Rashan Gary Has Been the Packers Best Player So Far This Season

Through the first four games of the 2022 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers best player has been edge rusher Rashan Gary. The fourth-year man out of Michigan has been a dominant player in all facets of the game. Thus far, he is the team’s Most Valuable Player.

Through four games, Gary has been outstanding and consistent, registering at least one sack in every game. Gary has finds himself in the 10 in the league in pressures and pressure percentage and he has been a standout against the run as well.

Gary has come a long way since his rookie season. In 2019, when the Packers drafted him with the 12th overall pick, many fans were disappointed that he didn’t see the field more. The team had just signed both Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith in free agency and Gary was considered a bit of a project as he moved from playing defensive line at Michigan to the edge in the NFL.

In his rookie campaign, Gary played just 24 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and registered two sacks and made 21 total tackles. Fans were ready to call Gary a bust after just one season.

Each year since then, Gary’s numbers have improved and his playing time has gone up. He has used his elite athleticism and work ethic to improve his game by working on his technique and getting into peak physical condition.

By 2020, Gary made four starts and had five sacks. Last season, when Za’Darius Smith missed nearly the entire year with a back injury, Gary stepped up and started 16 games and registered a career-high and team leading 9.5 sacks. He was also one of the most consistent pass rushers in the league and was among the league’s best at pressure percentage.

This season, Gary already has five quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He has also played a career-best 76 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

Last week against the Patriots, Gary had his best statistical game of the season. He sacked New England quarterbacks twice and forced and recovered a fumble on one of those sacks that got the Packers the ball back at a key time in the game.

After the game, Gary was his typical, modest self. “Just chipping away day by day, man,” Gary told reporters. “I’m really not paying attention to it. Our number one goal as a team and as a unit is what I’m trying to help add to. So, I’m just chipping away.”

Gary is getting the notice and respect of his coaches. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry knows what he has in Gary.

“I’m a firm believer that consistency is the truest measure of performance…It’s definitely the thing I love most about Rashan Gary, is that he shows up every single day and it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you know exactly what you’re going to get out of Rashan Gary every single day,” Barry said during the preseason this year. “And then it becomes a habit and his demeanor and his style and the way he plays every single day. When you practice like that, it translates to games, and that’s why I think he’s the player that he is and the player that he’s still going to become.”

Head coach Matt LaFleur also values what Gary brings to the defense. “Rashan’s definitely a tone setter for us,” LaFleur said. “You can feel his energy out there, whether we’re at practice, certainly on game days as well. Just a guy that just kind of goes to work each and every day.”

“It hasn’t come by accident. It’s because he puts in the work,” LaFleur added. “You can always count on that from Rashan, that he’s going to grind and push himself, which in turn ups the intensity of everybody around him. I love having him on our football team.”

Gary has yet to reach his full potential and he continues to add moves to his pass rush arsenal and looking for ways to improve his overall game.

Right now, Gary has to be considered a favorite to make the Pro Bowl and a candidate for All Pro honors. Through four games, he is also the Packers team MVP.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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8 points

Comments (43)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
mnbadger's picture

October 06, 2022 at 11:53 am

I wasn't high on the drafting of RG, but once again, have been proven wrong. I'm so thankful there's talented people making these decisions for the organization, not knuckleheads like me. GPG!

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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 11:59 am

Good one Gill. I hope we don't have to lean on him so much that he wears out before the end of the season. He's fun to watch and easy to iso during a game to see what he's doing.

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GilMartin's picture

October 06, 2022 at 04:24 pm

Thanks T7Steve. I hope we can find a reliable 3rd or 4th edge rusher like we did last year with Mercilus. It's a concern for sure. Thanks for commenting.

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egbertsouse's picture

October 06, 2022 at 12:02 pm

He isn’t even the best player on the defense, Kenny Clark is.

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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 12:24 pm

You have to let him save material for later articles, don't you? Deciding who's better of those two is a good problem to have. I think Smith is adding a lot of help too.

8 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 06, 2022 at 04:34 pm

Gary is the dominant player this season, to date. His lack of usage as a rookie is on Pettine, not him. He could have gone hand-in-the-ground and created havoc just as well as Za. This year it seems the coaches know well enough to get their rookies in the flow. Players, not Plays.

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:08 am

Kenny Clark- still the most dominant player on defense.

