Pass Rush Heating Up in Time for the Tundra
The last time the Jets were in Green Bay was August of last year with a rookie head coach in Robert Saleh and a rookie QB in Zach Wilson. The headline out of last year's joint practices, however, was Carl Lawson's season-ending Achilles tendon injury.
Fast-forward 14 months, Lawson, who signed with the Green & White in March 2021, is returning to form. In addition to his game-changing strip-sack against Miami, he had a career-high 7 QB hits in Week 5 and became the only Jets player in franchise history to register that many QB hits in a game.
"I still think he's got more to go, too," Robert Saleh said. Saleh added: "He went two years without football and he's slowly stacking up good days and he's getting faster. His GPS numbers are getting faster. I'm really pumped for him. He's gaining confidence, he's getting stronger and stronger every week. Just looking forward to him to have continued growth and the production for him is just going to continue to follow."
In addition to Lawson, Quinnen Williams is the only player in the NFL this season with at least 8 QB hits, 1 fumble recovery and 3 sacks. Bryce Huff's 90.3 Pro Football Focus grade in Week 5 ranked No. 5 among edge defenders and his 90.8 grade for the 2022 season is the second-best (no minimum snaps). John Franklin-Myers, who tipped a pass that resulted in Sauce Gardner's first NFL interception, had 4 hits and 2 hurries according to PFF. He also had a half-sack.
The Packers have two Pro Bowl tackles -- LT David Bakhtiari and RT Elgton Jenkins. Bakhtiari, a two-time first-team All-Pro, made his season debut in Week 3 and took 25 snaps last Sunday after taking 70 in Week 4.
"Playing on turf, so just taking everything into consideration," Packers HC Matt LaFleur said of Bakhtiari's snap count on the plastic grass in London last Sunday. "I thought it was the right thing to do for him to make sure he stays with us for the duration of the season."
Life Without Davante Adams
Green Bay's current offense is similar to last season's with one big difference – five-time Pro Bowl and two-time first-team All-Pro wideout Davante Adams is a Raider. The Packers drafted a pair of receivers – Romeo Doubs (22 rec, 213 yards, 2 TD) and Christian Watson (7 rec, 52 yards, 0 TDs), and signed Sammy Watkins (injured reserve).
QB Aaron Rodgers, the NFL's back-to-back MVP, ranks No. 17 with 1,157 passing yards. He has 8 TDs and 3 INT.
"I still see the same Hall of Famer," Saleh said. "He's getting comfortable with his receivers. They have a lot of talent, they can run the heck out of the ball from an offensive perspective. I think he's just fine. I know last week they kind of hit a lull in the second half, but that first half, they were explosive moving the football at ease. They just didn't get many opportunities in the second half. He's explosive, he's a Hall of Famer. He looks good to me."
The Packers have been known for their offense, but their defense is off to a fast start in 2022 despite allowing 17 second-half points in their 27-22 Week 5 loss to the Giants in London. Green Bay's unit ranks in the top five in the NFL in total yards (No. 5), passing (No. 2) and third down (No. 4).
"Their D-line is for real," Saleh said. "They have a really good front. In the back end, they're very disciplined. I think Joe Barry does such a great job with that front. They're very sound, they're very disciplined. That front, they get after it. Rashan Gary is playing at a Pro-Bowl level. They're pretty darn talented."