There’s a new dominant pass rusher in Green Bay, and his name is Rashan Gary. And the league needs to take notice.
Gary, 23, was drafted by the Packers 12th overall in 2019. The pick was met with some fan backlash, given the team’s failure of a season before and the significant needs for other positions. The Pack had just signed LBs Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to big contracts only a few months before, making the pick even more questionable.
After only playing 22% of the defensive snaps in 2019, Gary had an interesting leap last year and showed a ton of promise. He played in all 16 games, started four, and had 5.0 sacks, 35 tackles and 11 QB hits. Gary would go on to put a stamp on his sophomore season when he recorded 1.5 sacks and four pressures in a playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Gary, like a first-round pick should, has taken another leap this year and has been one of the most dominant pass rushers in football. The former Michigan All-Big Ten pass rusher has 18 pressures (13th overall), 3.5 sacks, nine QB knockdowns, and zero missed tackles on the season. Gary’s significant increase in playing time is coming at the result of Za’Darius Smith’s injury, but is paying off for the Packers overall.
If Gary continues to dominate, the league and media sources will be forced to take note of him and give him the credit he deserves – just like Za’Darius and Preston Smith did two years ago. It will be an uphill battle given that the media focus is almost always on Aaron Rodgers, but Gary (along with the rest of the pass-rush crew) deserve recognition for their successful efforts thus far.
It’s interesting to note that Gary has more pressures and the same amount of sacks as Aaron Donald, somebody who is considered the best defensive player in football. Gary is also putting up better numbers than both of the Bosa brothers, J.J. Watt and more.
Again, the league needs to take note of Rashan Gary.