Packers skating on thin ice at linebacker : Packers Insider

Packers skating on thin ice at linebacker

August 12, 2010 by  
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Aug 12, 2010 ~ by Mike Vandermause

~Real or imagined, there was a perception the Packers were thin at outside linebacker coming into training camp. That was before the linebackers started dropping like flies this past week, with Clay Matthews pulling his hamstring, Brady Poppinga suffering a concussion, Brad Jones hurting his back, and Frank Zombo and Cyril Obiozor going down with ailments of one sort or another.

It has gotten so bad that the Packers were forced to walk across the street and pull a Green Bay Blizzard player off the street, sign him to a contract and suit him up (Maurice Simpkins). Right now, any warm body will do just to make it through training camp.

But even if all the walking wounded heal – Poppinga has returned to practice, while Matthews is expected to miss at least two weeks – the question remains whether the Packers are stocked enough at that position. They didn’t draft an outside linebacker and they didn’t sign one from the ranks of the unrestricted free agents.

Thompson claimed he had depth at OLB following the draft when he added no LBers, but now Brandon Chillar has been moved from inside to outside linebacker and currently is playing with the No. 1 defense as Clay Matthews is out with a bad hamstring.

I asked GM Ted Thompson about depth at that position during a recent interview, prior to the glut of injuries.

“I think we have some depth there,” Thompson said. “This training camp will determine the quality and extent of that depth. We’re not walking around wringing our hands over it. But during the draft, offseason, free agency, it’s based on quality of talent available. You make decisions, and if you want a left tackle, you take a left tackle.”

The implication being that sure, the Packers could have drafted an outside linebacker high in the draft, but with Bryan Bulaga sitting there in the first round, the team went in another direction. It’s impossible to fill every need.

But the Packers need to increase their pass-rushing capabilities, and one place to do that is at outside linebacker. Again, Thompson feels good about where the defense is at.

“Defense is more complicated than one particular (position),” he said. “But certainly you like to              Rest of story here

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