Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tidbits on Kampman and Clifton.

Two of my biggest concerns next season are (1) how will Kampman perform in his new position and (2) can Clifton still get the job done at left tackle. Kevin Seifert has entries on both topics on his NFC North Blog at ESPN.com.

Pittsburgh director of football operations Kevin Colbert, whose team has run a 3-4 for years, said it takes players a minimum of two years to learn the system. Interestingly, Colbert said the transition is hardest for the "tweener" defensive ends of the 4-3 scheme.

"It's harder for him to be able to project because the ends are going to have to be a minimum of 290 pounds to be able to play in that scheme," Colbert said. "And linebackers are going to have to be able to do certain things in coverage. The 265-270 [pound] end will have the most difficulty."

That point illustrates one of the Packers' central conundrums in making this shift: By Colbert's analysis, the Packers' best defensive player is a poor fit for a traditional 3-4 scheme. Kampman, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end who has compiled 37 sacks in the past three years, is listed at -- yes -- 265 pounds.

The solution: "Thompson predicted Kampman will spend up to 60 percent of his time as a pass-rusher on the line of scrimmage."

Regarding Clifton: "Although Clifton's play slipped noticeably last season, the Packers are confident he will rebound and have locked him in as their starter for at least one more season. "

On a side note, I know that Seifert is widely derided in Packerland for his former job as a Vikings beat reporter, but (ever the contrarian that I am) I actually kind of like Seifert. I don't follow his blog religiously but whenever I do read it I always end up think he is doing a nice job. So there. I said it.

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