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The Kampman Question

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The Kampman Question

Lots of opinions out there on what the Packers should do now that Aaron Kampman is back from his concussion and Brad Jones has looked competent. (Yes, I believe an "I told you so" is in order...)

I think Chris Lempesis has a good take over at Ol' Bag of Donuts:

I have a ton of respect for Kampman and I still think he’s one of the best defensive ends in the game – in a 4-3 scheme, that is. But we have to admit this experiment is not working. It’s not an accident that this defense gave its best performance of the season without Kampman in the lineup. Dom Capers blitzed roughly 11 percent more of the time – roughly 51 percent of the time as opposed to roughly 40 percent of the time during the first eight games – as it was clear he no longer had to worry about covering for Kampman.

Square peg. Round hole. You know the cliche.

Kampman should become a situational player. Have him rush with his hand on the ground in nickel situations and occasionally bring him in at LOLB when it’s clear the opposing offense is in a passing situation.

He’d be an expensive situational player, for sure, but that would be the best way to maximize his skills. It will keep him fresh and mentally focused on doing what he excels at.

I agree with a lot of this, but I'm not sure I'm sold on the whole "Capers blitzed more because he didn't have to cover for Kampman" Really? You're sure? Not saying it isn't possible but this seems like an awfully wide-brush to be painting with. Jones was steady and made a few tackles, looked good out in space, but looking good and making plays are two different things. Now, has Kampman made plays? Good question...

Chris then goes on in his post to detail how the Packers made KGB a pass-rush specialist when it became obvious he was over matched in his starting role, and that was indeed successful. And I don't doubt the staff has talked about it, at least amongst themselves. But I really don't see them going to Aaron Kampman and saying that, on top of playing him wildly out of position all year, they are now going to 'bench' him. Would making him a pass rush specialist be the best for all concerned? Probably - but Kampman got awfully touchy when he had to switch positions...but was still a full time starter. I can't imagine what the locker room session would be like if a rookie 7th round pick put him on the bench.

UPDATE: And then there's this from Bob McGinn:

I'm not sure Brad Jones played all that well. He had issues in coverage. His pass rush probably was average or below. He was respectable at the point. We should be evaluating him against the NFL standard at his position, not the rookie standard at his position. The Packers are in a battle for a playoff berth and this isn't time to look at rookies. If Aaron Kampman is healthy, he starts and he plays the entire game. I don't care what defense it is or where he is playing. Kampman is one heck of a football player. Have some people forgotten that? If so, that amazes me.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (57) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

alfredomartinez's picture

brad jones over the Kman...ill take it, sorry...but hes been letting me down this whole season...we should have traded him, but out of respect im glad we didnt...but yall know hes gone once the season is over...minn...nah...i think he ends up in carolina...perhaps...

brewers_rule's picture

I don't know about that one. I do agree Kampman looks out of place but I don't think he has as much to do w/the light going on for Capers as this guy says. Fact is, Capers hasn't listened to the rest of the defensive players who said "turn us loose" before now and it likely finally sunk in w/desperation mode, having nothing to do w/Kampman.

I do wish GB would have shipped him off before the trade deadline b/c I know ol' Scrooge McThompson won't keep him around and we'll lose him for nothing in free agency. As for benching him? That's just plain stupid. Capers will find a place to utilize him sooner or later.

packeraaron's picture

brewers_rule - no way they let Kampman walk. (And end up a Viking...) They'll franchise him and trade him, a la Corey Williams.

CSS's picture

Yes, you can't paint with too wide of a brush here and say, 'square peg round hole.' The 3-4 is simply base. Kampman frequently has his hand in the ground and allowed to rush up field with little pressure and even less sack productivity. Yes, he isn't the ideal fit for a 3-4 base, but he's not even effective when in his niche.

Distinct possibility his play in declining as is his effectiveness.....

CSS's picture

Kampan is not nearly as good as Edwards (Vikings) over the last 10 games. Why would the Vikings overpay for Kampan when Edwards appears to have far more upside?

I agree, they tag and trade.

foundinidaho's picture

I think it was Holly had it pegged during the Packer Transplants the other night - they'll trade him to the Jets, who will release him after one season, and he'll end up on the Vikes.

Well, I thought it was funny.

