Packers' Lowry Is Trying to Take His Game to the Next Level

Jul 11, 2017 | by Zachary Jacobson, cheeseheadtv.com

It took some time, but eventually, persistence paid off for Packers defensive lineman Dean Lowry.

He showed up in a big way in back-to-back games last season during the six-game winning streak to finish the regular season, tallying a sack both against the Texans and the Seahawks a week later.

The 6'6", 296-pound Lowry only finished the season with six tackles amidst his 158 defensive snaps, which isn't impressive by any means. However, three of those tackles came during the final five games in which he registered his two sacks as well.

His sudden glimmer of promise helped light the way for optimism in 2017 when dealing with Lowry, who spent a majority of his rookie season learning how to play in the interior of the defensive line.

During his college career at Northwestern, Lowry was more on an island along the edge of the defensive line and was used to beating opposing pass blockers with quickness at the point of attack. Now, with the Packers, it's a matter of splitting the gaps and finding the creases en route to reaching the quarterback.

Lowry was eventually able to make an impact. Maybe not 13 tackles for a loss like in his senior season as a Wildcat, but definitely enough of an impression to believe he'll make a jump in year two.

"The speed of the game has slowed down from last year," Lowry said in June after one of the Packers' OTA practices. "Just being able to have that technique and those fundamentals down. It allows you to play a lot faster and allows you to maximize your ability out there."

Lowry wasn't remotely close to the same department shared by Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion and Kenny Clark in terms of defensive snaps in 2016, but with Guion suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Not to mention, Guion's suspension paves the way more prominently now than ever before for Lowry to earn his keep in 2017.

"Instinct was one thing I didn't have last year coming in from college," Lowry said. "They don't come naturally... Now, my instincts have really taken off this year. It allows you to play faster, it allows you to recognize formations, expect certain things and just go out there and play."

Like Jayrone Elliott against the Seahawks the year before, Lowry came alive against them in last season's affair and he'll have an opportunity to do so again when the Packers open their season at Lambeau Field in September to the visiting Seahawks.

Lowry, until then, is hoping to improve his overall physique. He added five pounds over the offseason and is aimed for higher spurts of productivity in his sophomore season with the Packers.

"My goal will be to just keep my weight," Lowry said when asked about the last six weeks before the start of training camp. "I want to keep my quickness and get more powerful, but also be able to move at that weight. Going into a year like that, it's mostly about injury prevention and making sure your body is fresh for camp."