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Cory's Corner: Don't sleep on Sam Barrington

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Cory's Corner: Don't sleep on Sam Barrington

Will the real Sam Barrington please stand up?

But that’s the problem. I haven’t seen enough of Barrington to know what version will be suiting up for the Packers this season. Barrington was lost to a foot injury in Week 1 last year and a hamstring injury ended his rookie season in 2013.

However, Packers general manager Ted Thompson must know plenty. And Barrington is the reason why Thompson didn’t use an inside linebacker early in this year’s draft and instead opted to beef up both lines with the first two picks.

Maybe Thompson was on to something because this is what defensive coordinator Dom Capers said one day after Barrington ended his season this past year: “The guy who has been kind of the quarterback of your defense, you lose him early.”

He wasn’t talking about Clay Matthews and he wasn’t talking about Julius Peppers. He was talking about the little-known seventh round pick out of South Florida, who made the defensive calls.

Barrington really impressed people in the second half of 2014 by being assertive to the ball and wearing out the remote on game video with meticulous preparation. He studied enough and passed with flying colors by finishing the season with 52 tackles — 39 solo.

Inside linebacker was thought to be the team’s biggest need in the offseason. But I wonder, with Barrington coming back, is it? Granted, Barrington has to come back and stay healthy, but he would be a welcome sign for a team that has lacked a consistent inside linebacker since A.J. Hawk.

And here’s the kicker: Barrington is in a contract year. He will play out his four-year $2.2 million contract this season and the 25-year-old will likely be given a hefty pay raise if he is able to revert back to his 2014 form.

Barrington is actually in a great spot. There isn’t a hot shot prospect with high expectations that’s already placed ahead of him on the depth chart. And many are undervaluing him before we even get to OTAs.

That would be a gigantic mistake. Just because he’s a seventh rounder doesn’t mean he can’t play, and in addition to that, he can also lead a unit that could realistically be a top 3 defense in the NFC this year.

Barrington may not be a household name in the NFL now, but with a strong camp and a reboot of confidence, he will be known by October. It’s easy to be forgotten when you have guys like Clay Matthews, Mike Daniels, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Damarious Randall.

Barrington will be given the keys to the defense this summer. It’s up to him and his health if he can hang on to them. 


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (63) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Barrington is a thumper. He can't run. He can't ISO on RBs and TEs. Not to mention slot WRs. Ryan is only marginally better. And Martinez is a rook.

I'd be happy as hell if Barrington came through. But I don't think he can. I fear it's going to be yet another year of seeing 3rd and 6's converted because Barrington/et al can't cover to save their lives.

Could have been fixed for a VERY reasonable price on the open market TT. Freeman. Dansby. Hell, even Trevathan. OR TT could have drafted Myles Jack, gotten a DL from the deep DL class in the 2nd round, and paid Bakh at season's end.


dobber's picture

Based on his somewhat limited sample size, I think you've got Barrington pegged: best suited to be a two-down ILB who can be that take-on guy to free up a better chaser to make plays. Does he have ideal thumper size? Maybe not, but he's got a thumper's mentality. At 6'1" 240, he's not much different than Ryan or Martinez, and many analysts had those guys more as thumpers than anything else coming out of college. TT appears to be building a stable of ILBs who are somewhat interchangeable...which is his MO at other positions as well.

Nick Perry's picture

Freeman was a player I was screaming for all the way until he signed with the Bears. Trevathan was never a realistic hope for Packers fans IMO, not with the way TT obviously views the importance of ILB. I read an interesting piece this morning from 2015 when I was looking for Barringtons Rankings in coverage in 2014. It said in the 485 snaps Barrington had in 2014, he was actually better against the PASS than the run. Now that scares me a little considering the Packers coverage was pretty bad in 2014 until Matthews moved inside.

