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Roadblocks and Opportunities

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Roadblocks and Opportunities

With both Cullen Jenkins and Nick Barnett reportedly out until training camp, it will be interesting to follow two things that will naturally follow.

  1. Who takes advantage of their absence?
  2. How far behind will Jenkins and Barnett be on the 3-4 install when they return?

The second is a bit easier to answer than the first. Obviously, 'mental reps' are the buzzwords thrown around when any player is forced to the bench, and Jenkins and Barnett will be taking as many as possible, to be sure. They will need to devour their playbooks and immerse themselves in as much film study as much as possible until August. The problem is neither player has ever played in anything resembling the type of system they will be stepping into. Barnett in particular will be asked to shift his style of play drastically. Jenkins will at least have some familiarity, especially on passing downs when he moves inside to defensive tackle. But his job at end is vastly different and the physical aspects (ie punishment) are quite different than what he is used to out on the edge.

The first question posed above is what Thompson and McCarthy live for. They've watched as guys like Tramon Williams and Johnny Jolly have started way under the radar and emerged as respectable players. No doubt Thompson is looking to players like Alfred Malone and Desmond Bishop to take this opportunity and run with it. Of course, you can't tell anything at either the linebacker or defensive end position without pads on, but the on field work Malone, Bishop and others receiver in Jenkins' and Barnett's absence will be invaluable when the pads go on at the beginning of training camp. Barnett in particular will face the most competition to maintain his spot as a starter. This is in line with McCrathy's off-stated belief in constant competition bringing out the best in his roster and it says here that the guys fighting behind Jenkins and Barnett will surprise a lot of Packer fans come late July.  
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (6) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

buckslayernyc's picture

Great thoughts....

How about the new system actually benefiting some players in terms of playin to their strengths...Blackmon playing with his eyes to the QB instead of his back..ala Deangelo Hall in Oakland vs Deangelo Hall in Washington and Atlanta. Hawk not having to cover much at all, by the way, Hawk will be taking a Job that Barnett qualifies for too! Who else, good god tell me there is some more upside here!

What about BJ Rajii focused on holding up two blockers instead of getting to the qb...oooops we don't have him yet do we?

Ryeguy812's picture

I've been worried about these injuries since they happened. Jenkins makes me nervous because some players don't fully recover from torn pec muscles. Isn't that what happened to Joe Johnson 3 games after we signed him to a huge FA contract?

L.A.'s picture

It's interesting, because of the switch to the 3-4, there is the feeling that every position is open and up for grabs. That hasn't always been the case. That stated, I am a firm believer that if the talent you had couldn't generate a pass rush or stop the run in a 4-3, that same talent isn't going to do much better in a different alignment.
There are always training camp darlings that disappear when the season starts, and I am sure we'll see a repeat of that this year.

packeraaron's picture

LA - I disagree. I think most of the talent is fine on defense and the switch to a competent coordinator will prove it, regardless of scheme.

Ron La Canne's picture

Is there something no one knows about the Safety positon? First Adams, then Anthony Smith (Pitt). If they call in Roy Williams (Dal) it will be confirmed. Is Bigby's injury an issue? Can't be - why the draft choice protection if that is the case? Collins trade? How's that for starting a rumor. Something isn't adding up with the safety.

L.A.'s picture

Aaron, that is the key...because right now I'm not seeing any influx of talent that is going to upgrade what we had last year (and while I don't see Cole as some sort of major contributor, you have to certainly consider him another loss of a role player along the line). I am with you...Capers needs to be all we are hoping he can be, and more.

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