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Packers Committing to Speed on Defense?

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Packers Committing to Speed on Defense?

If the opening day of NFL free agency 2017 proved anything, it was that even Ted Thompson’s most fervent detractors can’t predict what the Green Bay Packers general manager is going to do. Thompson, derided by many for being too predictable in how he handles player retention and acquisition, began the day by re-signing outside linebacker Nick Perry with a five-year, $60 million deal, a price many thought would be too steep for the Packers.

Later, Thompson again went against the grain of what most prognosticators thought he would do. As reports of Micah Hyde’s impending departure began to percolate, perhaps some felt Thompson was allowing an already weak secondary to get weaker. It wasn’t until the details of Hyde’s new deal with the Buffalo Bills (five years, $30 million) started popping up that the majority of those in Packerland began to agree that the price was too high.

But then, controversy! Later Thursday night, Hyde sent out a tweet thanking “Packernation” for their support during his time in Green Bay, while also casually letting slip that the Packers never even made an offer to retain his services. Cue the pitchforks once again.

While it may have come as at least a mild shock that Green Bay let Hyde walk without so much as a basement offer, while signing Perry to a pretty lucrative (yet team friendly) deal, the moves are likely an indication of how the team wants to build the defense going forward. What Hyde offered the Packers in versatility, he lacked in speed. Perry was the best pass rusher left on the market in free agency, and the Packers paid him as such.

Currently, the fastest 40-yard dash in the Packers’ secondary belongs to Damarious Randall, who ran it in 4.46 seconds at the 2015 Combine. At the 2017 event, there were 15 – FIFTEEN! – defensive backs who ran faster than that. The Packers’ lack of speed on the perimeter was painfully apparent during their blowout loss to Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game, and it would appear the brass has taken notice. Green Bay will almost surely attempt to find a speedy second-tier name in the later stages of the free agency craze, but most of the rebuilding work will likely take place via the draft.

Speed on the edge will be a major consideration as well. By signing Perry, the Packers solidified one side of the field with a young veteran. It wouldn't necessarily come as a shock if Thompson looked to add another pass rusher through free agency as well. A player like, say, Conor Barwin could go a long way in solidifying the group as well. By attacking fast, athletic edge rushers in the draft, the Packers can feel free to utilize the aging Clay Matthews in a number of roles, whether lining him up inside or outside. Making Matthews a situational player won’t appease him or the horde of fans clamoring for the team to restructure his contract to better reflect his production, but it will put the defense in a better position to succeed.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (40) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

MITM's picture

Wouldnt hurt to add SIZE to the front 7 as well.

Dzehren's picture

Unproven UDFA's k Brice 4.38 40, Josh Hawkins 4.39 40 plus Marian Evans 4.40 may still pan out. They were thrown into the fire & were supposed to be developmental guys. need vet CB to help them out. 40 times are not everything but I see a trend (Beside Gunter)

croatpackfan's picture

Can you give us suggestion -name of that possible veteran CB who would be upgrade?

Dzehren's picture

No one at the moment. TT maybe hedging his bets that B4 draft and in between training camp vet CB's/ DB's or any defensive upgrade r released or cut. Requiring less $ & no comp pick. A trade is a high probability- Esp After the 2 tight end deals-

I think TT wants to win now and retire with another SB as his contract ends in 2 years

zerotolerance's picture

Veteran players coaching up youngsters is WAY overrated.

Ryan Graham's picture

What's easy to forget is 40 times don't always reflect game speed. These fellas aren't doing all out sprints out there, and to me it looked like Damarius Randall as well as some of these faster guys (not gunter) didn't play at 4.46 speed on the field. I think he will improve that with experience especially after this past year. Speed is also not utilized as much when defendive units are mostly dropping back and sitting in zone coverage. While I do think the defense does needs to get faster, to be fair it's also a scheme deal.

Bearmeat's picture

Getting Barwin and House would go a LONG way to helping out the secondary. Barwin this year is at least as good as Peppers at 37 last year. House is better than any corner we have on the roster right now.

