First in a series of posts chronicling the mess that is the 2008 Green Bay Packers.
I've said it once, and I'll say it again: I've never seen a GOOD team that cannot stop the run and does not pressure the quarterback. It's never happened, on any level. Ever. Never-ever. Then, throw in shoddy special teams.....forget about it.
This isn't exactly "advanced football strategy" but if you can't stop the run it's a total snowball effect. The other team has endless 3rd and 1s instead of 3rd and 8s, play-action becomes 1000 times harder to defend, you sneak your safeties up for run support, which leaves your secondary out to dry. Weak DTs who do not command double teams makes your LBs look like garbage as O-Linemen come free off the snap and block you 12 yards downfield. Remember how Brian Urlacher was "overrated," then "great" during that Super Bowl year, and is once again "overrated?" Well, he had a pre-injured Tommie Harris and pre-Militia Man Tank Johnson in front of him in 2006. Same with Ray Lewis. He was "getting old" a few years ago. Now is "rejuvenated" ever since Haloti Ngata arrived takes on multiple linemen every snap. And I don't care how good your secondary is. If the opposing QB has enough time to drop back and fill out his tax returns, he'll pick you apart. Matt Schaub looked like Warren Moon last weekend.
You could see this coming. After Jolly got hurt and missed the final 6 games last year, the pass rush went downhill. Jolly’s not great, but he’s a key cog in the rotation...keeping the other guys fresh. They brought back basically the same guys sans Corey Williams. I don't blame Ted for not re-signing Williams (how's that $45 million investment looking in Cleveland? 40 tackles, 0.5 sacks). Again, Williams isn't great, but you need a rotation. I do blame Ted (yeah, I said it) for not bringing in somebody. Through the draft, at least. As for the other guys: Cullen Jenkins went down early, Ryan Pickett seems to have caught a case of "Chad Clifton-itis" and aged quickly, KGB's knee never healed, Colin Cole is just OK, Aaron Kampman gets double-teamed every play. Mike Montgomery has showed flashes (15 tackles, 1 sack @ Tennessee), but is nothing special. Rookie Jeremy Thompson also shows promise. I mentioned the lack of a pass rush here in the season preview, just don’t read any of the other stuff. Thanks.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Draft, trade, free agents, bring in an elephant from the Milwaukee County Zoo...they have to do something. A Haloti Ngata, John Henderson, Kevin/Pat Williams, Jamal Williams, Al Haynesworth, Justin Tuck....someone like that. Of course, EVERYBODY wants one of these. They're like #1 starting pitchers.
Scanning this database, it looks like a weak year for DTs. Lard Ass Terrence Cody (Alabama) tops the list. Someone called him "a taller Gilbert Brown." Sold. One guy I saw dominate a couple times on TV is Peria Jerry (Ole Miss). Not massive, but big enough and can also get to the QB Plenty of DEs this year including Brian Orakpo (Texas), Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech), and George Selvie (South Florida). The wildcard is another guy from Ole Miss - Greg Hardy. Great player, sort of crazy. In fact, somebody compares him to Charles Haley. Certainly, you remember our friend Charles. None of these guys, however, lock top 10 picks.
Ted, don't let me down....if you're silent on D-Line moves this off season, you might get some divorce papers in the mail.