Packers: 3 reasons to be excited about the 2021 season

Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon - Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon - Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Green Bay Packers, Za'Darius Smith, Jaire Alexander
Green Bay Packers, Za’Darius Smith, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

3. A fresh start for Packers on defense

Last season, Green Bay’s offense was unstoppable. But I think we can all agree that the defense needed to play better. Sure, they had their moments. Mike Pettine’s unit did improve as the season went on and crucially came up with three interceptions in the NFC Championship Game that the offense couldn’t capitalize on.

But overall, there were many areas in need of improvements in the offseason. It started with a change of direction at defensive coordinator.

The Packers replaced Pettine with Joe Barry, and the hope is that we’ll no longer see cornerbacks sitting 10 yards off wide receivers on third-and-short. A new system alone can help this defense take a step forward, but the Packers have also added more talent on this side of the ball.

Re-signing Kevin King might not have been top of the to-do list for many Packers fans this offseason, but bringing him back with Chandon Sullivan does provide some continuity in the secondary, and both players are solid starters. The Packers also drafted Eric Stokes and Shemar Jean-Charles, who can become excellent players in the secondary.

GM Brian Gutekunst also deserves credit for finding a way to keep Preston Smith without taking on a huge cap hit.

And let’s not forget that this defense ranked ninth overall last season. They were hardly the worst unit in the league. With star players like All-Pro Jaire Alexander, Pro Bowlers Za’Darius Smith and Kenny Clark, and safeties Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, there’s a lot of talent to build around.

Under Barry, the defense can be very good in 2021.