Sydney Speaks! Is defense better?

Last week we touched on the Green Bay Packers offense. Now it's time for the defense, so hold on.

Yes, it's a new year, but what will change? Yes, the Packers went out and got a new man at the helm of the defense and the third in three years. Do we think he's a miracle worker? Well, if he is, let's take a look at what he will be working with!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Defensive line
I think I might of heard Jim Bates singing the old Beatles song: "HELP, I NEED SOMEBODY" because he needs it. Let's start with Colin Cole. I liked what I saw in him last year, but again, he's young and inconsistent. Notice this theme - young and unproven.

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is a good pass rusher and that's what he is. Stop right there. He's not an every-down DE, he's a specialist and that's rushing the passer period. Against the rush he gets abused over and over again.

At the other end you have a very good hard-working guy in Aaron Kampman that gives everything he has. But the problem is if Kampman's the guy then the defense is in trouble. I like him, but he's just not, in my opinion, a starting end on a real good team in the NFL.

Then there's Grady Jackson, a beast when he is healthy, but how much can he be counted on especially with a bad wheel? He's supporting a lot of weight and wants more money.

Now let's talk about Cletidus "MISSING IN ACTION" Hunt. What a joke. He's been stealing for years, and now he decides not to come to the June minicamp. He only proves that you can lead a horse to the water but you can't make him drink. The real reason he's not here is so that the young players can get work, or maybe he thought he got excused like Brett Favre did from minicamp, right? Cletidus has been a disappointment since Mike Sherman gave him a bunch of money. If the Packers had any sense they would cut the cord, eat the money, and say GOODBYE. Hunt has a new defensive coordinator and you don't give him the respect to EVEN SHOW UP?

The rest of the guys on the roster are just guys that stay hurt, or just don't make plays consistently, such as Cullen Jenkins, James Lee, R-Kal Truluck, Donnell Washington and Corey Williams. They need help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Linebackers
A good group of hard-working guys led by Nick Barnett. Barnett is a hard worker that many think is playing out of position. I think the Packers would love to move him to weakside linebacker but they have no one else that can play the middle, which is a signal that they have no depth. Yes, they have quantity but lack quality. And Barnett must improve on his ability to get rid of guards and tackles when they get into his body because last year they swallowed him up way too many times and he took bad angles way too often.

I like Na'il Diggs' aggressiveness but he's too inconsistent. In some games he plays great, but in others he disappears.

Hannibal Navies was someone that played the last two years because they had no one else better. The rest of the guys are nothing but special teamers. Although, there is one guy that is making me take notice and that's Brady Poppinga. Whether he can play, I'm not sure. He plays a little stiff, but he could be the hitter that the Packers have been missing. Then again, he is a project so I have to wait and see. An average group, but they can run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Secondary
A lot of speed here, but can the defensive backs tackle and can they stop holding people? Let's start with the secondary's best - Al Harris. He still gets in trouble when he gets lazy, but then again he probably is the best tackler on defense. After Harris, it gets scary and ugly.

Ahmad Carroll is a track star trying to play football. He doesn't believe enough in his skills to stop from holding when he starts to panic, and doesn't trust his ability, so here comes the penalty flag.

Joey Thomas trusts too much in his ability. He's not as fundamentally sound as he should be, and needs to play better and talk less. Arturo Freeman is just a guy, and Mark Roman is worse than that.

So, if you are looking at the secondary before the draft, ask yourself how is it going to stop the Vikings or Lions if either of those teams go to a four-receiver set? Am I missing something? The Packers took Nick Collins from Bethune-Cookman in the second round because he has played against major competition which prepared him for the NFL, right? The Packers must know something that the rest of the NFL doesn't know, right? They found the replacement for LeRoy Butler. Heck they even gave him LeRoy's number. Then, just in case that didn't work, they grabbed Mike Hawkins from Oklahoma by way of the Arena League. I didn't mention Marviel Underwood's name because there isn't any reason to at this point.

Take a long look at what the Packers have on defense and ask yourself if this unit is good enough. And don't think with your hearts, think with your brain. What has this unit done to improve itself. Can this unit stop anyone in the NFL with a weak defensive line, average linebackers, and unimpressive secondary when the best thing they do is HOLD?

Looking forward to getting your questions! Next Tuesday, we will take a look at the special teams that aren't that special, as well as look at the coaching staff the GOOD, BAD and UGLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Editor's note: Harry Sydney's column appears each Tuesday on PackerReport.com. He answers questions from fans each Friday on PackerReport.com. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to Packer Report managing editor Todd Korth at packrepted@aol.com.


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