Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Danger Looms Over Defensive Line

First of all, we get the news that Justin Harrell's back is back to its old tricks again.

Then, as if the BJ Raji situation isn't bad enough, he leaves town in what might be interpreted as a negotiating ploy.

And we were worried about Nick Collins?

Let's admit one thing: our defensive line was not the strength of the team in 2008. When I was looking at where we needed to draft, I pinned that position group up at the top of my list. Tyson Jackson was my first choice, followed by Raji.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the longer it takes Raji to sign, the less of an impact I expect him to make in 2009. As other people panic as the days go by, I simply write off more and more any productive contribution from Raji this year.

But the news from the Harrell front is not only unsurprising, it is very unfortunate. Many, including the Packers, placed a high value on having him finally able to contribute in 2009, and many in the Blogosphere were placing their bets that he was finally going to live up to his draft status this year.

Right now, given this is the same back that has drastically limited his ability to see the field in the past, and I certainly am not going to bet any real money that he will this year, too.

So, the defensive line is somewhat in peril, with two expected key contributors (and expected starters) looking more and more like they will contribute minimally, at best. Michael Montgomery, whose name was almost invisible most of the offseason, is suddenly lining up with the #1's and the hope he can play like a #1 is reaching a fever pitch.

Two first-round draft picks along the line, one looking to finally solidify his "bust" label, and the other shooting himself in the foot before his career even starts, thanks to his agent. From Jamal Reynolds to Cletidus Hunt to Joe Johnson to Donnell Washington, it sure seems like the Packers can't catch much of a break in this decade along the line.

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