BUT, I'm trying to look at the positive here so I'm thinking between Fackrell and Martinez the Packers might actually be able to defend against a TE or RB this year. Ryan is a year older too so I look for him to be better. Martinez and Fackrell are both pretty bright kids. Maybe both come in and pick up the defense right away. Montgomery picked up the offense pretty quick last year, those Stanford guys are smart! : )

According to PPF, Martinez had the highest coverage grade among LB'ers in this draft class. Fackrell is actually a very well rounded LB'er so even though both are Rookies, I think both can come in and contribute some early and more by the end of the season, just like Ryan did last year.

Bearmeat's picture

And this is the problem NP. We are all HOPING that things get better, but there is no solid reason for our hope to be anything but almost blind faith in this instance because TT has done very little to address a glaring problem for YEARS.

Safety was a mistake for years.
RB was a mistake for years.
OLB #2 was a mistake for years.
TE has been a mistake for years.
5 Tech #2 has been a mistake for years.
WILB has been a mistake for years.

I'm not saying TT has to be perfect, nor am I saying that he's not currently a top 5 GM. But he's not a HOF GM - and his point blank refusal to deviate from draft and develop in any semi-consistent manner is why.

Tarynfor12's picture

Thompson views the inside linebacker in the same mold as he was as a less and no more.

Since '61's picture

Bearmeat - All I can add is that hope is not a plan. And as you and Nick Perry have correctly discussed that is the problem. Every season hoping that a certain # of players step up and develop, which as we have seen repeatedly works well enough to get us into the playoffs, primarily because of Rodgers and the offense but then when we get to a big spot our hopes (plan) fall apart because our developing players are not quite ready to make a play at that critical time. For now, let's see how we get through camp and pre-season health wise. Thanks, Since '61

Bearmeat's picture

61 -

Yep. That's so frustrating. I realize that teams aren't built on paper, and that Madden isn't the real NFL. But having just a COUPLE spots on the roster with a short term patch job would have helped us tremendously going into the draft.

While I think TT is a great GM, he is so damn stubborn to not address easy to fix things with cheap and short term veteran contracts. That way, if the rook doesn't show he deserves playing time, he doesn't have to play. Unfortunately in (our) D and D only system, he does. And it's led to playoff losses that SHOULD have been won in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

I want a title this year. Then I want TT to retire - because he won't adapt. Go ahead and call me foolish and ridiculous. I don't care. We've seen the same $#!T in playoff crunch time football for 3 years in a row. I'm frigging sick of it. 2 HOF QBs and 2 titles to show for it (so far). Embarrassing.

Nick Perry's picture

Bearmeat I agree with you 100% on those points. How he continues to just plain ignore OBVIOUS positions of need yet is viewed as a GM who can do no wrong is beyond me. I have said on this site at leat 30 times in the 1368 comments I've made.

"Ted T is the best Cap Manager in the NFL, he hardly ever has any Dead Cap Space, BUT he's cost the Packers at least one or two SB Titles because he refuses to explore every way to improve the team".

I've said that for EXACTLY the same reasons you've mentioned above, EXACTLY. Several fans who have been huge TT "In Ted We Trust" kind of guys have curbed that attitude. Look at the Higher draft choices from 2011 on, not very good. Granted he's gotten more from the picks in the later rounds but the 2011 and 2012 Drafts kept this team from more SB titles.

2011..Sherrod, Green.... 1st & 3rd
2012..Perry, Worthy, McMillan....1st, 2nd, & 4th (Franklin would have been a steal)
2013...Jones.... 1st. (2013 was an excellent draft!)
2014...Thornton Rodgers, Bradford...3rd, 3rd, 4th

In just those 4 years that's 8 pretty high draft choices who really haven't gave us much.

dobber's picture

I'm not going to argue over some of those picks that failed or have been underwhelming, but I have two issues...

