Defense the strength of the 2021 Packers

This is going to feel really weird to write.

It’s been a long time since the Green Bay Packers have had a top 10 defense. In fact, the last time it happened was in 2010, when the Packers won the Super Bowl.

Year after year, the team from Titletown was held back from reaching its ultimate goal of getting back to the big dance by porous defenses and coordinators who couldn’t necessarily optimize the strengths of each player on the field.

Alas, after a 17-0 shutout over the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on Sunday, the defense is no longer a weakness.

In fact – it’s the strength of this team.

In a combined three weeks, the Packers defense held quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson to a combined 34 total points, four interceptions and just one touchdown pass. That’s pretty dang good.

On top of that, according to Pro Football Focus, Green Bay is the number one team in tackling this season.

That’s a far cry from years past where we would beg to see our guys wrap up and fundamentally tackle.

The Packers are third in average yards allowed, third in average points allowed and third in opposing passer rating. The defense is also top 10 in takeaways, scoring percentage, turnover percentage, yards per passing attempt and yards per play.

After a tough six quarters to start the season, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry has his guys playing very good football. That’s also odd to write, especially since so many fans were ready to kick this guy to the curb after two games.

Since then, all they’ve done is ball out.

Which is impressive considering two of the defense’s top playmakers have been sidelined for the majority of the season.

Guys like Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage have been stellar. Guys like Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes and De’Vondre Campbell have been welcome additions. It’s awesome to see.

While the offense still searches to find the same groove it was in during 2020, it’s nice to know that the defense can be counted on.

If the offense can figure it out, this is a very dangerous football team.

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Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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