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Much Ado About the Wrong Guy

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Much Ado About the Wrong Guy

Kampman still won't talk. 

First there was this Tweet from Bedard:

Aaron Kampman refused to talk again about his switch to OLB. Packers even urged him to talk. There's a problem there. Big time.

Which was followed up by a lengthy blog post.

Money quote:

The Packers' seven-year veteran again declined to speak to the media today about his move from defensive end to outside linebacker in the team's new 3-4 scheme.

According to a team spokesman, Kampman had agreed to speak but later changed his mind.

At FanFest in March, Kampman was also scheduled to speak to the media, and the public. He later canceled his appearance.

Kampman has also declined numerous interview requests since Dom Capers  was hired as defensive coordinator in January.

The latest episode came after Kampman was told it would be in his best interest to be heard on the subject.

Now there can be no doubt Kampman is uneasy about his transition to a new position after seven standout seasons.

I'm not so sure about that last bit. Sure, there's some hesitancy there. There's bound to be. But 'uneasy'? I doubt it. The guy is a professional football player. I have no doubt he is focused on becoming the best outside backer he can be. I'm also reasonably sure he does not relish facing the guys in the media and answering the inevitably slanted questions over and over and over again.

That said, I have to admit I am more than a bit surprised that Kampman hasn't spoken on the record even one time since the switch to linebacker was announced. I mean, McCarthy has basically said "Aaron Kampman is going to be the star of this defense". What about guys like Barnett, who was a sideline to sideline play-maker who will now be asked to stand in and do a major amount of grunt work, or at least a hell of a lot more than he was in the previous scheme. And don't even get me started on Cullen Jenkins. Here's a guy who was on pace to have just a monster year in the old scheme, from both his defensive end position and inside at defensive tackle on passing downs. Now? He'll be asked to slant from his end position and take on guys so that he can watch other guys (like Kampman) get the sacks and attention.

Kampman is being asked to be a star - Jenkins is being asked to be a grunt. And Kampman is the one not talking?

UPDATE: Seems Andy over at PackerGeeks is thinking along the same lines...

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

Kampman is "going to be the star on this defense." So what. He was the star on the previous defense, and he made two Pro Bowls playing DE.
I think people who think Kampman is going to be *better* under the 3-4 have their heads deep (and I mean deep) in the sand. Best case scenario is that he is "as good." The worst case scenario is that he will be ineffective. From Kampman's standpoint the switch is all risk and zero reward.
The other point about McCarthy's statement about Kampman being "the star of the defense" is that McCarthy is angling to get Kampman to warm up to the idea. McCarthy is also promising to start Pickett over a top 10 draft pick, and has publically been stating that practically every single player on the defense is a "perfect fit" for the new scheme. There is more than just a little puffing going on and of course Kampman is smart enough to know that.

Jayme's picture

I actually don't see a whole lot of difference between the point you're trying to get across about Kampman and what Bedard said. The difference between uneasiness and hesitance is sometimes fine, but I'm definitely leaning towards Kampman being uneasy about the change, especially considering this definition: "lacking a sense of security or affording no ease or reassurance."
It would not be hard for Kampman to say "I don't know a whole lot about what we'll be doing, but I'm excited to learn my new role and blah blah blah.” The fact that he's avoiding talking about it completely IS worrisome, especially considering that Kampman never really shied away from speaking to the media before. He's going to have to speak to the media at some point, he might as well get all the crappy "How do you feel" questions out of the way sooner than later, so he can actually talk about real football.
I actually think you're being a bit nitpicky when you're questioning what Bedard has said, which seems to be a trend as of late (or at least since I found this site). I think that you and Andy at Packer Geeks are being a little too overprotective of Kampman on this issue.

Jayme's picture

DDD - You would expect that everyone on defense be a perfect fit for the new scheme. Contrary to popular belief, the job of the new defensive staff is not to fit the current players into the scheme, but to fit the new scheme around the current players. If they go about their job with that in mind, the new scheme could very well "fit" each player perfectly.

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

"Contrary to popular belief, the job of the new defensive staff is not to fit the current players into the scheme, but to fit the new scheme around the current players."
Well that certainly sounds easy to do. I withdraw my previous comments.

packeraaron's picture

DDD - please show me where I said Kampman was going to be better? I must have been drunk when I wrote it...

WoodyG's picture

Why would anyone expect a different analysis from Bedard? Bedard should seriously consider sticking to writing lengthy, well-thought-out articles as opposed to his knee-jerk blogging efforts. His propensity to embellish, exaggerate & sensationalize (characteristics of all 'sportwriters') is glaringly obvious when he runs to his keyboard & his brain runs slower than his fingers.
Kuhn & Harris had nothing to say about GB drafting Johnson. That's worrisome.
R. Martin said nothing about GB having a half dozen or so FA WRs in camp. That's worrisome. None of the O-linemen said a thing about signing Preston & drafting 2 OL. That's worrisome. A. Kampman said nothing about the switch to a more 3-4 defense. That's worrisome.
Any of these are non-stories in May except for those who have to 'create' stories to justify their weekly paychecks.

Brandon's picture

Bedard seems to be picking up a bad vibe from the whole situation. It's odd because that's not like Kampman. Another thing worth pointing out is that Kampman is probably thinking about his next contract. The whole Terrell Suggs franchise tag flap in Baltimore last year pointed out that the top outside linebackers are paid less then the top outside defensive ends.

Ron La Canne's picture

I really don't care if Kampman talks to the media now. We all know the stupid questions that will be asked. Since, he has yet to play a down as an OLB he would only be speculating and then held to that speculation later.

All he needs to do is show up, work at adapting to the position, and become as good as he can be. If it doesn't work out then he can ask for a trade. The coverage issue is the only aspect of this change that is a question. I imagine he has some issues with that as well.

The D coaches were fired and Capers hired with great fanfare. Little has been done to change the defensive roster from last season. Two high draft picks and one FA acquisition of unknown quality are the only real moves made in the off-seson. Capers better be able to fit the defense to the players he has. If he doesn't, this will be a long disappointing season. I, for one, believe he will.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Even if he is thinking about his contract, why not talk to the media and portray yourself as a team guy? I guess I don't see how talking hurts, but I do see how not talking stirs up a lot of questions, especially after Fan Fest.

packeraaron's picture

Andrew - great points.

nerdmann's picture

I'm concerned about it. I don't think Kampman feels he can play the OLB position.
Trade him straight up for Julius Peppers?

nerdmann's picture

One more thing, I've always been high on Jeremy Thompson. I think he's gonna look real good. Kampman can come in on second down, when they go to a 4-3.

ACDC84's picture

I'm worried too. He has to talk about everything at some point, and the longer it goes on, the more people will be thinking its a big deal.
I can understand that Kampman is worried, especially in a contract year, but he'll be fine. If he prospers, the Packers or some other 3-4 team will pay him big money to be their star OLB. If he doesn't adjust well, there are still plenty of teams running a 4-3 (its gotta be at LEAST half the teams, I would think), and at least one of them will want to pay him good money to bolster their d-line.

bomdad's picture

I disagree about Cullen J. I think he could thrive in a system if Capers wants to set it up that way, and thats what Capers is supposed to do. Its not like there are no 3-4 ends making sacks or going to the probowl. Balt and Pitt just havent have anybody with Jenkins talent at DE, so ignore the DEs in Atlanta, NE, and NY? On passing plays he'll be playing the same assignment, essentially, that he would have been under Sanders--an inside rusher.

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