Brass Balls and the Packers Defense
If using almost all of his draft picks on defensive players wasn’t enough of a warning, Ted Thompson could re-enactÂ Alec Baldwin’s brass balls speechÂ from Glengarry Glen Ross on the first day of training camp if he feels the Packers defense hasn’t gotten the message.
Replace Cadillac with a spot on the roster. Replace steak knives with a spot on the end of the bench. Replace getting fired with getting cut.
Of course, this message doesn’t need to be delivered to everyone on defense. Clay Matthews is probably the Alec Baldwin of the Packers D. He can point to his $975,000 watch and automatically command respect. Desmond Bishop and Charles Woodson can point to their own watches, which aren’t quite as big as Matthews’, but are impressive nonetheless.
Because of their ineptitude last season and infusion of new blood for the upcoming season, the following defenders who received regular playing time in 2011 could be on the chopping block. They’ll have to prove during training camp that they have theÂ “brass balls”Â to play in the NFL.
After a strong start, Wynn disappeared and became just another guy (whoÂ couldn’tÂ get to the quarterback) on the defensive line.
Did Wilson make any memorable plays last season? He’s another guy you can add to the just-another-guy list.
When Peprah was paired with pro-bowler Nick Collins, he did what needed to be done at safety. Without Collins, Peprah couldnâ€™t keep up in coverage and looked a step behind on most plays.
It seems like the Packers want to give Zombo a chance, but he canâ€™t stay healthy. Of course, when heâ€™s been healthy, he hasnâ€™t exactly set the world afire.
Walden was adequate last season before dropping off after being arrested. The Packers resigned him this offseason, which makes me think heâ€™s got the inside edge in making the squad. Of course, Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s a minimal deal and the Packers wouldnâ€™t be hurt much if they cut him, but why go through the through the trouble of resigning a replacement-level player with legal issues if you donâ€™t think he has a shot at getting better?
The Packers arenâ€™t exactly deep at inside linebacker, and Francois didnâ€™t look out of place when given an opportunity with A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop hurt. I think he survives.
Francoisâ€™ fate could be different if Jones gets moved to inside linebacker. Like Zombo, Jones is another guy that the Packers seem to like, but injuries and failing to take advantage of opportunities make his roster spot questionable.
What say you? Should Mike Neal also be on this list? If you had to guess, which of these guys survive and which are cut?