It’s funny – after reading the other day that LaBoy was now available (former AZ Cardinal), I wondered if the Pack might be interested in him. Some confirmation here anyway, that we are. He is a decent LB with nice OLB size and skills (6’3″ 260LBS). Despite an off-season biceps surgery, he may be a nice rangy-type LB addition to compete with Chillar, Poppinga and Matthews for the OLB spot opposite Kampman.
Archive for April, 2009
For some reason, when I saw this news last night, I just wasn’t that worked up about it…even though this means he is free to sign with anyone. I thought “he’ll play this media game for a few months and then he may in fact try to latch on with some team mid-summer, or he may not”. Then, I did get a little worked up as I thought about it a bit more and realized “crap, he could join the Vikings or Tampa or Cleveland or a few other teams that might end up playing us next year.” Then, I got worked down, as it were, as I thought about it even more and thought “I simply don’t have the energy to deal with more Favre drama”. Then I stopped thinking.
Just read here at PFT that the Steelers have cut starting LB Larry Foote in what some see as a surprising move. Apparently their roster is so loaded with LB talent that they felt they could part with a starter (actually it also had to do with cap issues). Larry Foote is a pretty good player, would probably not be too expensive, has very solid 3-4 experience, is only 28 years old and could if nothing else, add quality depth to our LB group. Given the uncertainties facing Barnett and his recovery, the uneven play from Hawk, the rookieness of Matthews and the questions re whether Kampman can play OLB, I’d feel more secure knowing we had a proven veteran LB on the team .
Both reader DaveK and the guys over at Packerupdate have talked about how interestingly, the Packers now may have ideal personnel for a 4-3 (or at least to shift over to a 4-3 occasionally). (Though DaveK, if I’m not mistaken, you were the first to point this out right after the draft.) While I still favor what a 3-4 line-up brings, I could see how shifting to an occasional 4-3 look could be smart. Consider this line-up: Kampman, Raji, Pickett and Jenkins on the line with Matthews, Barnett and Hawk (or Bishop or Chillar) as LBs. Raji and Pickett could function similarly to the Williams’ duo in Minnesota. We’d suddenly have a viable front 7.
One reason why I’m pleased with the draft overall though, is (as DaveK and others have pointed out) because we now have flexibility that we didn’t have before. We have several different linebackers with different strengths, and a bit more depth on our D-Line. Couple this with a coach many of us feel will be good at using multiple combinations and there may be reason for optimism for our defense. In fact, as much as I talk about the importance of an offense creating mismatches (a philosophy I know McCarthy embraces as well), I think it’s similarly important for a defense to create different looks. When an astute QB or O-coordinator can anticipate what a defense is going to bring, playing offense becomes much easier. But when a QB/offense is unsure of what may happen, the defense can control the game. With greater flexibility because of a better selection of defensive personnel, I wouldn’t be surprised if Capers is able to add more of a surprise element than we’ve had the past few years.
Read here from Bedard as jsonline re free agent signees. I like the Tyrell Sutton signing. I do wonder why he wasn’t drafted if he has the kind of potential people think he has. I do remember him giving the Badgers a difficult time a game or two and he’s had some nice highlight moves. My hope, as I mentioned before, was to draft or sign a shifty RB who could give the team a different look from Grant’s downhill style. Sutton should bring this and compete with Jackson and Wynn for a roster spot and maybe good playing time.
I’m glad we picked up a DE, but my hope would have been that he would have been a bit bigger (he’s only 275lbs). It’s interesting, the more the draft plays out and the more I think about the Pack’s roster, the more I wonder if they are going to use a somewhat improvised 3-4 line-up. I am wondering if they are thinking about pairing Raji with Pickett and Jenkins on the line and going with 4 LBs. It would be a bit different from other 3-4 line-ups in that either Raji or Pickett (probably Raji), whoever plays DE, would be quite a bit bigger than most DEs in a 3-4. I also wonder if Capers’ system will be much more of a hybrid 3-4/4-3 that has a bunch of sub packages – one that brings a ton of different looks.
We do have future needs at CB so I don’t mind grabbing one here.
TT knows where our weaknesses are. This is turning into a total draft-for-need draft and I’ll be curious to see how TT fields questions about whether he has shifted his philosophy a bit (perhaps because he knows his back is sort of against the wall).
Anyway, again, I’ll say I like what he has done thus far. From here on out, I would like to see TT address both RB and DE. I think we need some help in both areas and I was a little surprised TT looked past RB Cedric Peerman from UVA with this last pick. He is a quality RB.
Anyway, let’s use the last few picks and some free agent pick-ups on DEs and RBs, maybe a WR, maybe a S or CB. But again, so far, I’m pleased with the issues TT seems to be focused on addressing in this draft.
I haven’t actually looked at all picks for all teams, but just glancing at the picks made by the NY Giants, I’d say they’ve done a good job. Here are their picks:
- Hakeem Nicks – supposed to be a very good WR
- Clint Sintim – Bucky Brooks at si.com thinks he was one of the best LBs in the draft
- William Beatty – an OT I had heard about prior to the draft as a steal
- Ramses Barden – a 6’6″ WR with loads of NFL potential
- Travis Beckum – our Wisconsin product whom I guess is bound for a very good NFL career at TE
- Andre Brown – a RB I’m very surprised slipped to the 4th round
- Rhett Bomar – a QB at one time who had potential – not so sure about him now
Nice additions again. I’m not sure about how quality these two guys JT Lang or Quinn Johnson are – but Quinn Johnson does come from a newer football powerhouse in LSU. Wonder if Matt Flynn knew this guy.
One reason why I’m feeling pretty good about this draft – is that TT appears to be drafting for need positions more than in the past. While I understand the philosophy behind “best player available”, I think it’s best when that philosophy is blended as well as possible with team needs. I think TT would have a hard time arguing that this year, he hasn’t been focused a bit more on team needs. (By the way, I think FB was more of a need than others. Korey Hall and John Kuhn have been OK, nothing special, and I’d go so far as to say that they played a part in the weaker running game last year (as did Grant and the O-Line).
That is the question of the hour. My initial reaction was very positive until I heard about what we gave up (#41, #73 and #83 picks – and getting some later round pick back from the Pats). I had told Steve shortly after taking Raji that I wouldn’t mind trading up to get one of the high profile LBs who were still available. So, I actually don’t really fault TT for trading up to get a LB he apparently really wanted. And, I also just like that he did something a bit different, a bit unconventional for TT. Really, he’s taken a decent gamble here because we gave up a lot for this guy. One thing I suspect is that TT thinks there are likely to be some decent players available still in the later rounds. Prior to the draft he disagreed with some of the other GMs who thought this was a weak draft. He said he thought it was actually quite a “deep” draft.
While I’m not sure I would have given up quite so much, in the end, I have to say I’m pleased with Day 1. A fair # of the draft “experts” had both of these guys ranked within the top 20 – so having 2 top 20 guys is a good thing.