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Which Nick Barnett Will We See?

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Which Nick Barnett Will We See?

These two passages from Vandermause's column on Barnett pretty much tell the story when it comes to the Packers middle linebacker:

There’s no telling how many more games the Green Bay Packers might have won in 2008 with linebacker Nick Barnett in the starting lineup for the entire’s clear the defense desperately missed Barnett’s competitive spirit and playmaking ability during a subsequent string of narrow defeats.

Followed by:

Barnett was not playing at the near-Pro Bowl level he displayed in 2007, but he was leading the team in tackles when he went down.

File the bolded under 'Understatement of the Year'.

Snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting in 2007, Barnett played that entire season like a man possessed, but with a controlled, laser-sharp focus. He almost never over ran plays, he was assignment sure and, especially in the early part of the year, was seemingly always around the ball.

Fast forward to 2008 and, for whatever reason, nothing seemed quite right with Barnett before his knee was blown up on the infamous carpet at the Metrodome. His play seemed to revert a bit in that he was wild and out of control a lot and generally did not seem 'right'. I know that sounds lazy, but any serious Packers observer knows exactly what I mean.

Barnett was asked about his drop in production on more than one occasion, each time dismissing the notion that anything was wrong, either on or off the field. Speculation about his offseason incident in Appleton was discussed, but Barnett was dismissive of that as well, claiming that none of those things were effecting him.

So now the Packers have Barnett set to return, albeit on a limited basis, for the start of training camp on Friday, with all indications being that he will be in the starting lineup on opening night vs. the Bears.

Here's hoping there's a lot less of this (0:50 mark) and a lot more of this and this.

UPDATE: Interesting response to me from Barnett on Twitter:

Well there was a lot of things i chould say happened but i will keep to myself lol

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

bucky's picture

Thanks for posting those Tampa Bay highlights. Watching the ball bounce off of Brandon Jackson for a pick reminds me once again why this team needs Terrell Sutton.

packeraaron's picture

Um...yeah. And don't forget the play at Detroit where he jumps for no reason and drops a sure first down. It's plays like those that make me laugh when people call him a 'third down back'. If he's the 'pass catching back' Sutton should make the team.

bomdad's picture

Later in the TB clip, 56 run blitzed and the play went to the other side of center. Any chance it was an audible by Griese?
That SD clip, that was all Favre comeback ability dontchaknow.

Nick's picture

Very interesting response from Nick. Could he have been frustrated with the scheme. We will never know :)

packeraaron's picture

"...that was all Favre comeback ability dontchaknow" - yeah, that's why he was hiding his head like a little girl. ;)

Ron La Canne's picture

Barnett plays with emotion, no question. So much emotion he often runs himself out of the play. If he can be taught the discipline required and add weight and strength, he could come back with a vengence. We'll start to get a better feel in a week or so.

As far as I'm concerned anything out of the OTA's is just so much PR gas. When they line up and start hitting is the time to pay attention.

bomdad's picture

On that Warrick Dunn tackle attempt, I think his emotion was the one you feel when you hug gramma.

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"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"The Bears still suck!"
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."