PACKERS's picture

Give Kampman another shot now that he's not hurt, see which player is better, and start the one who's better. I thought that was how football teams worked.

PACKERS's picture

Although, Kampman never seemed to be able to function in the 3-4. It's probably time to move. And if he plays for the Vikings, who cares. It's not like he's some kind of Brett Favre who we all loved for the last sixteen years. Imagine if he went to the Vikings though. That would be bad.

D.D. Driver's picture

Nagler: the Packers have **nine** starters scheduled to become UFAs. Collins, Bigby, Jolly, Pickett, Spitz, Colledge, Kuhn, Clifton and Kampman.
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I don't see how they have the luxury of franchising a player that is not part of the team's future. And Kampman is not in the team's future. Moreover, by the end of this year, Jolly will probably have more trade value than Kampman. If they tag and trade anyone, it will be Jolly.
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Of course, there were those who actually saw this coming last January.

CSS's picture

Does Jolly really have 'tag-n-trade' value when he's facing a felony charge? Teams are more willing to overpay for a rush end out of desperation and Jolly is not a guy that gets after the QB.

Some idiot like Al Davis will overestimate the remaining longevity and skill level of Aaron Kampan just like the Browns did with Corey Williams. Kampan has far more film than Corey Williams and the Browns thought they were only a handful of guys away from a deep playoff run.....desperation = overpayment

packeraaron's picture

Aren't Pickett and Clifton (along w/Kampman) the only ones who will be true FAs going into the uncapped year? (It's going to be an uncapped year) And franchising him and trading him for value isn't a luxury in my mind. It's good business.
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As far as seeing it coming, you're right you called for it this past offseason. Kudos. But that doesn't change the reality of the current situation.

D.D. Driver's picture

You mean that felony charge that was refiled in October like the DA promised? That one? Oh wait....
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Kampman had something of a down year in 2008, and now this year. Plus, he turns 30 in two weeks. I just don't think there will be much of a market for Kampman this offseason.

PackersRS's picture

Aaron. If they didn't took into consideration what the impact of trading Favre would do to the locker room, I doubt they'll keep Kampman as a starter "only" for locker room's sake.

packeraaron's picture

PackersRS - Completely different. They wouldn't worry about Favre because he would be gone. Kampman would be in the locker room day after day answering questions, etc. Just a different dynamic.

D.D. Driver's picture

If it is an uncapped year, that is correct. I just doubt it will actually be an uncapped year.

packeraaron's picture

To quote C3-PO: I wish I had your confidence.

Andrew In Atlanta's picture

I think DDD is right. The NFL is the only major professional league that gets it IMO. I don't think it will be an upcapped year.

packeraaron's picture

Again - I hope he's right. I just think the Cap is a remnant of a different time before owners like Jones and Snyder were finding more and more ways to squeeze profit out of their franchises. I just get the feeling that they've got more people on their side this time around than the last time the two sides sat down a few years ago. I truly hope I'm wrong.

Sparkyo, aka Yogamon on Twitter's picture

Kampman will definitely be in demand this offseason, no doubt in my mind. Correction, this uncapped offseason. Pack will franchise and trade him with one of their TWO franchise selections (a new option in this uncapped year) leaving the possibility for yet another player to be franchised by GB in 2010.

PackersRS's picture

Aaron, it's not that different. Unless you haven't been in earth last season, you'd have to agree that even Favre not being there, it was quite a distraction. And though I don't have any information on that, I bet a lot of players felt his ausence, and voiced their opinions about it...
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My point is, I really doubt they won't do it because he would be sad or angry. He wasn't happy about the transition to the 3-4 either...

D.D. Driver's picture

Jones has been around since before there was a salary cap, and Snyder bought the Redskins ten years ago. Both were around for the last go round of labor negotiations.
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Now, Florio did have a post last weekend that the players might agree to keep 5th 6th year players as RFAs for 2010 in an effort to get a new CBA done. I have a post about it on my blog. That would be awesome, but who know if it is true. It would be a pretty tough sell to the players.
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One way or another, a new deal wil get done. Remember the last time there were labor negotiations the two sides agreed to delay the start of the league year to get something done? I would expect more of the same this time around.

bomdad's picture

There's still a possibility that Kampy's light comes on. Its only been 8 games, he is a slow learner. Even slower than Hawk.

NickGBP's picture

I think Kampman surprises people this week.
I will laugh if Kampman has a killer second half and everyone scrambles to change their tune. The fact is he HAS gotten consistent pressure, he hasn't finished. That is correctable and improvable with time. As he says in all his interviews, it's a learning process and nothing beats experience. He has not been a liability in any area of his responsibilities by any means, even coverage. Expect him to start making big time plays now.

TampaPacker's picture

Kampman was once a great player, but many times this season he has looked confused, lost, and slow in coverage. If he is truly one of the best ends in the league, why does he only have one sack through 9 games?

I understand that Capers increased his blitz scheme for Dallas, but even in the 8 games before that, Kampman rarely forced the QB to the ground and hurry his throws.

The best situation for Kampman and Green Bay would be to franchise tag him and trade him to a team with a 4-3 defense for a young cornerback with a lot of potential to learn from Harris and Woodson because it is apparent Williams and Bush are not the answers to our cornerbacks of the future.

NickGBP's picture

This is why stats are important, despite people's criticism of it. Before the Cowboy game at least, Kampman has the highest number of QB pressures on the defense. The next person behind him is 15 or so back. He also has more than 1 sack...
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He has gotten to the quarterback. Often. Period. All it takes is a little more familiarity and improvement with his technique and those start becoming sacks and everyone here proclaims he is the best ever.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Thank you, NickGBP, couldn't agree more...and I couldn't agree more with McGinn:

"We should be evaluating him against the NFL standard at his position, not the rookie standard at his position."

WoodyG's picture

If it's true that it takes at least half the season for Caper's 3-4 to blossom in GB (as most pundits said last summer) then it may also be true that AK needs that same amount of time to be a force in the 3-4 as OLB....... The last seven games (and the playoffs) will determine AK's future in GB......... 30 years old may be the defining issue & not DE/OLB..... Regardless, if AK is gone after 2009, it'll be tag & trade.......

nerdmann's picture

The presence of Brad Jones on the field makes it easier for other players to blitz. Jones is better then Kampman in coverage, hands down. It opens up way more of the defense having him in there.
It's not just a question of "is Jones a better player." It's his skill set. Jones can cover. Kampman struggles to cover, even just in the flat.
Kampman is a try hard guy who looked better than he was, because he had KGB lining up on the other side. Yeah, he's a great guy and leads the Bible study group. But that doesn't make him better in coverage.
We should have traded him for a LT.

nerdmann's picture

Oh yeah, Jones is listed with a concussion this week. That might be why Kampman is starting.

NickGBP's picture

The Bishop effect is in full effect here y'all. Tell me when Kampman has been a liability in coverage (specific plays, not just that he doesn't look fluid), besides when he was playing with a concussion. Hell, taking that into consideration, his coverage was pretty impressive even on those plays. Jones is a more natural fit because he's played the position, sure, but Kampman is just plain better. Go back and watch the game again...Jones was NOT in coverage often at all. And on two plays where he was (from memory after re watching it Monday), catches were made in his area. He didn't get any pressure on the QB and although he was solid in run protection, Kampman is better and we'll start to see the light really turn on this week.
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It's great to know we have a serviceable back up behind Kampman though. And that's all he is for now.

nerdmann's picture

http://twitter.com/packer_update
"On 2nd glance: On at least three occasions, the depth of OLB Brad Jones' drops forced QB Tony Romo to look away from his intended receiver."

Kampman can cover in the flat. He cannot get farther downfield than that. Jones can cover.
It was nice to see Hawk and Barnett able to blitz effectively.

cow42's picture

I love AK74 but I think he's a bit over rated.
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Has he ever taken over a game? I can't remember it happening.
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There are a bunch of Aaron Kampman's in the NFL.
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Good player - yes. Difference maker - no.

Ron La Canne's picture

I put my trust in Capers. The Packers have no room for error left this season. Bonus money is on the line and they need to play all out for the remainder of the season. If Capers, thinks AK should play, I have no reason to doubt it.

NickGBP's picture

cow42, the only thing that should matter is if he's better than Brad Jones. Some people are suggesting that he's not. I say that's ridiculous.

