When discussing the NFL’s best pass-rushing duos, the Green Bay Packers are never mentioned, which on the surface seems easy to understand.
Green Bay may not have multiple players with the sexy pass-rushing stats (sacks), but when it comes to overall pass-rushing productivity, the Packers have accumulated plenty of counting stats of their own – even if it doesn’t garner the same type of fanfare.
The NFL is a constantly evolving sport, and in today’s day and age there is no shortage of advanced metrics to further illustrate a players value as a pass-rusher, outside of just the traditional sack totals. To find a player’s true value one must consider sacks, pressures, hurries, and QB hits to see who is the most consistently effective at impacting the game.
The Packers are home to one of the most quietly productive pass-rushing duos in all of the NFL, and it’s not a pairing of highly-paid sack artists like you’d expect. It’s third-year edge rusher Rashan Gary and nose tackle Kenny Clark who are consistently getting the job done, week in, and week out.
Yes, you’d love to see defenders record a sack, who wouldn’t? But it’s equally as important to wreck havoc and force the opposition outside of their comfort zone. And when it comes to disruption, you’d be hard pressed to find a duo in the entire NFL better than Gary and Clark.
Both players were formerly first-round draft picks, selected because of their impressive athletic traits the front office was hoping to develop into premium players at their respective positions. Fast forward to present day, and the Packers have done exactly that – reaping the rewards on a weekly basis.
Rashan Gary’s pass-rushing numbers
Rankings among EDGE rushers, according to Pro Football Reference:
- Third in hurries
- Third in QB hits
- Fifth in pressures
Ranks among all NFL defenders:
- Third in QB hits (11)
- Fifth in hurries (29)
- Fifth in pressures (46)
Kenny Clark’s pass-rushing numbers
Rankings among defensive linemen, according to Pro Football Reference:
- First in hurries
- Third in pressures
- 13th in QB hits
Ranks among all NFL defenders:
- Third in hurries (33)
- 13th in total pressures (39)
And if those individual numbers aren’t impressive enough, this is where the two defensive standouts rank among NFL duos in total pressures:
- 1st – Crosby/Ngakoue (104 total pressures)
- 2nd – Landry/Simmons (95 total pressures)
- 3rd – Gary/Clark (85 total pressures)
The combination of Gary (1) and Clark (3) also happen to be two of the top three in the NFC in total pressures, making them the most disruptive 1-2 punch in the conference.
And as luck would have it, the Packers have both players locked up through at least 2023 as it stands. At just 26 and 23 years of age respectively, the Packers likely haven’t seen either player reach their ceiling yet. The best is yet to come.
So, while the rest of the league likely won’t be talking about the impact on the field being made by Kenny Clark and Rashan Gary, Packers fans can appreciate the outstanding work being done by a few of Green Bay’s finest defensive players.