Packers: Why Christian Kirksey’s imminent return helps defense

Green Bay Packers, Christian Kirksey (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Christian Kirksey (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Christian Kirksey’s return is good news for the Packers.

The Green Bay Packers activated linebacker Christian Kirksey off of injured reserve on Saturday and he is available to play tomorrow against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kirksey had been out of action since October 3 due to a pectoral injury. Before the injury, he had led the team in total tackles with 27 (nine assisted, 18 solo).

Kirksey’s imminent return looks to bolster a rather lackluster linebacking corps, headlined by rookie Krys Barnes. Barnes has more than held his own though, tallying 50 combined tackles (27 solo, 23 assisted), three tackles for loss, and one quarterback hit.

The rotation of Kirksey, Barnes, and Kamal Martin will be crucial down the stretch defensively for Green Bay. The linebacking corps as a whole should benefit greatly from Kirksey’s return.

Kirksey’s presence on the field will not only benefit the defense but the team as a whole. He is a great motivator. The defense up front certainly is missing his motor and energy and it has shown in the last few games. His overall impact as a player for Green Bay has been felt since they signed him as a free agent in the offseason. GM Brian Gutekunst made a great choice in nabbing him from the Cleveland Browns. Kirksey has more than lived up to the hype defensively for the Packers.

The Packers’ pass rush has certainly lacked any explosiveness and this isn’t fully due to his absence but it definitely has played a factor into why it’s lacked any impact since his injury. Last week’s game marked the first time since Week 7 against the Houston Texans that Green Bay had forced a turnover (fumble recovery).

Your secondary is only as good as your pass rush allows it to be. Hopefully, Kirksey’s return will light a spark underneath the defense that it desperately needs heading into the latter half of the season. Thankfully, the worst part of Green Bay’s schedule is over, now it’s a matter of staying the course as a team and getting hot at the right time.