When they hired Dom Capers to run the defense, I said:
I think it really comes down to whether DE Aaron Kampman can become an outside linebacker. If Capers believes Kampman can become an outside linebacker, like OLB/DE hybrid Terrell Suggs, then they'll switch to a 3-4. It will be interesting to see what Capers says when he's introduced at a press conference.
After DE Cullen Jenkins was lost for the season in week 4, Kampman was the pass rush. His 10 sacks led the team. CB Charles Woodson and LB A.J. Hawk were rarely asked to rush the QB, but they were tied for 2nd on the team with 3 sacks apiece.
Now their top pass rusher is moving to a new position:
Change will start with perhaps the Packers' best defensive player, Aaron Kampman. After putting up 37 sacks the last three seasons - third-most in the league during that stretch - playing at left end, Kampman will move to outside linebacker in the new scheme.
Although he'll be playing outside linebacker, expect to see him lining up in a 3 point stance just as often as he drops back in coverage. If you watched Pittsburgh this year in the playoffs and saw LB LaMarr Woodley terrorize the opposing QB, then you know that Kampman can still be an effective pass rusher.
But everytime I've seen Kampman in space, on the rare occasion he did drop back in coverage on a zone blitz type play, he never seemed useful out there. He seemed like a defensive lineman trying to drop back. Also, he's very good against the run. It seems like a poor use of a great two way lineman to turn him into a linebacker.
Kampman is one of the least selfish guys in the NFL I can think of. When his hometown was hit by a tornado, he went to help with the cleanup but got back in plenty of time for a May minicamp. He's not going to put himself ahead of the team. Which is important because a lot of players would resent moving from defensive end, the only position he's every played in the NFL, to outside linebacker because he's not going to make as much money as an outside linebacker as he would have as a defensive end. And he's supposed to hit free agency after 2009. A lot of players wouldn't be excited about making a position change that might not work out right as they are looking for their next contract.
This is more of the same thing we were talking about yesterday. Why are the Packers rushing to make the switch to a 3-4? I'm not in favor of moving Kampman from a position where he's great to one where he might struggle whenever he's asked to do anything except rush the QB. I'm all in favor of change along the defensive front seven, but this seems wrong.