First, Dexter Lawrence’s coaches suggested that he is becoming a dominant player for the Giants.
Then, Lawrence’s numbers hinted at it.
Now, an opponent is saying it.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers heaped praise on Lawrence during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McFree Show.” The irony is that Rodgers referred to Lawrence by his uniform number, not his name.
“Number 97 is a premier player, and needs to probably get some more recognition for the ability that he has,” Rodgers said. “Talking to our inner three [offensive linemen], they think he’s one of the top guys in the league, for sure. And he played really well for them.”
Lawrence contributed five tackles and a sack to the Giants’ 27-22 win over the Packers. The sack knocked Green Bay out of field-goal range and forced a punt that led to the Giants’ game-tying touchdown drive.
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has unlocked Lawrence by allowing him to be more of a pass rusher instead of a block-eater for others to get free. Lawrence has 17 pressures, three sacks (career high is four) and is the NFL’s No. 5-ranked defensive tackle by Pro Football Focus.
Martindale described Rodgers last week as a “python” who will bite if you let your guard down and don’t realize he is as dangerous as ever. The compliment was returned after the Giants pitched a second-half shutout against the Packers.
“I have a ton of respect for Wink. I think he’s a fantastic coach,” Rodgers said. “They have a good scheme, they have really good players. They are aggressive, they come after you. They had edge pressure, they had overload pressure, they had empty pressure. They threw a lot at us, and I thought we held up pretty well. … They play really well together and fly to the ball.”