I know it's only the first week of free agency, but this Packer fan does not yet see anything that makes me think the team will be better next season. Though the offense may be solid again, thanks primarily to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the defense looks to be the same problem it was.
The needed fixes this offseason are on the defensive line.
Blunder No. 1 came by the way of the Houston Texans signing DE Antonio Smith. Smith is a five-year player from the Arizona Cardinals. He really came on late last year, specifically during the playoffs. With 125 tackles and 14.5 sacks on his young career, he is not really suitable for the 3-4 defense, but he's better than nothing.
Then as if to say "I don't care what everyone says," Ted Thompson lets DE Chris Canty sign with the New York Giants. Canty is also young, being drafted in the fourth round in 2005 by the Dallas Cowboys. He is the perfect fit for the Packers, having been involved with the 3-4 defense his whole career, but now he's gone.
DT Colin Cole played spot duty with success last year for the Packers. We couldn't afford to lose him despite DT Ryan Pickett starting, but now Cole has signed with the Seahawks.
Now all we have to back up Pickett is DT Justin Harrell.
So let's recap. The Packers now have Jeremy Thompson, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly (who I hear is upset with his contract), and Cullen Jenkins. Mike Montgomery is talking with other teams and hasn't produced anything to say he's a starter.
There are no options left on the free agency market to shore up the defense. That's going to limit the Packers severely in the draft.
Look for the offense to improve but the defense to stay about the same. How can the Packers go from the NFC Championship game to where they are now in just two years?
With moves like this, I am not convinced the Pack will be in the playoffs in 2009.
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