2018 August : Packers Insider

Packers should bring in Navorro Bowman

August 2, 2018 by  
Filed under News

From Brian E Murphy, Packers Magazine

~New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine already had his work cut out for him.

His middle linebackers consisted of Blake Martinez, and Jake Ryan. Both are better against the run than they are as pass defenders.

jake ryan

But these are the Packers and injuries are always a major factor. This year, they didn’t even get out of July before losing a starting player for the season as Jake Ryan tore his ACL this week. His season is over before preseason even started. He didn’t even make it to the preseason, where Jordy Nelson’s season ended in Pittsburgh three years ago.

So who’s left?

oren burks

Rookie Oren Burks was a surprising third round draft pick, a converted safety, who is being counted on to help cover tight ends and backs. But Pettine isn’t fond of rookies playing the position that he refers to as “the nerve center” of the defense, “tieing the front end with the back end”. Ahmad Brooks is another option who has zero NFL experience. He might be good. He might never make it.

What will Pettine do?

The good thing is he has Brian Gutekunst as his GM, and not Ted Thompson. Thompson is dead set against bringing in NFL veterans. For a while, there were only three Packers on the roster who had any NFL experience with another team. That was John Kuhn, Ryan Pickett, and Charles Woodson.

Thompson would give former defensive coordinator guys like Josh Bell as in-season reinforcements. He’s the one who lost the game at Pittsburgh on the final play in 2009.

If Pettine wants someone brought in who’s done it before in the NFL, he has some player options and he has a new GM who is more willing to make it happen.

Now keep in mind, there are no in-prime Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner, Brian Urlacher types out there.

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But there are a couple of guys who have been All-Pro caliber in the league in their prime, and might offer the stability with assignments and coverage that is not there with the youngsters. Remember, Blake Martinez could very well get injured too. No Packer fan would be surprised.

If he checks out medically, I would be signing Navorro Bowman tomorrow. He did play last year and played okay for the Raiders, despite coming in about a quarter through the regular season.

You have to wonder why they didn’t bring him back, but a new coach tends to do things like that.
Oakland did take Nelson from the Packers, Edgar Bennett from the Packers, already took Jared Cook, Reggie McKenzie, James Jones, and Charles Woodson back from the Packers.

Perhaps turnabout is fair play. The last time the Packers brought in a guy from Oakland, it was an oft-injured Charles Woodson. That turned out okay.

bowman lynch

Bowman is not as good and has suffered worse injuries. And he’s about a year older than Charles was when Ted Thompson signed him.

But Bowman will also be a  lot cheaper than Woodson was initially.

How was Bowman last year in Oakland?

This from last year’s final weekend of the NFL season, December 30:

“I’m known for my instincts throughout the NFL, and I haven’t been able to really use those instincts in this defense because I don’t really know it,” Bowman said Friday. “I don’t know when I can take those chances, I don’t know who’s backing me up on certain calls.

“If I’m able to come back next year and get a full training camp in and get used to really communicating with everyone out on the field, I’ll be able to do a lot more. But I’m definitely satisfied with how everything went), how (the Raiders) accepted me, and the coaches – how they trusted me going out there and playing as many snaps as I played.”

Released five games into the season by the 49ers, who were no longer using him as an every-down player, Bowman settled in immediately with the Raiders as their middle linebacker. He has played 97.8 percent of the defensive snaps since joining the team and led the Raiders in tackles in eight of his nine games.

bowman raiders

At 29, Bowman, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, has played 106 career games (including the postseason) and suffered two major injuries – a torn ACL in his right knee that caused him to miss the 2014 season and a torn Achilles in 2016.

But he has also brought stability to a key position at which the Raiders have had little in recent years. Teammates and coaches quickly recognized the effect. After his debut against the Chiefs in Week 7, head coach Jack Del Rio (later fired and replaced by Gruden) called Bowman a “settling influence” on the sideline.
Bruce Irvin in December credited Bowman as being a key part of the Raiders’ defensive improvement. “It’s obvious,” Irvin said after the Raiders’ Dec. 3 win over the Giants. “The guy flies around, takes control of the huddle. You see it, you see the difference from when he wasn’t here and how our defense performed to now. He’s a great competitor, he’s a great leader and I’m just happy to have him.”
“I don’t think guys can afford to do that, being on a team like this where we haven’t played well and changes can be made after this year,” Bowman said. “Everybody, including me and the quarterback, the coaches, we have to be preparing the way that you would prepare if you were 8-0. Because changes can be made at any time in this league and the position that we’re in, you don’t want to put any bad film out there or have any bad game.”

This sound like the exact type of player that Pettine would want and the Packers could benefit from.

He’s played in a 3-4 defense as Pettine mostly runs. He’s versatile. He’s seen it all. He just turned 30 in May, which isn’t that old. He was a four-time All-Pro, from 2011-2015. You know him. He was a big reason why they 49ers eliminated the Packers in the 2012 and 2013 season in the playoffs.

One more reason that Bowman is my top pick is that he has never tasted a Super Bowl title, although he came very close when the Baltimore Ravens edged the 49ers after the 2012 season.

bowman sack alex

I like getting hungry veterans. It worked well for the Packers in the Ron Wolf time. Don Beebe had come close. Reggie White had come close. Sean Jones, Santana Dotson, Eugene Robinson, Andre Bad Moon Rison, Keith Jackson all were hungry for a Super Bowl.

It didn’t take years for them to learn and adjust to the NFL game speed.

Last year, Bowman was fresh off an Achilles injury and he did’t have training camp and preseason to learn the Raiders defense. If the Packers act quickly, he will have about 10 more weeks than he had last year in Oakland.

Aaron Rodgers should make the phone call right now and welcome Bowman to Austin-Strobel Field tomorrow morning.

 

2-POINT CONVERSION

Raider Nation wants to keep Bowman: https://raiderswire.usatoday.com/2017/12/30/3-reasons-why-raiders-should-keep-lb-navorro-bowman/

No.1. Bowman will continue to be a force

Even though he will be 30 years old when next season starts and has suffered a couple of season-ending injuries in his career, Bowman didn’t show signs of slowing down this season even remaining stride-for-stride with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in the open field more than one time.

So far this season, he has 113 tackles (72 solo), one sack, one interception and is the fifteenth-ranked linebacker with a Pro Football Focus (PFF) overall grade of 82.9.

Those numbers are terrific on their face, but at 29 years old with a poor secondary behind him and a weak interior defensive line in front of him — they’re nothing short of incredible.

bowman super bowl 1

No.2. Bowman can mentor young players, be a role model

The Raiders saw an infusion of youth this year, and that should only continue with veterans such as cornerback David Amerson and safety Reggie Nelson likely to be off of the roster before 2018.

Nelson will be 35 years old, looks slow and Amerson has been one of — if not the — worst cornerbacks in the game in 2017.

Bowman is a leader by both example and vocally, and was a key part of a 49ers team that was perennial Super Bowl contender under head coach Jim Harbaugh proving he is the exact type of presence Oakland needs in their locker room as they continue to look to change their culture.