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Packers Need To Turn Attention To Defense

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Packers Need To Turn Attention To Defense

Day one of free agency came and went with no activity from the Green Bay Packers.  Nothing new there as the Packers aren't early players free agency, when money is typically shot out of a cannon.  Days two and three, however, proved active with the Packers adding tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.

The moves, especially the Bennett signing, surprised many around Green Bay.  After Aaron Rodgers asked the team to "re load a little bit" after last season, general manager Ted Thompson seems willing to oblige.

That's on the offensive side of the ball.  On defense, the Packers ranked 22nd last season in yards per game allowed with 363.9.  For what it's worth, Green Bay was worst in the NFC North in that category.  That may equate to meaning nothing considering that the Packers still won the division and also that the Atlanta Falcons were the only NFC playoff team who had a worse defense.  Atlanta, as we know, made it to the Super Bowl with that porous defense.

But as teams continue to improve and chase Green Bay, the Packers are going to have to be able to keep up and stop their offenses.  

They re-signed linebacker Nick Perry, keeping their best run defender and a top pass rusher in green and gold.  Datone Jones remains a free agent and has to be one that the Packers would like to return.  They spent a first round pick on him in 2013 and moved him to more of a hybrid linebacker role in 2016.  He seemed to do well in bunches in that role and he knows the defense so hopefully the two sides can get something done to bring Jones back.

Despite the recent flurry in free agency by the Packers, remember that free agency continues on throughout the summer and there's also the draft upcoming.  The early rumblings are that the Packers are looking at the draft to stock the cupboard at cornerback.  Speed is a need and the Packers know it.  Part of the reason they let a versatile player like Micah Hyde go is because he lacks the type of speed that teams need today to keep up with the perimeter threats a lot of offenses have.

As of the time that this is being written, it has been reported that cornerback Davon House is likely to sign elsewhere after many were hoping for a reunion between he and the Packers.  Until a deal is done, never say never, but it sounds like the chances of Green Bay adding a veteran corner are slim.

As far as pass rush and (hopefully) in addition to bringing Jones back, the Packers will need to address that area in the draft or in free agency.  

Former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin is still out there and whether or not the rumors about the Packers reaching out to him are true, he is certainly the type of player the Packers should at least kick the tires on.  Or how about Zach Brown, a linebacker I was hoping the Packers might look at last year?  Brown is just 27 years old and still available.  Edge rusher is a premier position in today's NFL and not one the Packers can afford to sit on their hands in addressing.

As free agency goes on, more names could emerge as possibilities for the Packers to look into.  Last week, Green Bay restructured defensive lineman Letroy Guion's contract after he was hit with a four-game suspension.  That seems to indicate that the Packers are content to roll with Kenny Clark and Guion when he's available.  Why they would still be giving Guion chances at this point is beyond me.  A player like former Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe is still out there and the Packers have cap space.  Why not?

Regardless of how the Packers do it, it's time for them to turn their attention to and address the defense.  Until last season, the Packers found themselves on the losing end of playoff games because their defense couldn't get off the field.  If they want to get back to a Super Bowl and regardless of how much better the offense may be, the defense has to improve in a major way in 2017.

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (46) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

Wasn't Nick Perry a Day One signing?

Bearmeat's picture

I think he was signed before he hit the market.

Rossonero's picture

Day -1 signing.

Bearmeat's picture

Poe would cost too much because he truly was great a couple of years ago. Plus, a NT with back problems who can't take on double teams anymore? No thanks.

Barwin and House - assuming the price is reasonable - and I mean reasonable by "normal people" standards and not "TT" standards - YES YES YES! I'm just assuming at this point that TT is just waiting for the price to come down, which of course means we'll probably lose out on the player. You know if the STEELERS are beating you to the FA punch, that you really are slow.....

COME ON TED!

RCPackerFan's picture

There are still players that can be brought in to play a role. I would like to see the Packers go after some players to help fill some voids.

