Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji has been a rock on the defensive line this season. With four of the teams top five defensive linemen missing time with injuries this season, Raji has been the main stay.
Raji’s health has also meant that he is logging some real overtime with the Packers. He has already played more snaps at nose tackle through 11 games than he did in his entire rookie season a year ago.
Raji already has 41 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks and has been a disruptive force for the Packers. His effort couldn’t have come at a better time for the Packers, who had times have had just 1 or 2 healthy defensive lineman this season.
Raji’s first season got off to a slow start because of a 2-week contract holdout. Then he hurt his ankle in the final preseason game and played on a sore ankle for the early part of the season.
Raji said he’s in better shape this season and works hard in every practice to continue to stay that way. That’s allowed him to play literally every snap on defense in games this season.
Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams may get much of the focus on defense for the Packers. That’s because it’s not the sexy thing to notice just how disruptive a nose tackle is being. But the success of the Packers defense starts up front and it’s Raji that has been the constant on that defensive line.