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Campbell 'fortunate' to be back with Packers

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Campbell 'fortunate' to be back with Packers

-- Just hours before kickoff for Thursday's preseason opener against the Houston Texans, the Green Bay Packers parted ways with running back Corey Grant, who they had just signed roughly two weeks prior.

In return, they made room for a familiar face.

Enter Ibraheim Campbell, signed by general manager Brian Gutekunst last November as a versatile defender capable of playing various positions in the Packers' defense. Unfortunately, a leg injury landed him on injured reserve after just three games. It wasn't until March that it was revealed Campbell had suffered a torn ACL.

But in those games, Campbell finished with 18 tackles. Only linebacker Blake Martinez -- a renowned tackling machine -- had more during that three-game span. Campbell lined up on the back end, down in the box as a hybrid linebacker and even saw reps covering in the slot.

It's the convincing play of Campbell in those games that further incentivized the decision to bring Campbell back once he was healthy enough. Once he returned to the team, he was immediately placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.

The Packers have long had interest in retaining Campbell, even before they acquired Adrian Amos in the spring and Darnell Savage Jr. in the draft. It's just been a matter of when he's been healthy enough to return. Campbell stayed behind in Green Bay and was operated on by Dr. Patrick McKenzie, who has specialized in the surgery and recovery of a myriad of other world-class athletes. 

"I kinda got that sense that I left a great impression when I left here," Campbell said after Saturday's practice, via Packers.com. He didn't participate, but it was his first practice since returning to the team. "I was fortunate when they called me back and were able to work something else."

Campbell makes things somewhat interesting at the Packers' safety position. Both Amos and Savage are penciled in as the primary starters at free and strong safety, but Josh Jones and Raven Greene both sport interchangeable assets that can fill multiple positions in coordinator Mike Pettine's defense.

Jones and Greene -- depending on how the final roster looks -- may heighten the amount of nickel looks the Packers present this season due to the pectoral injury Oren Burks suffered in the preseason opener. With Burks expected to be absent for an extended period of time, a hybrid safety will become more of a normal occurrence in the Packers' defense.

This could be Campbell's calling and a route for him to make the roster. Tray Matthews and Mike Tyson are at the bottom of the depth chart -- they combined for 50 defensive snaps against the Texans -- and, barring anything unexpected, are on the outside looking in.

What could help make Campbell's transition back to the field significantly easier is his familiarity with Pettine.

A fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2015, Campbell played under then-head coach Pettine and essentially knows what's expected of him in this particular scheme.

"This isn't a complicated game," Campbell said. "A lot of times, you get caught up overcomplicating things. He's a great coach, he has a great system, so it was kinda familiar stepping back into it. I felt like I did well because of that."

It's somewhat of a rarity that the Packers kept Campbell in their long-term plans, especially given the short leash kept with players like Damarious Randall, Ty Montgomery and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. All three of which were traded in return for some form of capital, whether a player or draft assets.

But Campbell feels what he offers the Packers -- despite their infusion of safety talent over the offseason -- and what he showed in his limited showcase last season helped expedite their decision.

"Just who I am as a football player. I played my game, did what I was supposed to do. In this league, that says a lot."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

mamasboy's picture

This is real good news!!

Coldworld's picture

Good to have him back. More depth required there. Greene is our number one back up at Safety too. Hope he is able to start practicing soon.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Campbell can attend meetings and practice but he cannot play or participate in practice. Campbell takes up a roster spot while he is on the Active/PUP list during TC.

Rak47's picture

I think that's pretty stupid and bassackwards that you can't play or practice while on pup but still take up a roster spot in camp. Can he go into the season on pup TGR, and does he count against the 53 if so?

Bure9620's picture

Yes he can, and would not count against 53

Coldworld's picture

He may be practicing before the season I think based on comments from him and others.

Coach JV's picture

This is great news! I have always thought Campbell was a good safety, and could be a real asset to the team. I loved his tackling last year.

I bet he's ready by the start of regular season... they'll work him in slowly...

Awesome!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I was impressed by Campbell before. Hopefully he gets his knee rehabbed and adds to the depth. It just seams like the depth on defense is so much better than it has beennin years.

Old School's picture

If he’s the worst guy on the field for us then we’ve got a pretty good team. JMO.

