Let’s put Julius “we’re not going to get him so stop getting your hopes up” Peppers out of the picture for a second and think about this – We might already have our 3-4 linebacker corp.
I’ve been studying the 3-4 defense since it was announced. I didn’t know much about it at the time and I admit to not being a master of it now. Through my readings I learned interesting things such as Capers’ 3-4 won’t have the nose tackle playing the tradition 2-gap technique. I also learned, as most of us have, that Aaron Kampman will likely be our left outside linebacker. How awesome is that?
I also learned the body types required from most of the positions. After learning a little more about our new defensive scheme I had to look at our current roster and see who will fit into what. I came across surprised that we might already be ready to rock. Here’s how I see things now.
Aaron Kampman – Our starting left outside linebacker. Man that is so awesome to say! Kampman will also play with his hand on the ground as well, which ought to give offenses fits! Sucks to be the others teams in the North.
Nick Barnett – He’s a starting middle linebacker. This won’t be changing any time soon. Barnett had a bad 2008, and now he will be able to get a little crazy in the 3-4. This will be fun to see how Barnett adjusts.
A.J. Hawk – In all likeliness, this will be the man playing next to Nick in the middle A.J. has the speed and the solid tackling ability to be a great linebacker in the 3-4. While Hawk has been somewhat of a disappointment for a #5 overall pick, he’s still a damn good linebacker and I don’t see him playing outside linebacker in the 3-4.
Brandon Chillar – Chillar has experience as the outside linebacker but I don’t know if I see him playing opposite Aaron Kampman. Outside linebackers in the 3-4 need to be large men who can defense the flats, and while Chillar definitely has the speed to get things done, I question his power. Chillar might be the odd man out and playing backup most of the year.
Brady Poppinga – I actually like Poppinga as right outside linebacker. He’s the “Swarmin’ Mormon” for a reason, and that’s how I would describe an outside linebacker in the 3-4. He has to swarm! He has a decent chance at the right outside linebacker spot.
Mike Montgomery – yeah, he’s a DE, but so is Kampman, right? I doubt he plays any linebacker. I’d bet money we see Mike Montgomery gain some weight this offseason and play primarily at the right defensive end spot.
Desmond Bishop – If he can gain weight and keep his athleticism, this would be our right outside linebacker with the current roster the way it is. Bishop can play. He’s a good football player, and I think Capers might be able to turn Bishop into a star. If not, expect Bishop to spell some of the linebackers and the defense won’t miss a beat.
Jason Hunter – Hunter has been a staple on special teams, and what is special teams? Running around at high speeds and hitting people. So, for a defensive end, he has the speed. He has the power. Even outside special teams, Hunter got some quality playing time at DE due to injury, and he wasn’t too bad. He got hurt of course but who didn’t? He’s a solid player and as a 3-4 outside linebacker, he won’t have to disengage from lineman off the line. The advantage is his. Hunter might be our right outside linebacker. He might be out defensive end. The decision for this guy will be made soon
Jeremy Thompson – Rookie defensive end with a similar body type as Jason Hunter. He only played nine games(injured!) so he’s a question mark, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns head and gets some playing time in the 3-4. Like Ted Thompson said, it’s all about who’s a good football player and Green Bay drafted Thompson in the 4th round because they feel he’s a good player. Keep an eye on Jeremy.
Now I’m not saying we DO have our linebackers(or defensive linemen) already and I’m not saying most of these transitions WILL work, but with this being about who’s a good football player, which Ted Thompson is good at acquiring(sorry, Justin) and since we now have a good defensive coordinator, some of these players might be playing up to their full potential. The 3-4 is here, and odds are we have 90% of our defensive starters already on the team.
Mike McCarthy said that the Capers 3-4 is “an impressive system that utilizes the talents of its players. That’s really the bottom line.” Yes it is, Mike. Yes it is.
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