Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark saw “too much inconsistency” as being the main reason why he wasn’t as productive and disruptive in 2022 as in past years.
“It was up and down,” Clark told Mike Spofford of Packers.com. “I wasn’t too happy about how I performed in the run game for the most part all year. Pass rush, I think I started off fast, ended up doing a pretty good job.”
Clark finished the season with 45 pressures and 18 stops over 807 snaps, per Pro Football Focus. In 2021, he produced 64 pressures and 28 stops over 781 snaps. His 18 stops – or tackles creating a failure for the offense – were the lowest in a season since his rookie year.
In the run game, Clark had just 14 stops in 2022 after producing a team-high 25 in 2021.
Grades at PFF are controversial but paint an accurate picture of Clark’s season. He finished 2022 with the lowest run defense grade of his career, and the inconsistency – with five games graded over 75.0 and five games graded lower than 50.0 – showed up week to week.
Overall, Clark had eight games with three or more pressures and nine games with two or fewer, including four games with one or none. His season-high for stops was just three (Week 3, at Tampa Bay).
In most cases, a defensive lineman with 45 pressures and 18 stops had a good season. But Clark is one of the highest-paid interior defenders in football, and the Packers – with precious little depth up front – needed him to consistently carry the load along the defensive line.
Clark’s season swayed wildly just like Green Bay’s.
During the first four games, Clark delivered 14 pressures (3.5 per game) and seven stops, and the Packers were 3-1. During the next eight games, Clark delivered only 16 pressures (2 per game) and five stops, and the Packers went 1-7. During the final five games, Clark produced 15 pressures (3 per game) and six stops, and the Packers went 4-1.
Alignment wasn’t an issue. His snap count totals at the various positions along the defensive line were almost identical to 2021.
Clark is still (somehow) only 27 years old, and he won’t turn 28 until October. Now seven years in, Clark should be right in the prime of his physical ability. The Packers will hope his production and disruption return in a big way in 2023.
Kenny Clark, 2022
Weeks 1-4 (4 games)
Weeks 5-12 (8 games)
Weeks 13-18 (5 games)