Green Bay Packers need to sign a defensive lineman


Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy stated earlier this offseason that he wants his team to start the season off faster than they have the past couple of years.

That task just got a lot harder.

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The Packers finally found out how long Letroy Guion would be suspended on Thursday when it was reported that he would be suspended for the first three games.

Along with Datone Jones, that leaves the Packers with two key players officially suspended to start the year and Andrew Quarless will most likely get some sort of punishment as well.

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Let’s concentrate on the defensive line. With the suspensions of Jones, and now Guion, the Packers will be extremely thin at that position to start the season. That’s assuming everyone gets through training camp and preseason healthy.

The Packers may be able to get by their first game against the Chicago Bears down two lineman, but they sure could use a player like Guion. He could compete to be a starter at defensive end this year against Seattle in Week 2.

Expect the Packers to play a lot of nickel against a team like Chicago, but against Seattle they may want more lineman to combat against the running attack lead by Marshawn Lynch.

The Packers could look to Josh Boyd to fill in for the time being. He does have playing experience in the system, but has shown to be inconsistent at best. They could also look to Khyri Thornton or maybe rookie Christian Ringo, if they do enough in camp to impress the coaches.

The Packers could also put Julius Peppers and Mike Neal on the line, but then they would be weakening their linebackers group by making that move.

So what should the Packers do to combat their shortage of defensive lineman? There is one solution they could look to and a solution I believe Ted Thompson should seriously consider.

Sign free agent Red Bryant.

Last offseason, Bryant was a rumored target for the Packers. He opted to sign a big contract in Jacksonville and play for his former defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley.

This offseason though, the Jaguars released Bryant. While Bryant didn’t have eye popping stats with 23 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble, he did play his best against the run, an area the Packers would really like to improve.

If Guion’s suspension stays at three games after his appeal, the Packers will be missing him against the Bears, Seahawks, and Kansas City Chiefs. All three of those teams have Pro Bowl running backs and will have an emphasis on establishing the running game. Having a player like Bryant, whose specialty is stopping the run, will help fortify the shorthanded Packers defensive front.

Bryant could also come fairly cheap. Even though he signed a big contract last offseason, he’s still a free agent with only a few days left until training camp starts. He may get desperate and just take a one year deal to prove to teams he can still be a playmaker.

By bringing in Bryant, it improves the depth of the Packers defensive line. When Guion and Jones return, and if Bryant is on the team, the Packers defensive line has capable talent across the board and will give Dom Capers the luxury to be flexible in his play calls. More rotations along the defensive line allows for more rest for some of those big guys throughout the game.

The Packers needed help with their depth at defensive line before theses suspensions, but they need it now more than ever.

If I’m the Packers, I make a phone call to Bryant and see what the price is going to be. The Packers can’t afford to start the season off slow and they can’t be stubborn when it comes to bringing in a free agent to help improve the depth of their line.

The Packers are in a must win now season and with two of their defensive lineman missing time to start the year, the Packers must look outside the organization to bring in some talent. The best available talent right now is Bryant. The Packers can’t take a gamble and just go into the season shorthanded.

Bringing in someone like Bryant improves the Packers defense and increases their chances at a deep playoff run.

So Ted, make the call. Don’t sit on this. Improve your team now and don’t take an unnecessary gamble to start the season.

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