Packers Secondary: A Three-Headed Monster

August 15, 2022

After ranking ninth in the Regular Season last year, can the Packers’ Defense improve this year? After an injury-plagued season, can the Secondary step up?

Is the Packers’ secondary poised to be one of the very best in the NFL this season? With the pieces of an elite “three-headed monster” patrolling the skies, there’s reason to believe for fans of the team. The offseason has seen its share of headlines for this group, from extensions to departures. It’s time to take a closer look at the Green Bay secondary.

The Packers Paid Him; Can He Rebound After Injury-Riddled Season?

After only playing in four games last year, Jaire Alexander is looking forward to a new year, hopefully with fewer injuries. Alexander played the first four games of the season before injuring his shoulder which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

He returned for the post-season but only played eight snaps in the secondary. The cons were that he was injured, the pros were that Eric Stokes received more playing time as a rookie and the Packers picked up Rasul Douglas to help fill the void. Alexander’s new nickname is “Ja’Money” after inking a four-year contract extension worth $84 million which made him the highest-paid CB in the NFL.

Prior to Alexander’s shoulder injury, he put up 13 tackles and an interception through four games in 2021. This will be his fifth year in the league, all coming with the Packers. Before the 2021 season, Alexander was a first-team All-Pro in 2020. He will look to build upon his 2020 season but with a better defense around him.

So far in training camp, he’s had a couple of minor injuries but all in all, he looks healthy leading up to Week One. Jaire can be seen wearing the mic in training camp and hyping up his teammates when they stuff or deny the offense. He’s been very electric and vocal while in one-on-ones and on the sideline cheering on his brothers.

Can Packers’ Stokes Improve On His Successful Rookie Campaign?

Eric Stokes enters his second season with the Packers after being drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Stokes was off to a slow start last year until Jaire Alexander went out with a shoulder injury. Stokes was then leaned on more to help fill the void of a top-five cornerback.

He played in 16 out of 17 games in the regular season as a rookie and accumulated 55 tackles along with one interception. He was the 37th-ranked Fantasy DB in 2021; not bad for a rookie.

In 2021, Stokes played roughly 86% of snaps for the Green and Gold. A lot of the extra playing time was the result of injuries. Alexander with his shoulder and Kevin King with a new injury each week. King was not brought back in the off-season, instead, Stokes will most likely line up opposite Alexander or Rasul Douglas.

Can The Packers’ Rasul Douglas Build Upon His Dominant 2021 Season?

Rasul Douglas was a lifesaver last year for Green Bay. When Alexander went out with a season-ending injury, Douglas was scooped up and thrown into the mix. Douglas is now a seasoned veteran as he enters his sixth year in the NFL. Douglas started his career with the Philadelphia Eagles and played there for three years before getting picked up by the Panthers for a year. This season will be his second year on the Packers roster.

During the off-season, Douglas signed a three-year contract worth $21 million. After Davante Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, it freed up enough cap space for the Packers to help sign several playmakers. He definitely earned that contract after posting 57 tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble, and two touchdowns over 12 games last year. Douglas was the 14th-ranked DB in Fantasy Football last season; just imagine what numbers he can post in a full year.

Who Will Play Slot This Year Within the Packers’ Defense?

Alexander, Stokes, and Douglas all play their best as outside cornerbacks. They can’t all play with only two sides of the field to cover. One of them will have to step out of their comfort zone and play slot. Alexander is the most well-rounded player and he should be able to take over the slot. He is also the shortest of the three.

Alexander stands at five-foot-ten. Stokes is six feet tall and Douglas is six-foot-two. Hopefully, all three guys are getting some reps in at slot, so if needed, they can rotate depending on the speed of the outside receivers.

After ranking ninth in overall defense last season, the team can definitely step up and contend for top-five defense. I was honestly surprised after finding out that the Packers were ninth in the league after the carousel of injuries that plagued the team last season. We’re getting a healthy version of Alexander, a full year of Douglas, an experienced second-year player in Stokes, and the release of Kevin King.

We do not want to relive that awful performance last year against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where Scotty Miller was left alone and jogged into the endzone while King was just standing around. King wasn’t the greatest cornerback in the league and he could barely stay on the field with his list of injuries.

The Packers went heavy on defense this year in the draft to help build upon an already decent group of guys. There has always been a couple of key players at each position but never a solid group due to injuries and lackluster play.

I am looking forward to seeing what these three young guys can do together in the secondary. Individually they are skilled, as a group, they become elite defenders. A strong defense will help put the offense into better situations aka scoring situations. Or better yet, the defense can score more and let Rodgers rest his toe, although it should be healed by now.