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McCarthy: Jones & Lattimore To See More Playing Time In '12

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McCarthy: Jones & Lattimore To See More Playing Time In '12

This is interesting.

From Bob McGinn:

By the end of the season Brad Jones was playing better than the Green Bay Packers' five other outside linebackers with the exception of Clay Matthews.

His coach, Mike McCarthy , views Jones as an important contributor next year.

"He's a good football player; he really is," said McCarthy. "Very instinctive. Tough. Outstanding on special teams. Special teams says a lot about a guy's heart and instincts."

Jones, a seventh-round draft choice from Colorado in 2009, and Jamari Lattimore, a rookie free agent from Middle Tennessee State, will be looking at expanded roles in 2012. The Packers intend to play them at inside as well as outside linebacker.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to them about it, but their position coaches have," McCarthy said. "We definitely feel we have some flexibility there."

With Erik Walden set to be a free agent and Frank Zombo unable to stay healthy, Jones seeing more playing time is not exactly a surprise. Lattimore getting mentioned, however, is interesting, especially the idea of moving him around. The kid is raw and did not exactly flash in preseason or in limited snaps during the regular season.

I found this quote from McCarthy particularly interesting:

I think we can move Brad to all four linebacker locations and get more utilization out of him. The way he slithers, he's an awkward guy to handle. Now he will have the ability to train again as an outside rusher.

See, I don't see that from Jones at all. I see a guy who can't get around the edge, who can't overpower anyone - but who gets sacks by hustling. There's nothing wrong with that, and I like t he idea of moving not only Jones but all the linebackers around. Capers did a bit of it last season, but it sure seemed like offenses had caught up to what the Packers were trying to do both scheme and personnel-wise on defense. A little change up might help resuscitate the Packers' moribund pass rush.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lars's picture

More pre-draft smokescreens. Jones and Lattimore inside? C'mon. Hawk will play no matter what. He's Ted's boy.Then you have Bishop, Francois and DJ Smith. Neither of the two are playing "inside."

pkrNboro's picture

GB may try to move them inside to get some value from them as they can't play outside effectively. It seems like the only option is to go inside, where a LB can get away with being slightly smaller.

I read another article where it said that Jones can't gain (or keep) more weight, and Lattimore needs another 30lb before he could be credible at OLB. Their metabolism or body type may preclude them from gaining the weight needed to set-the-edge or rush a lineman.

If they don't move inside, they may have to be cut.

I remember one of the arguments in favor of going to a 3-4 was that it was easier finding linebacker-type bodies...

Chad Toporski's picture

Getting kind of sick of the "Ted's guy" thing with fans. All of the players on the roster minus Wells, Clifton, and Driver were acquired by Ted. Lattimore and Jones included.

justabob's picture

While you are absolutely right about the scheme thing personally I would just rather have guys who can beat a one on one without scheme.

packeraaron's picture

Totally agree.

Idiot Fan's picture

It's funny, until the end of the year I had totally forgotten that Jones was on the team. I'm surprised to see MM speak so highly of him since our non-Clay OLB play was so pedestrian last year, and it wasn't until the end of the year that Jones saw significant time.

Brooklyn81's picture

Hope this doesn't mean that they won't draft a pass rusher again. Not cool at all.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture


JJB's picture

Cut them all. They had their chance.

packeraaron's picture

I'm not far removed from this sentiment, actually.

NoWayJose's picture

I definitely see it with Zombo. He showed nothing this year that hinted at promise.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

" By the end of the season Brad Jones was playing better than the Green Bay Packers' five other outside linebackers with the exception of Clay Matthews."... K?

What exactly is that saying? Does anybody here think Jones added any juice to the D? That's right, no. He played better than the other sub-par guys? OK, if you say so Mike, but the fact of the matter is... It still wasn't good enough, and we must upgrade the talent at the position. Period. And that starts in late April.


FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I guess that was Bobs quote... Doesn't matter.

jeremy's picture

Can you image how bad the D would be if TT had not traded up for Clay Matthews? In three years he hasn't found another OLB who can play.

Rocky70's picture

A 7th rounder plus 4 UDFA explain why TT hasn't found another OLB.

I'm not saying GB needs another Pro-Bowler opposite CM3 but out of the 84 players (NFC & AFC -- 42 each)voted to last season's Pro-Bowl, nearly 75% were drafted in the first 3 rounds. TT just needs to focus a little better.

Rocky70's picture

'Expanded role" doesn't necessarily mean more 'on-field' time. In this case, the mention of moving either inside probably correlates with the 'expanded role' comments.

Packer fans need to face reality. Aside from CM3, the Packer OLB corp is a mess. The Pack need some new names besides Jones, Lattimore, Zombo & even So'oto. Time for TT to upgrade.

Anthony's picture

I think every single Packer fan knows that our OLB corps is a mess. That's why (if you've read other comments) everybody's surprised that he gave these two men praise.

Zub's picture

I am in favor of keeping Jones & Clay, cutting the rest. Jones has significant value with special teams & has proven to be a solid back up. I remember Jones with his first start against Dallas and the remaining games that year, he did a good job.

My only knock on Jones is his health & availability.

Cole's picture

You have to give So Oto at least one more year, he has the perfect body for OLB and I still remember the chiefs pre season game. He can't play ST but so what? We have like 20 other guys who are crap on the field and great at ST.

Keep jones, lattimore, and so Oto, cut zombo and walden. Draft two olb's.

Jones still has a place on this team as far as I'm concerned.

pkrNboro's picture

So'oto gives me a gut feel that he'll play pass coverage like Hawk (ie: Lost-in-Space, or doing jumping jacks)

As much as I'd like to read into his pre-season IND performance as a Packer savior, I have my doubts.

Plus, look at his body: he's got no ass. Ya gotta have an ass -- there's muscles and strength in there that you need to fight off 300 pound guys. He doesn't have one.

So, add him to the heap of shit that hasn't passed the OLB experiment: Walden, Zombo, Jones, Lattimore, Obiozor, etc.

Cole's picture

You're may be right anatomy-wise, but it sounds a little crazy to dismiss someone because of one physical attribute.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Those are two HUGE knocks Zub.

djprotege's picture

I would like to see DJ Smith in the mix more as well. His pursuit of the ball was outstanding when he got his chances

BubbaOne's picture

Agree, I thought they would at least bring him in on passing downs when Hawk returned. And I haven't given up on Hawk yet.
One of the coaches at the Senior Bowl who was at OSU when Hawk was there says he's now playing too big. I wonder how different he could be in he slimmed down and worked on speed and quickness. He is the type of player who will put in the time I just hope the coaching staff told him to do it at his exit interview.

I haven't given up on Zombo either. IIRC, he went from broken scapula to hammy injury to sprained knee. Kinda tough to be productive battling injuries all year.

pkrNboro's picture

"I haven’t given up on Hawk yet."

March 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm

BubbaOne aka Ted Thompson

Cole's picture


BubbaOne's picture

Not even close...I do go to a tanning salon and I do use Grecian formula.

redlights's picture

First, as the first poster stated, this is smokescreen to make other teams think that the Pack won't draft a LB high.

Whom they draft, I think, will be opportunistic. As in, it depends on who is left when they pick.

I keep going back to 2010. What was different in 2011? Answer: Collins and Jenkins. Collins is still up in the air, but I would really like to see a Safety drafted in the first three rounds to protect us (see later comment). I'm hoping for a 5 technique in the first round to fill Jenkins spot; groom to replace Pickett; or as insurance for Neal (2 strikes and counting). The problem is, I'm told, that the draft is rich in DLine, but thin at OLB; so one would then prioritize OLB. If we won a SB without 2 pro bowl OLB's; why should we draft and pay first round resources for one now? Can Jones/Zombo/Sooto/Lattimore play the position, but play to their strengths. Like drop Jones into coverage while blitzing Bishop more; or using Lattimore as a quasi-safety to cover the top TE's. This is another reason to have the third safety.

I also think CB needs some talent; either to wave good bye to Lee, or if House doesn't progress. IF Bush could be relegated to strictly Safety, we would also have more room for a CB.

So, you see, if we draft an OLB, it will tie up more cap than what we've dedicated in the past (with success) and limit other positions that could be drafted. Which leads me back to "In TT we trust".

Oh, by the way, for what Hawk will make, we should at least keep him for 2012 as insurance and to break in DJ Smith. Not quite ready to hand the keys to the defense to Smith, yet.

Mark's picture

IIRC Lee is a FA and I doubt he returns. Completely agree with Safety being drafted in the first 3 rounds (maybe the fourth)I will wet myself if Mark Barron falls to 28 (but he won't). Plus, when Jenkins was healthy he ate up blocks so the other guys could get pressure and sacks. DL is more important than OLB imo.

redlights's picture

With more teams looking for their version of Antonio Gates, the D.Capers of the world have to be looking for their counter-move. Wouldn't a 230 lb S/LB be the ticket?

At this point, I'm looking at Barron, or Poe as targets by moving up 5-10 spots.

Mark's picture

I agree with moving up to take Barron and maybe Poe

Hands's picture

Zombo, Lattimore, and S'oto have never had the benefit of off-season workouts. During the Super Bowl, Zombo had the only sack and registered a TFL while still not 100%. Last year he was ravaged by injuries so I don't think there is a total lack of talent. I agree with the comment....its pre-draft time and misdirection starts immediatly.

SoTxPhil's picture

I still think So'oto didn't really get a fair chance to show what he could do, because of his early back injury and MM's choosing to not make him active. In a couple games he was in near the end of the season he showed some ability to get in the QBs face, something the other OLBs couldn't do most of the time. He looks a little lost in pass coverage, but he has had little training(what's Hawk's excuse after 5 yrs). I think he needs to growup some and be given a chance, he seems to have something good.

Mojo's picture

Regarding So'oto. Has anyone out there had a disk injury and it heal without some kind of surgery? Tyler Dunne reporting last October :"Before the opener, he suffered a back injury. "Something with my discs," So'oto said. After plenty of icing, flexibility and core work, he says his back is at "120 percent." Now, it's a matter of getting on the field."

I just get the feeling So'oto will have back problems (reinjured) throughout his career unless he gets it taken care of. 120%, I doubt it.

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