Young options will be key for Packers defense
- The Green Bay Packers lost both Julius Peppers and Datone Jones in free agency this offseason, and head coach Mike McCarthy told the Wisconsin State-Journal it’s up to the young players on the roster to fill the void.
- “There’s 1,100 snaps of pass rush and setting the edge in the run defense [missing],” McCarthy said. “So our young guys need to take advantage of this opportunity, and that’s something I’ll be keeping a close eye on, particularly when we get to training camp and put the pads on.”
- Peppers and Jones accounted for 1,132 regular-season snaps to be exact, and the team is turning to the likes of Nick Perry, Kyler Fackrell, and fourth-round pick Vince Biegel to hold down the edge, along with Clay Matthews in the rotation.
- Perry should be in line for an even bigger starting role after a breakout 2016 season with 12 sacks. He also led all 3-4 outside linebackers in run-stop percentage, with 12.4 percent of his run-defense snaps resulting in stops.
- Fackrell flew under the radar as a consistent pass-rusher in limited action as a rookie, tying with Perry for a team-high pass-rushing productivity rating of 10.0 for his two sacks, one hit, and nine hurries on 99 pass-rushing snaps last season.
- Even in a “down” year as a senior at Wisconsin, Biegel still was one of the more productive all-around edge defenders in the country in 2016, finishing 17th in run-stop percentage and eighth in pass-rushing productivity among 3-4 outside linebackers.