How about another DL? Guys like Jonathan Hankins, Bennie Logan, Jared Odrick would at the very least come in a provide some extra stability to the DL rotation with Daniels and Clark.

I'd still like to see them bring in Barwin and House, but the longer we wait, the more I think they look to sign elsewhere.

It would be nice to go into the draft and not having to have to draft someone at a position because they have a big need. It would be nice to go into the draft being able to truly draft the best player available.

GBPack's picture

The DL market is tough to gauge right now. These run stuffers like Hankins, Logan, and Poe are all probably wanting Damon Harrison money, but I don't think teams are going to give it to them. Poe seems close to joining the Colts. I read Bennie Logan is looking for a 1 year deal, which may not be as appealing to a team like us. I love Hankins, but I think he'll earn the most out of this group. Odrick would be a cheap option to consider, though.

I thought House was going to be a lay up. Little bummed out there's competition for him now. Still only 27 years old, would be great to get him back. Barwin visiting the Bengals, but they've been tighter with their money than us at this point. Hopefully they pass.

dobber's picture

I've been on the Odrick bandwagon, and the longer he lingers the lower the $$ likely becomes...however, I've been reading that some have him pegged as an "odd guy" and have questioned his commitment to football, so I've started to wonder a little more. Still, he's been a good player over his time and he would plug in as a starting DE/5 tech for the Packers and provides pass rush from the DL.

Lphill's picture

I have been saying it everyday , Barwin and House would improve the defense and would be cost efficient. Then in round one take best defensive player available.

Finwiz's picture

Barwin yes, House, I don't think so, simply because he lacks the speed they are looking for to replace Shields. Reference the game we played against the Jags....when House was in coverage against us, he was right there in position, but didn't really stop any plays. He lacks big play ability, and that's what the Packers need. I'm not surprised they are passing on him. He's probably looking for bigger money than GB is willing to pay. I would not overpay for Devon House. I see him as no more than a 4th or 5th CB.

Finwiz's picture

Barwin yes, House, I don't think so, simply because he lacks the speed they are looking for to replace Shields. Reference the game we played against the Jags....when House was in coverage against us, he was right there in position, but didn't really stop any plays. He lacks big play ability, and that's what the Packers need. I'm not surprised they are passing on him. He's probably looking for bigger money than GB is willing to pay. I would not overpay for Devon House. I see him as no more than a 4th or 5th CB.

Finwiz's picture

Barwin yes, House, I don't think so, simply because he lacks the speed they are looking for to replace Shields. Reference the game we played against the Jags....when House was in coverage against us, he was right there in position, but didn't really stop any plays. He lacks big play ability, and that's what the Packers need. I'm not surprised they are passing on him. He's probably looking for bigger money than GB is willing to pay. I would not overpay for Devon House. I see him as no more than a 4th or 5th CB.

Nick Perry's picture

And I've been giving you "Thumbs Up" everyday, especially on Barwin.

slit's picture

Barwin, House, & Brown would all be nice additions. With Sitton, Lang, & Tretter all leaving within 9 months, OL is now a real possibility in the 1st rd.

MarkinMadison's picture

I can't see how just drafting a corner will shore up this defense. Even with speed, counting on a guy outside of the top 10 to just take over a starting job from day 1 is a real crap shoot. More likely the Packers believe they already have the answers on the roster.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

I don't think a rookie CB will be drafted to necessarily start on day one, but if the Packers like him, they certainly might think he can develop into a number one corner by the end of the season and beyond. I don't think House would be any better as a starter than a high-upside rookie.

dobber's picture

Certainly the Packers haven't been afraid to play rookies in recent years, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But what they need is for someone to step in on day 1(rookie or FA) who can survive on an island and allow the defense to roll help to Randall's side of the field. Maybe a healthy Randall or Rollins takes the step this coming season and becomes that player, but I'm not banking on it, and TT would be foolish to bank on it, too.

badaxed's picture

Randall and Rollins play 10 -15 yards away from the receiver allowing them to catch the ball underneath (Capers Scheme). problem is, even though they play deep they still get beat deep. SLOW! and they have no confidence. You must be aggressive have speed, and have confidence in order play at a high level at CB. Neither have this.

