Rewiewing Blake Martinez’s impressive 2017 season, his second with the Green Bay Packers.
Let’s take a look back at his breakout campaign.
Season in review
Martinez made a big second-year jump, becoming a consistent force at the heart of the Packers defense. Inside linebacker has long been a weakness in Green Bay, but Martinez’s play in 2017 went a long way to changing that.
Unsurprisingly, his snap counts flew up from the season prior. This year Martinez featured in all 16 regular season games, logging 979 defensive snaps, trailing only Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, according to Pro Football Reference. This works out as 93.06 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
As a rookie Martinez played just 438 snaps, 42.57 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, and also missed three games due to injury.
Martinez also played on just over 30 percent of the Packers’ special teams snaps this year with 133, again proving how important he has become to the team.
With a bigger share of the snaps, Martinez’s stats jumped up in Year 2. He posted over twice as many tackles (from 69 to 144) in 2017. Martinez, along with Buffalo’s Preston Brown and Cleveland’s Joe Schobert, finished the season as the NFL’s co-tackle leader.
He also added one sack, the same number he hit in 2016.
The 24-year-old raised the bar in 2017, and will continue to play a key role in Green Bay’s defense under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
Looking ahead to 2018 season
If Martinez can make a similar jump in his third season to the one he just achieved, the Pro Bowl won’t be far away.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Martinez is used in Pettine’s defense. He was always around the football this past season, and made a number of important plays. Expect more of the same in 2018.
Another area of interest is how the Packers address the inside linebacker position in the offseason. Will new general manager Brian Gutekunst add a free agent or use a top pick on an inside linebacker?
Under Ted Thompson that was always unlikely, but Gutekunst’s approach could be totally different.
Maybe Gutekunst will load up with talent at outside linebacker, allowing Clay Matthews to shift back inside.
One thing is for sure: Martinez will be an important piece defensively for the Packers in 2018.