Many of the run defense issues continue at inside linebacker. Rookie Kamal Martin has impressed in the two games he’s played and the Packers may have their future starting duo with Martin and Krys Barnes. But playing without both Martin and Christian Kirksey for much of the season, the middle of this defense remains a concern.
The edge rushers have also been inconsistent.
Za’Darius Smith leads the way with seven sacks and 13 QB hits, as well as two forced fumbles. We’ve seen less consistency from Smith but he’s still made some game-changing plays. But the same can’t be said of Preston Smith, who has just 0.5 sacks and four QB hits in eight games. Rashan Gary has improved but has also been inconsistent with 1.5 sacks and five QB hits.
The secondary has been the best part of this defense through eight games.
Jaire Alexander is having an All-Pro season. He’s already shut down some star wide receivers this year and quarterbacks are avoiding throwing his way. Kevin King has battled with injuries but Josh Jackson has played well filling in for him. Chandon Sullivan has also made a good transition into a bigger role.
The Packers need more from their safeties, Darnell Savage in particular. Savage hasn’t taken the second-year jump many expected. He often misses tackles and hasn’t made many game-changing plays. He showed some flashes of potential last Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers, but these performances have been few and far between.