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Packers Solid D, Not So Solid

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 03: Brandon Chillar #54 of the Green Bay Packers drinks water during practice at summer training camp on August 3, 2009 at the Ray Nitschke Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Dennis Towle Jr.Contributor IAugust 13, 2009

I must have jinxed the man… I was saying to someone yesterday that Ted Thompson better hope that he can get Justin Harrell on the field this year, or he’s going to look like a colossal idiot for picking him. So guess what fans, Justin Harrell is having back spasms again. The same thing that sidelined him for much of last season, and now a re-occurring problem since the two surgeries for that bulging disk. He will probably not be the DE that the Green Bay Packers are seeking. He should be a 26 year-old kid trying to figure out what to do with his life while standing in the unemployment line, because he can not stay healthy enough to be of any use to the Packers. Save the roster spot for someone who can actually play a down.

Other defensive people not playing right now due to various injuries: Linebackers Clay Matthews (hamstring), Nick Barnett (knee/PUP) and Brad Jones (back/PUP); Cornerback Pat Lee (back); Safety Anthony Smith (groin); and Defensive End Johnny Jolly (ankle).

On the BJ Raji front, the news got worse today with Michael Crabtree, the pick below BJ, suggesting a holdout into September. That would eliminate him being at any training camp, and that would mean BJ would get the “crash” course on the defense when he does get here. But, the word is that BJ is itchy to get into camp now, so how much of that is spin and how much of that is truth?

Add the injuries with the holdout, and you have a lot of the Green Bay defensive nucleus not preparing, not practicing, and not getting in sync with each other – not a very good sign when you are trying to install a brand new defensive scheme. The first good test of that revamped defensive scheme will be Saturday’s preseason game with Cleveland, who has an ESPN NFL Power Ranking of 28. If this defensive unit flounders against the very weak, it’s going to drown against the very best. So, we’ll sit back and see if Don Capers has enough pieces left to pull this off… 

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