Jolly gone, and other news and notes
Posted Jul. 17 at 10:01 PM
Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly has been suspended for the season, and general manager Ted Thompson is getting praise for having the foresight to draft defensive lineman Mike Neal in the second round last April. In a word, please.
Jolly's suspension isn't remotely surprising, after a trek through the court system which has been going on for quite some time. The actual suspension is for violating the league's policy on substance abuse policy, presumably multiple failed drug tests, but since he's been under investigation for his involvement in a codeine ring for more than two years, a lengthy suspension has been inevitable for a while.
Moreover, it's worth nothing that we didn't even mention Jolly in our evaluation of the Packers defensive lineup in the magazine -- he clearly wasn't going to be a starter as the team's 4th-best lineman in its 3-4 defense. Green Bay will be fine without him.
Other news and notes:
- The odds of No. 3 overall pick Gerald McCoy getting to Bucs training camp on time appear poor. According to McCoy, he's "waiting on King Sam" (No. 1 overall Sam Bradford) before he agrees to a deal. No mention of No. 2 pick Ndamukong Suh, who plays the same position as McCoy, but the deal for the other defensive tackle could also factor in. McCoy explains that "when an opportunity presents to get paid, you need to get as much as you can." Awesome news for Bucs fans.
- Nose tackle Jason Ferguson is hanging it up, which could hurt the Dolphins defense. Ferguson was already slated to miss the first eight games of the season due to a suspension, but that didn't stop the Dolphins from giving him a new contract in the offseason -- they wanted him back even if only for half of the season. The run-stuffer is critical to Miami's 3-4 defense. Miami isn't exactly unprepared for Ferguson's loss, but it's still a question mark for them.
Posted by L DALE GANDER | Jul. 18 at 09:07 AM
I actually think Jolly's loss could be an issue for the Packers. Their defense is not as good as advertised (they have the benefit of making teams play from behind and force mistakes, ala the Colts) and good teams can impose their will. The defense ends up on the field a long time and wears down, and rotating DLinemen and keeping fresh bodies in there was a big part of their gameplan last year. And they had 4 really good ones: Jolly, Jenkins, Pickett, and Raji (and don't forget Kampman could put his hand on the ground when necessary until he got hurt) all rotated with none of them really being impact players. Now it is essentially the Raji, Jenkins, Pickett show - Harrell and the new kid are not the quality of Jolly (I don't think Harrell would even make the squad on most teams that run the 3-4) - the depth is vastly downgraded now, so this defense might be easily worn down by good running teams. Matthews and Poppinga/Jones are also very weak against the run. Of course, all that said, none of the teams in the NFC North are even trying to run the ball, so it may not be exploited very often. I'm just saying, this defense needs to force teams to pass the ball to cause the chaos they did last year, and Jolly was a big part of that. I think his loss will be noticed, especially if there is a prolonged injury to one of the starting 3.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jul. 18 at 09:38 AM
That is the prevailing view. Personally I don't think Jolly is that good (in a 3-4, anyway), and regardless, they've known for a while this was coming -- they probably expected it even more last season, given that he was arrested back in 2008. I agree the bodies they'll plug in will likely be downgrades, but I don't think he was an impact type of guy.
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