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Gary Finished as One of NFL’s Most Disruptive Pass Rushers

Next Gen Stats show just how effective Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Rashan Gary was as a pass rusher in 2020.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers’ most disruptive pass rusher last season wasn’t the player with the $17.25 million charge against salary cap.

While Za’Darius Smith led the NFL in pressures in 2019, it was Rashan Gary living up to his first-round status in 2020 by ranking ninth in the league in Next Gen Stats’ disruptor metric.

While Gary had only five sacks, he had 39 disruptions – defined as a hurry, pressure or sack. With only 259 pass-rushing snaps, his disruption rate was 15.1 percent.

“Gary’s inclusion on this list is intriguing because he didn't see the field nearly as often as most of the others featured here,” NFL.com writer Nick Shook wrote as part of his note on Gary. “Gary played 436 of Green Bay's 974 defensive snaps in 2020 -- the fewest snaps of any player on this list, by far. He tied with Bud Dupree for the most hustle stops among any player on this list. Perhaps all Gary needs is more playing time. When he was on the field in 2020, the Next Gen Stats show he certainly made a difference.”

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Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt topped the list with a disruption rate of 18.4 percent. He was followed by the Chargers’ Joey Bosa at 17.6 percent and the Saints’ Trey Hendrickson at 17.5 percent. Gary wasn’t far behind the fourth-ranked defender, the Browns’ Myles Garrett, who posted a disruption rate of 15.7 percent.

Having taken a patient approach with the 12th pick of the 2019 draft, outside linebackers coach Mike Smith said he expects another “big jump” from Gary in Year 3.

“Sometimes guys, they panic because people are writing certain things or people are saying things. You’re like, ‘Oh, well, I better just go throw him out there,’” Smith said last week. “You’ve just got to stick with that plan, and that’s why I have 100 percent confidence in Rashan because he’s always going to work. He came in in ridiculous shape again. He took a week off and he’s right back at it. It’s nice to see that progression. We’re kind of starting things over and talking about our basics and all that stuff, but he’s already got a huge jump for being here for two years. I expect him to get even better and better and better and better every year.”