Cory's Corner: It's Time To Move On From Martinez

I’ve always been a fan of Blake Martinez.

I like his leadership. I like his tackling ability and I like how he’s a “football guy.”

However, the 26-year-old inside linebacker is a free agent and shouldn’t be brought back to Green Bay.

That may seem silly. Why wouldn’t you want a leader back on defense?

It comes down to athletic ability. In order for the Packers to close the gap in the NFC, they need to get faster. Martinez finished top two in tackles the last three years, but it’s time for a change.

Brian Gutekunst said when he took over the general manager post that he wasn’t hired to maintain the status quo. He was hired to change things up – while making them better. That’s why Mike McCarthy was shown the door after a .618 winning percentage.

In today’s NFL, you are either getting faster or you are getting lapped. And when it mattered most against the 49ers twice this year, the Packers looked like they were standing still to the tune of 74-28.

The Packers have been hopeful that Oren Burks could fill that athletic void, but he has had trouble staying on the field. Martinez does make it on the field and has even averaged 128 tackles after four years.

Those things look great on the surface, but Martinez will never be considered a top linebacker in this league because he doesn’t jump off the page. He can plug a hole, but he cannot guard a folding chair in space. And that has been his biggest downfall. Teams will just run wheel routes, screens or swing passes on him because the secret is out – he cannot defend the pass.

So the question is, how much defensive coordinator Mike Pettine values leadership. Za’Darius Smith proved to be an integral leader for this team ever since August when he questioned the music choices to coach Matt LaFleur. That showed to me that he wasn’t afraid to say something and he has proven his worth on the field as well.

And Jaire Alexander will be the best cover corner in the NFC North by 2021. He made a huge jump this past season and he continues to impress with his amazing athletic ability. For this season, he just needs to be trusted as a valuable leader; someone that teammates can go to for help or questions. It’s hard to believe that he just turned 23, because he has been playing like a trusty veteran.

Which brings me back to Martinez. If the Packers were more than four players away from another Super Bowl title, I would say bring Martinez back. Have him teach and coach the youngsters, but that is clearly not where this team is. Aaron Rodgers is 36. This franchise continues to say that they don’t work in windows, but it’s kind of hard not to. He doesn’t have much time left with his arm talent. It’s time to stop being safe and go get another Lombardi Trophy.

Now, is that a gamble? Of course it is. Losing a defensive leader may cause this unit to implode. But I’m willing to bet that more leaders will bubble to the surface because of this. Get an inside linebacker that can fly sideline to sideline and pair him with another anchor on the defensive line and watch the run defense make a complete 180.

Will it be hard to see Martinez go? Sure. But leadership doesn’t automatically award you a Super Bowl championship – athleticism does. And the Packers are sorely lacking that department.

 

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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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Comments (75)

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Lphill's picture

February 11, 2020 at 06:28 am

Sign Kwitnikowski from the Bears , and draft another inside linebacker. And get a big body for the D line that will make life easier for the inside linebackers.

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NickPerry's picture

February 11, 2020 at 07:41 am

Danny Trevathan is a FA too and he's also 30 years old. I'm wondering is the Bears try and sign Nick Kwiatkoski instead since he's only 27. Then again with $5 million in cap space they might HAVE to let them both walk.

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stockholder's picture

February 11, 2020 at 07:28 am

I don't blame Martinez For the collapse in SF. Thats a Team Effort. I believe his lack of speed can be made up with a better DL. Yes he can't go sideline to sideline. But he can tackle when No one else seems too. Gute made a mistake selecting Burks. And Goodson isn't the answer either. The Ilb has been the biggest mistake in part, because of the 3-4-4. I hate it. Fackrell sure didn't help either. And Now we have to over-pay Martinez because of it. You say we shouldn't. I agree. We shouldn't because thats the only way Gute will do something about it. It being the defense!!! Not Martinez. Gute needs replacements. And you can't pay Martinez, if you have to replace players that fall down, can't tackle, or have no push. The biggest part of the 3-4-4 is the LBs. It's time for change. The game is won in the Trench. It's time for change. Only then will we go to the super-bowl.

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CAG123's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:14 am

Huh? You cant make up speed and lack of instincts I really encourage folks to go take a look at his pre draft profile and tell me those exact same things still don't apply to this very day he was always a tackle machine, decent blitzer, poor in pass coverage, limited athlete, doesn't diagnose plays meaning he hasn't evolved as a player and most likely wont get any better. I say all this hoping that another dlinemen can mask his flaws and he takes a nice 10-12 million dollar deal because I do like the things you cant measure with Martinez heart, grit, leadership etc. It is a rather conflicting topic with him because the Packers do need improvements in that area.

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KeepErMovin's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:49 am

You hope we pay him $10-$12 Million!?! God no. ILB is the least impactful position on defense (unless you have one of like 5 players).
Get another DL and have an athlete play ILB. Martinez aint it.

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CAG123's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:09 am

So is it impactful or not? 10-12 million isn’t a lot at all compared to Wagz and Mosley. That’s the same mentality TT had and is the reason the Packers are in this mess you can’t just devalue a position and throw an “athlete” at it and think that will fix things. I said 12 but I’m really hoping it’s no more than 10.

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KeepErMovin's picture

February 26, 2020 at 04:13 pm

If you have an Elite ILB then the position is impactful. Outside of like 5 players, nobody moves the needle at ILB.

"In this mess" You mean like playing in the NFC championship game??

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Leatherhead's picture

February 11, 2020 at 02:20 pm

Tackles make an impact. Plays without tackles are called touchdowns.

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stockholder's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Make up.-Huh: I wasn't thinking 40 time.= A Better DL can reduce the Hits on Martinez. He won't be going sideline to Sideline, if the guy next to him doesn't get caught up in the D- line. He won't get hung up on blocks, if the DL pushes and does ITs job up front. The DL is suppose to be disruptive, and let the Lbs make the plays in front of them. Martinez hasn't changed and won't. I agree with Cory. Spending 15 -20 mil. on Lbs won't improve the DL. This 3-4-4 depends on 4 Lbs. Not one MLB. Martinez was out of position against SF.Several Times. . He played like S**t. Don't give me that leader crap. He knew his responsibility was to stop the RUN.

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mamasboy's picture

February 11, 2020 at 10:38 am

Maybe Martinez would be better in a 4-3. More D linemen to keep blockers off of him.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Pettine babbled about being multiple in the State-of-the -defense remarks last Summer, but I didn't see a whole lot of 4-3 looks. Conceding first downs because you don't want to go heavy up front and depending on 215# safeties to bring the wood in the run stop still is hard to get a handle on.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 11, 2020 at 05:38 pm

Somewhere during the season Pettine lost trust in his DL. He did cut his formations to the 3-4 and 2-6 with the limited number of DL the Packer defense did play in the later stages of the season. I would like to know why.

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RCPackerFan's picture

February 11, 2020 at 07:48 am

I really like Martinez. And I do think he is undervalued amongst many Packer fans. He is a tackling machine who gets himself into great position with really good instincts to make many good plays.

If the price was right, I would absolutely bring Martinez back. The problem though is I doubt the price will be right. With the players that they are going to be needing to resign in the next couple of years I don't see how they can resign Martinez to be honest.

We need an upgrade at ILB regardless of whether or not Martinez comes back. We need an upgrade with speed and play making ability. I could see them looking for some cheaper options at ILB in FA, but I think they will be looking at the draft to find a guy.

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KeepErMovin's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:08 am

His instincts are far from "really good".
He's a tackling machine like AJ Hawk was. Always 4-5 yards down field.

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PeteK's picture

February 11, 2020 at 06:58 pm

Hawks highest total was 119(reached low 100s 3 more x) Martinez 155 and 144 the last two yrs. Now that's a tackling machine!

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randypressentin's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Martinez sucks. He can’t tackle worth a darn either. And he can’t fill the holes either. Don’t know what Packer games you were watching the past 3 years. He stinks

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carlos's picture

February 11, 2020 at 06:03 pm

He’s been in the NFL so he can’t be all bad. He’s a great leader, person it seems, hard worker, etc. just doesn’t fit the system in Green Bay anymore on a huge salary. Wish him the best, but time to move on. He’ll find a new team if the Pack do let him go. Won’t take long either.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 12, 2020 at 03:58 am

What is the right price?
How much is too much?

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croatpackfan's picture

February 12, 2020 at 07:38 am

Wise question!

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Guam's picture

February 11, 2020 at 07:55 am

I think both Gute and Martinez have been pretty clear that there has been little contact between them and no discussions about a new contract have taken place. The Packers are moving on - the question is who replaces Martinez. I find it hard to believe that either Burks or Summers are the preferred replacement, but maybe they expect Summers to make a big jump (he has the speed Martinez doesn't have) in his second year. I would like to see the Packers acquire a good FA ILB, but I just don't know if they have the cap space to do so in light of their stated intentions to resign Bulaga and Crosby.

I also believe that DL is a bigger priority than ILB. Our defensive line got shredded by SF twice and other teams also ran the ball on us pretty effectively. Improve the DL through FA and the draft and our ILBs will look better. It is tough for an ILB to be fast or effective with a 300 pound guard planted in his chest.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:22 pm

D line is a place for free agency then nab another player in the fourth to sixth round. ILB in the third round. Depends if they keep Bulaga on board. He will affect draft need and selections.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 11, 2020 at 05:59 pm

Yes, Gute's final season presser was very up front about the Packer road map short term and how he looks at the future after this draft. He didn't hide, and he did not lie. He told everyone what his road ahead is. Can he produce. At the stage of his career, I wouldn't bet against it.

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NickPerry's picture

February 11, 2020 at 07:55 am

If Gute was smart and I think he's very smart he'll let Martinez walk and hope Murry or Queen falls to him at 30 or he'll draft one of the 2nd tier guys in the 3rd/4th rounds and get a BIG dude like Michael Pierce to play in front up front next to Clark. I suppose he could try and sign Nick Kwiatkoski and I'd actually like that but I wonder how much Kwiatkoski will get offered especially after doing a pretty damn good job for Trevation once he was injured last season. Hell the Bears may try and keep Kwiatkoski themselves since both are FA.

I can't wait for the combine, Free Agency, and finally the draft to get here. I mean how AWESOME is it to know we have a GM who will actually use the other ways of team building like free agency and trades?

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:05 am

I think you hit on a key point and that's the Combine. It hasn't happened yet...so we look at these ILB prospects but we have no idea who will get that extra boost and move up boards. Many argue that GMs and scouts don't put a lot of stock in the workout portion of the Combine, but all we ever have to work with is the flood of draftnik media--which is usually pretty wrong come draft day.

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KeepErMovin's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:11 am

The workouts at the combine are mostly treated like Pass/Fail.
If player X at position Y meets threshold Z type of thing.

GB is a big RAS (Relative Athletic Score) team, so workouts might hold a little more weight for them.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Watch their Film, not the RAS scores.

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KeepErMovin's picture

February 26, 2020 at 04:06 pm

Yeah, but GB values RAS scores more than most teams.
It's relevant when trying to figure out who they may be targeting.

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stockholder's picture

February 11, 2020 at 11:52 am

Murry or Queen ? Murray will fall. Queen isn't going to hold up. I prefer Dye. Speed and can get Off Blocks. And get Quarterman with him. They read fast! But if you want toughness. Old school Nitchske and Butkiss. Then get Jordyn Brooks Team Captain/Leader and Evan Weaver/// (BOTH!) Weaver was voted a defensive MVP in the Reese Senior Bowl.

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm

In my limited exposure, I like Dye as well.

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CAG123's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Serious question: Do you watch a lot of college football? I thought I did but you really have a lot of guys on radar I find myself looking up.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Would not pick an ILB in the first round with WRs and OTs bringing the real value to the draft.

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stockholder's picture

February 11, 2020 at 01:17 pm

I agree. All the LBs will be gone in Rd. 2 and before the packers pick in rd. 3. I wouldn't include Ot rd.1. But later . Much later. Why? We don't need a LT. RT has always been a later Bargain. Rodgers seemed happy with the OL. But not WR./// And with all the fan base wanting a FA Wr -. Well it should be the Best Buy @30. But how I would love to get D. Swift Rb, if the top 6 Wrs are gone.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Maybe they look at Krys Barnes for cover backer and give Burks the heave-ho? The Packer brain trust tends to hang on to their pupils longer than Big Bad Bill, but Gutekunst has shown his business side too. Year three of the rebuild.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 12, 2020 at 11:03 am

Baun is better than any of these guys. He is projected to go in the second rd.

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packerbackerjim's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:04 am

Through dedication and intelligence Martinez has maximized his physical capability. Would that all would do the same. It is time to upgrade the ILB positions. Gute will explore all avenues to do just that. The draft will be more riveting than most for Packer fans. How it plays out will determine which of three positions Gute will address first. The combine will create even more conjecture.

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ABZdroik's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:14 am

If he will sign a cap friendly deal I would love to see him back. Just makes too many plays to let him walk. I understand the need for speed, but he is proven.

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CoachDino's picture

February 12, 2020 at 12:22 am

Bringing him back would need to be very inexpensive 5mil..
Even then he's not a 3 down lb, he's not a pass rusher, he's not sideline to sideline, he can't cover in man or zone and could never cover in the slot. He's not a run stuffer, he's not a solution.
What he is won't cut it, nice guy, leader, who tackles like a safety - 5 yards from the line of scrimmage falling backwards as he wraps and holds on....

A 1st year Draft pick will not be much better in 2020 (most likely). Is dye the new age ILB? What makes him a possible improvement will be coverage. If the DL improves then these smaller guys who can cover will really help...

Should be interesting...

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CAG123's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:43 am

Gute once again finds himself having to invest deeply in a position that ol Ted just couldn’t get right (the other being safety) now he has to decide what to do with another limited player, that’s not great in coverage or in run support but brings one particular aspect of his job to the table interceptions for HHCD and now tackles for Blake both were always ready for game day. I think we all know how this is going to end.

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Packer_Fan's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:49 am

Yes, let Martinez go. The defense still needs more talent. Here is my solution.

Sign Clark. Sign a mid level DL. Sign a mid level ILB. Resign Williams, he is still viable. Sign, Lancaster and Fackwell for depth. Draft an ILB in 1st or 2nd round. And I hate to say this but draft another DB in rounds 4 thru 7

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:59 am

I think drafting a CB in just about any round makes sense. CB is a high-attrition position and you can never have enough good ones. With Jackson not showing well so far and Hollman still being an unknown, even if TWill comes back there's plenty of uncertainty.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 11, 2020 at 01:04 pm

The slot corner position has to be upgraded.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 12, 2020 at 04:20 am

Jaire, Chandon, and King (who is in a contract year and really hasn't been more than low average when he can get on the field). While I like Hollman and Ento, GB can't rely on them. Jackson looks iffy right now.

Last year at #44 I vacillated between OC McCoy and Greedy Williams. Either would have been a good pick, as was Jenkins.

There are seven to nine CBs in the top 60 prospects on many big boards. Grabbing one in almost any round can be defended.

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4zone's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:51 am

It's easy to spout drop this guy and replace him with someone better but there are no guarantees here. Look how long we've looked for upgrades at TE and WR. Just because we want an all world FA doesn't mean they want to play here, or that we can afford them without a major dismantling of the decent players we already have. You only get 2, maybe 3 upgrades in any given draft unless you trade away the future.

Martinez is an unusually classy guy the likes of which don't come around that often. Maybe he fits better in a 4-3 than a 3-4, who's to say. But regardless if he stays or if he goes, just treat the guy with some respect will ya. He deserves at least that much from us arm chair critics.

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:11 am

"It's easy to spout drop this guy and replace him with someone better but there are no guarantees here."

If the Packers go to the draft looking for an ILB, I think there are a couple Martinez types who come out every year: guys who make their name in college by being where they're supposed to be and making tackles. Maybe they don't play with the kind of speed you'd really like to have or move as well in space, but they're there. I think worst case if Martinez walks, they get a cheaper Martinez.

It doesn't change the fact that there are 2-3 other spots on the defense that need an upgrade as much if not more than Martinez's spot. Unless you hit the jackpot in the draft over a couple years and develop successfully, the cap keeps teams from having more than a couple standouts on their defense...that means that you need to make do at most positions with average or slightly-better-than-average NFL players. That's Martinez...or someone like him.

" Look how long we've looked for upgrades at TE and WR."

Almost as long as they've been looking for a standout ILB?

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Sol's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:50 am

I can't agree with you more he is a quality guy that has carried the G for the Team as much or more than anyone. Weather he stays or goes I am sure of one thing. He will be a great addition to anyone's Locker Room.

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Handsback's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:09 am

Here is Martinez prospectus:
What you see is what you get with Martinez. An average player in terms of straight-line speed, Martinez can be beat to the corner and must win with pursuit angles down the sideline.

An average tackler when asked to break down and thud a ball-carrier, Martinez is susceptible to stiff arms and spin moves, as well as an old-fashioned helmet in his chest. With a frame that’s seemingly maxed out, Martinez doesn’t bring much upside to the table.

A lack of explosiveness limits Martinez as a playmaker. He can’t hang deep in coverage and is limited to a zone-coverage linebacker only because of his poor long speed. Martinez most likely projects as a two-down player in the NFL, as he doesn’t offer much as a pass-rusher or cover man.

Here is Murray's prospectus:
In the ground game, Murray is a very physical tackler with sideline-to-sideline speed and has some ability to take on blocks at the point of attack. He is a very good tackler who wraps up ball-carriers and puts them into the turf forcefully. Murray has the size and mentality to take on blocks, holds his ground, sheds blocks, and gets in on tackles. He has been a tackling machine throughout his collegiate career, as he is a superb run defender and projects to be a force to shut down and limit offenses' ground game.

Murray is an asset in pass coverage too. Team sources like his athleticism and coverage ability, which are vital to be a three-down starter and difference-maker for a non-pass-rushing linebacker in the modern NFL. He covers a lot of ground in zone coverage, is a smooth mover in space, and does a nice job of disrupting throwing lanes. His size and athleticism allow him to have the potential to play some man coverage on tight ends and backs out of the backfield. On dump-off passes to the flat, Murray explodes into the ball-carrier and is very good at making tackles in space. He has the speed to run down the middle seam as well. Murray's skill set and instincts make him an excellent spy to help neutralize a mobile quarterback as well.

OK, Murray seems to be an upgrade, but do you go all in and let Martinez go and hope you get Murray? Trade Up? It seems to me a big gamble, since not another difference maker at that spot. I don't think Queen is a 1st round guy IMHO.

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:16 am

" I don't think Queen is a 1st round guy IMHO."

But will he be as good or better than Martinez in the last couple years of ARod's "window"?

You need an upgrade if Martinez is allowed to walk, right? In this case, a cheap one (compared to Martinez) on a rookie deal. It's a matter of where you can get him and what draft capital that will cost. BG has shown no fear moving his picks around.

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Slim11's picture

February 11, 2020 at 10:05 am

I like Murray but GB has little chance to get him at #30. They'll have to trade up to get a chance at him.

Queen is not a first rounder and is probably a high second. Again, if GB wants a chance at Queen, they'll have to trade out of the first round into an earlier second round pick than they currently have at #62.

Martinez might be available if...IF...he goes through the first round of free agency and isn't signed by another team. As unlikely as this sounds, one only needs to look at one Charles Woodson. Strange things happen during the free agent "frenzy" where a lot of teams make some crazy signings. If Martinez doesn't go somewhere else, his price certainly drops and he might return on a team-friendly deal.

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2020 at 10:06 am

There will always be players that come available throughout the FA/draft/minicamp period as other teams start to shake out their acquisitions and roster situations.

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CAG123's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:19 am

I feel like this might be a position where they have to double maybe even triple dip once for FA and twice in the draft which really sucks but this is the spot they find themselves in. It’s the reason why no matter what these analytics nerds say I try not to devalue any position whether it be ILB, SS or RB it’s easy to dismiss it until you have a MD Jennings, insert whatever crap ILB TT drafted or a converted WR playing them.

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PeteK's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:41 am

5 yrs ,60 mill with 40 guaranteed, if someone offers much more then we have to let him go. Be careful here because it's very difficult to replace a very sturdy, young ILB at a physically demanding position, 140 TKLs, and great leadership.

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randypressentin's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:46 pm

I wouldn’t offer him anything. Cut him! He sucks altogether!

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 11, 2020 at 01:15 pm

Hard to cut a free-agent.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 12, 2020 at 04:27 am

The Packers can cut him. Martinez isn't a free agent until March 18.

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GRB1531's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:04 pm

If Martinez was assigned to cover TE or RB out of the backfield who would be making the tackles ? The other LB whoever that is or then the CBs or FS down the field .But Sommers next to Blake and see if he will get some at ILB. He does need some help at LB

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Leland's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:42 am

Knowing cost is the big issue here, I would make every effort to keep him if possible. Changes to the defensive scheme could make him less vulnerable in coverage situations. Also, nobody can cover forever, we need a better pass rush on a consistent basis. If he walks you will need two ILBs. The safeties and CBs will end up making more tackles, more physical abuse, more injuries. Give him a better partner in the middle and he will make us happy we kept him. With all his up side an effort should be made to make it work.

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2020 at 10:07 am

I think most of what you point to would be addressed with a good, 3-down DE.

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Spock's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:49 am

I like Martinez but am in the "if the price is right" column for keeping/letting him go. The problem is getting an assignment sure AND better option this year. I'm inclined to got with the "get a decent extra DL alongside Clark" crowd here. Also, Cory, I disagree with this line from your post, "And Jaire Alexander will be the best cover corner in the NFC North by 2021. He made a huge jump this past season and he continues to impress with his amazing athletic ability." From what I saw this year Jaire took more of a step back than any kind of 2nd year jump. I think Alexander has tons of ability and should be better this year but disagree that he made improvement last season.

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Since'61's picture

February 11, 2020 at 10:20 am

Martinez is a good player but "he ain't no Nitschke"(paraphrasing from Charlie Wilson's War). Gute needs to stick with his plan of bringing in more athletic talent than what we have had. Last year he brought in better players at OLB and Safeties and both positions were improved and resulted in an improved overall defense at least until we played SF.

I advocate that we continue that plan and bring in better players at ILB and on the DL to support Kenny Clark. Whether we can achieve that via FA, trade, the draft or a combination of all is fine with me. Via the draft we will certainly get a player cheaper than what it will cost to retain Martinez. Via FA Gute will need to determine if the cost of an upgrade over Martinez is worth the cap hit.

What we do know is that regardless of how we do it we need to improve our ILB and DL to move our defense up to the next level required to win at a championship level. Thanks, Since '61

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Lare's picture

February 11, 2020 at 02:02 pm

IMO, Martinez is a good complementary ILB that is an asset as long as you have a very good ILB playing next to him that can play sideline to sideline and cover passes. The problem is the Packers haven't put a very good ILB next to him so Martinez is stuck trying to be used as a square peg in a round hole.

The Packers won't stop the run or passes to the TE until they strengthen the middle of the defense, both at DL and ILB.

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Since'61's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:14 pm

Agree Lare. But the problem for Martinez is that his price will likely be too high for the Packers to retain him regardless of who is playing ILB next to him. We can't play Martinez and pay a solid sideline to sideline ILB who can cover. Maybe we can draft one but Martinez will probably still be a salary cap casualty. Thanks, Since '61

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TXCHEESE's picture

February 11, 2020 at 10:56 am

Martinez, is A.J. Hawk 2.0. That's not a slam, just that he is good, not spectacular. Hawk always had tons of tackles, albeit 4 yards past the line of scrimmage. Martinez is NEVER going to get faster, and will never be a player offenses feel they have to account for. Upgrade the physical talent.

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PatrickGB's picture

February 11, 2020 at 11:19 am

I read somewhere that Sean Lee might be a FA this year. I know he gets injured a lot but he can be a good stopgap until we can draft/develop another good MLB.

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Point-Packer's picture

February 11, 2020 at 11:46 am

All the green and gold gobbly gook per usual on this topic. Martinez was the weakest link in 2019 defense, by far. Stop telling me how many tackles he had or about leadership, as neither of those matter when SF is running the ball down your throat or (insert team here) is exploiting you at the short or intermediate levels in the middle of the field cause your ILB runs like he has cream city bricks in this shoes.

For the love of god, smart teams targeted Martinez and forced him to be the one to make a play and torched him all season long.

Obviously time for a change. No question about it.

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Timeout's picture

February 11, 2020 at 03:32 pm

Yeah, they re-sign Martinez and the fans continue to complain about the tackling 5 yards downfield and lack of coverage skills.. Got it.

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randypressentin's picture

February 11, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Attn: CoryJennerJohn and all the other Packer fans of Blake Martinez. Are you all high on Meth or something? Martinez is and always will be flipping horrible! He has no business playing in the NFL! While other successful defenses in the NFL have inside linebackers with 4.4 speed, Martinez comes in at a whopping 6.1. As long as I have seen him played, he sucks. Let him go. He should have been cut at the beginning of the 2018 season. What a joke to see him in action against the 49er’s in the NFC Championship game. If the Packers even attempt to resign him, the fan base should fire all upper management and LeFluer.

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JerseyAl's picture

February 11, 2020 at 01:26 pm

exaggerate much?

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Swisch's picture

February 11, 2020 at 02:18 pm

Sad to say, but it seems we need an upgrade from Martinez, even as we appreciate all the good work he has done for us.
He doesn't seem to be strong enough to blow up blockers, nor fast enough to run past them.
In order to compensate for his lack of pass coverage, Martinez would need to be that stronger, faster guy who stops the run.
I wonder if Gary may be that stronger, faster guy?
Also, would it make sense to change to a 4-3 with Gary in the middle and the Smiths on the outside (and perhaps Fackrell and Goodson and Burks as subs)?
One key decision for the Packers in free agency may be whether to get a really stout defensive tackle, or a really superior ILB -- a guy who makes an impact right away as the Smiths did this past season.

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CAG123's picture

February 11, 2020 at 04:45 pm

So you want to change their high priced FA pass rushers into overpriced LBs and make them play coverage? Because the pass rush in a 4-3 is generated from the DEs so if anything both of them will have to play with their hands in the dirt all the time Gary too. I mean they're great and all but I don’t think you want them playing in space every down. So that means the Packers would still need 3 starting caliber MLBs.

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Swisch's picture

February 11, 2020 at 03:32 pm

Glad to get your perspective, CAG123, as I was sincerely asking the question about the 3-4 versus 4-3, not knowing what is best for the Packers.
Another sincere question I have for you and anyone else in the neighborhood: What is the future for Ty Summers at ILB and Kingsley Keke at interior lineman? Do either of those guys have the potential to be top performers for the Packers, and how soon?
It seems one of the big considerations as far as free agency and the draft this year is assessing the young guys we already have on the team, and if any are ready to make a big jump into a top performer.
Even Oren Burks is young enough entering year three to be a consideration for the future.
We as fans don't see these guys at practice, so it's tough to evaluate.
Even so, I'm wondering if any of the writers for Cheesehead TV, or any of us as fans, are bold enough, or brash enough, to be willing to go out on a limb for any of our younger guys at any position on the team -- including Tonyan, Sternberger, Madison, MVS, and Kumerow.
Who among us will make the Gutesy calls now that could make them look like a budding GM next year if any of those current players come through with a big jump upwards.

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wildbill's picture

February 11, 2020 at 03:49 pm

Love Martinez’s heart, toughness, and great character. I don’t think anyone would argue about those. I tape Packer wins and rewatch them many times( my wife thinks I’m nuts but it’s better than what’s on tv). Recently I have focused on his play. I have no training on grading football players, but the eye test showed someone who had issues disengaging from blockers and was slow to the sidelines. Add poor pass defense and it was kinda tough to watch. He did make many tackles down field but saw very little explosive capability. Either by draft, trade, or FA I feel we can get an upgrade at a lot smaller cost than he will command

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Leland's picture

February 11, 2020 at 03:55 pm

If he's as bad and useless as is stated here, a vet min. offer is all that is needed to keep him. Lets see who and what is offered and then decide the best move. What the 49er's did was not all his fault.

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Dragon5's picture

February 11, 2020 at 08:26 pm

I had Miss St brute LB Erroll Thompson to plug the MIKE...unfortunately he just recommitted for next year :(

Appalachian St LB Akeem Davis-Gaither is the solution to the WILL spot to replace Burks...if combine positive probably comes off the board in 3rd round

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GRB1531's picture

February 11, 2020 at 09:22 pm

Let Martinez go and find another LB that is given the same help at ILB as Blake. I can't wait to see how much improvement the Defense will be. Who were the Packers LBs that were next to Blake this year and what were their stats.

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tm_inter's picture

February 12, 2020 at 02:02 pm

Martinez was drafted in the 4th round and plays like a 4th rounder. The Packers can get an upgrade by drafting an ILB in the first three rounds. But we also need a big run-stopper and a good WR in the early rounds.

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