The Packers defense over the past three seasons have left much to be desired. In 2016-2018, the Packers have ranked 21st, 26th, and 22nd, respectively in points allowed per game. The Packers have a problem keeping the other team out of the end zone. One of the most troubling stats for the Packers over the same time span, 2016-2018, the Packers have ranked 29th and 22nd in receiving touchdowns allowed. The last depressing stat I will bombard you with is in 2016, the Packers ranked dead last in receiving yards allowed with 4,603 yards. As a Packer fan, it is hard to write these stats down, but it shows that the Packers need to improve on defense this season.
This offseason the Packers have put most of their focus on adding impactful defensive players in Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos and Rashan Gary. These players alone will improve the defense, but as training camp has been going there is another young defensive player in Tony Brown looking to make an impact.
Tony Brown came to the Packers as an undrafted rookie last season. He only appeared in 11 games and started three due to injuries. Tony Brown held his own in the small amount of time played last season. He recorded five pass deflections and forced two fumbles. Brown did not have the most playing time or have the responsibilities of guarding the top receivers, but he made enough of an impact to stay on the improving defensive roster heading into training camp.
Going into the 2019 training camp with a new head coach, top free agent signings and the 12th pick in the draft, Tony Brown was not on the top of the list of players to watch out for. He quickly changed that narrative. As reports are coming from camp, one thing has stayed consistent, Tony Brown is impressing coaches and players.
Packers General Manager Brian Gutenkust said, “He competes and I feel comfortable with him when he’s out there. He loves to play football and he hasn’t really backed down from any challenges since he’s been here.”
Tony Brown has had a lot of chances to impress while starters Kevin King and Josh Jackson have both missed much of training camp with a hamstring and foot injury.
Tony Brown has not only made the most of training camp but has also made plays during scrimmages and their preseason games. In the Packers family night game, Brown had a pick six off of DeShone Kizer. Obviously getting an interception off of DeShone Kizer is not the same as getting one off Aaron Rodgers, but as an undrafted second-year player, those are the plays that will help him make the 53-man roster.
Here’s a video of Tony Brown celebrating his pick six with a Lambeau leap.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 3, 2019
The big plays did not end for Tony Brown at family night. In his second preseason game, Tony Brown deflected a pass that turned into an interception for Curtis Bolton and the Packers. He was one of the bright spots in a tough game against the Baltimore Ravens.
— Cream City Central (@CreamCityCtral) August 16, 2019
Plays like these are making players notice just how talented Tony Brown is. The jump he has made had not been luck, but rather has come from hard work and determination. Aaron Rodgers, who joked about liking to shut Tony Brown up, gave Brown some high praise in an interview this week.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) August 13, 2019
Tony Brown and Jaire Alexander can pair up as talented, young corners who can shut receivers down and let them hear about it. The Packers defense is in a new era and the young secondary is one of the brightest spots.
With the GM and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers taking notice of Tony Brown, he has gone from a question mark to a lock to make the Packers 53-man roster. If Tony Brown can make the impact he is showing he is capable of, he will join former Packers top corner Sam Shields and current teammate Tramon Williams as undrafted rookies who became key contributors.