De’Vondre Campbell, the unassuming linebacker who shepherded an often shockingly young and wounded Packer defense to a 7-1 record, earned Defensive Player of the Month honors for October.
That’s Numero Uno out of the 352 defensive starters in the league.
His statistics earned him the title and his attitude has made me a fan.
As I’ve written about before, De’Vondre is a durable, consistent player. The 28-year old University of Minnesota graduate has really come into his own under defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
“I’ve always kind of been the Robin to someday else’s Batman in everybody else’s scheme,” Campbell told packers.com earlier this month. “I’ve always felt like I’ve been a good player, but now I’m actually having the opportunity to showcase my talent. So, I just really appreciate the Packers for giving me the opportunity.”
For the month of October, Campbell has 45 tackles, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles (in the same game against Washington) and an interception.
Since he broke into the Atlanta Falcons starting lineup in 2016, he has not missed a game. I don’t even think he has missed many defensive downs this season, which is especially impressive for a linebacker. I think he should get an award just for that, in addition to the 506 tackles, 8.5 sacks, five interceptions and eight forced fumbles he’s racked up so far in his career.
I enjoy watching him play because he has great instincts and he has risen to his role as quarterback of the defense among some much more heralded stars like Preston and Zadarius Smith (both great players, but each faced injuries this season). He’s a vocal leader out there now and I like that.
The Packer organization talks a lot about its “Next Man Up” philosophy, a theory of preparedness and roster depth that has been tested plenty already this season.
I think De’Vondre Campbell is an excellent example of how a player can rise to the challenge of a star athlete’s absence and shine in his own right.
Also, when Coach Matt LeFleur guides his team through these recent challenges, I think he should be Next Man Up for Coach of the Year.
Go Pack Go!