clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cheese Curds, 2/17: How will Packers attack the need at inside linebacker?

New, comments

Cory Littleton could factor into the Packers’ plans. Curtis Bolton surely will. But just how will the Packers remake their inside linebacker group — if they choose to move on from the incumbent, of course?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Brian Gutekunst made no bones about it: the inside linebacker position is a major question mark for the Green Bay Packers heading into the 2020 offseason. In his season-ending press conference, the Packers’ general manager said as clearly as he could that the position would be a priority: “We’re going to have to take a long look at inside linebacker and make sure we’re squared away there.”

Last year, Gutekunst identified outside linebacker, safety, and guard as the team’s top priorities. He then went out and signed at least one premier player at each of those positions in free agency and added another at each spot within the first 44 picks of the 2019 NFL Draft.

With inside linebacker clearly being a critical area for Gutekunst this offseason — along with adding explosive offensive weapons — how will he approach that position group? Double-dipping in free agency and the draft is hardly out of the question. The free agent market has a handful of intriguing possibilities, while the Packers might be in just the right draft pick range to target a player like Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray or LSU’s Patrick Queen come April. Of course, there is also still a possibility that the Packers re-sign Blake Martinez.

It should be an interesting offseason for the Packers at a number of different positions, but perhaps no group will get a bigger overhaul this spring than the linebackers.

If Packers are willing to spend, LB Cory Littleton should be top target | Packers Wire
The Packers' needs at inside linebacker are clearly defined, and Brian Gutekunst has shown a willingness to double-dip on big needs in free agency and the draft. Littleton, the former Ram, is used to being a single off-ball linebacker, and that plus his coverage ability make him an ideal fit for Mike Pettine's scheme.

NFC cut candidates: David Johnson, Everson Griffen to market? - NFL.com
The Cardinals have said that David Johnson isn't going anywhere this offseason. But could the Vikings part ways with a few of their key defensive pieces? And will there be any other off-ball linebackers who could end up as cap casualties this offseason?

Five potential difference-makers for the Packers in 2020 – The Athletic (subscription required)
Don't forget about Curtis Bolton at linebacker, either. Yes, he missed the entire season on injured reserve (that damned Winnipeg game cost him and Equanimeous St. Brown their 2019 campaigns), but he looked like a starting-caliber linebacker in his brief preseason action. He will almost certainly factor into the Packers' plans in some way.

Inbox: That’s the beauty of modern football | Packers.com
Wes takes questions on line play, Al Harris' greatness, Blake Martinez, and much more in this weekend's inbox.

How Matt LaFleur can put Davante Adams, Aaron Jones in position to succeed | Packersnews.com (subscription required)
Tom Silverstein is breaking down the offense as a whole this week. The Packers' depth of talent at the ball-handling positions may not be great, but their 1-2 punch of Adams and Jones is about as good as it gets in today's NFL. Silverstein argues that LaFleur needs to convince Aaron Rodgers to check down to his running back more often, and that Billy Turner must figure out how to improve his pass-blocking.

RSPCA investigates after 13 snakes dumped in pillowcase | Yahoo! News
After reading the headline, I expected that this would be coming out of Florida instead of the UK, but this just goes to show that people doing dumb things with exotic animals knows no country. Added bonus: it was a Buzz Lightyear pillowcase.