What You Might’ve Missed: Inside impact

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GREEN BAY – The first half of Sunday’s loss at Washington was a rough one for the Packers’ defense, but that was no fault of Kenny Clark’s.

Not only was Clark making a steady impact, particularly against the run, on the interior of the defensive line, he was doing so from different positions – lining up at both the nose and the three-technique, and places in between.

He even lined up a couple of times on the outside (not shown here), something that may be asked of him more going forward due to fellow lineman Muhammad Wilkerson’s ankle injury.

The shame of Clark’s game on Sunday is all of these highlighted plays came in the first half, when the rest of the defensive unit was clearly struggling. But his efforts are still worth noticing.

Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 28, first quarter, 5:29 left

Result: 3-yard run by RB Chris Thompson

Here Clark is right on the nose, head-up on C Tony Bergstrom (66). It’s a classic two-gap assignment, stringing the play out and ready to cover either side depending on the running back’s move, and Clark sheds the block in textbook fashion.

Play No. 2: Second-and-7 from the Green Bay 25, first quarter, 4:49 left

Result: 2-yard run by Thompson

On the very next snap, Clark slides over a touch, lining up on the inside shoulder of RG Brandon Scherff (75), and he gets away quickly to help make the play when Thompson cuts the run back.

Play No. 3: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 17, first quarter, 3:22 left

Result: 2-yard run by RB Adrian Peterson

Another play, another alignment. This time Clark is the three-technique, on the outside shoulder of the guard. Again, the run ends up going away from him, but his combination of power and hustle gets him in on the tackle.

Play No. 4: First-and-10 from the Washington 25, second quarter, 12:52 left

Result: 3-yard run by Peterson

Back on the nose, Clark does his thing and brings down Peterson for another short gain.

Play No. 5: Second-and-6 from the Washington 6, second quarter, 7:17 left

Result: Incomplete pass

This is sometimes referred to as a “shade” or “tilt” technique, with Clark shaded just on the shoulder of the center. He and DL Mike Daniels (76) both get a strong inside push, and Clark smartly sticks up his big left arm as QB Alex Smith readies to throw, and he knocks the ball away.

Play No. 6: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 19, second quarter, 5:49 left

Result: 3-yard run by Peterson

Back on the nose once again, watch how Clark uses just his left arm to keep Bergstrom at bay and then quickly closes the hole on Peterson, with help from LB Nick Perry (53) crashing down from the outside.

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