At the Packers rookie mini-camp this weekend, head coach Mike McCarthy took some time out to discuss the defense’s switch from Bob Sanders‘ 4-3 to Dom Capers‘ 3-4, and the effects this change will have on the players.
On the arrival of rookie B.J. Raji affecting Ryan Pickett:
“It’s definitely an opportunity for him, number one, to be the nose guard of this football team. When you look at our defensive line and some of our veteran players on defense, we’re making the scheme change but there are individuals we feel strongly about and I’ve said it since the day we made the change to the 3-4: Ryan Pickett will be an excellent anchor for us at the nose guard position. We want flexibility in the rotation with those defensive linemen. That’s why B.J. will work the nose guard and the left end position.”
“Cullen Jenkins, we’ll probably move him around more in the sub groups.”
Everyone’s favorite possible bust, Justin Harrell:
“Justin Harrell is looking better and better each week.”
Johnny Jolly, still awaiting trial:
“Johnny Jolly has been productive for us in spots.”
The Packers defense will under extreme changes this offseason and into next season. The additions of Raji and Clay Matthews are great for the Packers future, but right now most of the focus has to be on the change in the current personnel. 2009 becomes a make or break year for Harrell. This season also signals a shift in future personnel decisions, such as ones regarding Aaron Kampman, as if he does not fit in the scheme, he could possibly be dealt. Also, the Packers need their defense to be strong, because the offense will score points. If the defense had held in a few games last year, the Packers could have been a playoff team. This year could also be make or break for Ted Thompson, as he has been under some intense scrutiny recently by Packers shareholders.