The Green Bay Packers could use depth on the defensive line perhaps more than any other position on the team right now.
Mike Neal was recently announced to have been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2012 season. Meanwhile, Howard Green is a free agent that may or may not be back.
And that’s what led to last week’s signing of free agent Daniel Muir, a guy who broke into the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Packers back in 2007 but spent the last four years with the Indianapolis Colts after being a training camp cut by Green Bay in 2008.
“As far as the depth goes, they definitely said they needed help,” said Muir on Cheesehead TV’s Railbird Central on Wednesday morning. “I’m just coming in to help as much as I can. I’m going to come up there and give it my all.”
Pretty much the only the sure things the Packers have on the defensive line are B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett. Muir will join them to add depth and provide competition.
Pickett was a teammate of Muir’s back in 2007 when both played with the Packers, a season in which they made it all the way to the NFC Championship game but lost out for the right to qualify for the Super Bowl at the hands of the New York Giants. It was a scenario not unlike how the Packers’ season ended in 2011.
And now Muir will look to Pickett for help.
“When I was there as a rookie, he helped me out a whole lot,” said Muir. “Just how to play certain calls, where to line up, even stance and starts, stuff that you would think is so basic, he would help me out with as a rookie. So I’m really looking forward to coming back up there and working with Ryan.”
At the time Muir originally played for the Packers, their defense was coordinated by Bob Sanders who ran a 4-3 defense. And for the past four seasons Muir has played for the Colts who run a 4-3 defense as well.
It’s only natural to wonder how he’ll fit into the 3-4 defense run by coordinator Dom Capers, a system Muir hasn’t played in before. But it doesn’t appear as if the free agent signee is worried.
“I think I’ll fit in just fine,” said Muir. “At the end of the day, you have a 4-3 defense, you have a 3-4 defense, sometimes you line up in a 5-2, it’s so many different things in football. But at the end of the day, it’s football. It’s what you’re grown to do; it’s what you love to do.”
The Packers signed Muir and fellow free agent Jeff Saturday on the exact same day last week. And it just so happens that Muir and Saturday were teammates with the Colts.
Muir spent several years lining up across from Saturday during practices, and to hear the defensive lineman say it, the Packers made a good choice for their new center.
“I’ll tell you what, Jeff Saturday, he’s like the face of the NFL,” said Muir. “He’s a stand-up guy. You haven’t met a guy until you met Jeff Saturday.
“He’s a true, not only a football player, but a great person, great to be around, he works hard. And that’s why he’s been in this league for so long, because he knows how to prepare, he knows how to work, but not only that, he’s just an old wily, smart vet, and that’s what makes him the player and the person that he is.”
With Saturday and Muir in the fold, the Packers have been more active in free agency in the March timeframe than usual under Ted Thompson.
The next step for them is to come into Green Bay’s offseason program beginning in mid-April to see how they fit in.