4. Rashan Gary
Stat line: 4 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Another player who many had their eye on coming into the season was second-year linebacker Rashan Gary. A week after leading the team in pressures, Gary led the team in sacks, notching 1.5 and harassing Matthew Stafford for much of the game.
Gary took to social media to show his workouts and progress this offseason and got all of us in Packer nation excited about the thought of him and the two Smiths — Za’Darius and Preston — forming a three-headed beast of an edge rush.
So far, Gary is giving the fans and the team more reasons to be excited.
On Gary’s first sack, he split a double team and got to Stafford for a big sack deep in Detroit’s own territory. With Gary and Za’Darius Smith holding up their ends of the bargain, the Packers now just need Preston to hold up his.
Gary was also a large reason why the defense was able to turn things around after two straight Lions drives ended in touchdowns to start the game. Down starting nose tackle Kenny Clark, the defensive front was struggling to contain the Lions’ run game.
A creative solution from Mike Pettine got things turned around. Pettine went to a “psycho” package reminiscent of Dom Capers’ once used package. Last season that wouldn’t have even been thought of with Kyler Fackrell lacking strength on the edge and Gary being too green in his development.
This year, with Gary and the Smiths, the package looks like it could be a staple of Pettine’s creative pass rush.