Group projects in school were for the most part unbalanced. There would be the one or two people who would do all the work, while the rest of the group would fail to pull any of their own weight. Even though only two people did a majority of the work, the whole group would get the end prize. In a way, the same can be said about the Green Bay Packers.
For the majority of the past decade, the Packers offense has been the engine keeping the car running. While the defense has failed to keep opposing offenses off the scoreboard, Aaron Rodgers and company have done their part to keep the Packers in games. In part, the offense has done the majority of the work, while the defense is their just to tag along for the end result.
What if I told you 2018 will be different. That has been the hope for Packers since their last Super Bowl title. Draft picks have been spent on defensive players over and over again, only to see them not pan out. The 2018 draft was the same song, different dance, as cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson were taken with their first two selections. Jackson has the size and strength similar to last year’s second round pick Kevin King. Alexander is more on the smaller side, but his closing speed makes him a good matchup against opposing slot receivers.
Perhaps the two biggest offseason acquisitions were of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. Pettine was the defensive coordinator of a New York Jets team that went to back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009/2010. That Jets defense carried a team with Mark Sanchez as its quarterback. The success Pettine had opposite a lackluster offense can only make a person wonder what he can do with a future Hall of Famer leading the offense.
The signing of Wilkerson has gone under the radar. When the Jets were good, Wilkerson wreaked havoc. But as the Jets started becoming a laughing stock, Wilkerson’s play and attitude declined. Now he enters a new team with an old voice in Pettine in his ear. Wilkerson will be rejuvenated, and paired with Mike Daniels could bring a lot of nasty to the Packers defense. A new voice, two young corners, and a veteran ready for a new start. This season could be the year the Packers defense finally does their part of the group project.