Only 2 players remain on the 2020 Green Bay Packers that were on the 2010 Super Bowl Champion Packers and that’s probably more players than most teams can say. Those two men are QB Aaron Rodgers and K Mason Crosby. When Rodgers hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Dallas with the championship belt draped on his shoulder and Clay Matthews at his side, Jaire Alexander was 13 years old.
As we get to enjoy Super Wildcard Weekend and are treated to 6 NFL Playoff games, the Packers will rest and wait to see who they’ll battle in Lambeau Field next week. Whoever the opponent is, they’ll need to bring their “A” game with em.
The Packers defense has been ascending since their game on November 1st against the Vikings. Although not without fault, the defensive unit appears to be playing as just that, a unit, and in-turn, are playing their best football. Similar to the 2010 Packers, who ramped it up defensively in December and played a massive role in the Packers playoff run and eventual Super Bowl Championship.
10 years have passed since that forever remembered Super Bowl Team. New players, new coaches, new schemes, new circumstances. How does the current Packers defense compare to the 2010 Super Bowl Champion Packers Defense?
2010: B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Cullen Jenkins, Howard Green, C.J. Wilson
2020: Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, Damon Harrison, Kingsley Keke
Similar to 2010, the Packers best defensive player on their line is the Nose Tackle. During the Packers 6 game winning streak that started in December 2010 and ended with a Lombardi Trophy, B.J. Raji played the best football of his career. Regularly holding the point of attack, creating pressure and even intercepting a pass, Raji was a catalyst for the defense.
Kenny Clark has the ability to be that kind of player for the Packers this post season. He certainly doesn’t run short in the talent department and December has been Clark’s best month of the season.
The Packers depth on the defensive line is similar to the depth of the 2010 team. Although Pickett and Jenkins were better players than Lowry and Lancaster, the Packers have shown lately that they are up to the task to play physical, gritty football in the trenches. Recently, that was evidenced by their impressive performances against Derrick Henry and David Montgomery.
The acquisition of Damon Harrison has similarities to the acquisition of Howard Green. Both players were claimed off waivers mid-season to add depth to the defensive line. As famously remembered, Green pressured Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl and forced a Pick-Six for Nick Collins. Perhaps Harrison will have his Howard Green moment.
The 2010 Packers Defensive Line played their best football late in the season and this years Packers are currently pacing at a similar tempo.
2010: Clay Matthews, Frank Zombo, Erik Walden
2020: Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary
The 2010 Super Bowl Team was led by a dominant pass rusher, Clay Matthews. In 2010, Matthews had 13.5 sacks in the regular season and added another 3.5 in the postseason, plus a crucial forced fumble in the Super Bowl.
In 2020, the Packers have a dominant pass rusher too, 2nd Team All-Pro Za’Darius Smith. #55 in the Green and Yellow finished the regular season with 12.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.
If Za’Darius and Clay essentially cancel each other out, the current Packers have better outside linebackers than the 2010 Packers, especially when it comes to rushing the passer. Preston Smith and Rashan Gary are better players than Frank Zombo and Erik Walden were. After a dreadful first half of the season for Preston Smith, he’s turned things around and played better football. Gary has been consistently on the rise through out the season.
2010: A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop
2020: Krys Barnes, Christian Kirksey, Kamal Martin
Hawk and Bishop were a very solid duo for the 2010 Packers. Hawk was the steady, consistent tackler (who did have 3 interceptions in 2010) while Bishop brought the “THUMP” many people felt the Packers defense had been lacking.
In 2020, Krys Barnes has brought a similar type of THUMP as Bishop. Although only a rookie, Barnes is playing well and the Packers will need him to continue playing well in the playoffs.
2010: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields
2020: Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Chandon Sullivan
The 2010 trio of cornerbacks was better than the current trio of Packers cornerbacks to no fault of their own. Charles Woodson is a future Hall of Famer while Tramon Williams (2007-2014, 18-19) and Sam Shields (2010-2016) were Packer mainstays and tremendous football players.
That said, the 2020 Packers cornerbacks are a very strong unit. Jaire Alexander is a 2020 2nd Team All-Pro. Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan are solid football players who love the game and play physical.
2010: Nick Collins, Charlie Peprah
2020: Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage
In 2010, Nick Collins was a 2nd Team All Pro at Safety. Collins had 4 interceptions in the regular season and as mentioned, had a pick-six in the Super Bowl. If it wasn’t for a neck injury that ended his career in 2011, Collins may have been on track for a Gold Jacket. He was a special player and was one of the best players on the 2010 Packers.
In 2020, although the Packers don’t have a player to Collins’ level, they have two very good football players in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. Amos received All-Pro votes this season, who had the best season of his 6 year NFL career. Amos finished the season with 83 tackles, 9 passes defended, 2 interceptions and 2 sacks. He flashed all over the field in the 2nd half of the season and is playing excellent football heading into the playoffs.
Savage has had a similar story as Amos, turning in a marvelous 2nd half of the season. Savage finished the 2020 regular season with 75 tackles, 12 passes defended, 4 interceptions and a sack.
The 2010 Packers Team had talented players just like the 2020 Packers Team currently does. The similarities go beyond talent. The 2010 Packers Defense learned to play as a unit; they played unselfishly and played for each other. Additionally, they played their best football of the season when it mattered most.
The 2020 Packers defense is similar. They are playing together, playing unselfish and are playing their best football at the right time. It remains to be seen how their story ends, as the NFL playoffs begin today.——————
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\\\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.