Thursday Thoughts: Cautionary Tale

As schools open en masse in the next couple of weeks, it’s hard to believe we live in a country where certain states are actually forbidding mask mandates. Thankfully, more and more sane people are fighting back each day. Just when you think things can’t get any crazier. Anyway, here are some Packers-related thoughts that ran through my mind recently:

1) Kamal Martin is the latest example of why it’s foolish to get too excited over a rookie’s performance in August. A year ago, the former Gopher was drawing rave reviews and being hailed as one of the steals of the draft. Less than 12 months later, he’s looking for work after being released by the Packers. And while it was a surprise that GM Brian Gutekunst gave up on a fifth-round pick so quickly, it was hardly a shock. Martin is built for this month. He’s big, athletic, and physical, and those traits transfer very well to practices and preseason games – which are really just glorified practices. But when it mattered, Martin looked like the player who underachieved in college. He struggled with assignments, took questionable angles, and missed tackles. That caused the coaches to switch him to outside linebacker a few weeks ago – a move that was always destined to fail. In reality, very few run-of-the-mill players from big-time programs get better in the NFL. That’s something the so-called experts should keep in mind while they drool over T. J. Slaton, another underachieving fifth-round pick who’s turning heads in August.

2) An unproven young player picked up off the street less than a week before final cuts faces daunting odds when it comes to making the final 53-man roster or even the 16-man practice squad. That said, Wednesday’s signing of Abdullah Anderson shouldn’t be totally disregarded. The 25-year-old defensive lineman, who played 106 snaps for the Bears in ’19 and spent a couple of weeks last season with the Vikings, is more than just a camp body. The former Bucknell star has some ability as an inside pass rusher, which is something the Packers could use. With a good performance against the Bills on Saturday, Anderson could at the very least sneak his way onto the practice squad.

Anderson (#76) played a career-high 33 snaps versus the New Orleans Saints in 2019, and he had some success against Andrus Peat (#75). On this play, Anderson used his above-average strength and bulldog mentality to get past the Pro Bowl left guard and sack quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

3) It was very interesting to find out from Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated that one member of Green Bay’s front office actually did draw interest from another team in the offseason. It was even more interesting to find out that little-known Chad Brinker was the person the New England Patriots were looking to hire. It’s likely that former Packers’ director of football operations Eliot Wolf, who now works for the Patriots, recommended the 41-year-old to coach Bill Belichick. The Packers blocked Brinker from interviewing and then gave him a promotion. The team’s new personnel/football administration executive is now obviously somebody to keep an eye on in the future.

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Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.
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