Interesting development reported by Bob McGinn on some possible changes coming along the defensive line for the Packers:
The Packers' two most common alignments in their base 3-4 front are:
Okie, in which both ends play a 5-technique head-up over the tackles while the nose tackle is head-up on the center.
Eagle, in which the end to the strong (tight end) side is head-up on the tackle in a 5-technique, the nose tackle is in a shaded position just off the strong-side shoulder of the center, and the weak-side end is in a 3-technique position on the outside shoulder of the guard.
Last year, on the approximately 25% of the defensive snaps when the Packers were in the 3-4, they played far more Eagle than Okie. Usually, Pickett was the 5-technique on the left side, Raji was the shaded nose tackle and either Cullen Jenkins or Howard Green was the 3-technique on the right side.
In the new setup, the 340-pound Pickett would be back at nose tackle, where he started from 2006-'09 and probably is most effective, and Raji would have more freedom as a one-gap player in the spot previously occupied by Jenkins.
This is particularly interesting given our recent discussion regarding the Packers run defense. Pickett moving back to the nose tackle spot would certainly help the base (or Okie) defense. Pickett was practically immovable in that role in 2009.
When I was at camp last week, Raji was certainly active and slicing through the line. Its been somewhat assumed that Mike Neal would be taking over Jenkins' role this season, but the idea of having Raji back at defensive end is certainly exciting.
Look for this new personnel grouping Saturday night against the Browns.
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