My math has Alexander, Amos, Savage, King, Williams, Jackson, Greene, Brown, ....that’s 8. One more on gameday active, one more inactive on the 53, two more on the PS.

So it’s starting to come down the last two on the 53......

We should start a dead pool on when Josh Jones is released.

Since '61's picture

Old School - Jones will be released or traded when Campbell is ready to play. Thanks, Since ‘61

Coldworld's picture

Or moved to ILB 2 for a tryout?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Pencil in Hollman. Lotta TC and preseason games left, but he has impressed such that it might not be possible to slide him onto the PS.

I am more lightly penciling in Campbell (he is on PUP still and needs to show that he is fully recovered), but Ento and Sullivan, maybe Jamerson if he rebounds, are in the mix.

Expect Campbell to remain on PUP until he is absolutely and completely recovered. While he takes up a roster spot on the 90-man, if not activated during TC he can slide directly onto the Reserve PUP list without having to make the 53, and he will have a roster exemption during the season.

Bure9620's picture

Agreed, if Hollman were released, he would be claimed off waivers, everyone is looking for corner depth, he makes this team. I am interested if they could stash Ento.

Coldworld's picture

Hollman is clearly able to play a role now. Not rounded yet but players that have upside and that can hold up on the perimeter if called on don’t get to the PS.

Ento is rawer. He is only beginning his conversion. Hopefully we can stash him. His hammy may actually help. Sullivan is another. They may actually reduce play to reduce film on these.

Coldworld's picture

I have soured on Jamerson. He has made some bad gaffes reading the field and in positioning. Redmond. Has looked a better FS type thus far. I don’t want another safety who lacks instincts, depth or not.

fthisJack's picture

KE is my dark horse guy. he is just learning the CB position after being a WR and making a lot of plays in camp. i'd hate to see him snagged off the PS.

hobowilly's picture

OS, hilarius! Yep, Gutey is no nonsense and the only reason JJ's around is to strenthen TC competition. Jones will get his wish and i thought it idiotic of him to state during his attitude transgression, "why would they not play me if i was picked in the second round" or similar to that. Again, Tramon said it best, "it's all about the TEAM". Unless 1 or 2 more hybrid players on D go down, yes, Jones will be waived, but i hope Gutey is able to get something for him. Lastly, i'd much rather have a young, athletic/high motor guy, (e.g. Summers) who may make rookie mistakes rather than a guy who thinks he should be played based on his draft #. Praying for Campbells' practicing ASAP and then making the 53....optimistic yet realistic (why else was he brought back?)

JohnnyLogan's picture

Josh Jones won't be released now that Burkes is hurt.

Johnblood27's picture

Jones sure will be released.

Summers will be the fall of Jones.

Bure9620's picture

Not sure about that, they may keep Jones as a coverage inside LB as it seems Burks is done.

Coldworld's picture

I suspect that he will be in the mix at least to see. Not much lighter than Bolton and a little taller. Bolton seems to be next up because he has shown some ability to cover TEs. That would seem to suggest Jones might be another candidate.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Wonder if Frank Winters has met Summers or Spriggs.

Spock's picture

SUMMERs will be the FALL of Jones. I see what you did there. :)

Old School's picture

Maybe. But Jones has been adamant all along about not wanting to play the linebacker spot.

I just don't see room in the secondary for him, quite frankly. We only activate 9 on gameday ….usually 4 safeties and 5 corners. Jones can't play corner. He won't play linebacker. He can't cover NFL WRs. Where do you play him?

holmesmd's picture

He said he would play cover linebacker upon his return to camp. What are you talking about. He wasn’t a fan of it last year but he certainly realizes he may need to do it this year to help the team win. Josh Jones isn’t a CB by any means but he’s the best cover ILB on the roster at the moment. He has leverage and value now that Burks is screwed!

Coldworld's picture

Not a fan of Jones in the secondary. As a safety he has zero instincts. He plays best close to the line in quick reaction positions. He isn’t depth in the Martinez role, but in the second ILB role he may well be. He can also rush.

Summers will make the team I think. I think there was a reason that they had him making calls on Thursday. Right now, Martinez and Bolton. Summers behind Martinez. Fight is for who is behind Bolton.

Who backs up Bolton will depend on coverage ability demonstrated between now and cut down I believe.

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