By: Jordy Ramirez 8/3/2022
Coming into his fourth season, Rashan Gary is primed for a huge season due to the improvements that he has made to his game and the talented cast of players that surround him. Last season, Gary had 9.5 sacks, 28 QB hits, and 53 pressures in 16 regular season appearances. In eight of the last ten seasons, the AP Defensive Player of the Year award has gone to players who get after the quarterback. This award is primarily a pass rusher’s award in today’s pass happy league and Rashan Gary has a good chance to be holding the award at the end of the season.
Scouting Rashan Gary
Rashan Gary has never lacked athleticism which is what sets apart players at rushing the passer. For Gary, it was learning the art (fundamentals and technique) of getting to the quarterback over the past three seasons. Gary has quick get-off, timing up the snap very well, using burst and speed to set offensive lineman up to his liking. His patented pass rush attack is getting tackles to overset, using an inside long arm to widen the tackle even more, and ripping through with his outside arm for an inside track to the quarterback. This move accounted for most of his sacks and pressures in 2021.
Not only did Gary do a great job of getting to the quarterback, but he was also stout against the run. Keeping contain, crashing down the line of scrimmage, getting tackles for losses, and setting hard edges to close running lanes are where he specialized last season. These skills mixed with a relentless motor and a physical mindset allowed Gary to thrive in the run game.
The Argument for DPOY
As it stands now, Rashan Gary has the 9th best odds at +3500 to win the award. The fourth year outside linebacker has not only gotten better by the season, it seemed as if he got better by the week in 2021. I think his best game was against the Niners in the Divisional game where the defense was nearly fully healthy but his performance got overlooked by the eventual outcome of the game. He racked up two sacks and a critical tackle for loss on a 4th and one run play in the middle of the fourth quarter. From my eye, he looked to be one of the best players on the field each and every play.
Not only has Gary individually gotten better, seemingly the cast around him has as well. On paper, Green Bay’s defense bolsters one of the more talented groups in the NFL which will only benefit Gary’s production. Having a healthy Jaire Alexander, ascending Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas who sparked a different type of energy to Green Bay’s defense last year will only allow for more time to get to the quarterback. Mix in a couple of safeties who compliment each other very well, a linebacker duo who are great in coverage, and a defensive line which suddenly shows depth/versatility and there’s a recipe for Rashan Gary to be the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year.