Packers’ defensive line finds its Jolly-less form
Aug 26,2010 ~ by Robert McGinn
~Neither overly confident nor overly concerned, the Green Bay Packers’ defensive line is confronting a new season without suspended Johnny Jolly in a matter-of-fact state of mind.
With Jolly, the Packers would have been sitting pretty in their second season of the 3-4 with four solid veterans and what appears to be a capable rookie in Mike Neal.
Now minus Jolly, the Packers understand four weeks into training camp they can ill afford another crushing blow such as the pectoral injury that sidelined Cullen Jenkins for the season in Week 4 of 2008.
“I like the way we’ve played our run defense in two games,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “We’re further ahead there than in the coverage element.”
Last season, easily Jolly’s finest in a four-year career, the Packers relied more on him than any other defensive lineman. He led the unit in snaps with 835, an average of 49.1 over 17 games. He was second in pressures with 12, and first in both batted passes (11) and turnover-producing plays (four).
On July 16, Jolly was suspended through the Super Bowl by the National Football League for violations of the substance-abuse policy.
“I’ve been staying in communication with him and I’ll stay in touch throughout the year,” said Mike Trgovac, the second-year coach of the defensive line. “Not as a coach but as a friend to him. Johnny and I kind of forged a special relationship. He really is a good person.”