Dilligaff's picture

ONE QUESTION, WHY FIX SOMETHING THATS NOT BROKEN??????????? Jones did not lay an egg, and will only get better, it was his first game. Jones will be a Packer next year and Kampman will not. Having Kampman coming off the bench in a more DE situations makes more sense. Playing Jones now makes the 3-4 defense a true 3-4 defense and moves this transition along faster. Kampman will not be a Packer next year, so why waste anymore time with him

DanTX's picture

That was a good call on his big week. Columbo going down helped, of course. I'll hazard a guess that we'll draft someone early to compete with Jones for next year's starting role.

nerdmann's picture

We've got Thompson too.

longtimefan's picture

Kamp should be in obvious passing downs so he can get his hand in the dirt to do what he does best...

IF the team knows they will not sign Kamp in offseason do they want to make sure he stays away from NFC 4-3 team? Or so they not care?

If so then tag him, then trade him and get value for what he is worth...Thats is the best move all around..

Someone asked for specific plays that Kamp hurt the team..Thats like saying when did Lee hurt the team..

We seen one game w/o him I say lets see how Jones does again...no need to put him on scrap heap just yet..

He is NOT the same player we have known for the last few years...And right now there is no indication he can get back to that way

Anderson's picture

McGinn also said that Jones was partly responsible for Roy Williams long reception (where disaster was only avoided by Woodson forcing a fumble). He was supposed to drop deep enough and "redirect" Williams to buy time for other guys in the defensive backfield. He got sucked into the line of scrimmage and Dallas got a big play out of it, until Chuckie saved the day.

Keith's picture

"I really don’t see them going to Aaron Kampman and saying that, on top of playing him wildly out of position all year, they are now going to ‘bench’ him."

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"If Aaron Kampman is healthy, he starts and he plays the entire game. I don’t care what defense it is or where he is playing. Kampman is one heck of a football player. Have some people forgotten that?"

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I don't have a problem with Kampman playing, or even starting. However, he should be playing because he is effective in his current role, not because he might pout if given a reduced role or because he was a good football player in a different scheme.

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Like Aaron, I've been quite critical of Kampman on this site. It's not that I don't think Kampman is a very good football player, because he is. I suppose I have taken it upon myself to balance out the blind love for Kampman. With that said, McGinn's comments have been rolling around in my head and he's right. Kampman is "one heck of a player" and while I do not think he is suited to play OLB in the 3-4, maybe Capers should figure out a way to utilize his talents better.

Keith's picture

Cow42, agreed.

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NickGBP, No one is saying Jones is a better football player than Kampman. We're saying he is a better option at OLB. Granted, Jones may not even be better than Kampman at OLB this very moment, but he was also a rookie making his first NFL start... he was bound to make mistakes. You have to figure he will have a steep learning curve and you would imagine/hope he would elevate his play after a few weeks taking starters reps in practice and playing more in games.

NickGBP's picture

As McGinn said this isn't the time to experiment with a Rookie. The Packers are fighting for a playoff spot. Right now Kampman is a better option at OLB. You put in your best player if you want to win. That's why there should be no debate here.

greenbaypackerbob's picture

Agree with NickGBP. Kampman is a better option than a rookie. But the mood in GB these days appears to be young, rookie types are preferred over older veterans (even though Kampman only 30 and is coming off some injuries!). The future, future... but that strategy hasn't worked all that well in my opinion... if Kampman walks, it will be right to the Vikings (he and Brett were good friends) - maybe that's Kampman's strategy?! lol
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Ironically, all those folks strategizing about the future sure sound like they want, expect (demand) that playoff birth NOW. I like the idea, "if it's not broke....don't fix it" - e.g. 13-3, 6-10, 5-4...(future anxiety still questionable)
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bomdad's picture

Jones has faced what, 11 snaps against the run? WAY to early to make any declarations about his fit in the defense. Sure he covers better.
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This is the guy that got hurt in the first warmup of training camp, too.

PACKERS's picture

I think it's way to early to decide which one should stay. Jones has barely played at all, and Kampman is coming back from two concussions. Give them both a shot in the next couple games and see which one plays the best. Then move on with that player. I can't be that hard.