I'd still like a #1CB but that would take a LOT of pressure off the draft.

Tundraboy's picture

Barwin is at least as good as Peppers is right. Especially the speed at this point.

holmesmd's picture

Isn't Peppers #9 on the all time sack list? He's also pretty damn fast and very powerful for someone who is almost 6'7! I'm not sure about the whole "Barwin is better" arguement.

Nick Perry's picture

I agree, Barwin would be an ideal fit in Capers defense and I have a feeling House isn't THAT bad, more like the Jags are THAT bad. 2 years ago House had 23 passes defensed, that's a lot of passes.

With Barwin the Packers would not only get an athletic and fast LB, but they'd also get a player who's played in every game the last 6 years. Lots to be said about that.
Like Bearmeat said, it would take a TON of pressure off the Packers so the could take the BPA instead of screwing themselves by drafting for need.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Or, they could trade back in the first and pile up picks in the 2nd and 3rd.

This draft is thick on the second day and I like the results TT gets from day two a lot more than day one.

Nick Perry's picture

I like that too! Last time Ted did that we drafted Jordy Nelson and that seemed to work out okay.

Lphill's picture

Please get Barwin and House , two vets with experience . Probably both would be affordable .

marpag1's picture

I agree that the defense could use a little speed, but if the Packers are inclined to take another dip in free agency, I personally wouldn't mind if it were at DT (esp with that idiot Guion getting into trouble again). A guy like Dontari Poe is massive and is a true nose tackle, something that the Packers haven't really had in a long time. And despite the fact that he's 350, he has been very durable. That would allow Clark to play DE, where I think he really ought to be.

To be clear, I have no reason at all to think that this actually WILL happen. I've seen no published reports linking him to GB, and it seems his price might be getting pretty high. But I wouldn't be too upset if it happened.

Dzehren's picture

Agreed. We literally could use an impact playerr at any position defensively other than safety

Matt Gonzales's picture

We have a good true NT - his name is Kenny Clark. We play so many snaps with 2 DL we need more elephants (former 4-3 DL that can't be called tweeners) that can seamlessly either hold the point of attack or rush the passer, IF we are going to dip back into the FA pool at that position.

dobber's picture

I've thrown Jared Odrick's name out periodically (I haven't seen him signed, yet). He was cut so there's no draft implications. Good, prototypical 5-tech, plays the run well and can rush the passer. Likely not a bank-breaker, but every guy signed limits you somewhere else...

marpag1's picture

Fair assessment, Matt. Personally, I think that Clark was a decent player as a rookie, and I'm hopeful that he'll blossom, but I don't really see him as the classic immovable object at nose. He'd be serviceable and probably provide a tad more pass rush, but most people would be looking for someone with a bit more girth.

It's probably a fair question to ask: "Do the Packers go light on the D-line because they want to play a lot of 3-4 nickel, or do they play a lot of nickel because they don't feel they have the horses on the D-Line?" Which is the cause and which is the effect?

packerbackerjim's picture

I don't think they've had the horses since White, Dotson and Jones. I was hopeful of Calais Campbell playing with Daniels, Clark and Lowry but apparently too rich for TT. Datone just too inconsistent for me.

marpag1's picture

[double post deleted]

PatrickGB's picture

Makinton Dorleant ran a 4.39. That's fast! I think he was a sixth rounder.

OrganLeroy's picture

Dorleant was an UDFA, and he won't be ready for a while, tore up his knee, so he's rehabbing.

4thand1's picture

Ted could use some speed

akeemthedream's picture

Not a Barwin fan.
He's one dimensional.

The NFL has changed.
It's about versatility.
-TE's who can split out
-Big WR's who can play the slot
-RB's who can flex out
-Backup OL who can play multiple positions
-DL who can play 1 gap or 2
-LB's who can drop/cover/play the run
-S's who can cover the slot

I would love for the Packers to get Hightower.
I know it's not going to happen, but with Matthews/Fackrell/Hightower, you'd have 3 players who could play ILB or OLB.