Handsback's picture

Having another corner would add needed depth to the Packer's cover guys. House may require too much money just for adding depth. So MarkinMadison, you may be right. The Dline and LBs are a different story. You can say they signed Perry, but he averages missing at least 3 games a year. You have CM as another pass rusher, but he misses 2-3 games a year. If the Packer's injury history is an indication of what could happen, both guys could be out at the same time and your left w/ Frackell and jag. So it wouldn't surprise me if TT gets another pass rusher in place for Caper's Nascar package and back-up/relief for Perry and Matthews. That leaves a player to take the place of Guion. Maybe a young player that's good against the run like Margus Hunt from the Bengals?
Whatever happens, won't see it for another week or so is my speculation.

GBPack's picture

The depth of this CB class is historic. If we do draft one in round 1, chances are they can be an immediate contributor and crack the top 3 or 4, especially if we don't resign House.

One guy that isn't being talked about enough that could crack round 1 is Kevin King. 6'3" and tested out in the 99th percentile. Doesn't get as much attention as Sidney Jones being on the same team, but he can play. Not just a workout warrior.

stockholder's picture

They did pretty good with Randall. Even from Safety to CB. No ones going to give up on him.( with his injury last year.) When you look at the costs of a shut down cb, or even a retread like House. You want the higher ceiling. It's easy to see TT drafting back to back secondary positions. It makes the team faster,deeper, and they get the best player at CB. The guy that is going to be moved around is Burnett. They have to get better and deeper in the secondary. #29 is going to be a CB. Especially after losing Hyde.

cuervo's picture

I agree with the article....why is Guion still on this team? For one he isn't anything special, and two he'll miss a quarter of the season (at least) because he's an idiot. So much for the "Packer People" mantra.
You can find players that aren't morons for the same or less money than Guion, and will give you the same level of play...RC mentioned some.
Come on Ted!

daveh's picture

I always thought the Parkers was a team of integrity when picking players staying away from the thugs..well the Packers must be desperate.signing Bennett who disrespected the White House by not going with Super Bowl team to be honor, which is a normal. And standing up for those who disrespect of the anthem by kneeling..and then keeping Guion the drug head..how far we have falling. I have all respect for this organization...

Three and Out's picture

Did Tom Brady disrespect the White House when he chose not to go? Is Chris Long disrespecting it by not going? Is it just Bennett who is doing the disrespecting?
Before you slag the guy for being a "thug" why don't you take a look at all the amazing acts he does for children.

rstain99's picture

Brady didn't disrespect the White House he disrespected the wounded warriors part of the visit includes visiting the vets, the white house thing who cares and now that we have a total loser in the WH even less who cares. The vets put their lives on the line for our freedom yet TB12 let politics get in the way, Bennett does enough for kids I am sure he will make it up to see the soldiers unlike the GOAT. Not sure about Guion two time offender Pack may need to walk away. spend some money TT defense, defense, how about Hightower

Ryan Graham's picture

Whose bright idea was it to involve politics in this discussion. There's a currently a huge division, we are all aware. Don't drag that into your opinion on a football player you know nothing of outside of the fact that they play football for a living. I never was a fan of forcing a team to visit the white house no matter who the president is.

Let's get one thing straight. These athletes, on any team are not role models, more often than not. They have earned a job based solely on their skills and abilities. They are not hired because of their ethics or morals, or their involvement in the community. The Packers like to portray that image because of their small town market, it's well accepted as a fan, but its also a business move.

Now I'm not sure who of us has ties to people that play football at the professional or even college level, but I have extensive ties to those that played at the college level. Drug use is not all that uncommon in the NFL, particularly various pills and pain killers, and ESPECIALLY Marijuana use. These big bodies break down. They need pain relief. So some folks need to stop being so damn naive and face it, this is all part of the culture of being a football player.

