Packers’ Rashan Gary Made Impact vs. Bears Despite Limited Snaps

Rashan Gary, Packers
Packers Coverage, NFL Analysis Network

After two years of disastrous Week 1 performances, the Green Bay Packers got off on the right foot in 2023. They dismantled their NFC North rivals, the Chicago Bears, winning 38-20 at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon.

The game was competitive and low-scoring in the first half, which oddsmakers were predicting based on the spread and point total for the game. But, the Packers took control in the second half, scoring four touchdowns and eventually won in a blowout.

There were a lot of positive takeaways from the game for Green Bay, who looked good on both sides of the ball. One of the most encouraging takeaways was the performance of edge rusher, Rashan Gary.

Gary is still working his way back from a torn ACL suffered in Week 9 last season, but he was healthy enough to be in the lineup. He is on a strict pitch count, as the Packers are only deploying him when necessary as they continue ramping up his activity.

According to PFF, he was on the field for 12 snaps, 10 as a pass rusher, and two in run defense. Despite the limited playing time, the Michigan product was still able to make an impact and have his presence felt.

In those 10 pass-rushing snaps, Gary was able to produce five hurries, which was second behind only Devonte Wyatt on the team Sunday afternoon. He did get to Justin Fields once for a sack, but the play was called back because of a penalty on Green Bay.

In his limited action, Gary earned a defensive grade of 83.4 with a pass-rushing grade of 77.8. His pass rush win rate of 44.4 percent was the highest amongst edge rushers in the NFL in Week 1. The limited snaps certainly helped buoy the percentage, but it was still encouraging to see him making the most of his playing time.

Overall, Green Bay had a lot of success getting after Fields in Week 1. The team was credited with 36 pressures overall, as the Bears’ signal caller was under pressure on more than half of his dropbacks.

That is an elite number and a huge change from where the Packers were last season. Without Gary in the fold, Green Bay’s pass-rushing numbers plummeted. That should no longer be the case as the depth and talent on the edge looks to be much improved in 2023 compared to what the team had in 2022.