Won’t be long now! We can stop speculating on all things Packers in a few long days from now. This offseason has been very good, talent has been added in Peppers and Guion for Defensive line.
There is a ton of talent heading into their second year. Baktiari, Boyd, Lacy, Jones, Hyde, Barrington, Palmer, Mulumba and White all earned playing time last year. Every NFL coach and GM will tell you the biggest jump is going into that second year.
You add the players returning from injury in Bulaga, Sherrod, Matthews, Tretter, Worthy and getting players that were just banged up for most of the year like the Jones, both Datone and Brad were hampered with injuries, Perry played on a broken foot. These returning players account for five first round picks a second and a 4th. Not having those players on the field hurt the Packers in 2013 and will add a big boost for 2014.
You add another draft class to increase competition and this camp will be fun to watch.
I have heard more about the Packers not drafting an Inside Linebacker then about getting the best all around safety in the draft. From a lot of comments through out the Packer world, many think the defense is doomed because of not getting an ILB. I am not one of those.
Safety was a bigger need, Changing the lineup of the Defensive line was a bigger need, Wide Receiver was a bigger need. When you are one injury away from Miles White being your #3 WR, it is a big need.
The situation at ILB is far from bad or will even be a hindrance to the 2014 defense. I have never understood the crap piled on Hawk for his eight years with the team. In 2013 Hawk became the Packers All Time Leading Tackler. When you look at the history of the Packers that is no small feat. That record stood for 24 years and that player took 11 years to do it. He again lead the team in tackles last year, had 5 sacks and one Int with 5 passes defensed. He has missed 2 games in 8 years and yet so many just plain hate him.
Jones in 2012 made plays that none of the ILB’s the Packers have had since the change to the 3-4 were even capable of making. He played injured all of last year and missed 4 games. Heading into this season healthy I expect more of the 2012 play. If he doesn’t, then I will start to complain.
Lattimore is said to be having a great off season and has flashed big time in limited play. He is expected to take a bigger role in the defense this season. I look forward to seeing that.
Barrington is another ILB that will now be coming into his second year. I am interested to see what kind of a second year jump he can take.
My player to watch this year at ILB is Jake Doughty, he is 6’ 234# out of Utah State. He has great lateral agility, instinct’s are off the charts and is a tackling machine. All Mountain West first team two years in a row.
The ILB position has competition, it has experience and with the development of players, depth. With the addition of Peppers, Neals development at OLB, adding Bradford, Mulumba going into his second year along with Perry and Palmer I fully expect to see Matthews playing ILB at times in Dime. He has played quite a few snaps at ILB in the past. There are a lot of snaps in dime with one ILB on the field, we will see a many combinations and the Packers have multiple choices to fill not only that role but in base and nickel also.