Multiple sources reported that the Packers signed DE Kenny Holmes. He came cheap, reportedly for $660,000 with a $25,000 signing bonus, and he could help the Packers in 2004. Last week, it sounded like Holmes was done because he turned 30 and he has a history of knee problems, however, Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reported that his latest knee surgery was an arthroscopic procedure, which is common and easily recoved from these days. In his three seasons with the Giants, Holmes averaged 2 sacks every 5 starts, which would lead to 6 or 7 sacks if he starts 16 games and that would have been the 2nd most sacks by a player on the Packers in 2003. In comparison to other free agents, DE Grant Wistrom, 28, who signed with Seattle for a $14 million signing bonus, has averaged 7.5 sacks for every 16 games he has started over the last three seasons. Wistrom has a slight age and production advantage over Holmes, both have injury problems (Wistrom has an injured foot, Holmes has a history of knee problems), and Holmes is substantially cheaper. with the injury to DE Chukie Nwokorie, Holmes could find himself playing 30 snaps per game, averaging 6 or 7 sacks for the season, and become an important contributor in 2004.
Jsonline.com reported a rash of boils in training camp this summer. Mike Sherman said he didn't "think it's a major issue" but it has kept NT James Lee out of the last preseason game and out of daily practices. Lee looked outstanding against Seattle in the first preseason game. With Lee and rookie NT Donnell Washington sidelined, DT Larry Smith not looking good as the backup nose tackle against Seattle, and no one else apparently playing behind NT Grady Jackson, the nose tackle depth has become a concern. The Packers run defense takes a major step back without a quality nose tackle.
Jsonline.com had a story about the Packers increased use of the blitz in 2004. It is irrelevant how much the Packers blitz. The blitz can be very effective and create a big play, and it is just as likely that the blitz can create a big play for the opposing offense if it doesn't work. It really is a matter of performance. The Packers should blitz, because it adds a different look to the defense and can confuse or frustrate the other team's offense, but if the blitz isn't well executed, then the Packers shouldn't blitz. In the end, it doesn't matter what percentage of plays the Packers blitz on. If the Packers out coach and out play their opponents, whether they blitz every play or never, then the Packers will have a great defense.