Packers off-season shuffle

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Written on 10:21 AM by DRV

The 2008-2009 NFL season hasn't even ended yet. We're just days away from Super Bowl XLIV, the big match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, but with all the recent hires happening in Green Bay, there is reason to be somewhat excited for this off-season.

Over this passed month, we've seen Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy fire his entire defensive staff (with the exception of Winston Moss, Assistant Head Coach / Linebackers) in an attempt to bring the Packers a new defensive identity. Replacing Bob Sanders, who now will be coaching the Bills' line over at Buffalo, is Dom Capers--a supposed mastermind of the 3-4 defense who is largely responsible for Pittsburgh's current, aggressive 3-4 style.

While most of the signings of the defensive staff haven't been put to the public eye yet, we now know of most of the hires made.

Defensive Coordinator - Dom Capers
Defensive Line - Mike Trgovac
Linebackers (Outside) - Kevin Greene
Linebackers (Inside) - Winston Moss
Secondary (Corners) - UNFILLED
Secondary (Safeties) - Darren Perry

While it's not necessarily an all-star group, this is arguably the most experienced group to coach a phase in Packers history. Aside from the track record Capers has in quickly turning around a porous defense, the Packers now have Mike Trgovac (Carolina's former defensive coordinator) teaching a Packers defensive line that has a lot of potential talent, a favorite in Winston Moss coming back, and Darren Perry--a former DB's coach in Oakland and Pittsburgh who is supposedly largely responsible for developing two impact players in Nnamdi Asomugha and Troy Polamalu.

Kevin Greene is another interesting hire because he was an NFL star before he retired nine years ago, known for his ferocious hits on the field and the way his aggressive nature pumped up his teammates. Kevin Greene will be coaching a group of players that includes A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, Desmond Bishop, Brandon Chillar, Brady Poppinga, and even Aaron Kampman--the great defensive end who is projected to move to OLB as a pass rushing specialist.

When watching Packers games over the last few years, it seems that no player has stood out and shown that he can be a truly feared player. The Packers defense has always been full of potential, but maybe "Mean" Kevin Greene can finally let the Packers play with some passion. I know fans last year went crazy in the NFC Divisional Playoffs when Atari Bigby continuously laid down the meat almost every single down. If the Packers were suddenly a truly aggressive defense, fans would have something to really enjoy after the departure of Favre.

But with all these recent hires on the defensive side of the ball, is that a sign of things to come in free agency? There's been rumors going out that part of the reason why we shifted to the 3-4 and brought in Mike Trgovac was to help lure Julius Peppers over to the Pack. While that may be interesting, I'm one of the few that would be indifferent to that notion. Julius Peppers is a great player, but the guy is built for the 4-3 through and through, and he's really pushing it if he thinks he can move into it freely.

Besides, defensive linemen in the 3-4 are paid nowhere near the amount they'd make while in the 4-3, so that is definitely something to take note of.

Here are some Free Agents that Ted Thompson should be looking at to help with the 3-4 transition:

Dunta Robinson, CB -- Houston Texans
Bart Scott, LB -- Baltimore Ravens
Terrell Suggs, DE/LB -- Baltimore Ravens
Chris Canty, DE -- Dallas Cowboys
Albert Haynesworth, DT -- Tennessee Titans

While only two of them (Haynesowrth, Suggs) are bonafide NFL superstars, the rest are high-effort players that Ted Thompson likes. Robinson could be an interesting look because Dom Capers liked him a lot while coaching in Houston.

The player I think will really end up being a Packer is Chris Canty, because he played some good football in Dallas, and with Kampman probably moving to linebacker, we need another high motor player at the defensive line to complement a healthy Cullen Jenkins and Ryan Pickett.

But before we even talk about such signings, let's at least enjoy the Super Bowl.

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