While it would seem obvious to break down one of the sacks that Lowry had in back-to-back games, I’m am going all the way to the end of the regular season, week 17 to be exact, against the Lions at Ford Field. This is a play that no-one will talk about (but me) and one in which a former first round draft pick (and now former Packer) Datone Jones is off-side.
This week 17 matchup was the final game of the Packers’ table run to the 2016 playoffs and the two teams were playing for a home playoff game. The Packers, after a slow start, were up 7-0 after an Aaron Rodgers pass to Aaron Ripkowski finally got the offense on the board. But the Lions find themselves in scoring position after a long Zach Zenner run (which was opened up by Lowry himself getting caught inside so…still work to be done but an easy execution fix).
It is second and ten on the Lions’ own 14 and the play begins, as so many did when Datone Jones was on the field, with Jones jumping off-side and giving Matt Stafford a free play. Stafford is in easy reach of the end-zone and so this is a dangerous play and a very ill-timed penalty.
But Lowry, for his part, does a very veteran savvy thing. He plays the play out hard, knowing that Stafford will be taking a shot into the end-zone.
Lowry has always been quick off the ball but another thing that should make Packer Nation happy is the fact that, at 6’6″, he is able to bend and more often than not plays with great pad-level for a big guy. This play shows a win from the beginning for Lowry as he is the low man. But there is a difference between a win and a sack and a win in this case might not be enough as Stafford is looking to fire away into the end-zone.
Check out Lowry and keep in mind that this is a rookie who is playing at the end of his first full regular season in the NFL. Lowry does a lot of things right, here is the pad level with Lowry’s noted in green (obviously):
After that Lowry’s strength and leverage gives him the advantage but again, that is not enough. If Stafford can stand in the pocket as it slowly collapses he will likely find a man to throw the ball to and there is zero risk as it is a free play.
Lowry extends and then swims over the top, now he is on his way to the quarterback and he is doing it right through the middle of the pocket. Stafford can’t climb the pocket and step into a throw and pulls the ball down to try to escape. This is where Lowry completes the play. He not only wraps up Stafford but also pulls him back several yards, and then releases him as he is going to the ground and the whistle blows.
It is plays like this that should have Packer Nation excited about what Dean Lowry brings to the table in year 2. Of course, we have seen sophomore slumps in the past but the coaching staff has taken note of Lowry’s potential and are excited about him and that, in turn, should make Lowry excited about the coming season.
Training camp will feature some great new rookies, free agents and UDFA’s. But second year players for the Packers also bring excitement and the benefit of a full season under their belts along with their youth. Good things are in store for Dean Lowry, and good things are in store for the Green Bay Packers.