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Wake Up Washington | Defensive line looks to continue resurgence against Aaron Rodgers


There are no secrets to Aaron Rodgers' skill set at this point in his career. For Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, he knows that Rodgers is one of the all-time greats at the quarterback position who can make throws that only a handful of player are capable of.

Therefore, it is no surprise to him that the defensive front, which has seen a resurgence with 19 sacks this season, must continue its upward trend.

"I feel like they're doing a better job of working with each other," Del Rio said. "We're gonna need it this weekend."

The Packers (3-3) are still capable of being a potent offense, as Ron Rivera pointed out Wednesday, but it is also clear that they are far removed from the efficient unit they had in years past. Their pass offense is 16th in DVOA, and part of that has to do with how much pressure Rodgers has faced this season. He is the eighth-most sacked quarterback in the league with 15 through six games.

Green Bay's offensive line has generally struggled this season to protect Rodgers, too; the group ranks 20th in pass-block win-rate. However, Del Rio is not taking the matchup against a likely future Hall of Famer lightly.

"You gotta be able to pressure the quarterback in this league and that'll be a test this week."

For what it is worth, the Commanders have been passing every test laid in front of them when it comes to rushing passers. While the group is only 15th in pass-rush win-rate, it does tend to make the most of its opportunities. Montez Sweat is second among all defensive players with 14 quarterback hits, while Daron Payne (9) is tied for 10th.

Payne and Jonathan Allen are tied for the fourth-most sacks among defensive tackles with 3.5 sacks each.

"It's getting a group of men to work as a team, together," Del Rio said. "It's not about an individual in order to rush a quarterback, it's gotta be coordinated, it's gotta be understood. You've gotta play off each other and communicate with each other and execute together. I think we're doing that at a higher level. We need to continue to work at it and get better at as we go, but that's been where some of the improvement has shown up."

The Commanders put up 10 sacks in five days against the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears. The talent of the team's first-round picks on the defensive line, which was not as prevalent in 2021, has begun showing up more frequently. Assuming that remains consistent, the group could make Rodgers' afternoon difficult on Sunday.

The Washington Commanders wrapped up their third day of practice as they prepare to play the Green Bay Packers at home in Week 7. Check out the top photos from the afternoon. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Commanders.

The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.

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