Acme Packing Company continues the examination of the Green Bay Packers’ 2016 roster. Each day over the next two weeks, we will break down a different position on the roster with examinations of the players on the 53-man roster in 2016, the contributions of new additions and players who signed new contracts, and players who have contracts expiring this offseason.
The Packers have a very young group of inside linebackers. After seeing some promise in Sam Barrington, the Packers released him at the end of training camp. The Packers drafted Blake Martinez to step in an provide depth at this young position. Martinez represents the third straight year the Packers drafted an inside linebacker in the fourth round. Martinez had to make an immediate impact on the team when he earned his way onto the field.
The only other inside linebacker added this season was added in December. Jordan Tripp was added when the suspension of Mike Pennel opened up a roster spot toward the end of the season.
How Acquired: Drafted in the Fourth Round (141st overall)
Stats: 69 tackles (47 solo), 1.0 sacks, 3 TFL, 1 INT, 4 Passes Defensed
Martinez was brought in to push the starters and ended up taking a starting spot in the lineup for much of the season. Martinez played in 13 games and started in nine of them. He missed some time in the middle of the season with a knee injury. Martinez came into the league with great quickness and strength, though rather average speed for the position. He joined the Packers after starting two years for the Stanford Cardinal.
Martinez had the only sack among the inside linebackers and one of two interceptions. He showed good instincts and good reaction time. It was a solid rookie campaign. Martinez had a positive impact on the run defense and showed some ability to assist in the passing game. In the end, Martinez finished behind Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas in tackles and solo tackles. It would have been good to have seen more of him.
How Acquired: Signed as free agent, December 14th; one-year, $600,000 contract
Stats: 0 tackles (1 tackle with Seattle)
Tripp played in two games this year for the Packers. He managed to start once in seven games with Seattle, but he only saw the field on special teams while with the Packers. It was a very minor impact on the team, but he gave some depth. Still, there is really no way to make any judgment based on two games worth of special teams play.