Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Both jsonline.com and packersnews.com reported that free agent LB Jason Gildon visited with the Packers last Friday. It really surprised me that Gildon would even visit, and that the Packers were the first team he visited after Pittsburgh released him. Gildon would not be a good fit for the Packers 4-3 defense, because its likely that Gildon has lost a step and would have trouble defending receivers and running backs near the sidelines. If Gildon started with the Packers in their standard 4-3 defense, it would be likely that Gildon would play the strong side linebacker and replace LB Hannibal Navies. Defensive coordinator Bob Slowik was reported by packersnews.com as saying that "he would consider using some 3-4 [defensive alignment]" and that Gildon could play in the dime (3 defensive linemen, 2 linebacker and 6 defensive backs). The Packers primary need for Gildon is as a situational pass rusher opposite DE KGB, but Gildon brings an added dimension as a pass rushing linebacker that the Packers do not currently have on the roster. Starting linebackers Na'il Diggs and Navies have combined for 9 sacks in their careers, while Gildon has averaged 9 sacks per season over his last 8 years starting with Pittsburgh. Gildon would be a tremendous addition to the Packers, adding an element to their defense that is currently absent, but it still seems unlikely that Gildon will sign with the Packers and more likely that he will end up in Houston, Cleveland, or Baltimore.

Its confusing keeping track of Keith Willis. Espn.com and yahoo.com list 44 year old DE Keith Willis on the Packers roster. Good old number 93. Except they mean rookie free agent TE Keith Willis from Virginia Tech who has taken number 81. DE Keith Willis had a solid 10 year career with Pittsburgh in the 1980s, but he retired in 1994 and probably is not part of the Packers plans for the 2004 season. However it is an open competition behind TEs Bubba Franks and David Martin for the 3rd tight end roster spot, and TE Keith Willis has a very good chance at making the 2004 Packers roster.

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