During the 2022 season, arguably the biggest weakness for the Green Bay Packers was their run defense. Opponents found plenty of success on the ground against them, as the Packers ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed and 28th in yards per attempted allowed.
If that area of their defense can be shored up, Green Bay has the makings of one of the strongest units in the NFL. If the offseason was any indication of what is on the horizon, there should be optimism for this group turning things around.
The Packers moved on from veterans Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed in free agency, as both players signed deals elsewhere. They will be relying on a young group led by 2022 first-round pick Devonte Wyatt, TJ Slaton and rookies fourth-round pick Colby Wooden and sixth-round pick Karl Brooks.
That is the group in which veteran Kenny Clark is the leader. The Pro Bowler has embraced the leadership role bestowed upon him as he looks to lead the youngsters to more success in 2023 than last year.
This group will be tested right out of the gate. The Packers’ first opponent of the season is the Chicago Bears, who owned the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL last season. They will have their hands full, but Clark issued a warning to the Bears about what is to come.
“We got a different plan. You’ll see on Sunday as far as the plan. As far as the techniques and everything, how we playing defense, we’re just being more aggressive. Going to move a little bit. You got guys like myself, TJ, D-Wy that’s can play stout and get off of blocks. That’s all we got to do. Get off blocks at the end of the day. Stop the run and plug gaps,” Clark said via Paul Bretl of Packers Wire.
The Packers defeated the Bears in both meetings last season, but Chicago found plenty of success on the ground. In the first meeting, they racked up 180 yards. In the second, Chicago had 155 yards on the ground.
If the Packers can find success slowing down the Bears in Week 1, it will be an excellent tone-setter for the 2023 campaign. Clark and the young defensive linemen are being thrown right into the fire as they will be getting on-the-job experience.