Jamari Lattimore officially inked his one-year contract tender to remain with the Green Bay Packers for the 2014 season. Lattimore was one of the Packers’ two restricted free agents (M.D. Jennings signed with Chicago).
A fourth-year pro from Middle Tennessee State, Lattimore is coming off of his best season as a Packer. Lattimore saw an increase in playing time while filling in for the injured Brad Jones last season. During this stretch, Lattimore, started four games at the inside linebacker position. His best game came against the Cleveland Browns, where he registered 12 total tackles and one sack.
While his play on the field offered a refreshing spark, which was a pleasant surprise, his biggest accomplishment may have come from his halftime pep talk that sparked a comeback victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
What type of impact will Lattimore have in 2o14? The return of Lattimore will be vital for keeping the Packers much-improved special teams coverage unit intact, as he was one of the leaders of the group. Key special teams players usually go unheralded, but Lattimore has done more than enough to remain as a pivotal cog on the field for both kick and punt coverage units.
Lattimore will also provide a much-needed insurance policy for an already thin inside linebacker position. Outside of Lattimore, Sam Barrington and Victor Aiyewa are the only other reserves. They saw the field sparingly in 2013. Unless the Packers address this position during the draft, which most believe they will, Lattimore may be relied on to carry a little more weight as the main reserve behind an aging A.J. Hawk and a somewhat oft-injured Brad Jones.