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Oppy's picture

October 06, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Rashan Gary is the highest rated by PFF.

Kenny Clark is the best player on the defense, and the best football player on the Green Bay Packers.

That's not to take away from Gary. He's an extremely impactful player. But he's not as dominant down in and down out as Clark is, and Clark's performance impacts every other player's opportunities for success on the entire defense.

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Esquetoi's picture

October 06, 2022 at 12:49 pm

Ok. But the article clearly points out how it was a common thought among fans that Gary was headed to be a bust. I'm even wondering if labeling Clark the Packers' best player is a common take. Let the polling begin! Despite it being a team game.

2 points
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Oppy's picture

October 06, 2022 at 01:56 pm

No question many fans thought Gary was going to be a bust, mostly because the talking heads in the 'draft industrial complex' spread doubt about Rashan Gary before the draft.

To be 100% honest, a some of the people didn't like the idea of young black man with braids named "Rashan" being drafted by the Packers. They said he was lazy. They said he was a character risk.. It was all ignorance.

Every draft pick is a risk, a proposition of potential vs. production at the next level. I'm extremely glad Rashan Gary has proven most of the silly hate that surrounded his drafting to be a bunch of non-sensical hand-wringing. I'm glad most Packers fans who disliked his pick have come around and admitted they were wrong about Gary. I'm mostly happy that Rashan has had the opportunity to show the type of player and man that he is to a Packers fan base that was largely not open to his being brought into the Packers family just a few years ago.

Side note: Kenny Clark is an absolute BEAST. :)

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Gman1976's picture

October 06, 2022 at 03:31 pm

Your 2nd paragraph is downright judgmental and racist. I never heard any commentator say such garbage.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 06, 2022 at 06:33 pm

I didn't hear that either.

Most of the criticism of Gary was his lack of production at Michigan given he was a top national HS recruit with elite RAS.

He's producing at an all pro level now.

4 points
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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:14 am

My statement, about people being racist, is racist?

Well, That's ridiculous- in your world, you can not discuss racism without being racist?

<Edited for language>Go take a long walk off a short pier.

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porupack's picture

October 07, 2022 at 06:51 am

inappropriate, Oppy. You were kind of right in that you didn't necessarily make the comment about a black man in braids, but just mentioning the comment is not neutral, and reiterates an ugly idea. Would be appreciated if you take it back as well as your inappropriate comment which is also offensive and unecessary amongst us fans. I never heard anything such against Rashan. People questioned whether he succeeded at michigan because of teamates, or whether he lifted his teamate (which seemed to be the conclusion), and people questioned his wonderlic. But none of the race crap was posted, hopefully.

1 points
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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:18 pm

I wasn't speaking specifically to posts made here.

And I refuse to not discuss real problems because they are ugly. That's sweeping it under the rug, and that's half the problem. In matters where the ugly is question is racism, there's a specific term for ignoring its existence: whitewashing.. and I'll have no part of that.

I will edit my nasty language, but the sentiment will remain.

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Ritzy's picture

October 06, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Kenny Clark is still the one who opposing offenses respect the most, thus he constantly is being doubled teamed. When and if Gary will draw double teams, then I'll consider him equal to Clark. Also Gary needs to be a bigger force on run plays and avoid overshooting gaps. That's his current weakness.

1 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

October 06, 2022 at 01:13 pm

Who the best or more respected player on Defense is of no matter to me. What matters is that as a whole, they have not looked very respected against the low level Offenses played against so far.

Lost to the Vikings-Who are proving average at best Offensively
Beat Chi, a known Offensive dumpster
Beat a WR group missing 3 starters of TB-barely
Beat a 3rd string QB led below average Offense in NE

Let's beat our chests as they play another deficient Offense of the Giants.

Yes, a couple of players are doing well, but we need much more from others, while not forgetting the Offensive failings, though like the Defense, a couple of players doing well, but not enough.

9 points
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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 01:34 pm

That's the way to keep the pressure on em.

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Oppy's picture

October 06, 2022 at 01:58 pm

I want so badly to give you the gift of professional editing.

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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:20 pm

Don't know how people do so well when they're probably doing it on a phone. I don't see my stupid mistakes till after I push send. I only read what I think I meant till I send.

3 points
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Oppy's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:50 pm

Steve, not a critique of any typos.

