Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Cruising the sale rack, the Packers signed safety Mark Roman to compete with Marques Anderson for the starting strong safety position. Roman played free safety last season in Cincinnati, and he is about the same size as Bhawoh Jue, so he will be one of the smaller strong safeties in the league. Roman came cheap, his signing bonus was less than $1 million compared to the $2.5 million John Lynch got on the same day from Denver. Jsonline.com reported that the Packers preferred Roman over Lynch because he can "play man-to-man coverage", while Lynch supposedly cannot, but the key is that the Packers "anticipate [Roman] providing superior tackling than either Antuan Edwards or Marques Anderson." Packers linebacker's coach Mark Duffner apparently liked Roman when the two were in Cincinnati and Duffner thinks Roman is a superior tackler. If Roman is a better tackler than Edwards and Anderson, and Roman can avoid being steamrolled by running backs in the open field, then this is a great value signing.

Rod Walker left the Packers to sign with the NFC champs in Carolina. With Walker and Gilbert Brown's departures this offseason, both of the nose tackles that started the 2003 season are now gone. Grady Jackson remains in their places, and he had a solid 2003 season with the Packers, but Walker was effective and valuable when healthy. Unfortunately Walker was rarely healthy. Either James Lee, last year's 5th round pick out of Oregon State, is ready to contribute as Jackson's backup next season, or this is an area the Packers will probably address early in the draft. Larry Smith and Kenny Peterson lined up last season at nose tackle on passing downs, but the Packers need a big body to play the spot on rushing downs if Jackson is injured.

No comments: