The Packers Have Better Options Than Mike Daniels

There has been talk over the last week or so of a reunion between Mike Daniels and the Green Bay Packers.  During his time in Green Bay, Daniels anchored the Packers defensive front and was a beloved member of the organization.  He was one of those guys that you could depend on no matter what.   Unfortunately, time has passed Mike Daniels by and a reunion in Green Bay would be nothing more than a feel good story that would not translate to much production on the football field.

Over the last two seasons, Daniels play and effectiveness has declined precipitously due to injuries.  The 31-year-old, has played just 19 of 32 possible games and made just 11 starts during this time.  To make matters worse, Daniels has combined for just 28 tackles and 3 sacks over the last two years which is a signal that this is the end of the line.

The Packers do however have an option inside of the organization that fits the Gutekunst blueprint and that is Rashan Gary.  The Packers spent a premium pick on Gary just one year ago and did not get much on-field production in return.  Gary spent all of the 2019-20 season trying to figure out and find a niche in Mike Pettine's system.  In my opinion, Gary does provide the Packers with an option as an edge rusher but seems a bit slow off the ball at times which leads me to believe that putting 20-25 lbs of muscle on him could turn him into a viable option as a primary defensive lineman.

Gary is a physical specimen, there is no denying that.  Imagine him with an extra 25 lbs. of muscle (putting him around 300 lbs.) and his hand in the ground using his unique combination of size, strength, and agility to plug the middle for the Packers.  During this transition Gary would not have to be anything more than the third or fourth option alongside Clark, Lowry, and Lancaster.  His upside at the position could definitely help fix the Packers issues in the running game.  

The Packers also have options filling his and Kyler Fackrell's spots as a primary reserve pass rusher.  The ideal scenario would be to have 7th round pick Jonathan Garvin take over his role but they could still potentially bring back Clay Matthews at the veteran minimum.  Last season, Clay was able to show that he still has some gas left in the tank as he was able to register 8 sacks in 13 games with the Rams.  I believe he would benefit from being the third pass rushing option behind two beasts at both outside linebacker positions.  He would be able to play to his strengths by attacking the open rushing lanes that the Smith brothers, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, and Tyler Lancaster can create up front.

If (and that is a big if) there are any reunions for any former Packers in the next few months, they should be centered around bringing back Clay Matthews, not Mike Daniels.   Note: (I do not consider Tramon Williams to be a former Packer yet but it looks as if Chandon Sullivan could be replacing Williams in a similar role).

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (43)

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Spock's picture

May 24, 2020 at 06:50 am

I don't see bringing back Clay as any more viable than bringing in Daniels; their time as Packers has IMHO passed. In the NFL you have to stay younger and develop players. As to Gary, we shall see what role the Packers have in mind for him (if anyone plays football this year. Players testing positive in various soccer leagues recently doesn't bode well for any sports to resume and we'll see how this "re-opening" without a central plan for states affects the spread of Covid-19.) I'd like to believe that we would see Gary really coming on this year. Clay and Daniels are going backwards, not forwards, and I don't see Gute thinking that way.

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murf7777's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:28 am

Spock, the problem I have with your analysis is Beleichick’s historic approach. Time and time again, he took pro bowl aging veterans and used them in schemes to great success. Are these players what they once were, NO. But, he plays them 50% of their normal time and puts them in situations where said player has their strengths. By doing this, he maximizes what they have left in the tank.

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Guam's picture

May 24, 2020 at 02:19 pm

While I agree with the headline premise that GB has better options than Mike Daniels, I disagree with the rest of the article. There will be plenty of snaps (600+) at OLB for Gary given the departure of Fackrell and there is no one else behind Gary ready for those snaps. For the money it would cost to pick up Clay Matthews I would much rather see the Packers pick up a veteran IDL run stuffer to replace Lancaster in the starting line-up on DL.

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bsmoser's picture

May 24, 2020 at 06:32 pm

Fans, real fans, that actually understand, the game & our position. Close, last yr but, they/we must improve again & yet further!! GB "needs DL" help & depth! We don't have it, along w/ having lost 3 LB's, 2 starters & a major bkup!! They have signed 1 & drafted a maybe? If, if healthy, Big Mike to help stuff the run game again, rotational to stay fresh & strong, for Kenny, Lancaster, Lowry, & who ever? Which is yet another point, who else is their? Adams, Keke?? Really? Big Mike D. back on the line is a "Definite Plus" & Clay returning @ ILB & pass rusher is another "DP", there's plenty of juice in that tank! If they are healthy & @ a reason- able $price$, these are No Brainers!! Mr. Pettine is t/about needing to improve & especially the run D, what better way than w/2 tough Vets, that already know the team & scheme? Luv the Green & Gold baby, Go Pac Go

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fordguy's picture

May 25, 2020 at 12:32 am

Fans, real fans, that actually understand, the game & our position.

Fans, real fans would know how to spell GO PACK GO

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DrMixerGED's picture

May 25, 2020 at 01:34 am

Haha, BURN! You got him good Fordguy. I logged in just to upvote your comment!

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Lphill's picture

May 24, 2020 at 07:40 am

The better option was Michael Pierce a 360 pound run stuffer but the Vikings in cap hell were able to sign him . another one that got away

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mrtundra's picture

May 24, 2020 at 07:43 am

The Packer's ship has sailed on both Matthews and Daniels. I would not want either of them back, no matter how cheaply it could be done. Gary seems to be the fit on the D line, now. He needs to prove he belongs there. Coaches, however, limited his playing time, so we have not seen his full potential, yet, and there lies our doubts.

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scoonie_penn's picture

May 24, 2020 at 07:48 am

I am putting Gary into the Damarious Randall/Datone Jones/Nick Perry category of 1st RD draft picks. Lots of potential and athletic measurables, being over-drafted to play a position they didn't play in college. Let's hope for better results, but JMHO Gary will always be the guy who shows flashes but never puts it all together.

Did anyone notice Perry wasn't signed/didn't play last season? I don't recall even seeing him trying out fo any teams. Makes you wonder if other teams knew to stay away or (my hunch) he really didn't like playing football, made his money, was cotnent and walked away from the game.

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fordguy's picture

May 24, 2020 at 05:10 pm

As horrible as it is to say I'm hoping M. Adams doesn't pull a Perry this year and then stick the team in the position of resigning him or not.

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mrj007's picture

May 25, 2020 at 08:27 pm

Heard he got arrested....

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stockholder's picture

May 24, 2020 at 07:51 am

The packers should do all they can to develop players. But lets face facts. They just don't have the size or the speed to get the job done. I guess the mind is willing but the body weak. The bigger the OL, the more we have trouble. Taking plays off never works. But really isn't it obvious how fast Clark is, compared to everyone else on that line? I believe our guys OVER achieve. They just don't get the job done. A splash play here or there and their done for the game. If only they could move and TACKLE. I believe the packers need to move Clark over. If we have a reggie white it's him. Its the prime Time Beef show Here. Another 350 pound Nt must be found. I believe the packers must build this DL with Nose Tackles. Until they do that their No Match for any big OL. So No Daniels is not what we need. We need Taller,Bigger and faster. The eye Ball test! These guys just don't look it. And it shows.

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nostradanus's picture

May 24, 2020 at 08:52 am

Come on now David, the Packers didn’t draft Gary to be a 290-300 pound D Lineman. They drafted him and see him as an elite edge OLB. There are plenty of veteran two down fat boyz that can be had for a song during training camp cuts.

Like it or not the Packers have chosen to build the defense to be disruptive with a strong pass rush and great corners. Also as in years past the defense works much better when the Packers have the lead than the other way around. Just think how much different the Championship game would have been had the Packers jumped out to a 14 point lead and Jimmy G had to bring the 49ers back? Every team has flaws and from the Packers obvious lack of interest in a veteran like Snacks Harrison or a linebacker like Queen, it shows the GM isn’t freaking out about it either.

The Packers have a plan and force feeding Gary to put him on the D line is not why they drafted him at #12.
They need “free range Gary rushing the passer because it’s the most important position on the front seven. They don’t need overstuffed Gary doing nothing but plugging the run. Fat Boyz who are run pluggers are a dime a dozen.

The Packers run defense wasn’t great I agree but let’s not all freak out thinking a guy like snacks or Daniels and especially Clay Mathews is anything but a band aide.

I’ll say it again, Packers defense top 10.

That is all...

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NickPerry's picture

May 24, 2020 at 11:42 am

I'm with you Nostradanus....Putting 20 or 25 pounds of extra weight on Gary hardly seems like a solution for Gary OR the Packers run defense. That doesn't mean Gary can't play along the D-Line, just like ZaDarius Smith did last season, he can. But don't fatten him up to 300 LBS after one season which WOULD hinder his athleticism.

I still like what the OLB coach Mike Smith has to say about him AND his ability to coach him up further. Mike Smith LOVES him which I put a lot more faith in than what WE think about him. Sorry guys, and I'm including myself in this...NONE of us are coaching OR scouting NFL players. I'm sticking with Smith and what he believes he has in Gary, ESPECIALLY after one season at a new position.

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byu.tech's picture

May 24, 2020 at 03:02 pm

plenty of run stuffers????? so why they did not get them last year???? so why vikings gave pierce good money to get him???? you're not nostradamus...you are just one of the many packer dreamers....on nothing. every year you dream to have gold...from garbage. and every year in the last 10 years defense has been full of holes. this horrible management was not able to bould up a top defense in 10 years....instead of dreaming you should ask for murphy gutekunst to go back home.

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nostradanus's picture

May 24, 2020 at 04:32 pm

Sorry you disagree BYU, No need to be angry we are all Packer fans here and we all enjoy a lively discussion because we are passionate fans. I happen to see things differently Than you and that’s OK.
We will both keep rooting for the Packers either way.
Go Pack

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optimisticfan's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:06 am

No Daniels or Matthews. Keke is the one who is adding 20 pounds and hopefully will be DL 2 next to Clark and Lowry. But yes Gary should be kicked inside a little more often (but for passing downs alternating with Za’Darius). Gary’s main help with the run will be setting the edge at OLB opposite Preston Smith.

I think Gutekunst is smart to wait at this point to sign any other players until they know the season is likely to actually start up. Sign some waived player if better than Willis/Hester, otherwise save the money.

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shmelbs's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:03 am

I wasn't super impressed with Matthews in his last couple years with the Packers. It seemed like he often tried to go high or sometimes launched himself at a QB or RB, going for the highlight reel sack/tackle -- or "sackle"-- and players would just duck under that or slip around it. Other times, if he fell down in the backfield, he'd roll around trying sort of subtly to trip the QB. In those later years, he was more about his stats and his hair than the team. In spite of all that, he's still a talented guy who brings value to a team, but I think a Packers reunion would not work out well for either side. Ditto for Daniels, whose play has declined due to injuries, etc. It also sounds like Daniels wasn't always a great locker room presence for the team.

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mnbadger's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:10 am

Matthews is the best inside linebacker we've had in many years. That was five years ago though. For veteran minimum and understanding that he's here to play disciplined ILB, focusing on stopping the run first, I say bring him in for depth. Biggest obstacle is his inability to play special teams.

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Since'61's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:22 am

We moved on from Daniels and CM3, let’s keep it that way. As for Gary I would not move him to the DL. We need speed in our pass rush and Gary has speed.

I would move Gary and Z Smith to inside pass rush depending on the opponent and down and distance. Z Smith came on inside pass rush on numerous plays last season to generate an interior pass rush. We could have the Smiths, Gary and Kersey on the field together. The Smiths and Gary can rush the passer while Kersey covers or spies the QB if we are playing against a running QB.

Gary can rush from ILB or OLB, same for Z. Smith. Pettine can create numerous packages with the players he currently has, especially if Gary continues to develop as expected/hoped. Remember he came out as a junior so he has faced a huge learning curve. He has the physical tools. It’s up to our coaches to get him to play effectively in the NFL. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Archie's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:49 am

To ask Gary to be the focal point of your team's pass rush seems like a big ask since he was not very good in college at rushing the passer. To expect him to magically become that guy in the pros seems way off base to me. For our sake I hope I'm wrong but ILB seems to be his ideal role if he can diagnose plays, which is unlikely. If Gary can't prove his doubters wrong this year, adding 25# and putting him in the middle of the DL seems like a good idea to me. Him and Clark, side-by-side, could be awesome.

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Since'61's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:36 am

Archie - I’m not advocating for Gary to become the focal point of our pass rush. I’m merely suggesting that he can be rotated in more frequently sometimes at OLB and sometimes as an ILB.

He should be ready to take on an increased role in our defense this season, specifically an increased role in the pass rush. I believe that the two Smiths, Kersey and Gary will be our 4 most effective LBs this season. How we rotate them will be up to the defensive coaches.
Stay well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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nostradanus's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:50 am

With all due respect Archie the Packers drafted Rashan Gary at number 12. That is a premium pick saved for impact players like outside linebacker edger rusher’s, Not project inside linebackers or project defensive lineman those guys you can get in the fourth and fifth round. Gary is a pass rusher and he will show great improvement this year.

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nostradanus's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:10 am

As always the voice of reason since 61

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Tarynfor12's picture

May 24, 2020 at 09:25 am

Can CHTV ban any more articles based on returns of Daniels or Matthews to GB? Please!

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Pikeman's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:01 am

that maybe true but there are few that have integrity , team leadership, and heart then Daniel's

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PeteK's picture

May 24, 2020 at 11:52 am

Gary has the size( maybe add a few lbs) and speed to be a disruptive DE ,but lacks the bend and quickness for a OLB( maybe on run D). Snacks would be a better option because Matthews would take snaps away from a developing Gary. However, I agree with some previous comments about viable options being available preseason and during.

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nostradanus's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:22 am

The Packers have standards and as a “small market” team, overpaying for players like Mathews and Daniels based on what they were 5 years ago instead of what they are now is money down the toilet.

Remember in these uncertain times there is no way to know if there will even be fans in the stands, concessions sales etc and with many folks unemployed I imagine pro shop sales will suffer greatly also.

It is smart for the Packers to be fiscally conservative right now and they can always plug a few holes later on with mid level veteran camp cuts when the NFL & coronavirus landscape clears up a bit.

the Packers ....have...a...plan...

Trust the process

That is all...

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PhantomII's picture

May 24, 2020 at 07:59 pm

Ah, mediocracy. When I see the players they draft sometimes it must be he will never be above average so he won't cost much in 4 yrs. This team is managed frugally for sure but when it's obvious you need a WR#2 you go get one...but they wanted a high draft pick. Oh well no super bowl. Draft picks are for one thing, to go get players you NEED to WIN NOW in the draft or otherwise ALWAYS. Nope always worried about comp picks for late round just guys and there are always UDFA. How about sniping some top 5 Defenses practice squads players that don't have a place for them yet. I've seen enough of their plans or lack of. Gute did inherit a team with a lot of players that probably should not be in the NFL. Don't forget them not hiring a top special teams coach because he wanted more than Gute would pay( non-cap influencing pay). Welcome bottom of the barrel special teams play. Unforgivable is all.

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TheBigCheeze's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:25 am

"a reunion in Green Bay would be nothing more than a feel good story that would not translate to much production on the football field."-----thank you so much for that prognostication, Nostradamus.....and now, for your next feat....please give us this week's winning lottery numbers......

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nostradanus's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:35 am

Haha, let me make an old fashioned and get me magic dice box out, shake a couple of flops and I’ll let ya know ;)

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Handsback's picture

May 24, 2020 at 10:38 am

My thinking is the GB defense wants/needs those Howard Green type run stoppers. Guys that are 340 lb range and it takes two to move. That is NOT who they draft or pick up. The Pack seems to be drafting/picking up guys in the 290# range with speed and movement skills. Only reason would be for quickness and putting pressure on passers. So if Daniels is healthy....would Green Bay want him or the guy behind door number two-like Snacks Harrison? I think but don't know that the Packers are moving to a Dline that can put pressure on the QB and not necessary be dedicated to stopping the run.
I may be dead wrong and that circumstances have dictated the players they have selected. I'm also wondering if these skills of movement have an advantage when defending the run? In HS and college, many teams use movement by their Dline to defend against the run. The TCU HC has perfected it to a point where pro coaches even call and visit to see how he does it. I just assumed (hate that word, but have to use it) in the pros...everyone can move esp. on the oline and negate the disruption of the slants and quick charges into the gap.
Conclusion is I have no earthly idea what the Packers are thinking...but I agree with Pettine on one important item, the pass will kill you faster then the run!

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Gary wouldn't have to pick up 25 lbs. to reach Mike Daniels' playing weight, but I still don't think that would be the right answer.

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Since91's picture

May 24, 2020 at 12:55 pm

The list of talented passers this defense will face this year is troubling. I am sorry but the run D does not keep me up at night.
Facing the likes of:
Stafford (2)
Watson
Wentz
Rivers
Brees
Brady
Ryan
That’s not counting Cousins (2) and Jimmy G and possibly Foles?
Fellas these guys can hurt yah and have before!

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gkarl's picture

May 24, 2020 at 01:06 pm

No to Daniels and Clay there is reason they were let go and it wasn't all about money. Expecting an option better than Daniels and those currently on the roster will be about the money though, the only big investment in DL will be Clark.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 24, 2020 at 01:47 pm

No Daniels. No Matthews. No to bulking up Gary.

