Defensive line limps toward minicamp

The once-deep unit has needed starting end Cullen Jenkins to move inside during OTAs because so many tackles are injured.

The team's decision to not hold onto franchise player Corey Williams and trade the defensive tackle to Cleveland for a second-round draft pick this year is a bigger loss than anticipated.

The Packers' defensive line, the deepest position group for the club last season, has been in upheaval at the peak of the offseason. The unit has been down five linemen in organized team activities.

Tackles Johnny Jolly (shoulder), Colin Cole (arm) and Daniel Muir (pectoral muscle) haven't participated as they try to recover from pre-existing injuries by the start of training camp July 28.

End Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (knee) and tackle Justin Harrell (back) are on the mend after undergoing surgeries this spring and won't be ready to return until training camp. Gbaja-Biamila had an arthroscopic procedure done May 29.

Without Gbaja-Biamila, their designated pass-rush specialist, the Packers have had to line up Mike Montgomery and rookie Jeremy Thompson opposite Aaron Kampman at the end positions.

Cullen Jenkins, the incumbent starting right end, has been moved inside more to help fill a huge void initially brought on by the departure of Williams. With Ryan Pickett gone this week to attend to some family things, Alfred Malone lined up alongside Jenkins as the No. 1 tackles.

Jenkins' versatility has eased the dearth of available players in the interior, but the coaches don't want him to be a long-term solution at tackle.

"Cullen is one of those players with the ability to play inside or outside based on situations. It's definitely been a strength of his," coach Mike McCarthy said. "But, it's not a matter of he's going to go in there (at tackle) and stay in there. He'll play inside and outside."


Packer Report Top Stories