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A constant and questions on Packers' line 
By jerseys150 on Nov 04, 2013 03:15 AM
A constant and questions on Packers' line

Green Bay Cullen Jenkins and Johnny Jolly, the Green Bay Packers' two best defensive linemen in 2009, are gone and may or may not have been replaced.

When attrition strikes a defensive line, it's a dangerous thing. The Dline is one of the less fortified areas on the Packers' roster, and for the group to maintain previous standards it will require good fortune and solid improvement from several unproven players.

"I think we've got some good young prospects," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "Hopefully, you'll see them ascend. The key is, we've got to keep them on the field through training camp."

One reason the Packers made no effort to resign Jenkins was the presence of Mike Neal. A secondround draft choice last year, he will be asked to replace Jenkins, but that's a tall order. Jenkins was the unit's best pass rusher four of the last five seasons.

"They're different," coach Mike McCarthy said. Raji at nose tackle and Howard Green at right end, the assumption is that's the way they'd like to roll Sept. 8 against New Orleans.

Furthermore, when just two defensive linemen play on passing downs between the outside linebackers, the hope is that Neal would join Raji in the spot from which Jenkins did so much damage with power, fast hands and a spin move.

"I think (Neal) can play first, second and third down," Capers said. "He's just so doggone strong, and he's got the size and the athletic ability you want. I think he can play any of the techniques we ask."

Given his weight (295 pounds), strength and youth, Neal could solve whatever concerns the Packers have by assuming the ironman role that Raji took on so well last year. Raji saved the day up front by playing 85% of the snaps, more than any other Packers' defensive tackle had played since at least the late 1990s.

Other than Raji, one of the most impressive young defensive tackles, the Packers have no other sure things.

Pickett will be 32 in October, has lost range during his 11year career Vincent Jackson Jersey and must forever fight the battle of the bulge.

Green, 32, is coming off a storybook season for a humble giant of a man cut 10 times over the years. But Green's weight was an issue even with coaches and trainers hovering around him daily. If his weight gets away from him, his career would go south in a hurry.

Then there's Neal, who will be watched closely coming back from rotator cuff and labrum surgery in his right shoulder Oct. Nike Vincent Jackson Jersey 26. In 2007, he had a labrum operation on his left shoulder. And, in September, he missed the first three games with a freakish rib injury.

Granted, Neal looks chiseled, just the way an end should be drawn up. But the Packers can ill afford for injuries to keep dogging him.

"People expect me to be some type of allstar off the bat," Neal said Saturday. "That's not going to happen; I haven't played football in a year. But I'm more than confident by the time we start the season I'll be back where I left off."

The Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins, the only two teams that Neal played against, would attest to how hard to handle Neal was and figures to be.

On Saturday, Jenkins landed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jolly, his former linemate, is serving five years probation on a narcotics charge and, if he ever is reinstated to the NFL, odds are it won't be with Green Bay.

Other than drafting Neal high, general manager Ted Thompson hasn't made a major move in two years at the position. Wilson, Jarius Wynn and Lawrence Guy.

Jettisoned by the New York Jets at midseason, Green proved to be a godsend for Capers, who was head coach in Houston in 2002 when the Texans drafted Green in the sixth round. He generally held the point of attack and ate up blocks, and his pass rush wasn't bad, either.

Just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially guard Chris Kemoeatu and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"He did exactly what we asked him to do," Dline coach Mike Trgovac said at the Super Bowl. "Just stay in your gap and keep the linebackers free."

If Green runs out of magic, the Packers probably would try to find another wide body. Wilson has bulked up 15 pounds (to 305) in a year's time and will be asked to play a key supportive role, but he isn't the runstopper that the others are. played better and better http://www.officialbuccaneersfootball.com/Black+Vincent+Jackson+Jersey as the year went on," McCarthy said. "He's another guy I'd love to see the jump he can make from year one to year two."

Wilson probably plays the run better than the pass. That's unlike Wynn, who is almost undersized as a 34 end but possesses passrush charge and burst.

"Jarius got better, too," McCarthy said. "He grew up a lot."

Guy fell to the seventh Vincent Jackson Jersey Ebay round in April, according to some scouts, because of his offbeat personality and softness at the point. He has ideal size, can accelerate to the quarterback and offers something in pursuit.

The decision to move Raji inside after a disappointing rookie season spent backing up Jolly at left end sent Pickett off the nose for the first time in his five seasons in Green Bay. Pickett is almost impossible to move when he's in condition and fresh, but offers almost nothing to the pass rush.

"I thought 'Pick' played well," McCarthy said. "It was new for him out there. But you need two of those guys if you're going to stay committed to (stopping) the run. The ability to have really three anchors was big."

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