1) Introduction: After Aaron Kampman left the Packers following the 2009 season, it was thought that seventh round draft pick Brad Jones could be a suitable replacement. Jones had four sacks his rookie season in relief of an injured Kampman and that showed the Packers enough that maybe he could be a decent linebacker. However, thanks to the emergence of Clay Matthews and Desmond Bishop, Jones was relegated to the bench in 2010 and 2011. However, in 2012 Jones started 10 games and was rewarded with a three-year $11.75 million contract. Bishop was released this offseason following a hamstring injury, so the Packers were all in with Jones as one of their inside linebackers.
2) Profile: Nate Palmer
- Age: 27
- Born: 04/01/1986 in Lansing, MI
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 242
- College: Colorado
- Rookie Year: 2009
- NFL Experience: 5 years
- Career Stats and more
3) Expectations coming into the season: With Bishop gone and signing a big new contract, Jones had to perform this season. The release of Bishop was met with a lot of skepticism at the time as was the contract Jones signed. GM Ted Thompson had to have been convinced Jones could a difference maker at the inside linebacker spot. Jones moved to the inside spot in 2012 and had a little bit of a learning curve to go with it. Thompson obviously was convinced Jones had the ability or he would not have offered Jones such a juicy contract.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Jones had a forced fumble and recovery in the Week 3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and had a 12-tackle and one sack effort in a loss to the New York Giants in Week 11. Jones’ low-light was that he missed four games due to a hamstring injury that nagged him throughout the season. In a year where the Packers were decimated by injuries, none were hit harder than inside linebacker where AJ Hawk was the only player healthy for all 16 games.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Jones had some good moments, but he was a major liablity in coverage and was a definite downgrade from a healthy Desmond Bishop. Jones’ tackling also left a lot to be desired and he often was a liability in the run game as well. Thanks to his hamstring, the Packers were forced to shuffle people all around in the linebacker unit and that affected how well the defense played. Did Jones live up to the contract that was given to him before the season? No, but that was in some ways due to the hamstring injury that hindered his speed.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Jones had six tackles and a sack against the 49ers in a game where the defense played well overall but struggled to stop the 49ers at the game’s most crucial moments.
Season Report Card:
(C) Level of expectations met during the season
(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B-) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: C——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke