The Packers were the last team into the free agency foray with their signing of safety Anthony Smith from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that Smith is hoping to “resurrect” his career up in Green Bay after essentially talking himself out of a job in Pittsburgh.
We all remember Anthony Smith. If you don’t now, you will in a few moments. Remember that one dude that guaranteed Pittsburgh would beat the New England Patriots in Week 13 of the 2007 season when New England was on that insane run, but then got absolutely owned by Tom Brady and Randy Moss in a 34-13 Patriots victory? Yeah, the Packers got that guy. However, putting that all aside, his coaches have acknowledged that he was not a trouble maker and that the Steelers ran into cap issues and could not keep him.
After starting 14 games in his first two seasons after being drafted in the third round out of Syracuse. Unfortunately in 2008, Smith got buried on the depth chart behind Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, and Tyrone Carter and had only 9 total tackles for the season.
Despite this lack of playing time and seemingly a decline in production, Smith can still be a good fit for a young defense learning the 3-4. The scheme the Packers are using has similar terminology to the one used in Pittsburgh and already having three years of experience in the 3-4 makes Smith the odds-on winner for the starting safety spot opposite Pro Bowler Nick Collins. Smith will be in competition with Atari Bigby and Aaron Rouse. Bigby is coming off an injury while Rouse has tantalizing potential.
The Smith signing, no matter how late and insignificant it seems, could do wonders for the defense down the stretch in the 2009 season.