Justin Houston in Green Bay makes sense

Justin Houston in Green Bay makes sense

The Green Bay Packers seem to have a high level defense. They finished the 2021 season:

  • 10th in passing yards allowed
  • 10th in rushing yards allowed
  • ninth in total yards allowed
  • tied for ninth in points allowed per game
  • tied for fourth in interceptions
  • seventh in percentage of completion allowed
  • 10th in QBR allowed
  • ninth in passes defended
  • second in revenue differential
  • tied for sixth in total takeout

It is a fact that they are in the top 10 defense. General manager Brian Gutekunst decided to build on an impressive season by re-signing first-team All-Pro MLB stars De’Vondre Campbell and notable CB Rasul Douglas. He added talented young plays to Georgia’s Quay Walker (MLB) and teammate Devonte Wyatt (DT). Both came in the first round of the NFL Draft in April. Free agent DT Jarran Reed (a career high with 10.5 sacks) also signed a one-year deal.

This defense is extremely talented and aims to become a Super Bowl defense starting in September. The Packers have stars at every level, including Pro Bowl DT Kenny Clark, EDGE Rashan Gary (DPOY candidate), Campbell in the middle of defense, All-Pro CB Jaire Alexander, and a very solid duo of safeties in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage.

However, there is one more move they could make to ensure their defense has everything it needs to dominate opponents: signing a veteran edge rusher.

Gary is about to become a superstar. The former Michigan Wolverine has increased his sack total in each of his three career seasons. He and veteran Preston Smith both had over nine sacks last season. That was impressive considering they held down the fort while former Packers All-Pro rusher Za’Darius Smith missed most of the season with a back injury. Preston Smith’s career high in sacks came in 2019, his first season in Green Bay, when he knocked down the opposing QB 12 times. This should have resulted in a Pro Bowl season.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry knows what he’s got in his starters. However, there is not much behind them. The team drafted EDGE Kingsley Enagbare of South Carolina in the fifth round of the April draft, but third-year EDGE Jonathan Garvin has just 1.5 sacks in his career while undrafted 2021 signee Tipa Galeai n only played seven games last season. The defense needs experience behind Gary and Smith.

A name like Justin Houston sounds very intriguing. Houston’s career high in sacks came in 2014 when he recorded a whopping 22 for Kansas City. The former first-team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection is currently a free agent and is looking for a new home. He’s 33 and has played for three teams in the past four years, but his experience and production could very well scare the Packers. Keep in mind that Houston has recorded at least 7.5 sacks in eight of its 11 career seasons. He has been very productive in his long career.

Bringing Houston in for a year would be a great signing, especially because the door closes with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. A trio of Gary, Smith and Houston coming off the edge at Lambeau Field would be a dangerous, dangerous sight. Green Bay could be the best destination for the man with 102 sacks if he wants to earn his first career Super Bowl ring.

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