Packers can do without Horn

PackerReport.com's Todd Korth explains why former New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn is simply not a good fit for the Green Bay Packers.

There is a contingent of Packers fans who believe that former New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn would be a great fit in Green Bay. Horn is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and has worked with Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who was offensive coordinator for the Saints earlier this decade.

Horn was released by the Saints this week because he failed a physical, according to information by the NFL Players Association. Horn also was set to earn $4.45 million in base salary in 2007, which the Saints reportedly were unwilling to pay.

Should the Packers pursue Horn? No, and here's why:

Horn, 35, is up there in age and experience for a receiver by NFL standards, and the wear and tear of playing the last 11 seasons in the league is beginning to hit him. He missed three games in 2005 with a hamstring injury. Last season, he missed the final four regular-season games and two playoff games with a groin injury. He caught just 49 passes in 2005 and 37 in '06 after averaging 87.4 catches per season in his first five years with the Saints.

Horn is obviously on the downhill slide of his stellar pro career, but do the Packers want that kind of player? Green Bay is on an upswing as a team. General manager Ted Thompson is expected to select a wide receiver high in the draft. Why would the Packers want to bring in Horn, and pay him a lot of money in the process, then try to find playing time for a high draft pick?

Remember, the Packers have Donald Driver, named to his second Pro Bowl last season, and Greg Jennings, who showed as a rookie that he has a bright future in the league. Adding Horn would only cloud a progressive situation at the position. Don't forget about Ruvell Martin and Carlyle Holiday, both of whom flashed potential late last season.

"Can I still play at a Pro Bowl level? Yes, the film don't lie," Horn recently said. "My receiver coach knows what I can do, and I know coach (Sean) Payton knows what I can do."

Horn probably still can be effective in the right situation if he can steer clear of hamstring and groin injuries, a receiver's worst nightmare. That's a big ‘if.' And playing in a cold-weather city isn't going to help Horn's groin or hamstring.

Horn reportedly has drawn interest from Jacksonville and Atlanta, which obviously have the weather that would be more conducive to Horn's body. The Packers should pass on Horn and move forward with younger receivers behind Driver.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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