The Green Bay Packers are young at a number of positions, but nowhere will more young players be counted on than the defensive line.
This past offseason, the retirement of B.J.Raji came as a surprise and even though Green Bay drafted Kenney Clark in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft, the position is far from settled.
Clark, who has been nursing an injury, is practicing this week and seems to be ready for Sunday. But he won’t be the only youngster seeing important snaps.
With Mike Pennel suspended, the Packers are without one of their most impressive players up front and that means rookie Dean Lowry and second-year man Christian Ringo will play key roles Sunday. In fact, it was announced that Lowry will be starting at defensive end.
McCarthy on #Packers rookie DE Dean Lowry: “You love his motor, the way he flies around. He’ll have role for our football team.”
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) September 7, 2016
Clark will be counted on the play the nose at times, while Lowry has seen time at defensive end. While both have been solid against the run, it’s anyone’s guess how they will hold up Sunday.
Yet, in one way of looking at it, of the expected five defensive lineman active for the Packers Sunday against Jacksonville, three of them will be playing in their first career game. And while Ringo was on the practice squad last season, he’s never been active for an NFL game.
Certainly, Mike Daniels gives Green Bay a formidable option and Letroy Guion has proven that can handle both nose and five technique. However, if an injury occurs or the Packers have to play more base (3-4) defense than they expect, it could mean trouble.
It’s possible that when called upon, Ringo, Clark and Lowry will answer the bell. The truth is, they will need to, at least in some fashion, if the Packers are going to leave Jacksonville victorious Sunday afternoon.