Packers pass rush has been on fire in opening two games

Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers’ pass rushers have made a dominant start to the regular season.

With a talented front seven on paper, there was hope the Green Bay Packers‘ pass rush could reach its sky-high potential in 2022.

So far, so good.

Powered by the edge-rusher partnership of Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, Green Bay’s pass defense is off to a good start.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Packers have the highest pressure percentage generated in the NFL after two games. They have generated a 64 percent pressure percentage, comfortably clear of the Buffalo Bills’ 51.3 percent in second place.

And it’s not surprising.

The Chicago Bears didn’t attempt many passes last week at Lambeau Field, but when they did, Justin Fields regularly found himself under pressure.

The Packers had three sacks and five quarterback hits in the game. The Bears only attempted 11 passes.

Gary and Smith are tied for the team lead in sacks after two games. Both have two. Smith has the edge in quarterback hits with a team-best five, compared to Gary’s three.

Kenny Clark has three quarterback hits, while Dean Lowry has two.

According to Pro Football Reference, Smith also leads the team in pressures. He has made seven so far this season, compared to four each for Gary and Clark, two for Lowry, and one each for De’Vondre Campbell and Jarran Reed.

Gary and Smith are up there with the best edge-rusher duos in football, while the Packers also get strong interior pass rush from the defensive line.

The only concern is with pass-rush depth. Edge rushers not named Rashan Gary or Preston Smith have struggled to make an impact for the Packers so far this season.

However, that’s in part because Gary and Smith have dominated the defensive snaps. According to Pro Football Reference, Smith has played an incredible 87.38 percent of the defensive snaps this season, while Gary has played 82.52 percent.

The Packers’ defense has regularly generated pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. That needs to continue against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3.