October was a remarkable month for the Green Bay Packers. The team went 5-0 over the last month, and the defense — often a sore spot in recent years — did not allow a single team to exceed 22 points in that time.
One of the most critical players on that defense has been linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. A street free agent signing in early June, Campbell’s play in Joe Barry’s defense has been a revelation, with his sideline-to-sideline play and excellent instincts resulting in massive splash plays as well as impressive consistency.
Once a castoff who was lucky to find a spot with an NFL team this spring, Campbell is now NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October. The NFL announced Campbell’s honor on Thursday morning.
In these last five games, Campbell has stuffed the stat sheet while playing almost every snap on defense. The 28-year-old has racked up 45 total tackles, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two pass defenses, an interception, two quarterback hits, and a sack in that time frame. That interception came in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals while his two forced fumbles both came against Washington, one of them directly preventing a touchdown on a 4th-and-goal quarterback sneak.
While the statistics have been impressive, Campbell’s consistency has also been a game-changer for Barry and the Packers’ defense. The team has employed a 5-1-5 nickel alignment extensively this season with two edge rushers and three interior linemen, which has allowed Campbell to diagnose the play in front of him and flow more freely to the football.
Campbell’s honor marks the first time a Packers defender has earned this award in over a decade. Clay Matthews last claimed the award for his performances in September 2010, when he recorded six sacks and a forced fumble in three games. Matthews’ award capped off a long string of Packers honorees, as three other Packers claimed the award another six times in total from 2007 through 2009:
- Charles Woodson (Sept. 2008, Sept. 2009, Nov. 2009, Dec. 2009)
- Atari Bigby (Dec. 2007)
- Aaron Kampman (Oct. 2007)