What Jolly's Flop Means for the Packers
Last Updated on Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00 Written by Mike Davidsen Monday, 28 March 2011 23:13
After Johnny Jolly was suspended by the NFL for drug charges, most fans were under the impression that Jolly was taking advantage of the extended offseason to turn his life around and prepare for a strong return to the Packers. With opportunities opening to reclaim his job in Green Bay, Jolly has found himself in trouble once again - the 28 year-old was arrested on last Friday and charged with possession of 600 grams of codeine with intent to distribute.
Let me first point out that we don't even know if Jolly was necessarily part of the Packers' future plans in the first place. Even with Cullen Jenkins' likely departure via free agency, the Packers may have been comfortable with their depth at defensive line, with little intention to have him in green and gold again. Unfortunately, the Packers will certainly lose something from Jolly's flop. At the very least, they will lose valuable trade bait that could have helped replenish thinner areas on the roster.
So, does Jolly's arrest change the Packers' plans in attempting to resign Cullen Jenkins? I really don't believe so. In my mind, there is no chance that Ted Thompson was banking on Jolly's return to satisfy the team's depth at defensive end. I think that the organization was moving forward with the idea that it would be a pleasant surprise to have Jolly back. That said, Jolly's definite absence from football will not push Thompson's hand in keeping Jenkins in Green Bay.
The removal of Jolly from the future equation at defensive end only means added pressure on young defensive lineman, Mike Neal. The second that Jenkins finalizes his decision to sign with another franchise, Mike Neal's name will be etched in as the starter at end opposite Ryan Pickett. Though the prospect of Pickett and Neal as the two everyday starters doesn't seem so bad, the line will be left with a dangerously low level of depth unless Thompson snags another lineman in the draft.