The Green Bay Packers desperately need to improve their defense. One strategy may be to reshuffle it.
As mentioned in the Monday morning one-liners, the Packers have slid defensive lineman Mike Neal to linebacker.
Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains the challenges Neal has faced. Though Neal has lost weight to assist his ability to move (he declines to say how much), he could still play both defensive line and linebacker. And he views the change as a good thing.
“That’s a big compliment to me,” Neal said. “I actually look at it as, they’re trying to make a way for me to get on the field and make plays.”
It started, per Nickel, as a suggestion that Neal was sufficiently athletic to play outside linebacker. He’s been doing it since the start of OTAs, and the intensity necessarily will be increased this week during a mandatory minicamp, as he gets more reps covering tight ends in pass routes.
However Neal fits into the defense, the defense needs to improve in 2013, or the Packers will once again exit in the divisional round of the playoffs. If they even get that far.