At the end of the NFC Championship game, most Green Bay Packers fans would have settled for a defense that was not an embarrassment. I believe the Packers defense is about to make a huge stride this season, and will finish in the top 10 in scoring defense.
Combining an inneffective pass rush and lack of coverage ability, will result in a historic offense (Falcons) marching up-and-down the field on every possession. However, Green Bay hopes their offseason tweaks have improved the defense enough to be a serious contender in 2017.
Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark will be expected to control the line of scrimmage. Daniels has turned into one of the top defensive lineman in the league, and is a beast against both the run and pass. Clark had some really great games towards the end of last season, even if the results of his efforts (taking on double teams) are often unrecognized. Ricky Jean-Francois provides a veteran presence as a run stopper, and Dean Lowry and Montravious Adams will be expected to pack a punch in the pass rush.
Clay Matthews has largely become a liability on defense as he is consistently out of position. However, the development of Nick Perry as a consistent threat against the run and pass, has made the drop off negligible. I’d expect to see more of Kyler Fackrell, Jayrone Elliott, and Vince Biegel in place of CM3. With another year of experience for Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez, the Packers should finally be settled at Inside Linebacker. Joe Thomas provides a nice depth option as a pass defender.
The Secondary looks to be the most improved area on the roster. Morgan Burnett and HaHa Clinton-Dix give Green Bay one of the better Safety duos in the NFL, but Kentrell Brice and Josh Jones give them depth no other team possesses. They will have the flexibility to match up with any TE/RB combos and control the middle of the field. At Cornerback, Kevin King and Davon House will be positive additions to what I hope will be bounceback seasons for Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.
For this prediction to work out the Packers will have to have better health than they have recently. However, with the acquisitions they have made and the internal development, I completely expect the defense to be really strong this season.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig