Krys Barnes Takes Over at ILB1 and Shines

Krys Barnes took over at ILB1 against Carolina and he shined as he provided the Green Bay Packers with an impactful 3-down linebacker. 

This past offseason, the Green Bay Packers made the correct decision in letting Blake Martinez sign elsewhere in free agency, but it left them with a hole to fill at the inside linebacker position. And with limited cap space to work with, it was a hole that they tried to fill with Christian Kirksey.
 
Kirksey had battled injuries the previous two seasons and played in only nine out of a possible 32 regular-season games with Cleveland during that span. However, for a player that had shown that he could be a productive 3-down linebacker, GM Brian Gutekunst thought it was worth taking a swing on Kirksey, who signed a relatively cheap two-year deal with an out after 2020, in hopes that he would regain some of his old form.
 
Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Kirksey was once again sidelined with an injury from Weeks 4 through 9, and when he has been on the field, he just hasn't made those impact plays. 
 
Up until the Detroit game a week ago, Kirksey had been on the field for 100 percent of the defensive snaps in each game that he's played in this season, excluding the New Orleans game where he left with an injury. Yet despite totaling 70 tackles, he has no tackles for loss, just one pressure, only three stops -- which are plays that constitute a "failure" for the offense -- and he's been largely ineffective in coverage.
 
To put it simply, Kirksey just hasn't been getting the job done, and the middle of this Green Bay Packers' defense continues to be shredded by opponents. That's why we saw his snap count take a hit in Week 14 against Detroit as Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes saw more playing time, and then in Green Bay's most recent game against Carolina, it was Barnes who was named the starter and given the green dot, while Kirksey was relegated to rotating with Martin as the Will linebacker. 
 
Barnes has been one of the pleasant surprises this season as an undrafted rookie out of UCLA. He was a surprise last-minute addition to Green Bay's Week 1 roster against Minnesota, where he put together an impressive performance on only 15 defensive snaps. Since then, he has missed some time, but he has still managed to make a bigger impact than Kirksey, and he's done so with less playing time.
 
While Barnes' play may have come as a surprise to many of us, Packers' safety Adrian Amos mentioned after the Carolina game that Barnes had shown early on that he could hold his own:
 
“Once you get on the field for the first couple games, he just showed he can play ball. He’s out there making plays. He’s got a great feel for defense. He picked it up fast. He’s fast to the ball.”
 
The stats that I referenced above for Kirksey took him 501 snaps to reach. But Barnes, he's been on the field for just 310 snaps and has left a more impactful mark on this Packers' season. Barnes has four tackles for loss to Kirksey's one; he has five pressures while Kirksey has just one, and Barnes has 22 stops to Kirksey's three. 
 
As a result, Barnes got the nod as ILB1 against the Panthers, and my goodness, he did not disappoint. Barnes was on the field for only 31 defensive snaps before he was forced to leave the game with an eye injury. But in those 31 snaps, he still managed six tackles, one of which was for a loss when he blew up a screen-play and three stops--the same number that Kirksey has had all season.
Barnes also had what Matt LaFleur called "the play of the game," when he swatted the ball out of a leaping Teddy Bridgewater's hands as he tried to reach for the goal line. The Packer offense then scored, giving them a 21-3 lead when it very well could have been 14-10 instead. 
LaFleur had this to say about Barnes performance after the game (via Packers News):
 
“I just think his instincts and intelligence, he does such a great job of communicating and everything that needs to go on out there,” LaFleur said. “I think he sees plays very, very quickly, is able to process and diagnose, and there's no hesitation in his game.
 
“Once he sees it, he goes, and I think that's what was evident on the QB sneak. You know, he heard the quarterback's audible, and he played the play and was able to make a hell of a play, the play of the game.”
 
Per Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated, he was told by a source that Barnes' eye injury is "nothing serious." So my expectations are that we will see him on the field this coming Sunday when Tennessee comes to town. And with the NFL's leading rusher Derrick Henry going to get plenty of touches, Green Bay will need Barnes on the field and picking up right where he left off. 
 
Gutey took a swing on Kirksey, but it's a move that hasn't paid off. However, the same impact and 3-down ability that Green Bay was hoping Kirksey would provide is instead coming from an unlikely source--undrafted rookie Krys Barnes, who appears to be more than up to the task of taking over as ILB1 in this Packers' defense. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (59)

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4thand1's picture

December 21, 2020 at 06:52 am

A lot of angst about the poor second half of the game. We may have an ILBER now, and look what happened to the Rams! The Pack needs one more win to secure the #1 seed in the NFC, things could be worse. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2020 at 08:35 am

Actually, that one win needs to be Chicago to guarantee the #1 seed. Of course, we want to be the Titans but it becomes of less importance then the bears game.

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 06:11 pm

Damn straight. Most wins in the nfl are not pretty. And the defense not just helped but carried them. This panthers team does not give up and has not been blown out all season. They lost 33 31 to the chiefs. They have shown up every single week. And barnes, the safetys, the big guys up front all did their jobs, the Safetys did more than just their jobs, and have been better every week. If king is going to continue to get beat, the safetys are going to have to keep that up. But with barnes at least holding his ground against backs and tes, the packers can afford to give king more safety help. Wit that being said, im ready for the kevin king from weeks 1 thru 4 to show up. He was playing the best ball of the year before he got hurt. Im ready for that guy to show up, help us win a sb. Help himself get paid somewhere else.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 21, 2020 at 06:59 am

I hope moving forward Barnes is our ILB1. He has the speed and ability to makes plays sideline to sideline. He showed he has the awareness to diagnose plays fast and get where has to be. That screen pass was a perfect example.

I think Barnes and Martin are the best 2 ILB's we have. They offer the biggest playmaking potential.

Kirksey for whatever reason looks old and slow. He has a place in the defense but I do think the best pair right now is Martin and Barnes.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 21, 2020 at 07:11 am

Wasn't it Elliot Wolfs comment about ILBs "Obviously you guys think that position is more important than we do."?

He's a Front Office Consultant with the Patriots now.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 21, 2020 at 07:59 am

I don't remember the exact quote but yes that was Wolf's comment.

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2020 at 10:59 am

I think they were saying the same things about safeties when MD Jennings was runnin' around back there.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 21, 2020 at 12:41 pm

(Triggered) WHY did you have to remind me of the Doctor?!?

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 21, 2020 at 03:26 pm

dobber seems to be on a roll unearthing painful memories. His wraparound draw to Paul Ott Carruth comment, while a spot-on analogy, left me feeling like I was staring at the TV after a 9-6 loss to the Bears. What's next, dobber, Alden Roche? John Spillis? It's the holidays, FFS, lighten up on us! :)

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2020 at 08:20 pm

Ho! Ho! Ho! ;)

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 06:13 pm

Marquan manuel the big signing. But yeah he was bad. Kentrell bryce more recently

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Guam's picture

December 21, 2020 at 07:44 am

Local paper quoted MLF as saying Barnes got poked in the eye and suffered some visions issues for a short while, but is fine now (Monday am). The Packers will need him for Tennessee and Derrick Henry. Between Martin and Barnes, the Packers have two good young ILBs. I hope they give both of them lots of playing time over the last two regular season games and relegate Kirksey to backup.

I think both Kirksey and Burks are gone next year (Burks missed block almost got Scott's punt blocked Saturday) and the Packers will spend one or more of their ten draft picks on another rookie ILB.

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PackfanNY's picture

December 21, 2020 at 08:12 am

Guam, I hope you are right on drafting an ILB. However, on multiple occasions of the last few drafts the Packers have not taken the ILB. Agree or not they have proven they just don’t value the run stuffing ILB.

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2020 at 08:59 am

However, if you look across the league many top ILBs were picked in later rounds, of the top 15 tacklers this season ,only two were picked in the first round(Smith, White). It's a passing league so pass rushers, corners , and safeties come first. I think Dafney missed the block.

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Guam's picture

December 21, 2020 at 10:12 am

I don't think it will be a high draft choice. Most likely a 4th or 5th round pick since they will probably have two of both (4th for Bulaga, 5th for Martinez). You are correct the Packers don't value the position enough to expend more than what they spent previously on Martin (5th) or Martinez (4th).

PeteK: I thought it was Burks and Jersey Al confirmed in another thread it was Burks.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 21, 2020 at 12:16 pm

There is zero reason for Burks to be on this squad from Game # one. Gutedkunst's guy, so he stays. Nothing to show from him on coverage units and looks like a front yard statuary when sent in on a dime package. Why?

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CoachDino's picture

December 21, 2020 at 05:03 pm

Burks is a ST core player. The packers actually still have him on a very affordable rookie contract. He was a highly touted ILB prospect in the draft so no surprise he went in the 3rd rd but he has better an utter disappointment as an ILB and will be gone after this year.

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Coldworld's picture

December 21, 2020 at 10:16 am

Interesting question on where we draft ILB. If Martin pans out as I expect, I think he will eventually be our best ILB, though it’s incredibly early and he makes some bad decisions. Since Barnes looks like he is a keeper, and seemingly has great instincts, which you can’t buy, any new ILB is probably ILB 3.

If Pettine stays, then Hybrid seems then to be the priority since Greene’s durability is questionable and he could be a better bet as a back up and utility central d/b with his instincts and tackling. We definitely need a hybrid if the scheme remains the same, If we change coaches then it depends on planned usage and a third ILB May replace the hybrid. But Barnes was a UDFA and Martin a 5th I think. How high would we go for ILB 3.

I think if Pettine stays, Hybrid is an early round priority as there are few larger types with the skills (Greene is indeed a UDFA but he’s undersized if ripped). Chin is an example perhaps. If we change, I’d gues late second or third day is the likeliest timing for a true ILB.

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2020 at 11:06 am

ILBs get hurt. You need at least 3 in a 3-4 who can reliably absorb snaps, so I would argue that a drafted ILB being #3 on the depth chart isn't a problem.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm

A guy who can move and hit is a high priority. I like Martin, but injuries are an issue. Get another guy by round three.

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Coldworld's picture

December 21, 2020 at 01:58 pm

I agree you need depth, was getting at priority, or where one drafts, and the fact that Pettine staying or going may change the priority and type.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 21, 2020 at 03:08 pm

I would go BPA between CB, WR and ILB round one. Whoever they choose needs to be a playmaker. I would get another guard round two.

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Guam's picture

December 21, 2020 at 11:58 am

If Kirksey and Burks are both gone, then our ILB3 would be Summers without a draft choice and I don't believe Summers will ever be more than a special teamer. I think the Packers will have to devote a third day draft choice to ILB just for depth purposes.

If they go hybrid, that could be a second day draft choice. Unfortunately Burks is an example of a second day hybrid that did not work out.

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CoachDino's picture

December 21, 2020 at 05:47 pm

Couple things.

There's basically 4 ILB that can play 3 downs and are projected to be impact players.
The guys from Penn St and ND are projected to go top 5 to 15 then Zach Collins and Bolton late 1 early 2nd rd. After that its slim pickens for 3 down ILBs. That said who knows. Collins is a freak but plays against sub par competition, Bolton is like Queen all over the place but undersized.

I hope barnes is the Answer but he has had plenty of issues this year and is ranked like 79th out of 89 at ILB.

CB,OT and IDL 3 down players mostly go in rd 1 into rd 2. Plus it's just how the board falls. I wouldn't use an early pick on a WR but if for some reason a stud drops then hey, might be the best bet. I venture to say thats what happened with Love, they might of had an eye on him but his value was so much higher than anyone else on the board it made it worth it.

please keep in mind where the Packers Pick. Blue Chip players normally go in the top 10 maybe 15 in a good draft. After that the talent level normally drops off through rd 2. The packers usually and hopefully this year pick at the end of those rds drastically limiting the odds of landing a tier 1 or two tier 2 guys. If King leaves they will need a CB early. Plus they may want to invest in a safety / CB who can play the slot. Sullivan, Redmen, even Raven Greene with his injury issues don't cut it. As always do the Packers feel they have guys who can step up. If we knew who those guys were it would be easier to determine the best draft stgy.

Every team is using Hybrid Safety/LB now days. The Qbs in this league are getting more and more mobile and DL and LBs often can't contain them. The type of defense required changed for me when Kapernick ran all over the packers in the playoffs. Its a big reason you see the focus on big guys that can run (like gary and Z) and Hybrid Safety ILB.

The packers do like to take guys with special tools and develop them which has paid off. Drafting so late in each rd it often comes down to a more established College player that has a limited ceiling or a Rd1 Talent that hasn't put it all together yet.

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:07 pm

Just look at blake martinez in ny. He has big block eaters in front. Go for lowrys replacement first. If theres a good edge guy on the board id take him too. Wr. Cb. They wont take an ilb til the 3rd day.

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CoachDino's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:39 am

I mentioned this the other day, How much has the Packers run D Changed since Martinez left? It's basically the same. A bit better against the run though that might be due to the leads they've enjoyed. So though we all aren't happy with Kirksey and have had to use Summers and Burks, (Blakes Back-ups) there this year it's no worse than when he was here. The Giants defense sticks, it grades out 6 spots lower than the Packers and that's with the Packers playing prevent defense more than any other team in the league. Martinez is graded out lower than Martin (though Martin doesn't have nearly the snaps, so its not a strong sample size)

Clark is the one responsible for taking up 2 linemen, he hasn't had a good year. Edge is always a good choice with its positional value. Unfortunately the Packers might have to take a CB if they choose not to be bring back King.

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 22, 2020 at 05:26 pm

The giants defense overall is worse than ours because they have 0 edge rush. I wasnt saying the giants d is better than ours. Just trying to make the point that ilb play can be impacted by dt play. Blake only looks better personally in ny because of who is in front of him. If you give martin and barnes another solid big boy from the draft next to kenny, it will make them that much better. At the end of the day, you have to rush the passer, and you have to cover. The giants cant rush the passer, so stuffing the run doesnt do them much good if the other team is completing pass after pass on 3rd n long anyway. And kenny clark takes on double teams but he is the only interior guy who does. He is playing better, along with the smiths and gary, and even lowry. But lowry needs to be replaced after this season for the entire front sevens benefit.

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Stroh's picture

December 21, 2020 at 10:12 pm

If Pettine has ILBs that can cover, the hybrid role will go to the wayside, except in 3rd and long situations IMO. Both Barnes and Martin seem to have some ability in that regard. I'm a little excited where the Defense can go if we start getting quality LB on a consistent basis.

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CoachDino's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:51 am

Hybrid is going no where its where the league is moving to, be it ILB/Safety or Safety/ILB meaning being stronger in one aspect or the other. Queen last year and the Guy from ND and Bolton out of Missouri this year are tiny for ILB but big for box safeties. On Third down and less than 4, second and long are all hybrid downs. I agree with you really for the most part in the idea that if we have a strong cover ILB (3 down) it will help the D. Unless you have 2 (which will hurt against the run as they will both be small) they are going to go to 1 ILB for about 50% of the snaps. Is it Zaven Collins out of some small school that projects as an ILB, he weighs 265 and plays like a run stuffer and a hybrid ILB/Safety. That's one guy I may take a chance on in the 1st rd as late as the Packers pick. Many mocks have him gone earlier.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

December 21, 2020 at 08:22 am

My play of the game was Barnes’ hit on Mike Davis on that screen pass. Haven’t seen a hit like that by a Packers ILB in years! Love his intensity and the way he plays downhill!

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mnbadger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Agreed, the best part of that hit was that Davis was starting to get cocky, even flexing his muscles after a run. After getting hit by Barnes, he wasn't the same.
The goal line fumble was more critical, but that was a great hit on Davis. I don't remember hits like that since before Brian Williams hurt his knee. GPG

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:12 pm

The only other guy hitting like that this year is barnes partner kamal martin. When he connects. Desmond bishop hit hard like that. Atari bigby. Theres been a few rare ones since brian williams. Unfortunately for us and for bigby and bishop is they couldnt stay healthy.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 21, 2020 at 08:47 am

It looks like every team in the NFC has exploitable flaws, so the two biggest determiners of who gets to the SB will be health (the bye is a must here), and who gets hot at the right time. Getting hot is often driven by a few players making a jump. When I saw the Martin and Barnes combination I thought, “That’s the spark.” I believe that our line is pretty much our line, and I don’t expect them to provide the jump. I predict if it happens it will be ILB and safety play, so the middle of the D. Amos and Savage have been playing at a high level lately, and Martin/Barnes could be the special sauce for a SB run.

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:03 am

Yes,Doug. Amos, has been laying the wood lately.

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:22 pm

Great point. If the ilbs keep this up and the safetys keep doing their thing wit the smiths and gary. Ill take p smiths flaws if he gives me a key sack on 3rd down most weeks. And all martin has to do is connect on some of his heat seaking missile tackles in the backfield. Because he continues to snuff out runs. Amos and savage have been awesome. As a fan nothing fascinates me more than good safety play. To watch amos come up and get moore on that 2nd play of the game or when he got teddy on 3rd down by the sideline. And the passes defensed he and savage had at least 5.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2020 at 08:47 am

In the first half of the year I wasn't sold on Barnes and neither is PFF rating, which rated him as below average. What I’ve learned over the past couple of games is that he is very instinctive and quick to react. This makes his average 40 time of around 4.7 less important. He has shown to have potential to become an NFL starter. He must become more consistent and with PT hopefully that will happen.

I really like Martin and if Barnes takes over the staring role and plays above average the importance of drafting an ILB early is greatly diminished. That would be awesome as I’d rather see them draft a DL early. Bye bye Kirksey.

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:08 am

Hello 6 mill cap relief and Jones signing.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2020 at 01:24 pm

Pete, I don't think Jones signing will be based on cutting Kirksey because there are so many other players to decide on and I'm not just talking this year. His signing will affect at least two years of cap space. One example is Tonyan. Another, could be picking up FA's from another team in areas of bigger need then RB position. They have their future RB in Dillon so I suspect they will want to spend the Cap in other positions. This has nothing to do with how good I think Jones is, but more importantly, making sure you have a well rounded team.

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 21, 2020 at 02:24 pm

"They have their future RB in Dillon"

I hope you're right, but that's hardly etched in stone at this point. Being drafted in the 2nd rounds guarantees nothing.

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:26 pm

They might sign jamal on the cheap. And go with jamal dillon. I truly think thats whatll happen. And it fuckin sucks. I think the kid dillon will be solid. Just the few runs he has had the dude looks like the great value version of saquan

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2020 at 04:43 pm

Taylor, Burks, Jackson,and Lewis will be off the books next year leaving room for a Tonyan signing. There will be other cap relief players off the bks in two yrs. Finally Dillon replaces Williams , two backs are need in todays football. Remember, Linsley was a 10 mill cap hit this year and I believe the Madman across the line, Elgton will be our center next year.

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:39 pm

Or they keep linsley and jamal and try to run it back with the best o line in football again. Look at lukey patricks performance saturday. He was the main reason rodgers was getting hiss ass handed to him. That big boy 95 was too much for lucas. He is not very strong at lg since he has been there. If he gets beat like that again runyan will be back in. So maybe runyan is the future. Maybe sign lane as a reserve again?? If hes healthy. Idk. I honestly thought theyd try elgton at LT when bakh was out. So much for that. I would love to see aaron jones back. But one of these teams with a rookie qb deal will pay him if we dont offer him enough.

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CoachDino's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:57 am

I couldn't agree with you more, plus below is a good comment on cutting Kirksey and saving some money. Not sure it's for Jones but it could be and wouldn't hurt. heck you might get Kirksey on a Veterans Min. They still need depth. Burks and Summers are never going to cut it, though I hope the best for them. heck draft another guy in the 5th and see what happens.

That's what I struggle with, who is going to step up so there isn't such an immediate need. They really do need to draft an OT stud. Play him at RT and then have him backfill at LT when Bachk plays out his contract.

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Pack88's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:00 am

You know as my Hs Ass't Coach used to say "Football is a skeel" (he was from Alabama) and all the athletic ability in the world pales to that! Biological Gifts are great (Jeff Janis) but football intelligence is an equal part of the equation and Kris Barnes seems to have it!

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:04 am

Good point Pack88, I would add passion and desire to Excell.

What I don’t understand is why PFF doesn’t agree and has him rated very low? Can Anyone with some knowledge on PFF shed some light on that?

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packerbackerjim's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:23 am

PFF sucks. They were wrong on HHCD, Jonathan Taylor, Baker Mayfield, not by a little but significantly. Makes me wonder if they actually watch players they seemingly evaluate.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 21, 2020 at 10:26 am

I think PFF has been pretty accurate. When he plays Will his grades were not good and when he plays Mike his grades improve. He has been getting better as a Will but he is a rookie who needed to diagnose right away because as an athlete, well he isn't Devin Bush or White. He was giving up a 130 passer rating when targeted (per PFR) but that should improve when PFR updates their advanced stats to include the Carolina game. Will ILBs who allow 130 passer ratings get and deserve low grades. PFF improved his grade after the Carolina game though it is still low.

PFF raised Kirksey's grade a little as well. Kamal Martin's grade improved slightly (now 76.6), but it was always good. The thing is that the Packers are bringing Martin along slowly, limiting his snaps to situations that fit his strengths: he has only played 9, 16, 12, and 22 snaps in the last four games. His snaps will increase as he shows he can handle more responsibilities.

BTW, the practice roundups noted that Barnes probably deserved a spot on the 53 (so somebody got it right - I think it was Andy Herman), but it was a numbers game as well. GB had Kirksey, Summers (STs), Martin as a 5th round draft pick, Burks for reasons that elude me, Z, P, Gary, Garvin already likely to make the team. That's 8, with Ramsey and Barnes in the mix, along with several OLBs that looked really good but needed strength or development like Tipa and Delontae Scott, though Scott at 6'4" and 246 is listed as edge and/or DE. That's a lot of linebackers.

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Coldworld's picture

December 21, 2020 at 10:39 am

Garvin surprised me when he made the team, he’s really in the same category as Tipa in terms of requiring time in the weight room. That’s said, the numbers suggested one OLB would make it in addition to the lower ceiling but more ready Ramsey. I’m guessing that and the draft standing/wider recognition tipped the scales to Garvin?

My understanding is that Scott is seen as a DE prospect who needs to add bully like Tipa and Garvin do at OLB. If they do and retain athleticism, there’s a lot of upside between those 3. Depending on how they are progressing, it’s possible we effectively have some credible new talent in those areas before next year’s draft. Personally, I’d like to see us add a cover capable type, not sure if Garvin or Tipa are candidates for that.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm

It all starts with removing Pettine.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for the info on PFF TGR. I can only see their grades so don't have the knowledge like you. It has to be very time consuming to watch every play of every player. Might they have many different employees grading players which could result in inconsistencies?

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Coldworld's picture

December 21, 2020 at 10:29 am

See the play others don’t; the knock out on the touchdown drive is an example. Diagnose what the opponent is doing; reactions are faster and more appropriate. In a 10 or 20 yard dash that advantage makes mincemeat of athletic testing comparatives. Know when to diverge from planned play: means in the right place more often. It’s very rare.

Woodson was a classic example. Greene has some of that when healthy. Few do have that mental facet. If Barnes does really, he will still make some mistakes out of inexperience, but he will also learn faster. Since I really like the instincts of Martin, but think he’s a little less aware than Barnes at this point, this duo is really exciting.

I wish Greene had stayed healthy. That troika together may have really improved this D against balanced offenses.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2020 at 01:17 pm

CW, so true about athletic abilities vs instincts and that is why once you get past the top 10 and sometimes not even that, its a crap shoot. The odds of success are less when drafting late rounders or UDFA but many times their instincts and desire to succeed over weigh any lack of athleticism.

Great GM's and their team of scouts figure this out and I'd point towards Pittsburgh and Baltimore as one's who do a really good job. The Packers are pretty good as well.

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Thegravedigger's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:07 am

Great point. I noticed when bridgewater ran the td in kirksey was in coverage over the middle about 5 yards off the ball. An lb with a little more aggression and more importantly a little more of that diagnosing ability, would have broke off that coverage through the man and made the tackle, at the very least saving a td. Kirksey seemed to have not only stayed in coverage too long but when teddy took off kirksey just stood there and the man who he was covering turned into the man blocking kirksey out of the play. Not only does he lack the reactionary skills but hes not even agressive enough to make the tackles downfield. Just a human blocking bag.

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Packer_Fan's picture

December 21, 2020 at 11:57 am

Two impact plays when the game was on the line. Then he got hurt. I haven't seen a linebacker do a down hill tackle on the screen for the Packers in a long, long time. Hope he continues to play, improve and avoid injury.

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NJMagic's picture

December 21, 2020 at 04:41 pm

Man, I can't remember the last time I saw a Packers tackle with a form tackle (and thump) like that! Well, I can.... But it's been awhile (Mr Bishop where are you?)

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NJMagic's picture

December 21, 2020 at 04:41 pm

Man, I can't remember the last time I saw a Packers tackle with a form tackle (and thump) like that! Well, I can.... But it's been awhile (Mr Bishop where are you?)

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Houndog's picture

December 26, 2020 at 08:30 am

Kudos, NJMagic!
I've been remembering Bishop for way too long as 'the last real Thumper' the Packers' have had.
"It is time, It is time"!

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Stroh's picture

December 21, 2020 at 09:45 pm

Good move for now. He seems to have the instincts of a LB which he should having been a LB in HS and college. He's a decent athlete, tho not a particularly explosive one. His size could become problematic, which we should learn more about vs Henry.

Barnes and Martin will be the ILB next year and will be much better than any recent ILB they've had. Martin has some injury concerns and given his lack of size Barnes might as well.

Still could use an ILB who's more explosive but happy to have Barnes and Martin in the fold!

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CoachDino's picture

December 22, 2020 at 02:00 am

As Arod goes the Packers go. That said. I'm with everyone on how encouraging it is to see the ILB play improve as well as the safety play. If Clark get step up his game the Dline should be at their best. It's Sullivan and Redman that worry me.

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