(WTVO/WQRF) — In his first four seasons with the Packers Dean Lowry has played in two NFC Championship games. The goal in his fifth season is to see the team break through and reach the Super Bowl. Improved play on his part could help make that happen.
The Rockford native and Boylan High School graduate told reporters in a Zoom Conference Wednesday that he had a productive offseason despite restrictions from the pandemic, working out on his own getting into shape.
“This offseason I’d really come in in great physical shape. This is the strongest I’ve been since I’ve been here.”
Improving on last season for Lowry and the Packers’ defense starts with being better at stopping the run game of opponents. The Packers ranked 23rd in the league against the run during the regular season. In the NFC Championship game they were exposed when the 49ers ran for 285 yards on them.
“The very first (Zoom) meeting we had is, ‘We’ve got to stop the run better.” “There’s no doubt that’s been a big focus of ours this offseason and here in training camp,” said Lowry. “And I know it’s very early but I think these first few practices you can sense a different kind of physicality and mentality in our run defense.” “So I think it’s very encouraging so far.”
The Packers didn’t make any major changes up front on defense during the offseason. Lowry says improvement in stopping the run can easily come from within the team.
“We know we have the talent in the room to get it done. I think I’m seeing Keke (Kingsley) come in strong his second year. He came in great physical shape. He’s really an explosive athlete. He’s played in games in the SEC. Tyler (Lancaster) his first year I think was a dominant player the second half of the year. We all know what Kenny (Clark) can do. Montravius (Adams) before yesterday was off to a great start, and Treyvon (Hester) has game experience too, and a few other guys, so we know that we have the guys in the room to get it done, and it’s really about consistency and keeping at it.”
A second area Lowry will try to improve on is getting to quarterbacks more often. He didn’t have a sack last season, although he did make his presence felt with frequent pushes up the pocket, and he had 11 quarterback pressures.
“No doubt the next step in my game has to be getting off those blocks and the power moves and really finishing on the quarterback. I’ve always done a good job of getting inside pocket-presence and push, getting my hands up in the passing lane, but the big focus now is really getting off those pass-rush blocks and finishing the quarterback.”
Thursday the Packers will practice at Lambeau Field. It’ll be a preview of what they can expect during the regular season when they take the field with no fans in the stands. Lowry says that will be strange before and after games, but not so much once the action begins.
“I would say a lot of times on game day the moment you’re most aware of it is kind of either before the game or after the game because you kind of walk out on the field or run out on the field and you see the fans and it gets you going, but once that first snap is in you’re sort of locked-in. You kind of tune it out. But I would say something to the effect that the overall game day feel of things it won’t be as energetic, but it’s important to be, more than ever, a self-starter and get yourself going.”