Realistic expectations for Packers edge rusher Rashan Gary this season

New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Since being a first-round selection in 2019, edge rusher Rashan Gary has become one of the most recognizable defensive players for the Green Bay Packers. His production on the field is a true reflection of the work he puts in behind the scenes.

His best season so far came back in 2021, when he recorded nine-and-a-half sacks, 20 quarterback hurries, 47 pressures, 28 QB hits (seventh in the NFL), eight tackles for loss, and zero missed tackles (per Pro Football Reference). What made his performance even more outstanding was he did that while playing in just 68% of the total defensive snaps.

In 2022, after a promising start, Gary tore his ACL nine games into the season. However, he bounced back in 2023 and appeared in all 17 games while starting in 13. Now, with a new defensive scheme, we should expect a few different things from Gary this upcoming season.

What can we expect from Rashan Gary in 2024?

Joe Barry ran a traditional 3-4 defense in his time with the Packers. In his time at Michigan, Gary was mainly a defensive end and thrived in that role. His athleticism and talent at that specific spot were among the driving factors that led the Packers to take him with the 12th overall pick.

When he got to Green Bay, he was quickly converted to an outside linebacker under Mike Pettine and continued that same role with Barry. Now, after five years in the NFL, Gary will have the opportunity to switch back to defensive end with new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley set to run a 4-3 defense.

Though many might think there is not much difference between a pass-rushing outside linebacker and a defensive end, they are worlds apart. This could prove to be especially true based on some of Gary's most notable attributes.

At 6-foot-5 and 277 pounds, he certainly has the build to kick in at DE and could even make a few appearances at defensive tackle. A player who possesses that kind of height and weight while running a 4.58 40-yard dash is going to be hard to stop.

There should be no reason that Gary should not be pushing to have the best season in his career now that he returns to the basics and fundamentals that caught the eyes of Packers scouts in the first place.

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