What have been the best Green Bay Packers defenses in the Aaron Rodgers era?
Defense wins championships.
That’s the motto in football.
Three seasons of defense stand apart from the rest during the Aaron Rodgers era.
After many years of struggling defensively, the Packers finally woke up and decided that the offense needed some help.
With Za’Darius and Preston Smith, also known as the Smith Bros., leading the charge to the backfield, many opponents learned to fear the pass rush. The Smith Bros. were exactly what the Packers had needed for a long time.
The Smith Bros. upgraded the defense to a whole other level. This duo became the heart and soul of Green Bay’s defense.
The Smith Bros. inspired the rest of the defense to perform at an elite level. Veteran defensive tackle Kenny Clark has always been explosive, but even more so since the Smith Bros. hit the scene because they bring out the best in everyone.
Though the secondary still had their struggles, playmakers like safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos as well as the sensational cornerback Jaire Alexander impressed. Savage and Amos made their impact early by assisting in key stops and creating turnovers.
In only his third NFL season, Alexander was already showing out by playing a part in getting stops and creating turnovers. He was named a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler. By stepping up to the plate and showing his fearlessness in playing the ball, he has become a major contributor in the defensive success of the Packers.
The 2020-2021 defense sparked a new beginning for the Packers.
This past season, the Packers continued their defensive success.
Za’Darius Smith suffered an injury which put him out for most of the season, but Green Bay did not panic.
The Packers signed free-agent linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, and he made a statement quickly. He was named a first-team All-Pro and earned a new five-year, $50 million contract in 2022. One of the smartest choices Green Bay made was signing Campbell.
After losing to the Buccaneers in the 2021 NFC Championship game largely due to the poor secondary efforts, it was time for improvements. The Packers desperately needed a new cornerback.
Thankfully, they found one in Georgia Bulldogs superstar Eric Stokes. Stokes was everything the Packers needed as he proved himself early in the season.
With the injury of Kevin King, Stokes became a starter. While Stokes still has a lot to learn, he has a promising future in the NFL.
Alexander was having another terrific season until a shoulder injury put him out for most of the year. Once again, the Packers refused to panic as they acquired free-agent cornerback Rasul Douglas.
Some fans were questionable about whether or not Douglas could get the job done. But when it came time for Douglas to perform, he proved the doubters wrong by playing the ball and creating turnovers, including a game-winning interception against the Arizona Cardinals. Douglas has been a clutch player for the Packers.
With Alexander, Stokes, and Douglas in the secondary, the Packers’ defense will remain in great shape.
The best defense of the Aaron Rodgers era came in 2010. While Rodgers was making a name for himself as the franchise quarterback, the defense provided great help, with star linebacker Clay Matthews leading the way.
As if Matthews didn’t already make enough of an impact, the Packers also had A.J. Hawk and B.J. Raji up front.
The 2010 Packers were stacked in the secondary with Morgan Burnett, Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Charles Woodson.
This fifth-ranked defense battled in the Super Bowl. While having Rodgers as quarterback was beneficial for the Packers, the Steelers also had a top-caliber quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, who put on a fantastic season of his own.
With that being said, the defense knew that Roethlisberger and the rest of the offense had to be contained. Green Bay’s defense played tough in all four quarters.
In a tight-knit game with the Steelers having the final possession, it was critical for the defense to get the stop. With a much-needed stop in the last offensive series for the Steelers, the Packers secured the Super Bowl victory.
Not only was Super Bowl XLV one of the best performances, but also one of the most exciting moments in Packers history. Much credit was given to the defense.