Packers 2014 Offseason Review: Grading The Defensive Line

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

17 games, eight 100 yard rushers. It was a tough year for the defensive line, especially over the second half of the season.

It is nobody's secret that 2013 wasn't the year for the Green Bay Packers' defense. Rookie Datone Jones was brought in to help the defensive line create pressure in getting to the quarterback. Previously-troubled veteran Johnny Jolly made his triumphant return to the team. It was supposed to be magical.

In the end, it was anything but that. It was like dark magic. Or something very un-magical. As the 2013 position reviews continue on here at Acme Packing Company, we take a look at the big guys on the defense side of the line of scrimmage.

2013 Packers Defensive Linemen

Starters: DT Ryan Pickett, DT B.J. Raji, DT Johnny Jolly (on IR)

Backups: DE Josh Boyd, DE Mike Daniels, DE Datone Jones, DE C.J. Wilson, DE Jerel Worthy

Practice Squad: None

Expectations

This year, the big focus for Dom Capers and this defense was getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. After making roster moves such as drafting UCLA's Datone Jones in the first round and deciding to bring back a refocused Johnny Jolly back on the team, the defensive line positions weren't supposed to be the big problem on this defense. With talented younger players in B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels coupled with the experienced Ryan Pickett, consistency was to be expected up front defensively.

Recap

In the end, it was a frustrating 2013 for this group. Last year saw the Packers give up an average of 125 rushing yards per game (25th in the league) Mike Daniels was the bright spot on the line, as he provided the only substantial and sustained pass rush on the defensive line. Daniels and the rookie Jones were the only two defensive linemen to post sacks in 2013 (as long as you're counting Mike Neal as an outside linebacker). Daniels had 6.5 and Jones added 3.5 more, which is a promising look for these two young players. Jones was brought along slowly though,

What wasn't as promising for the Packers was the amount of rushers that managed to take advantage of gaps and holes in that 3-4 defense. In 16 regular season games, eight games saw 100-plus yard rushers gash through this defensive line. Here is a list of those rushers:

Alfred Morris (WAS) 107 yards
Matt Forte (CHI) 125 yards
LeSean McCoy (PHI) 155 yards
Adrian Peterson (MIN) 146 yards
Reggie Bush (DET) 117 yards
DeMarco Murray (DAL) 134 yards
Le’Veon Bell (PIT) 124 yards
Matt Forte again (CHI) 110 yards

Note that only one of these games (week 2 against the Redskins) came before Aaron Rodgers was injured. It might be a coincidence, but it's an interesting note.

Overall Grade: D

Mike Daniels' performance exceeding expectations was the best thing to see here for Packers fans. Jones didn't live up to the expectations that were (probably unfairly) laid on him by fans. Seeing the defense gashed week in and week out definitely hurt this grade. Improving the play of the line will definitely have to be at the top of Dom Capers' offseason agenda in 2014 and with several players being free agents, he will probably have a few different pieces to work with. We'll have more on that later today.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Acme Packing Company

You must be a member of Acme Packing Company to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Acme Packing Company. You should read them.

Join Acme Packing Company

You must be a member of Acme Packing Company to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Acme Packing Company. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker