rotation that already had Dean Lowry and TJ Slaton, and Green Bay has given Clark exactly what he and this defense need.
“I think it’s going to be a good thing for us just to keep us fresh,” Clark said. “It’s hard to stop anyone of us when we come on the field on third down and being able to rush the passer and have our legs under us. It’s going to be hard for any offense to stop us.”
On paper, this group looks complete, but the Packers will have to put it all together on the field to avoid another early playoff exit.