We had a very good pass defense last year and we will again this year. A combination of pressure and coverage that was good last year and should be good this year.

I still think we’ll make a move for a DE.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 24, 2020 at 03:04 pm

Not likely the Packers will be interested in either Mathews or Daniels - as both are well past their Best Before dates. The Packers usually like to shop fresh(er). This also includes "Snacks" Harrison - who is also on the wrong side of 30. Besides I worry about an aging, slowing, big boy - with the nickname "Snacks."

In retrospect, only 1/3 of the D-Line was of a starting quality - Kenny Clark. Lowry was underwhelming and certainly did not play to his new contract. And Lancaster was often not up to the the challenge. So a renovation is probably in the works. First, to relegate Lancaster to the B-pool (bench). Then a possible promotion for the improving Keke. Lowry will probably start again at DE - largely by default - but Keke may prove to be the better option as the season progresses (at least I hope so). As for the interior, I think we can almost write-off Adams, who at B-U-S, is just only letter short of being a complete BUST. It appears that auditions for the interior positions will be completely open - consisting of Gutekunst Dollar Store purchases (Willis and Hester) free agents, street free agents, cut-down players etc. Thus forming an ongoing work-in-progress for the Coach and GM.

As for planting Gary on the D-line - this is not going to happen - at least not for this year. The Packers did not spend an entire year fitting and training Gary for the OLB position - just to suddenly re-tool him to play on the D-line. Certainly not before giving him an entire season and scheduling him for a lot of play time as an OLB.

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wildbill's picture

May 24, 2020 at 03:03 pm

No to Daniels and even if we wanted to bring Clay back I don’t think he would for the money and number of snaps we would offer him. I don’t wish I’ll of Gary but other than Peppers who played the elephant role for us and was effective? Aaron Kampman was a stud 4-3 DE, third in sacks in the NFL over a three year period, and was made a OLB when we switched to the 3-4. It ruined his career and now we expect Gary to make that transition from college to the NFL. He may do well but quit drafting players and changing their positions after they spent the last few years learning that position. It’s very rare for that to succeed. You can point to Shields but WR/DB are same skill sets but some of them can catch a ball and some struggle to. There are rare instances of success but you don’t hang your hat on such low percentages.

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The_Justicar's picture

May 26, 2020 at 06:07 am

Shields at least did convert to CB for his final season at Miami in college so that was helpful in forecasting his role in the nfl

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Johnblood27's picture

May 24, 2020 at 03:38 pm

Rashan Gary 6'5" 277 lbs as per Packers.com

Aaron Donald 6'1" 284 lbs

Just put Gary on the field more, use him like Pettine did ZSmith last year moving inside and outside.

Let his athleticism show through his training/coaching and just watch out!

Gary does not need any more weight even if his snaps with his hand in the dirt increase dramatically.

He was never, is not now and never will be a nose tackle. Just let the man express himself in a multiple scheme, he will be fine and productive.

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PhantomII's picture

May 24, 2020 at 06:35 pm

I still think Daniels is better than all but Clark. He has had a tough time getting healthy. When I watch Matthews I'm reminded of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon spinning moving flying around into and out of a play nearly as fast as he got there from his momentum. The guy gives great effort but he is not a pro bowler for many years now. He could relief our OLB's but I'm sure he doesn't want what Gute would pay him. Since Gute didn't do the sensible thing and cut or trade Linsley and Taylor to relief our cap and pick up DL help at NT and DT. I can only see with the addition of a Defensive coach with coordinator experience, Gute is making Pettine coach what he has at a much more scrutinized level to improve our DL from within. Yea, got to say I'm not expecting much but Pettine leaving next year. His whole scheme of multiple in order to disguise what he's doing really makes me wonder what the heck he is doing???Put players out there who know what they are doing instead of confusing the heck out of everyone including your own guys.

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Tundraboy's picture

May 24, 2020 at 07:12 pm

Call me crazy but wouldn't picking up a big run stuffer make everything easier on all the guys that we're hoping to step up and make some jump.

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PhantomII's picture

May 25, 2020 at 12:30 am

Yes....dang good start. probably double 3rd and longs for the other team. I am not as easy on draftees not becoming heavy contributors by year 2. You have to get something out of them while they're cheap so you can put draft resources elsewhere. I'm also big on putting a pro bowl level player at each level of a defense so the young pups learn how to review film and the work the vet has to put in to make the NFL a living and take care of his family.

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