Kampman's icy stance thaws a bit

After making a good play in pass coverage on Monday, outside linebacker Aaron Kampman seems more forthcoming about the new defense.

During Monday morning's minicamp practice, Aaron Kampman swatted down a slant pass headed for Greg Jennings during a red-zone drill.

Afterward, Kampman seemed a bit more forthcoming in talking about his much-talked-about transition from defensive end to outside linebacker.

"There's days I do well and days I'd like to have back," Kampman said, "but all in all, you'd have to ask the coaches about my grade or whatever."

What say you, coach Mike McCarthy?

"He has looked pretty comfortable throughout the month of June to me," McCarthy said. "I like what I have seen (from) Aaron Kampman. Aaron has spent a lot of extra time with (outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene). He seems comfortable out there in space in the things we are asking him to do. I think he is a much better athlete than people give him credit, making the change as you can say from defensive end to outside linebacker. I expect Aaron to be very, very productive in this defense."

Kampman's transition in the new scheme as been the burning issue since Dom Capers was hired to install the 3-4 defense in January. The issue burned even hotter when Kampman, a two-time Pro Bowler at defensive end, refused to comment publicly for several months and then offered only short answers when he broke the silence a few weeks ago.

Perhaps a growing comfort level has Kampman feeling a bit more comfortable talking about his new role.

"No, it's just a new defense," Kampman said when asked if there was anything specific that he was finding challenging. "Just really learning all the new intricacies of it, that's kind of what it comes down to. ... It's everything. It's the whole ball of wax."

Maybe it was just a choice of words, but his answers to the same question possibly indicate Kampman is feeling better about things. Asked about the defense in general on June 3, Kampman said: "Well, historically, the 3-4 has been a sound defense.

His answer to the question on Monday?

"I get asked that question all the time. I think, as I've said earlier, historically it's been a great defense. I think it has an opportunity to be a good defense for us. We're continuing to learn it, and if we execute it, it will be good."

Still, through four weeks of organized team activities — or, more accurately, the one practice reporters were allowed to watch during those four weeks — and one minicamp practice, Kampman is anything but a dominant force. He's been handled over and over again by right tackle Allen Barbre during pass-rushing situations.

But, as Kampman is able to simply play instead of think and once practices turn to a more game-like setting in training camp, perhaps the Kampman of old will show his face in the backfield more often.

"Just don't make any mistakes, and if I do make a mistake, don't make it again," he said. "I'm continuing to try and get better every day."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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