Green Bay Trades In A Safety

Green Bay addressed it's need at safety by signing Matt Giordano today.  Giordano was one of the three players the Packers brought in to shore up the lack of depth in the defensive backfield.  Giordano, a five-year NFL veteran, was best known for his special teams contributions with the Colts, along with his amazing open-field speed.

This is a great move; it helps reinforce the glaring hole at safety, especially since Atari Bigby and Nick Collins are hurt.  That means that Giordano will be competing with Jarrett Bush and Derrick Martin for the starting spot alongside Aaron Ro...

Wait a minute...


In a related move, the Packers cut safety Aaron Rouse to make room on the 53-man roster.

Let me type that sentence again, because I'm frankly not sure if it makes any sense.

The Packers cut Aaron Rouse to make room on the 53-man roster.

Cut him.  Let him go.  Released him.  Asked him to clean out his locker, gave him a cardboard box, and sent him along his merry way.  No matter how you spin it, Green Bay cut a safety to make room for...another safety.

Please, if you have small children that are of reading age, cover their ears.

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Ahem.  I'm back.  I'm sorry to use my big boy voice in here, but I just can't help myself.

The last week or so has really made me question Thompson's plan for 2009 and beyond.  Our quarterback got killed in Week 1 because Allen Barbre (one of his guys) was playing like garbage.  OK, I understand the need for continuity on the line, and he should have gotten a chance to redeem himself, and he did.  Then, our quarterback gets killed in Week 2 because a) Chad Clifton is far further on the decline than we care to admit, b) Clifton got hurt after giving up 2 sacks, and c) Daryn Colledge (another Thompson pick) was forced to move to LT and got demolished. 

And you know what, I was okay with that too, because Colledge has practical experience at left tackle and, before Sunday, was one of our best linemen in terms of blocking assignments.  But why did it even get to that point?  Because Thompson decided to release the only player he brought in to compete for the backup LT spot (Jamon Meredith).  And I was even okay with that, because Meredith had a poor showing in preseason and training camp against second- and third-stringers.  Besides, he managed to stash him on the practice squad, so the chances that Meredith would stick around for 2010 were pretty good.

And where's Meredith now?  Buffalo.  So now what's the plan to fix the offensive line while Clifton is out with a sprained ankle?

That's one issue.  The other issue, of course, is what to do at safety while Atari Bigby (sprained knee) and Nick Collins (sprained clavicle (you can sprain your clavicle?)) are on the sideline.  Obviously, it would behoove Thompson to sign somebody as to avoid playing Derrick Martin before he's ready or playing Jarrett Bush at all.  And when I heard that they were bringing in the aforementioned Giordano, Nate Ness, and DeAndre Wright, I said to myself, "Self, this is a good sign, because Thompson usually doesn't sign veterans mid-season.  He recognizes a problem and is trying to fix it."

Then he releases Aaron Rouse.

And I'm not even a huge Aaron Rouse fan, but when you're missing your top two players at a position, why release the third guy to pick up somebody who may or may not even contribute anywhere but special teams?  Maybe it's because this week's opponent doesn't have a decent passing game (I was actually doing research for my weekly preview before learning of this news).  Does Thompson think that Martin will be able to step into the starting role while Bigby and Collins heal?  Maybe.  Does he think that Jarrett Bush will avoid failing in spectacular fashion against one of the worst teams in the league?  God, I hope not.

This might work out eventually.  Shoot, we don't know how long Collins is going to be out, so it might even be a moot point if Derrick Martin can contribute.  And Giordano, as Brandon said, looked like the most worthwhile player to invest in, even for this season.  So, hey, what do I know, I'm just a writer.

But what I do know is this: The offensive line is currently in shambles, and with our top LT injured and therefore shuffling around the starting five, pass protection is going to be an even bigger problem.  Simultaneously, our defensive backfield has a huge hole in the middle of the field, and we might be putting the worst player on the roster in one of those spots.  Why are we in that position?  Because Thompson decided it was more important to carry three fullbacks than keep a player who started six games last year (plus one game the year before and one game in 2009) and was second on the team in tackles against Cincinnati.  Does he have weaknesses?  Absolutely, but he's the best option to start at safety, and now he's on the street.

In the short term, I'm unsure of how this will work out.  With no decent safeties, Green Bay is liable to give up several big plays, probably for scores.  That means the team will be behind early and often, and Mike McCarthy (the genius playcaller he is) will likely abandon the run and lean on Aaron Rodgers to carry the offense, even though Rodgers' protection is below-average at best.  In the long term, after these injuries pass, the team might be able to regain its form.  But who knows when that will happen?

I have always been a supporter of Thompson's vision for building a championship contender, and up until two weeks ago, I thought his vision was manifesting itself on the football field.  But looking at his history of drafting offensive linemen (which one could argue is either remarkable or terrible), the amount of players he's kept at a fringe position (seriously, THREE fullbacks!), and now releasing a starting-caliber player to make room for a special teams guy?  Let's just say I'm not seeing what he's doing there.

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