1. Once you get to the third day of the draft, there's an awful lot of speculation. If we're going to give TT credit for unearthing diamonds on day 3, it means that we obviously don't expect that awful much from those rounds. I'm not going to get too worked up when some of those 4th rounders that don't pan out.
2. If someone told you that the Packers selected a 3rd round TE who was going to catch 58 passes and score 8 TD in his second year, most of us would be pretty pleased with that. The issue we seem to have with Rodgers is how he was used...meaning the short outs and whatnot that have been amply discussed here. Sure, he's not going to be a Gronk or a Jordan Reed, but it's overly critical to say he didn't give the Packers much in a season where virtually NOBODY catching the ball gave the Packers very much.

Nick Perry's picture

I like Richard Rodgers actually, I think he'll be a excellent target in the Red Zone this year. As far as using Rodgers the way they have, the Packers just haven't had any better options, not really.
Sometimes I'll watch a Packers Game on my DVR when there's not something on the 999 channels I get. I understand hardly anyone caught the ball last season, but in the 7 seasons before the 2015 season, I never saw Aaron Rodgers MISS so many wide open receivers. There's been alot of blame passed around for the Packers issues on offense last season. AR should get just as much of the blame for the number of times he just flat out missed.

dobber's picture

I think you're pretty much on with the ARod comments. He wasn't the same player we've seen in recent years. I think that's in part why Cow's comments about him starting to slide might invoke such venom in response: fear.

Agreed: unless RRodg undergoes some remarkable physical makeover in the off-season, they're using him about how he needs to be used with the attributes he's got. He's an underneath, red-zone target. He's not going to stretch the field, he's not going to be a guy who's going to be very elusive. Last season, they used him more than anyone likely expected. If the offense is "healed" this season (and with Cook in the house), he'll be lucky to catch 35-40 balls but we should see his per-catch average go back up to a number closer to the 11.3 he averaged as a rookie.

Nick Perry's picture

Dobbler that's an excellent view on Cows comments about Rodgers and our responses...FEAR.

We watched ths team go 2-5-1 (Something like that) when Rodgers went down and if TT hadn't brought back Flynn I don't have a doubt they wouldn't have won or tied a game. But I really believe last season was an anomoly and the Packers are a better "Team" than they were in 2013. If Rodgers starts 2016 like he played for most of 2015 then Olivia HAS TO GO. Lol....

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm not big on Rodgers, as I actually think his production was low with such high usage. After Cook, I look for Kennard Backmann to make a big jump this season. Far more athletic, excellent hands, and not completely useless on special teams like Rodgers.

dobber's picture

I don't disagree: Rodgers's ypc was abysmal for a TE, but it was easy for defenses to clamp down on everyone last season. Hopefully, the return of outside threats will push opposing safeties deeper and open the underneath more for him. His ypc should improve this season, but he's strictly a ball-control/outlet/red zone guy based on what we've seen.

Bearmeat's picture

It's called hedging your bet. I don't think Freeman is Ray Lewis part 2. But I do think he can cover. He's a cheap chase LB that doesn't have to be taught from the ground up.

And if the rooks beat him out? Bench him/cut him/who cares. It's called hedging your bet on D and D for cheap.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Sorry, I cannot agree, Desertpackfan. Walden has been okay for Indy. Not at all sure that Neal was actually better than Walden.

Freeman´s contract was very reasonable - $4M cap hit in each year, $4M of the $6M guaranteed comes off the books in year one, making him very easy to cut.

Nick Perry's picture

WHY is named Andrew Luck. As in Andrew Luck is a FA next year! That and you can't keep everybody you might want to. Just look at the Players Seattles has let walk leading up to the year Wilson was due a new contract. Just like TT letting Hayward walk you can't keep everyone.

As far as Barrington, Martinez, or Barrington being as good as Freeman I think you might be right, but you don't know. Freeman has proven he can cover.

holmesmd's picture

Neal played the run much better than the Walden I remember?!

Nick Perry's picture

Yes STROH, or it it Danny?...That's Exactly what I think, like TGR pointed out it's a pretty Cap Friendly contract. Not to mention he's proven he can cover.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Neal: 36 Tackles, 4 sacks, 1 FF, 0 INTs, 0 PDs, 8 stuffs
Walden: 42 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 0 INTs, 0 PDs, 8 stuffs

Freeman: 112 tackles, 3 sacks, 0 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT, 2 PDs, 2 stuffs. Freeman has had a few years with 6 PDs. Freeman came in 73rd on PFF's top 101, coming in 2nd among all ILBs in run defense (behind only Kuechly), with 53 defensive stops, and grading positively in all areas (see Stampede Blue link #3).

Walden's cap hits for 2015 and 16 were $4.25M each year.
His dead money was $500K in 2015, and just $250K this season. Walden isn't still with Indy due to his contract or dead money. His Car Av was 7, 7, and 6 for the last 3 seasons. Neal earned a 5, 3, and 8. No one wants Neal, certainly not GB. Either he has priced himself out of the market or he isn't worth rock bottom starter's money. Stampede Blue (Indy's blog) assumes Walden is a lock. The comments all agree that Walden has been able to set the edge well, with modest pass rush. Everyone thinks he is earning his $, but is unspectacular.

dobber's picture

Part of the issue with Freeman is that he's had problems with soft-tissue injuries (hammies, groins, etc.) over the last couple years. I think he's missed 7 full games over the last two seasons...

The TKstinator's picture

I don't think Barrington will be on the field on third and six.

Bearmeat's picture

We hope not. But IMO Ryan and Martinez aren't much better as of now. We HOPE they grow. But maybe they don't.

PackerAaron's picture

Yes, WE, on the outside, hope. But Thompson and the people inside 1265 Lombardi know more than we ever will about these guys, about how they are progressing or regressing.

"Hope is not a plan" - indeed. But hope is not Ted's plan.

phillythedane's picture

The voice of reason. Refreshing. Thompson knows better than any of us every team at nearly every position is always one injury away from potential disaster. Football is a violent game of injury. Hope won't get a guy too far under such a circumstance.

Bearmeat's picture


I absolutely defer to TT's knowledge of the team and his knowledge of his craft. And I know that no man is perfect. We all make mistakes.

However, TT has gotten caught with his pants down at FS, WILB, SILB, LOLB, DT, TE and RB - starting positions. For more than 1 season each. In just the past 5 years. He trotted out cow chips. Young guys. And hoped they could make the jump. Not too many do. And he doesn't hedge his bet.

So pardon me if I'm skeptical that a slow thumper, a middle speed thumper and a rook don't excite me at what has been an achillies heel of the defense for years.

marpag1's picture

I'm trying to think of all those teams who DON'T trot out a "cow chip" at one position or another virtually every single year.

Who's you're favorite general manager? A lot of people like Ozzie over in Baltimore. I think he drafted 6th this year. Some folks like Colbert in Pittsburgh... he drafted 2 slots ahead of Green Bay. Wunderkind and local boy John Schneider was set to draft one slot ahead of TT before he traded down. Wasn't all that long ago that everybody thought Jerry Reese was a hero for the Giants. He was drafting 10th. Maybe Steve Keim in Arizona is the next master of NFL domination. But I think we all remember how close that playoff game was between the Cardinals and the Packers.

Seems like there must be an awful lot of schleps in the front offices of the NFL gettin' "caught with their pants down..."

Bearmeat's picture

My favorite?

Belichick. I hate him. But dude is a baller. Best GM in the past 30 years without debate.

Can't get to the passer one year? Ok. We'll sign Revis and Browner. (2014)

Can't throw it deep one year? Ok. We'll have 2 of the best TEs in the game. We'll work the middle of the field and you'll never know if we're running or passing. (2012 - and probably this year)

Can't run the ball one year? Ok. We'll have 4 slot WRs and have Brady send everyone out for quick hitters. (2011)

Can't stop the run one year? Ok. We'll slow the game down by running it down your throat and get turnovers (2004)

Can't stop the run 3 years later? Ok. We'll throw the ball all over the yard so who cares if you get 150 yards rushing. (2007)

There are more examples. I'm not saying that every team doesn't have a weakness. But the Patriots KNOW what their weaknesses are going to be going into the year and have a plan to make it not matter by doing something else so excellently that they'll still win AND by taking away the opponents biggest strength.

Simply put, TT doesn't do this. He trusts "his guys" (a handful of stars and a bunch of young uns he hopes make a jump) and MM trusts "his system."

Both are undeniably excellent at what they do. But they're not the best. And they won't adapt. So they'll never be the best unless the young guys step up. That's their only answer.

And it's a damn shame.

Tundraboy's picture

I like this post a lot. Helped me vent too.

marpag1's picture

Fair enough, Bearmeat. I fully expected you to point to New England. Because in the big picture, if people want to "press charges" against the Packers' organization for their "failures" over the past ten years, there is one and only one charge that is virtually guaranteed to stick:

"The Packers are not the Patriots."

All other charges will be acquitted on "reasonable doubt."

But if you want to say that TT is not a top five general manager? Reasonable doubt, I think....

Bearmeat's picture

He IS a top 5 current GM Marpag. But with the tail end of the career of a top 15 QB EVER, and the entire career of a probable 10 top QB ever, 1 title is NOT enough.

IF TT/MM win one more ring, I'll shut up. If they win 2, they'll be in the HOF - and deservedly so - and I (and everyone else around here except Ben) will be happy as hell.

But they have to stop bombing out in the playoffs. 13-15 were all painful to the extreme. And every single one of them could have been avoided with just a little bit of experience on the part of the defense.

I mean, look at Indy - viewed largely as "meh" because they only won the 1 title with Peyton. Now look at Denver under Elway (the player not the GM). BIG difference in how history remembers the teams. All the difference of just 1 super bowl.

TT/MM need to put the team over the top. And they haven't except when all the rooks started ballin out.

Finwiz's picture

Bottom line - CLOSE don't count, except in hand grenades and horse shoes. They've been close sine 2011, now it's time to win some big games in the playoff's. The game in Seattle was lost in 2015 because we had dumb players making stupid plays. That's on the GM not the coaches. You can only tell a guy so much what to do before a play, but if he's not smart enough to do what he's told, then you got a dumb player that shouldn't be on the team. (Back up tight-end that was told to block, not catch the ball) I could go on and on.

ray nichkee's picture

Barrington is not the reason why TT didn't draft an ILB early. Geez. AJ Hawk is more likely to be the reason. Other than Hawk it is easy to see how much value TT puts on the position. Back when Hawk was drafted the defense was a 4-3 and he was supposed to be a game changer. I don't think any team is an ILB away from winning a superbowl. I do think barrington has a good chance of being a solid player if he can stay healthy.

Bearmeat's picture

Sure he can. But in the capacity that GB needs? I don't think so. His 3 cone and 40 time is one of the reasons he was a 7th round pick.

What they need is a cover backer. What they don't have unless a young guy steps up from out of the blue (not common for 4th round picks), is a cover backer.

dobber's picture

Martinez has markedly better lateral agility (based on his combine/pro day numbers) than either Ryan or Barrington, who are almost carbon copies of one another. Ryan runs a little better than Barrington, and Martinez only a little better than Ryan (again, based on those numbers). What we don't see is what goes on between the ears on these guys--anticipation, football IQ. Hopefully they've added something in Martinez that helps in that regard but, in all, I'm not convinced that they aren't just redundant pieces.

dobber's picture

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but Barrington recorded a 4.69 at his pro day, while Ryan recorded a 4.65 at the combine and didn't run at his pro day (which either means he was hurting in some way or they didn't think he was likely to improve much on that time). I recognize that the field is tilted at the pro day, but it shows Barrington can be better than his combine time indicates.

dobber's picture

"I recognize that the field is tilted at the pro day, but it shows Barrington can be better than his combine time indicates."

I did say that I recognize the difference between a pro day and the Combine. They aren't comparing apples to apples. But Coaches and GMs will talk about pro days and the impact they have on a player's draft status (or maybe it's just to rationalize a selection?), so I would argue that we should not totally disregard those numbers. Didn't say Barrington was faster than Ryan, I just said that he's capable of better than what his high-40 indicated...

Since '61's picture

Last season the Packers defense had their best season in years without Barrington, so I am not sure what TTs expectations are. Based on what we have seen I think that he is decent against the run but gets lost in space on pass coverage. I hope he makes it through the season healthy so we can finally see what we have or don't have with Barrington. Thanks, Since '61

Bearmeat's picture

You know what scares me 61?

This is EXACTLY what we all said about B Jones before 2014. Just sayin...

dobber's picture

I don't know that Sam Barrington has shown the propensity for poorly-timed numbskull penalties and mistakes that Jones did. I don't think Jones was all-there in the melon once the pads went on...

Bearmeat's picture

You do know that Brad Jones had a degree in Economics, and graduated with over a 3.0 GPA at CU Boulder? I couldn't find it, but I believe he got a very high wonderlic score too.

Yes, he did make stupid plays at the worst possible time - but it wasn't because he wasn't intelligent.

dobber's picture

I have a friend with a Ph.D. who can't seem to keep a drivers license and is paying alimony to two women. He's intelligent, but he makes bad decisions... ;)

Horse's picture

Let's see now. Drafted a coverage ILB, signed a FA safety, strong trend for defenses around the league to use safeties in a hybrid ILB role, fans stay hung up on position designation and one player's strengths/weaknesses despite Capers' creativity, stupid Ted doesn't sign the FAs that will guarantee a Lombardi.

Rinse, repeat.

dobber's picture

There's no such thing as a "guaranteed Lombardi".

phillythedane's picture

Um, I think it was sarcasm.

4thand1's picture

The middle of the field. The Packers couldn't attack it on offense and have trouble defending it on defense. By the time they get it figured out, they will be weak somewhere else.

Tundraboy's picture

And thats a very large part of field to be weak in or worse concede. Hoping that our hopes are more than just hope this year.

Nick Perry's picture

Only because I was Shocked by it. In a million years wouldn't I have thought he was better against the pass vs run.. I've looked for "Data" to see for myself buy without paying for it I haven't found it...Yet! : )

PETER MAIZ's picture

Whatever develops, it's important to move Mathews to his natural spot and this won't happen if, again, the team can't stop the run.

Pack88's picture

I see all the angst about Barrington and his speed and then someone mentions Danny Trevathian. Come on Danny T ran a 4.82 40 at the combine. I get it; everybody wants Bobby Wagner but watch him get run over a time or two and you will appreciate 58 more.

The core issue is the defensive philosophy of Capers. It exposes players- if the pass rush doesn't get there, the middle of the field is prime territory. Just recall the SuperBowl Green bay used this simple philosophy to kill Pittsburgh ; spread em out take em deep.

It is an obvious statement that any defensive scheme has a weakness that can be exploited; it is how you trade off that weakness. I do like the Martinez pick he seems to have a key ingredients for a pass defender, anticipation and flexibility and short area quickness. For me should the Packer offense of 2014 return and Clark matches expectations GB will be fine.

dobber's picture

You're right, and everyone is going to be weak somewhere. If you're weak in more than one place, you can't compensate for it and you're going to be eaten alive. It could be that TT, MM, and DC decided that they can take their lumps at ILB in coverage because once you get to the 20 yard line, there's a lot more help than there is outside the 20s.

If the Packer offense is scoring mostly TDs, I think they're perfectly willing to concede mostly FGs. The issue is, the offense wasn't scoring TDs at the same clip last year, and they need to get back to that this year...

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

There's always this...

Sammy B catching sharks!!!!

DrealynWilliams's picture

Damn, I came here hoping someone had a clip of Barrington putting the Eagles best Tackle (can't think of his name) on his ass during the Preseason. True thumper.