Just to be clear. In no way am I defending Letroy Guions criminal history. From what I've heard it's extensive in domestic violence, which in no circumstance is that acceptable. But he's got more leverage than Ted does, until he brings some different depth in. You all wanted your answer, there it is...

PETER MAIZ's picture

People that disrespect other people are often disrespected.

daveh's picture

C/W above should read I have Lost Respect for this organization....

Matt Gonzales's picture

Packers have plenty of time to decide on Guion, as well as any additional FAs. I wouldn't be surprised if TT makes another move or two after the draft.

The Packers "pro personnel" department has probably already moved on from the current FA crop and is working hard to identify who might be surprise camp/preseason cutdown casualties - there are enough new or 2nd year GM/HC combos in the fold this year that there could be some recent draft picks that no longer fit a system and will not be given the time to try to adapt.

Nick Perry's picture

June 15th.... This is the date I'll look at the Packers and form my own opinion about the Packers offense and defense.

Right now we've improved the TE position and that's about it. Ted brought back Perry but he lost Peppers and hasn't resigned or signed anyone else to one of the most important position in a 3-4 defense, OLB.

The O-Line has taken a hit after losing Lang and Tretter. Lang isn't worth $9 million and he may very well play "The least important position" on the O-Line. But I feel a hell of a lot better about protecting our franchise when facing those "Double A Gap Blitzes" with Lang and Taylor or Sitton and Taylor, or Sitton and Lang, than I do with Taylor and Barclay for example. While I agree Lang isn't worth $9 Million a year, Rodgers is worth EVERY dime we pay him.

In a perfect world I'd still be a lot happier if the Packers had more than one year of starting experience at the Guard position when the season rolls around. My biggest concern is Barclay and Starter are being used in the same sentence when introducing the Packers starting O-Line.

NOW, lets [please let the defense catch up with the offense, if even a little before the draft. I'd be happy with Barwin till the draft.

rstain99's picture

Butler CB from the Pats is a restricted free agent cost the Pack 1st rounder well worth it. Whoever they draft will not come close to this kid he wants 10 million you need to pay for these positions the two kids they had last year were lost and in Capers scheme you need to be fast neither were speed merchants. Rodgers will be another year older wasting his good years

dobber's picture

If the Packers are going to trade for a guy at CB, I might be more inclined to look into Trumaine Johnson from the Rams. Neither Johnson nor Butler is a burner, but Johnson is markedly bigger and isn't coming off as quite the malcontent Butler is despite being franchised 2 years in a row, and he might be had at a little lower asking price.

Finwiz's picture

If Butler were so great, then why would the Patriots give up on him? They just won the Super Bowl, so my guess is, they view him as replaceable.
Word I hear is, Butler did not have a great year, and has been descending since his big play in the Super Bowl against Seattle.
You have to distinguish between the "big name" and the actual performance in this business. Personnel directors are paid to make this determination, fans are not. Fans get caught up in the hype of past performance and they don't see these players every single game.

UmpireMark's picture

Agree with the assessments that Teddy needs to stop ignoring the defensive needs of this team. For the past three seasons we have exited the playoffs while our MVP QB stood on the sidelines while the "D" couldn't get off the field twice and got shoved around easily, once.

It's one thing to put up 30+ points to win, but totally another giving up chunks of yardage and 30+ points to lose; all while our MVP QB watches from the sidelines.

Address obvious defensive holes, please Teddy.

UmpireMark's picture

With a shutdown defense, who cares who wins the coin flip. Hand the MVP QB the ball after a punt ... or better yet an INT.

EdsLaces's picture

Funny cause I keep seing Teez Tabor in our mock drafts and he isn't fast at all. Still like the pick though.

dobber's picture

More and more, I'm hearing that teams are leery of Tabor for his off-field issues. Not a team-first guy. Mocks either have him going very early or sliding to the round 1-2 border.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Tabor's 4.62 forty isn't doing him any favors either.

badaxed's picture

" The early rumblings are that the Packers are looking at the draft to stock the cupboard at cornerback.  Speed is a need and the Packers know it.  Part of the reason they let a versatile player like Micah Hyde go is because he lacks the type of speed that teams need today to keep up with the perimeter threats a lot of offenses have."

