2. Strengthen pass rush
No area of the Packers’ roster needs more work than the pass rush.
Green Bay finished with 37 sacks in 2017, good for just No. 17 in the NFL. The numbers are somewhat flattering, also, as the Packers’ edge rushers couldn’t generate any kind of consistency through the season.
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Clay Matthews had a nice bounce-back year with 8.5 sacks, but the 31-year-old hasn’t posted double-digit sacks since 2014. Nick Perry added seven of his own, but staying healthy was again a problem.
Gutekunst needs to add plenty of talent on defense this offseason, both through free agency and the draft. Don’t be surprised if he selects an edge rusher with the 14th overall pick in April’s draft.
The top five teams in sacks this year — Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Carolina, LA Rams and Tennessee — all made the playoffs. Three of them are playing in this weekend’s divisional round.
It doesn’t matter how well the offense plays, if the Packers don’t pressure opposing quarterbacks more frequently next year, returning to the Super Bowl will be very difficult. Come playoff time, you need to be able to slow down top-tier quarterbacks.
Matthews and Perry form a solid starting point. The Packers could benefit by adding some experience in free agency, paired with a high draft pick or two.