This Difference-Maker Would Make the Packers a Championship Defense

Posted by  Brady Augustine   in       1 year ago     225 Views     8 Comments  

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jamesMike McCarthy has said that this Packers defense is not yet a “Championship defense”. That could change with one move this coming offseason. Yesterday, the Rams released James Laurinaitis, the team’s all-time leading tackler. This move had many facets but for the most part came from a desire to get younger and clear cap space. But the move is an opportunity for the Green Bay Packers defense to immediately take a quantum leap forward. 

Laurinaitis is not young at 30 but his veteran presence could be a boon for a Packers team that saw Jake Ryan make strides but is at the same time facing the prospect of not having Clay Matthews paired up with him on the inside in the coming year. If the Packers, a perennially “youngest-in-the-league” contender, believe that the Rams stalwart still has some tread on the tires…they could make him one of the first free agents off the board and, with Laurinaitis having never even sniffed a championship, he could come at a lesser price than expected. James hails from Wayzata Minnesota and played his college ball at Ohio State, if Ted Thompson can get him signed he would be making the defense better and making up for the last inside LB from Ohio State that he drafted.

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To me, there is no question that James has tread left on the tires. He has played more than 99% of the snaps for the same team since he entered the league in 2009. That would seem to contraindicate that he still has it but I believe that Mike McCarthy is one of the best coaches in the league at managing player’s bodies and Laurinaitis would be fresher coming into a season with the Packers than he has been for a long time. Sure, there are other players out there and some may think James is past his prime. But they all though Julius Peppers was past his prime too and Julius became not just the team leader in sacks, but also a leader on the field for the rest of the youth of the team.

Beyond that, I think signing Laurinaitis would go a long way in satisfying the coaches and players (Peppers in particular) that this team is willing to do what it takes to go the distance. Getting the ILB position squared away should be a top priority for this Packers team and what better way to do it than to bring in a veteran who is used to being the extension of the defensive coordinator’s mind on the field, and putting him next to one of the young guys (preferably Ryan in my opinion), and Letting Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers do their thing on the outside.


Now, I’m not saying that Laurinaitis is the only option out there and if (and it is a possibility, though I think his last spot will likely be the Jets at 20) say, a guy like Reggie Ragland at 6’2″ and 258 pounds, who is younger and probably will run faster than Laurinaitis’ blazing 4.8+ with eight years of snaps on top, is still available in the first round of the draft…well to me that’s a no-brainer. But however they do it, the Packers must find a play-maker at inside linebacker. And they have to do that without the Clay-maker at inside linebacker. This defense didn’t get good until it got the inside linebacker position sorted out and that required Clay Matthews to take the helm. If the Packers can get someone in who can takeover that part…who is plug and play…just think how good this defense can be.

So my belief is that the Packers have identified their defense as less than it could be and with all the talk of IMG_0850.JPGfrustration over lack of free agent acquisitions…I think this year there will be a player or two signed. I also think that McCarthy making it clear that their goal will be to get Clay Matthews back on the outside doing what he does best is a tell. I think that promise is McCarthy’s way of letting Packernation know that he will be pushing for Ted Thompson to go out and get someone to fill Clay Matthews’ void. Finally, I believe that Mike McCarthy was impressed by the beat-down that the Denver Broncos gave the Packers in Denver and the way their defense took over the game against the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. And how did they build that defense? Through the draft and the additional expense of some high end free agents.

This team has been too close for too long to let an off-season like this go by without addressing the obvious hole at inside linebacker. When a team moves its best pass-rusher to ILB to make sure that teams don’t run roughshod all over it…it signals a problem. This year…the Packers need to address that problem and James Laurinaitis is just the man for the job.

Go Pack!

 

 

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Brady Augustine is co-owner and content creator for www.greenbaypackernation.com. He currently resides in Tennessee and also conspires with brother, JR on www.cheesnewswire.com

1 Comment

  1.   March 15, 2017, 4:54 pm

    Hi there, I just dropped by to say how much I love the way you have created your blog, easy to follow and read, with heaps of interest:-)I just adore your mirror….it has given me an idea for some garden mirrors I am going to mosaic…just love the way you have scattered the buttons to dwindle out, and leave space and air at the bottom….very pes;eful&#8230c.aometimes simplicity is better than overcrowding…thanks for the fresh look at things :-)I have photos up at webshots and picturetrail, but the embed code looks huge LOL

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