Erik Walden has been serviceable playing opposite Clay Matthews in 2011.
That pretty much sums it up.
Walden has given way to Frank Zombo and Brad Jones (and then Vic So'oto) the last two weeks, first due to poor play and then due to illness. Before that, Walden had played, if not well, then well enough.
The problem of course is that in Dom Capers' version of the 3-4 defense, playing "well enough" at one of its premiere positions simply won't help yield a top-flight defense.
I admit, after the season he had last year and coming out of training camp, I thought Walden would emerge as, if not a force, then a real compliment to fellow starting outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Instead, Walden has played well in spurts but been pretty pedestrian overall.
So...enter Frank Zonbo? Or Brad Jones? Or (gulp) Vic So'oto?
Well, sure. If only because variety is the spice of life.
The truth, sadly, is that the Packers have been rotating the outside linebacker opposite Matthews on and off for the past two years because they don't have a real answer at the position. Funnily enough, as awkward as Aaron Kampman looked standing up, he played as well if not better than most of the guys that have paraded through since his departure.
Obviously, this is not some major revelation. However, Packers fans expecting general manager Ted Thompson to start deviating from his normal draft and develop routine should be ready to be disappointed, unless a Conor Barwin-type outside linebacker happens to fall perfectly on Thompson's board, a big move for a pass rusher a la Matthews is unlikely.
No, Thompson will no doubt continue to trust his draft board. If the help that's needed falls into the Packers' lap, he won't hesitate to make the pick. But don't expect some grand move to help bolster the defense and/or the pass rush.
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