Aaron Rodgers Praises Giants Defender as ‘Premier Player’ in NFL

Aaron Rodgers

Getty Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is chased by New York Giants DL Dexter Lawrence.

Fresh off a loss in London, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers thinks one New York Giants player in particular deserves a lot more recognition: defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

During his Tuesday appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers discussed Green Bay’s loss to the Giants and took a moment to heap praise on Lawrence, describing him as a “premier player” at his position.

“They got some studs in the inside,” Rodgers said of New York’s interior defensive line. “97 (Dexter Lawrence) is a premier player and needs to probably get some more recognition for the ability that he has. Talking with our interior three [offensive linemen], they think he’s one of the top guys in the league, for sure. And he played obviously really well for them.”

Lawrence, a first-round pick (17th overall) out of Clemson in the 2019 NFL Draft, had five tackles (four solo) and a sack in New York’s 27-22 win over the Packers in London. His sack came on a crucial 3rd-and-8 in the second half, forcing a Green Bay punt.

Lawrence, who had two sacks against the Chicago Bears in Week 4, is now up to three sacks on the season. His career high for a single season is four sacks (2020). He had just 2.5 sacks in both 2019 and 2021.

Although Lawrence was drafted by previous Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, the new regime under first-year GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll decided to exercise the fifth-year option in Lawrence’s rookie contract this spring. So far this season, it looks like that was the right decision.

As fellow interior defensive lineman Leonard Williams keeps working his way back from a knee injury suffered in Week 2, New York’s defense is in good hands with Lawrence as its anchor.

Aaron Rodgers Also Praised Wink Martindale’s Blitz Packages

Before Aaron Rodgers started hyping up Dexter Lawrence, the four-time league MVP praised the Giants defense as a whole and the job defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale did by mixing up different blitz packages.

“I have a ton of respect for Wink,” Rodgers said on the Pat McAfee Show. “I think he’s a fantastic coach. They got a good scheme. They got really good players. They’re aggressive, they come after you. You know, they had a lot of different pressures. They had edge pressure. They had overload pressure. They had empty pressure. So they threw a lot at us.”

The Giants have experienced a pretty drastic transformation on defense since Martindale took over the unit this year. They currently rank ninth in the NFL in scoring defense (18.6 points allowed per game) and 12th in total defense (326.0 yards allowed per game).

One area where Martindale’s defense is particularly strong is against the pass. The Giants have allowed the fewest pass completions so far this season (91) and currently boast the seventh best opponent completion percentage (59.1%).

Giants Crack Top 10 of CBS Sports’ NFL Power Rankings

New York’s stinginess on defense is a big reason why many experts are gaining respect for the Giants. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports moved them up eight spots this week, putting them inside the top 10 in his latest NFL Power Rankings at No. 8.

“They face the Ravens this week in what should be a real challenge for their defense and coordinator Wink Martindale, who was with the Ravens before going to the Giants,” Prisco wrote for CBS Sports.

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