With training camp in full swing, all the hype is focused on special teams and the defensive backs but there are other concerns that we should be watching. One concern, in my opinion, is the average (and below average at times) defensive line. Ted Thompson has been a guru at drafting receivers and other positions but when it comes to defensive linemen he has only hit on a select few that lived up to their draft status.
Concern #1 the defensive line
Mike Daniels is one of Thompson’s better picks but it’s hard to point out others. I know Bj Raji could be considered one if he can get back to his 2010 form but this is yet to be proven we are all hoping this year will be his chance to shine. On the other hand, Datone Jones has all the physical traits to be a top player but he has disappointed us year after year with below average play even when he is healthy. Then there is Josh Boyd who may be Ted’s sleeper, he was starting to play better towards the end of the season so we can only hope he takes the next step this year. Mike Pennel has the size to be a run stopping beast but he has yet to show he has what it takes, Khyri Thornton was looking like another bust last year before getting injured and sitting out all year and he has not looked good in camp but McCarthy says he thinks he may come around… we will see soon enough I suppose.
Concern #2 the inside linebackers
Then there are the linebacker corps which is a talented but often injured position group. Nick Perry was suppose to be Clay Matthews’ bookend to be the terrible twosome from the edges and we all know how that worked out so in comes Peppers which was a major move last year and one that saved this defense from really falling apart. Mike Neal has stepped up his game a notch but I’m still not sold on him being the answer from the edge. Mulumba, when healthy, has some fire but coming off a knee injury last year he even stated he’s not 100% and still doesn’t trust his knee enough to play like he should. Then there are the rookies, Elliot, Hubbard, Francis, Rasco and Vaughters who all have a chance to prove they are the real deal but only time will tell.
So thats a couple positions I for one have concerns about this year and will be watching closely in preseason but let packernation know your concerns in the comments below or back on our FB homepage.
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