Resign Datone to backup Perry at elephant.
Sign Hightower. He and Matthews would be interchangeable. Which one's coming off the edge? Which one's dropping? Both can play the run.

Signing Hightower would upgrade two position groups (ILB and OLB).

Give him whatever he wants.
He's an impactful and durable young player.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm THRILLED to see Ted adding speed to this defense. They just can't compete, and Hyde would have been a bad fit for what we're building. He'll fit much better on an already-fast unit in Buffalo.

Barwin's pretty quick, so that would make sense. Retaining Datone Jones would be excellent too, as his speed is very good for his size. At his lighter weight, he's certainly running much faster than at the combine.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm THRILLED to see Ted adding speed to this defense. They just can't compete, and Hyde would have been a bad fit for what we're building. He'll fit much better on an already-fast unit in Buffalo.

Barwin's pretty quick, so that would make sense. Retaining Datone Jones would be excellent too, as his speed is very good for his size. At his lighter weight, he's certainly running much faster than at the combine.

croatpackfan's picture

Chris you may be on something. Just I doubt Conor Barwin will be available for Packers, I think the issue will be the amount....

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"Packers committing to Speed on D" WUT?????

Is this a non-sequitur? Is there ANY evidence for this? Ah, letting the relatively slow Hyde leave? But I thought we only let him go due to money, not concerns about his speed.

Getting tired of authors stating (as an aside no less) that Perry's contract is team friendly. It isn't. If the author thinks it is, that's fine, but he should at least explain his thinking. Sounds like groupthink to me.

dobber's picture

Amen. I don't think it's necessarily a BAD contract for the Packers, but I just don't see it as one where they're getting away with murder. They're really counting on Perry to play well, and this deal illustrates that.

Dzehren's picture

The packers never offers Hyde a contract

Dzehren's picture

Supporting evidence

abad467's picture

Cap hit of Perry's contract is less than $6 million. I guess decide for yourself if that's team friendly.

MITM's picture

We all know what Hightower would bring just like we all know that it isnt happening. What about Kevin Minter or Zach Brown? Also as far as ILB goes in the draft i would LOVE Raekwon Mcmillan should he be available round 2. He ran better than anyone expected.

slit's picture

Barwin & House, please & thank you, Ted.

canadapacker's picture

Good for Micah - take the big check. You only have a short career in the NFL and you gotta take the money when it is offered. He was a good player for the Pack - but not one that could eat up that much salary. I thought that last year both he and Dix played the type of center field bend but dont break defense that may show good stats but is not a winning game. I would rather us take the money and spend it on getting meaner and faster especially with the linebackers and corner positions. Bring back House on a show us contract and add some young guys early in the draft.

Free agent's picture

If Ted continues this histeria I will have to buy NFL Sunday ticket this season.

fthisJack's picture

deandre levy was a beast for the Lions 2 years ago and then he tore up a knee...i believe. if he gets his knee healthy he could be a good

PackEyedOptimist's picture

I think the Pack currently has a decent starting defense, except for a number one corner.
Daniels/Clark/Lowry is a solid starting group, Matthews/Perry/Fackrell is a solid group, Martinez/Ryan/Thomas is a solid group,
Clinton-Dix/Bennett/Brice is a solid group,
and the young cornerback group of Randall/Rollins/Gunther/Hawkins/Dorleant/Waters offers a buffet of potential for number 2-3-4 CBs.
However, I'm not convinced we have a number one CB, and we are badly in need of second string DLs.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

BURNETT, not Bennet, above. I liked Hyde, but I think Rollins, Gunther and Brice will fill his role--they will be better than Hyde in some ways, worse in others, but still at worst, a wash.

al bundy's picture

tight ass ted let lady and Eaton's test the market guessing no one will want these two bums so then I can offer them a lot ball deal and save data bucks. big problems, you still have two sub par guys now to join a host of sub par guys.

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