Friday, August 19, 2005

Defensive tackles? What defensive tackles???

On his early morning report from Packers' training camp today, WTMJ 620 radio sports reporter (and "Voice of the Packers") Wayne Larrivee commented that from his observations over the course of camp so far the biggest worry for the team -- let alone the defense -- is that of the defensive tackle position. Larrivee observed that it appears that, once again, the middle of the defensive line will have to rely on Cletidus Hunt and Grady Jackson. Having to rely on the unreliable Hunt for yet another year doesn't bode well in itself. Toss in the oft-injured and contract-disgruntled Jackson at the other spot, along with a host of unproven and so-far unspectacular backups (e.g., Jenkins, Cole, Peterson) and there sure seems to be reason for concern regarding the middle of the D line. Watching that line get gashed last year was bad enough...let's hope we don't have to watch a repeat.

On a positive note -- yes, there is some good news -- Larrivee noted that S Nick Collins appears to be "the real deal." Also that CB Michael Hawkins may have a chance to challenge Al Harris for a starting slot, but at the very least will certainly be the nickle back.

Toss in the surprising development of undrafted LB Roy Manning and perhaps there is more room for optimism about the defense than might initially be thought. We know the offense will move score points. Whether Jim Bates' new defensive scheme can cover the D's shortcomings and maximize the talents of the players he has to work with (injuries aside) will be the key to the season.