The third-round pick from Michigan State will get his fill of playing time this year and started showing some of his natural ability in this game.
He did a solid job setting the edge a couple of times and in the fourth quarter got in to the backfield for his first NFL sack. On the play, he rushed free off the left side, changed directions along with Packers quarterback Marquise Williams and wrapped his paws around him for the sack.
He’s been stuck behind Justin Ellis since reporting to camp on the heavy side. But the two rotated drives at nose tackle and went three-and-out every time Williams was out there in the first half.
He doesn’t deserve all the credit for that, but the fact that he finally got some first-team repetitions against and the defense played well with him out there is a good sign.
The former Baltimore Raven was signed for his special teams ability, but a crowded roster doesn’t make his roster spot guaranteed. He helped state his case in the fourth quarter when he came free and laid out to block a Packers punt that Nate Allen jumped on for a touchdown.
Bonus points: First round safety Karl Joseph had three tackles, including a nice stuff of a run on the goal line. The Packers still scored a play later though. Quarterback Derek Carr threw a tremendous dime of a pass on third down for a 20-yard completion to Amari Cooper. He also had a nice scramble on a run that was called back due to a penalty. Third-string quarterback Connor Cook completed 6 of 9 passes for 101 yards, none better than when he scrambled to keep a play alive before lofting a 30-yard pass to Seth Roberts. Tight end Lee Smith did a nice job of drawing a personal foul penalty on Green Bay while staying out of trouble himself. Oh, and defensive end Khalil Mack was a beast.