I quite literally wish some people would have access to professional editing services. In this case, I was talking specifically about the nightmare that is Taryn's last sentence.

More broadly, I take issue with writing in general, especially the writing of supposed professional journalists of today who often have no true third party editorial process before uploading their work to the internet to be shared with the world.

I don't expect perfection- lord knows I fall short of most cohesive language goalposts on a regular basis- but my god, that last sentence looks like a train crossing accident.

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barutanseijin's picture

October 06, 2022 at 03:44 pm

If you’re so sensitive about good writing, spend some time eliminating awkward, clichéd constructions from your own. I suggest you start with “the X that is Y.”

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LLCHESTY's picture

October 06, 2022 at 04:12 pm

I like the comma as much or more than the next guy but that is a lot of them.

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 06, 2022 at 04:32 pm

I ran my comment through two grammar programs and neither suggested a correction.

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:04 am

Thank you for proving that technology is no replacement for human intellect.

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:24 pm

What is it that makes you feel the need to gift me what I don't need?

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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:35 pm

Don't worry, he probably meant it in a nice way. I try not to notice typos because then everyone will trash mine.

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Oppy's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:45 pm

Let the down votes commence, I'll be the jerk.

If you have any compassion for the English language, you would welcome some friendly help in the editing department. This sentence is a complete train wreck and affront to the written word:

"Yes, a couple of players are doing well, but we need much more from others, while not forgetting the Offensive failings, though like the Defense, a couple of players doing well, but not enough."

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 06, 2022 at 03:31 pm

Both the D and O have a couple of players doing well, but both need more from others, as both are failing to achieve the expected bar.

Is this easier for you?

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2022 at 04:07 am

Oh, I figured out what you were trying to say. It's just horribly poor writing, Taryn. I'm sorry.

Instead of feeding it through a grammar program, contact an actual editor and ask for their unbiased opinion. It's ugly, ugly, ugly.

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 07, 2022 at 02:04 pm

You're still upset over the Nick Perry bet, with the taste of crow still lingering in your mouth.

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:21 pm

Nick Perry - still a much more talented player than given credit, due to injury.

Also, has nothing to do with lousy writing.

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 07, 2022 at 05:37 pm

You're nitpicking the use of commas that were used correctly. If anything was wrongly written, it might have been the length of the sentence that mandated the commas that separated multiple points/thoughts and pointed back to previous mentioned points/thoughts for emphasis and comparison of the D and O.

I ran this through 3 grammar sites and received no corrective actions necessary.

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 07, 2022 at 09:29 pm

Taryn, with all due respect, Grammarly identifies two errors in grammar and one in punctuation.

Suggested edit: Yes, a couple of players are doing well, but we need much more from others defensively. Offensive performance has mirrored the Defense; a couple of players are doing well, but not enough.

Commas and apostrophes are difficult little bastards. I always understand and appreciate your posts, but I've become fluent in Taryn over the years.

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Oppy's picture

October 08, 2022 at 08:09 pm

It's bad writing. That's all.

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Starrbrite's picture

October 06, 2022 at 06:35 pm

10-4—a well articulated, reasonable, and insightful comment; I agree.

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Qoojo's picture

October 06, 2022 at 10:36 pm

Yet another 1 or 2 and done team.

-2 points
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Lphill's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:47 pm

nfl.com has an article today top ten D lines with scores, Packers not in the top ten or even honorable mention.

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

October 06, 2022 at 04:15 pm

Hard to make the list with a run defense score of 12.

2 points
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wildbill's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:56 pm

Just rewatched the Patriot game and the two second half scoring drives by the Patriots seemed to be helped by Gary only being present for a few snaps. Did these old eyes deceive me? I’ve read no mention of this in any other articles so maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’ll go back and count his snaps on those two drives

6 points
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vin0770's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:57 pm

Better get out of nickel and play a lot of base Sunday to stop the run game!!! Last thing the Pack can do is let NYG run it down their throat.

4 points
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murf7777's picture

October 06, 2022 at 10:12 pm

Except for obvious passing situations, they played 3 DL every play but 6 against NE. I suspect they will do the same against NYG.

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Starrbrite's picture

October 06, 2022 at 06:41 pm

Well, he’s been the best defensive Packer, but imo, Jones is driving the bus as the best player.
But I humbly admit, I was entirely wrong about Gary—apologies!

1 points
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