The Packers Are Moving Around Defensive Lineman

DETROIT MI - DECEMBER 12: Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions tries to get around the tackle of Ryan Pickett #79 of the Green Bay Packers on December 12 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers are probably moving their defensive lineman around to new starting positions this season. From JS Online.com:

In the new setup, the 340-pound Pickett would be back at nose tackle, where he started from 2006-'09 and probably is most effective, and Raji would have more freedom as a one-gap player in the spot previously occupied by Jenkins.

I don't know if this will really happen, the Packers first depth chart of the season still lists Raji at nose tackle and Pickett at defensive end, but the potential move does make some sense.

My first thought is that they're doing this for the pass rush. Last season, they switched the side LB Clay Matthews played on to move him away from DE Cullen Jenkins. They wanted their two best pass rushers on opposite sides. Now they're moving B.J. Raji from the left side to the right, again away from Matthews, because Raji has emerged as their second best pass rusher.

Part of the article said this rotation might help Ryan Pickett to move back inside where he "probably is most effective" but the key for Pickett is to stay healthy no matter what spot he lines up at. There is a legitimate concern that DE Mike Neal is a little undersized to play on the strong side, but he didn't look out of place when he lined up on that side last season. 

They also appear to be leaning towards playing Neal and Raji as the two down lineman on passing downs. I would expect they are their best pass rushing defensive lineman, so that isn't a big surprise.

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