A little over five weeks ago, I wrote a story which talked about the wish list for the Green Bay Packers via the draft and free agency for various positions on the team.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted on Sunday that the Packers are indeed interested in Houston.
In addition to that, Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun reported that the Packers are among some teams interested in Jones as well.
Both Houston and Jones have attributes which can help the Packers. First and foremost, both are very solid run defenders.
In his four-year career, Houston has shown flashes as a pass-rusher as well, as he has 16.5 sacks, including 10.5 the past two years. The former Texas Longhorn has also had 171 tackles, four forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries in his career.
Jones has been sort of a late-bloomer with the Ravens in his four-year career. In the past two years, Jones has 99 tackles, 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
The key difference between Houston and Jones is that Houston played in a 4-3 front with the Raiders, while Jones played in a 3-4 front with the Ravens.
If the Packers were able to sign either Houston or Jones in free agency, then that player would be one bookend at defensive end, with Datone Jones manning the other spot.
The nose tackle would be manned by B.J. Raji, if he accepts the current offer the Packers have put out to him and his agent David Dunn. I wrote about that situation a couple of days ago.
The Packers would then have Houston/Jones, Raji and Jones in the base 3-4 front, and also have players like Mike Daniels, Josh Boyd and Jerel Worthy as part of the defensive line rotation.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com also wrote that the Packers are considering using Nick Perry as an elephant defensive end, similar to how he played at USC.
Time will tell how this all will develop, but it appears that the Packers are looking to get more athletic and diverse up front on defense.
That is probably the way to go, based on the production of the defense as a whole in 2013. Green Bay was ranked 25th in total defense last year, which included being ranked 25th in run defense and 24th in pass defense.
Signing a player like either Houston or Jones would certainly help, along with the expected development and improvement of Datone Jones in his second year with the Packers.
Raji would play at nose tackle (if he is re-signed), which is the position he prefers.
Plus, you would have rotational players like Daniels, who had 6.5 sacks last year.
Bottom line, you all have heard the old adage that football games are won in the trenches. Well, it looks like the Packers are trying to improve their manpower in the defensive trench via free agency and with subtle changes with their personnel.
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