Funny thing about Packers 12-year veteran DL Ryan Pickett.
The older he gets, it seems (he turned 33 on Oct. 8), the better he looks in his key role as the Green Bay D-line’s top run defender.
With starting NT B.J. Raji out of the lineup with an ankle injury in the Week Six win in Houston, Pickett, normally the starting left end, proved to be a more-than-able replacement, his minimal individual stats notwithstanding (one tackle).
A more telling testament were the Packers’ team stats against the run in that game, allowing the Texans only 90 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and star RB Arian Foster a mere 29 yards on 17 carries, with a long gain of five.
With the 6-2, 340-pound Pickett clogging the middle and displaying a wicked burst off the ball that belies his senior-citizen status, he initiated consistent playmaking opportunities for his fellow defenders, particularly LBs Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk.
Has the player nicknamed “Big Grease” discovered the Fountain of Youth?
“Well, he’s doing a great job in the weight room,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “This is clearly the best year that he’s had here in our time together as far as the strength and conditioning, and I think it’s definitely carrying over to the field. Ryan’s such a consistent person, and he’s such a consistent player. It’s the way he goes about his business. He’s been a joy to have here.”
Team sources tell us that third-year pro C.J. Wilson, the Packers’ other normal starting end, appears to also be pulling his weight like never before, generally occupying two blockers, in addition to setting the tone for an inspired defensive effort vs. the Texans with his sack for a two-yard loss on the very first play of the game.
- Ryan Pickett