PackersRS's picture

McGinn first reports that we should judge a player by the average player standard, and not the rookie standard, because the Packers are in a playoff year, yet says that we shouldn't judge Kampman by those same standards, because in the past Kampman played well...
Mr. McGinn, it's EXACTLY because the Packers are in a playoff hunt that they should put the player that will improve their chances, rather than wait for a player to adjust himslef to the position, or to adjust the scheme to a single player, when to every other player that same scheme seems to work.
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Which one give us a better chance of winning? Playing Brad Jones at OLB and letting Capers utilize his full playbook, or playing Kampman and trying to adjust the whole playbook to him, something that hasn't worked so far? That's the question IMHO.

Oppy's picture

Greenbaypackerbob, I'm probably just nitpicking this, but I don't recall Kampman and Favre being good friends. As a matter of fact, Kampman was one of the first, and biggest, vocal supporters of Aaron Rodgers getting his shot here in Green Bay..If Kampman went to MIN it would be for one of two reasons: the Money is right...or he doesn't want to uproot his midwestern family and MIN is still right there next to his Iowa home. Not that it has anything to do with the question at hand.
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My take on the Jones/Kampman quandary is pretty straight forward- some people have stated that Jones didn't show anything that Kampman hasn't shown all year. I say, what has Kampman shown all year that rookie Brad Jones hasn't shown in his first NFL start? Some claim Jones didn't pressure the QB, but I thought he looked like O-linemen had a hard time keeping their hands on him, and his ability to slip blocks and change direction, taking execellent angles to the edge after originally committing to the inside was solid. He might not have made the big plays, but he certainly played a supporting role for others who did.
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Right now isn't the time to experiment with jamming a rookie into a prominent role, so Kamp should be the mainstay. That said, with the LB personnel the Packers have, they should be finding ways to change up their packages situationally and get all these guys touches- more looks, more study time and more confusion for opposing offenses, more flexibility and production for our defense.

Jim in DC's picture

Kampy might be a downgrade from what the Minneapolis (thanks Greta!) Vikings already have at DE.

Dilligaff's picture

Both Mathews and Kampman began learning this defense at the same time, Mathews had less training during camp because of an injury. One has years in the NFL and one is a rookie. Thats a big advantage to Kampman, having the experience at the NFL level. Yet Mathews is clearly out playing Kampman. My point is Kampman is not playing to that high of an standard, and Capers can not run a true 3-4 defense with him in. Kampman if anything should be playing as good as a rookie, if not better. Combine this with the fact he is leaving at the end of the year, if you are going to do whats best for the Packers you start Jones.

Jim in DC's picture

What would Lombardi do?

nerdmann's picture

Kampman would upgrade the Queen's DE. He would look way better with Jared Allen on the other side, in a 4-3.

PackersRS's picture

The Vikings better be prepared to give us a 1st, or some Olinemen, if they want AK74...

NickGBP's picture

Im curious where people get the evidence that Capers "can't run the full scheme" with Kampman in. The majority of plays run last week were in their Nickel 2-4-5 sub package where the D line is essentially a 4 down look anyway. You'd think now that Capers "finally got rid of the player holding him back from his REAL scheme" he'd run more 3-4 base right?
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Or maybe it just has to do with matchups. My humble opinion is he would've called essentially the same game with Kampman.

Cletis's picture

McGinn is absolutely right on this one. Kampman is a smart player and great athlete. They will find a role for him in this defense - please resign him soon.

"If Aaron Kampman is healthy, he starts and he plays the entire game. I don’t care what defense it is or where he is playing. Kampman is one heck of a football player. Have some people forgotten that? If so, that amazes me."

PACKERS's picture

Kampman always seemed to struggle with the New scheme, but his stats aren't bad for the season- 38 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He was always the player who had the most trouble changing from his old posistion, and I agree that the Packers should not lose the flexibility of the 3-4 scheme just for Kampman, which would kind of defeat the point for which it was installed. Brad Jones has 8 solo tackles which isn't bad at all considering he's a rookie who's only just started playing. It's really a coin toss on this one; I really don't know what would be best.

Dilligaff's picture

If it is a coin toss or even that close, why start Kampman when he won't be here next year. I agree if Kampman is going to be a Packer for a long time then you make a spot for him.

longtymefan's picture

TEST

longtimefan was taken?????? I might have signed up years ago on world press, but forgotten password does not send me anything to any emails I have..

So have to use longTYMEfan

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