Saturday, October 06, 2012

Could Mike Neal Help The Packers?

After he was a complete zero last season, and then suspensed four games to open 2012, I was on the fence whether the Packers would release DE Mike Neal. He hadn't been able to stay healthy in either of his first two seasons and he hadn't done anything memorable on the field. His only hope was that his status as a former 2nd round pick would give him another chance and then he'd have to stay healthy for an entire season.

The last defensive lineman in this situation was former first round pick DE Justin Harrell, and the Packers gave him four seasons to turn it around. So it seemed unlikely they would give up on Neal after only two. But the selection of DE Jerel Worthy and DE Mike Daniels, and the free agent signings of DE Anthony Hargrove, Merling, and NT Daniel Muir, gave Neal a lot of competition. However, Neal showed just enough during the preseason to stick ahead of Hargrove and Muir. He's now been kept ahead of Merling too.

Something that's really helped him is that none of the other players the Packers have added this year have made much of an impact. Worthy is often on the field, but he's more notable for jumping offsides. Daniels has shown hustle, but he's played little and only recorded 1 sack and 1 tackle on the season. Merling only recorded 2 tackles in his first four games. So if Neal is improved a year after knee surgery, and he can rush better than Worthy or Daniels (neither of them have shown much so far), then he could be a welcomed addition. I expect he'll still be behind Worthy on the depth chart, but Neal should get a chance or two against the Colts to prove that he can do more. We'll have to wait and see whether he can take advantage of it.


Stroh said...

No doubt about Neal needing to stay on the field. But the little time he was on the field showed quite a bit to someone paying attention. His rookie year he was very active and got pressure as a DT. Last year was a complete washout due to injury, ever if he played he wasn't fully healthy, not even close.

Neal has alot to show, but he had alot more than just his standing as a 2nd round pick going for him! He really looked like he could be the Jenkins replacement he was drafted to be, when he was healthy. I never doubted for a second that Neal would be in GB this year and likely will be next year too. Way too much talent to release him outright w/o giving him every chance to prove it, especially in an area the Packers are still struggling... In the pass rush!

Whether or not he will be that type of player for the Packers is very much up in the air, but there was absolutely NO doubt he would and will be, given every chance to become it! Took Jenkins what 4 years to become a starter. Giving up on a DL after 2 injury filled years doesn't make sense!

PackFaninFl said...

Stroh, sorry to hear about your banishement from Acne* Packing Company. I call it "acne" because it's run by a bunch of petulant children. I wrote about you and your banishment on my blog. Just type "acmepackingcompanysucks" all one word, into google and it will take you to my blog.

It's a shame how SBNation has taken the "blog" out of the site. It's just become a stale advertising platform -- and passionate fans who speak their minds honestly are simply not wanted.

It's political correctness on steroids.

Speaking of 'roids, I agree that Mike Neal is a heck of a talent. But I'm really wary of 300 pound guys who get injured so easily. It's like, one slight awkward move/position and they are quickly back on the shelf. Tumbles down like a house of cards. But he is really a monster talent, quickness of a cat, great power, etc.

How do you feel about Nick Perry? I feel like it's almost Kampman 2.0 with Perry. Doesn't seem natural at all in the 3-4 scheme. That's why Walden is probably playing more.

Stroh said...

Thanx... I joined and commented on the post about little old me... LOL Do appreciate the kind words and your description of me, well it was spot on!

How do I feel about Perry? I think he'll become a pretty good 34 OLB w/ time. He is not a natural athlete which really helps at OLB. He is too straightline in his movements. Doen't have great change of direction and I don't think he'll ever have a spin move to speak of. I just don't know that he is coordinated enough for it. That said, he should become a more than competent 34OLB, maybe in the mold of Woodley. I was really high on Irvin who ended up in Seattle. Just a terrific natural athlete, much like the Claymaker. Thought the 2 of them on the same team would have been an utter terror for offenses. Perry will be much better vs the run that Irvin could ever hope. So a trade off makes some sense. I'm pretty hopeful Perry will become a very good 34 OLB.