IF THEY ARE SLOW LET THEM GO! You need speed in the defensive backfield period!

stockholder's picture

Every draft I see by cheezeheads that know the draft, say 2 CBs will be taken. I'm looking at 3 guys if thats the case. #29 With Jones WA, CB. eliminated, The packers, not only will go for speed, but size. Obi Melinfonwu is the best safety in the class for size, and speed. He did play Cb like Randall. CbS sports has him rated at #32 like others. #61 TJ Watt will go before this. IF TT wants Watt OLB, Jordan willis edge or A Jacckson Cb. He'll have to beat Detroit #54. to get them. The Browns own # 53! (Trade Coming?) At #93 the next tallest CB with speed is A Witherspoon Col. Cb At #134 everyone has a RB being taken. I'll say WR goes here depending on Lacy. You now have not only size but speed. Their not combine warriors only. TT will take the taller CB.

badaxed's picture

" The early rumblings are that the Packers are looking at the draft to stock the cupboard at cornerback.  Speed is a need and the Packers know it.  Part of the reason they let a versatile player like Micah Hyde go is because he lacks the type of speed that teams need today to keep up with the perimeter threats a lot of offenses have."

IF THEY ARE SLOW LET THEM GO! You need speed in the defensive backfield period!

Finwiz's picture

My guess is, TT views the free agent class of defensive FA's as less than stellar, and not worth the money/risk. You always go after the highest rated player, regardless of position/need, whether it be the draft or free agency.
Even these two top CB's that signed already, I don't think either one were game changers. You need play makers, difference makers on defense, not very good players. Great players get the big bucks.

badaxed's picture

"Look at cornerback, where the injury-related release of Sam Shields and the second-season collapses by Quinten Rollins and Randall leave Green Bay in an untenable situation.
“Get rid of all their corners,” an NFC North personnel man said after the season. “They’ve got too many slow guys. They don’t have one legitimate NFL starting corner. They should draft three corners if they don’t sign one in free agency.”

Packer_Pete's picture

the off-season is long, and a lot can happen between now and training camp. Having said that, I think it's clear that one cannot go into the season with only the current CBs on the roster. And OLB / pass rusher is also a top priority on D. On O, the OL has definitely weakened, so that is a prime position group to upgrade...

At the end of the day, there will be a competitive team playing in September. We will all see who will be on it...

Since '61's picture

As of this morning, if TT does nothing else in FA we're looking at the draft for at least one if not 2 CBs, at least one pass rusher, at least one DL, one OL, an RB and some depth at ILB as well. That is way too much to expect from a draft and UDFAs. I have no problem not re-signing Lang at $9 mil per, plus his injury history. But losing Tretter has compounded his loss for the OL. The idea of Barclay starting at any OL position terrifies me. I would prefer to keep Spriggs as our backup tackle. Possibly Patrick or Murphy can step up and play guard, but if we end up with Barclay we're in trouble. If we can still sign an experienced CB and pass rusher for the defense it will take a little pressure off the draft and we can focus on picking an OL early rather than later. Right now our 3 primary needs in the draft are going to be CB, Edge and OL. Then DL and RB, followed by ILB. TT still has plenty of cap space so I'm expecting another move or two. Except for covering the cost of our draft picks why not get more help for the defense? we may be able to get Barwin and Logan at a reasonable price. Not sure about the remaining CBs or what their price may be. Thanks, Since '61

Allan Murphy's picture

Packers need more speed at rushing the QB .

shystr's picture

Ian Rapaport just reported that the Packers have signed former Green Bay & Jacksonville CB Davon House: "#Packers are bringing back CB Davon House, as @TomSilverstein said. House gets 1-yr, roughly $3.5M, source said (while visiting Pitt today)."

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