Rashan Gary will see an increased role in the Packers defense.
Gary, the 12th overall pick in last year’s draft, played in all 16 games but didn’t start any in 2019. He finished the season with two sacks and three quarterback hits, playing on just under a quarter of the Packers’ defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Reference.
Talking to the media on Friday, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said he expects Gary to step up in year two.
“He needs to take a big jump,” Pettine said. “When we go back and look at last year’s tape, he did some really good things for us the time that he was in there.”
Gary set for bigger role in second year with Packers
When asked about his plans for Gary in his second season, Pettine said that he’ll see more of the field. And that could mean star edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith aren’t asked to play on as many snaps.
“I do see Rashan taking a significantly increased role,” Pettine said. “I do think at times where maybe Preston and Z probably played a little too much, we want to take some off their plates.”
Pettine also noted that Gary has the ability to line up inside, which is something Za’Darius Smith did a lot last season. With Gary and Smith able to line up at different spots, the Packers could use this as a way to get all three pass rushers on the field at the same time.
The Packers don’t often get to pick inside the top-15 in the first round of the draft. Last year was a rare opportunity.
They used that pick to select Gary. He showed some potential in his rookie season but now he needs to take on a bigger role in this defense. With Fackrell leaving in free agency, the opportunity will be there. And Pettine expects Gary to make a second-year jump in 2020.