Rossonero's picture

We still need thumpers like Barrington, but there's so many free agents in 2017, he'll probably leave, especially since Ryan and Martinez have plenty of years ahead of them. It'll be interesting to see if Barrington has a career year in a contract year too.

Depending on how you view Pro Football Focus, Barrington graded out as "below average" for 2014:

I wasn't clear if that grade encompasses his performance vs. the pass and the run though.

Either way, I'm excited for his return. It'd be nice to finally have a veteran presence at ILB, since, as the article notes, experience counts in those playoff games. If anything, he's a 2 down guy and then bring in Martinez on passing downs.

Otto's picture

I wish I could remember what talking-head said it, but his observation was that ILB is a second tier position today. Unlike past great defenses, his observation was CB, OLB/DE and tackles are the premiere positions today.
ILB and RB are now second tier positions, was his observation. It would appear that TT drafts with this in mind.

4thand1's picture

There is no way I agree that WR is a second tier position.

MITM's picture

If ILB is truly a second tier position, than why do the model 3-4 defenses like the Steelers and Ravens continually draft them high, draft them low, and bring in FAs at the position preeeeeetty consistently. Also I know the Patriots play more of a hybrid scheme but i will include them in this discussion. When the Ravens drafted Cj Mosley they already had 3 guys that would have started at ILB for us last year. Same thing when the Steelers drafted Shazier. The Patriots took Hightower and Jamie Collins pretty high in round 2 if im not mistaken. If anything the "second tier positions" on the Steelers and Ravens defense seem to be the revolving door of cornerbacks you see from year to year with the exception of, say, an Ike Taylor. On the contrary the Packers as we know are usually loaded at cornerback. Just some food for thought.

MITM's picture

I left out the 49ers defense as well, when Willis and Bowman were terrorizing us, those 49ers teams were ALL about front 7 talent as Pitt and Balt seem to be as well. All of these teams top defensive backs consistently were safeties not corners. Reed, Polamalu, Whitner. I just think someone saying that ILB isnt as important to a 3-4 defense as other positions should probably rethink their stance a little. Thompson may not value them high, but that doesnt mean hes right.

lucky953's picture

Gotta stop the run first. Having a talented slot corner is vastly more important than a cover ILB. Few teams have a TE who can regularly get open down the middle. Not all teams have a Sproles or a Forte either. Playoff losses to AZ and Seattle the past two years were not due to absence of a cover ILB. The loss to the Giants in 2011 was mainly due to fumbles. The loss to the 49ers was due to Kaepernick running all over. Would a cover guy have helped? Of course, but a general lack of team speed and OLB injuries killed us. The tone of the comments suggests that IF we'd had a better ILB, we would have won the Super Bowl (multiple times?) and that IF we'd had a different GM we would have won more titles. Those are highly speculative arguments that reflect fan frustration, but don't seem very rooted in the realities of what actually happened.

MITM's picture

I dont think ILB play is the key to a Super Bowl but i do think as I stated that the top 3-4 teams seem to build their defenses around the LB corps as a whole, not just pass rushing OLBs. Thats like making sure you have 2 very good offensive tackles because they are more "important", and just trotting out whoever is on the roster at guard. I just disagree that there are first and secondary positions in the NFL, every team puts emphasis on different positions, albeit with mixed results. Every position is important based on exactly what it is you are trying to do to win games.

PETER MAIZ's picture

Did I just read "one of the three best defenses"? I'd be jumping of joy if they were one of the top 10. There again, remember the Pack ended up # 23 in offense. That's a very scary proposition.

4thand1's picture

Top 3 nfc. AZ, Seattle, Car, Mn are ahead of GB. I could see top 5 in the nfc.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

ILB looks fine. Ryan and Barrington are more athletic than they are given credit, and Martinez is a perfect fit in the nickel.

I am so glad Ted focused on the lines instead of ILB in the draft. I don't want Clark OR Spriggs. I want Clark AND Spriggs.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"The Bears still suck!"