Our Linebacking Core and Their Future in GB

With the recent departures of Walden and Zombo, I think it is a good time to assess what we have in the linebacking core here in Green Bay and where we think we will be further down the road.

Clay Matthews- One of, if not the best pass rushing linebackers in the game. As of now he is close to extending on a big deal to keep him around. Clearly has a high motor, and his high performance is consistent but is much more noticeable when he has a strong supporting cast.

Brad Jones- I have to admit, I was not a fan of Jones even after this season. He graded out very well in 2012 according to Pro Football Focus, and appears to be a steal for the amount we resigned him for. His coverage skills are excellent, but I think he still has a lot to prove in his tackling and run support abilities. I have to say I am excited to have him back next year, and hope that he can continue to improve.

Desmond Bishop- Bishop is a guy that is easy to like, but his durability issues are a bit concerning. I like his consistency on the field, and think that he will definitely stick around if at the right price. He made his way to being a starter from hard work on special teams, and that experience in invaluable.

AJ Hawk- I have never really thought of Hawk as someone who has lived up to expectations. When he was drafted, I think Packer fans were looking for a stalwart MLB who could hold down the middle for a long time. Hawk has been a cornerstone in the Packers defense, but I have never been overly impressed with his play. I am happy to have him back, especially after taking the pay cut this offseason to allow us to allot money elsewhere.

DJ Smith, Nick Perry, Terrell Manning- For these three guys, only time will tell. Smith is an absolute tackling machine, and has a knack for the ball. Being an AppState alum and watching him play for 3 years in college, it came as no surprise to me that he would be such a steal. Perry has upside as large as his expectations, and I hope that he can stay healthy enough to live up to them. He is a physical specimen that has all of the tools to be great. As for Manning, I really don't have much to judge him on. He was rated highly coming out of NC State, but I am curious as to his motor, and what he can bring to the table on special teams.

Dezman Moses, Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore- There might not be anything more rewarding than finding a gem from Free Agency or the late rounds. Moses made a name for himself in training camp and preseason, and the sky is the limit for his potential. Francois has been around for a bit, but I was very pleased to hear that he is coming back around. His special teams ability and versatility on the defense is crucial. Lattimore has been inconsistent, but is still inexperienced and I would like to see what he can bring to the table with more opportunities.


Overall, I think we are pretty set with our linebacking core. The one position of need is obvious; we need a solid outside threat to compliment Matthews. Whether Brad Jones can make the transition, Perry will develop or if we will build through the draft remains to be seen. I don't think that Packers fans are in panic mode over the linebacking core, but it is definitely something interesting to think about.

Please get back to me with your thoughts and opinions!

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