This is interesting.
By the end of the season Brad Jones was playing better than the Green Bay Packers' five other outside linebackers with the exception of Clay Matthews.
His coach, Mike McCarthy , views Jones as an important contributor next year.
"He's a good football player; he really is," said McCarthy. "Very instinctive. Tough. Outstanding on special teams. Special teams says a lot about a guy's heart and instincts."
Jones, a seventh-round draft choice from Colorado in 2009, and Jamari Lattimore, a rookie free agent from Middle Tennessee State, will be looking at expanded roles in 2012. The Packers intend to play them at inside as well as outside linebacker.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to them about it, but their position coaches have," McCarthy said. "We definitely feel we have some flexibility there."
With Erik Walden set to be a free agent and Frank Zombo unable to stay healthy, Jones seeing more playing time is not exactly a surprise. Lattimore getting mentioned, however, is interesting, especially the idea of moving him around. The kid is raw and did not exactly flash in preseason or in limited snaps during the regular season.
I found this quote from McCarthy particularly interesting:
I think we can move Brad to all four linebacker locations and get more utilization out of him. The way he slithers, he's an awkward guy to handle. Now he will have the ability to train again as an outside rusher.
See, I don't see that from Jones at all. I see a guy who can't get around the edge, who can't overpower anyone - but who gets sacks by hustling. There's nothing wrong with that, and I like t he idea of moving not only Jones but all the linebackers around. Capers did a bit of it last season, but it sure seemed like offenses had caught up to what the Packers were trying to do both scheme and personnel-wise on defense. A little change up might help resuscitate the Packers' moribund pass rush.
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