What The Packers Need to Do For Their New Defense

Joel HebdaContributor IJanuary 19, 2009

The signing of Dom Capers will hopefully bring in a positive new era in the Green Bay Packers legacy.  While for the most part our defense has always been respectable the past decade and a half, it has never been quite outstanding. And we did not need it to be. 

We HAD a Hall of Fame quarterback behind center, someone for him to hand the ball off to, and reliable receivers.  Our defense was never a major weakness, but never a strong point.  This year changed my view on that.  Due to injuries and under-performing players, it appeared that there were numerous holes throughout all of our players. 

So basically our entire defensive staff was fired and here we sit.  But there are many good things to look at now that we have moved to the 3-4.  Cullen Jenkins is a born 3-4 DE and while Kampman is one of the best in the league at coming off the edge, I think he will do quite an outstanding job in the 3-4.  He is above average against the run right now, and is more of a strength rusher than speed, so he will have no problem. 

Now comes our biggest need last year, and possibly one of, if not the most important positions in the 3-4; nose tackle.  Look at all of the dominant 3-4 defenses and they will have a dominant NT( Ngata in Baltimore, Wilfork in New England).  Here is were Ted Thompson NEEDS to loosen the purse strings and go out and get Albert Haynesworth.  He is a man beast who will dominate no matter what. 

There is no other NT in free agency, and we would have to trade down in the draft in order to make a logical selection of one in BJ Raji.  If the signing of Haynesworth does not happen, then the only logical player to put at NT would most likely be Johnny Jolly.  I am sure if that would happen though, just like now, we would be cycling through our DTs quite a bit during the game.

Now on to the linebackers.  Barnett will hopefully be back to 100% and continue being one of the most underrated players in the middle in the league.  After that there are quite a few question marks.  AJ Hawk has been under-performing since his rookie year and that needs to change.  He did a respectable job moving to the middle after Barnett went down, and that leads to the question if he should stay in the middle.  I think that depends on if we could get certain players to play the outside. 

With the 9th pick in the NFL Draft the Green Bay Packers should take Everette Brown, 3-4 OLB from FSU.  Put him as our rushing LB from the outside and watch him go.  Now on the other side, I believe Ted Thompson needs to loosen the purse strings again and go and sign Terrell Suggs from Baltimore. 

Suggs and Brown on the outside would just be nasty and that would allow Hawk to move inside where he can go sideline to sideline.  Now if we add no LBs (which i would be very surprised at) I would still like to see Hawk still moved to the inside with Barnett and Brady Poppinga and Brandon Chillar on the outsides, but like I said...that isn't going to happen.

Now for our strongest point at the moment, the secondary.  I heard reports that Al Harris wasn't sure if he was coming back next season or not.  I do not think he is a free agent, so that would mean retirement which would be surprising, but I think he'll be back and in his usual starting spot. 

Opposite him will be Charles Woodson.  He only moved to SS to help the team because of injuries and moved back as soon as we were healthy.  Yes, Tramon Williams is developing very nicely and could start, but it is nice for us that he is a very good nickel back and provides good depth. 

Nick Collins is a lock at FS after a break-out year that I knew he always had in him.  He just needed to find out how to use his hands to catch the ball instead of spiking it to the ground. 

At SS, I am a big fan of Aaron Rouse and would like to see him start, but it seems that we are quite high on Bigby and I think they will battle in Training Camp.

All in all, if Ted Thompson signs and drafts the correct players, we have one of the best defenses in the league, plain and simple.  If not, then the transition to the 3-4 will be much more difficult.  But the defense I imagine put with our outstanding offense that will only keep getting better, and you have a team full to the brim with potential.