GREEN BAY – First-round draft pick Rashan Gary played just 13 defensive snaps against Washington on Sunday, but the rookie outside linebacker did his best to make the most of them.
Veterans Za'Darius Smithand Preston Smith get the lion's share of the work at outside linebacker for Mike Pettine's defense, and rightly so. But Gary made his presence felt in a part-time role vs. Washington. His impact was noticeable on a handful of his snaps, particularly against the run in a few instances.
Veteran safety Adrian Amos also kept himself in the right place with solid reactionary and disciplined play. He had a sack on an unblocked blitz and an interception in this game, but there were other plays worth noting, too.
Here's a sampling:
Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Washington 12, first quarter, 5:18 left
Result: 3-yard run by RB Adrian Peterson
Washington begins its third drive of the game in a run-heavy formation, with OL Tony Bergstrom (66) as an extra lineman, lined up as the first tight end on the offense's right side, and he's flanked by two additional tight ends. Gary is directly over Bergstrom, and the Packers rookie effectively holds his ground, sheds the block and helps clean up on Peterson after S Adrian Amos (31) crashed from the outside to make first contact.
Play No. 2: Third-and-7 from the Green Bay 42, second quarter, 12:11 left
Result: 5-yard sack by LB Preston Smith
On this play, every member of the four-man rush generates pressure, and that includes Gary, who jets around RT Morgan Moses (76) while LB Za'Darius Smith (55) and DL Kenny Clark (97) both win inside. As QB Dwayne Haskins steps up to try to get away from the onslaught, LB Preston Smith (91) wraps him up for the takedown.
Play No. 3: First-and-10 from the Washington 20, third quarter, 6:45 left
Result: 5-yard run by Peterson
Gary does everything right on this play except finish it. Though he's lined up across from Bergstrom again, it's Moses who attacks him on this run. Gary separates well and makes first contact with Peterson in the hole, but then falls off him while trying to finish the tackle. DL Tyler Lancaster eventually gets him, chasing from the back side.
Play No. 4: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 36, third quarter, 2:03 left
Result: 1-yard run by Peterson
Against Bergstrom this time, Gary shows a good motor here, staying after the play after the initial stalemate at the line of scrimmage. Big credit on this one to Amos, who stays very disciplined on the edge to keep Peterson from bouncing outside. With Amos forcing Peterson back inside, Gary has shaken his block to be there and make the play.
Play No. 5: Second-and-5 from the Washington 39, third quarter, 4:26 left
Result: Incomplete pass
While we're discussing Amos, here are a couple of heads-up plays from earlier on that same third-quarter drive by the veteran safety. On this one, he initially steps forward to help on TE Jeremy Sprinkle (87) leaking out of the backfield. But as soon as Sprinkle breaks to the sideline and LB Kyler Fackrell (51) drops into coverage to stay with him, Amos immediately recognizes the over/corner route being run by WR Steven Sims Jr. (15). Amos turns and sprints to try to beat Sims to his spot, and Haskins' throw hits Amos in the back.
Play No. 6: First-and-10 from the Washington 48, third quarter, 4:14 left
Result: 4-yard run by Peterson
Nothing fancy here, but a solid read and recognition of a running play, and Amos once again stays disciplined. At the moment the handoff is made, Amos is about 15 yards away from Peterson, but as the defensive front along with CB Josh Jackson (37) string the play out to the sideline, Amos gets himself in the right position, stays balanced, and runs Peterson out of bounds to keep the gain minimal.