Each winter, Acme Packing Company breaks down the Green Bay Packers’ roster from the previous year by position to examine the team’s performance and needs in the offseason. We continue our look at the inside linebackers.
With so much focus on rebuilding their pass rush, the Green Bay Packers let the inside linebacker position fall by the wayside in the hopes an improved pass rush would keep the unit afloat.
Narrator: it did not stay afloat.
Heading into training camp, Green Bay seemed content to go into the season with Blake Martinez and a combination of Oren Burks and Josh Jones. It wasn’t a bad gamble considering Martinez came off a career year and Burks showed some promise a rookie in 2018.
Then Burks tore a pectoral muscle in the preseason and Jones asked for a trade before eventually being released.
The Packers didn’t plan for these scenarios as their only new additions at inside linebacker were Ty Summers in the seventh round of April’s draft and B.J. Goodson via trade after Jones was released.
Here’s a look at each addition.
How acquired: September 2nd trade with the New York Giants
Goodson meanwhile was active for 15 games, starting nine of them. He made 35 combined tackles with 22 of them being solo tackles.
When comparing Goodson to what Jones could have been, it comes down to similar production with less headaches. Jones wasn’t happy with his role in Green Bay and Goodson by all accounts was a team player. So in terms of the locker room, the trade was successful.
Other than that, Goodson was on the field for only 24.4% of defensive snaps which should be an indicator of how strong the Packers feel about him.
How acquired: 2019 NFL Draft, seventh round
Jones was still on the roster at this point and wouldn’t make his trade demand until about a month after the draft. Had the threat emerged sooner, a higher pick at inside linebacker would have been a good bet.
Instead the Packers drafted Summers out of TCU. Seventh round picks are usually roster bubble candidates but Summers showed enough during the preseason to secure a roster spot although he was mainly a contributor on special teams.
Speaking of the preseason, Summers made an immediate impression with ten total tackles in the preseason opener. He also had an impressive interception that he returned for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
He only made four tackles during the regular season despite being active for all 16 games, and even with the uncertainty surrounding Martinez and Goodson’s future, Summers doesn’t seem like he’s destined for much in 2020 except yet again fighting for a backup role.
Neither Goodson or Summers seem to be the answer and with a full makeover of the position likely in the cards this offseason, it’s fair to wonder whether one or even both of them will be on the roster at the end of training camp.
Hopefully when it comes time to write this piece again next year, there is much happier news to report.