Much of the chatter around improving the Green Bay Packers this offseason focused on inside linebacker. That the Packers needed an upgrade at that position.
They may have got one when they picked Blake Martinez in the fourth round of the draft. Martinez looks to be a three-down player.
He’ll still have to beat out incumbent Sam Barrington if he wants to get on the field. Barrington earned himself a starting role in 2014, then missed all but one game of 2015 with a broken foot.
He almost seems to be an afterthought in the inside linebacker conversation.
Barrington has heard all the chatter and he doesn’t think much of it.
“I’m smart and I read but I choose what I read,” Barrington said. “It’s not like I’m reading books on underwater basket weaving. It’s about what you choose to read. That’s what determines whether you’re smart or not. I just don’t choose to indulge myself into all of those things because there’s a difference between football on the field and football from an enjoyment perspective. That stuff is just for the fans’ entertainment. It’s not reality sometimes. Whether a three-down linebacker is in the Packers’ needs is reality, that’s not what I’m saying. That’s not my job to read that type of stuff.”
It will be interesting to see if Barrington can come back. He hasn’t practiced throughout the offseason, which has given Martinez a head start on taking his job.
Barrington does bring some attitude to the defense. He’s one of the guys defensive end Mike Daniels consistently singles out for just that.
Barrington is also good at analogies.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’m no marshmallow. I’m like a rock. I’m like a burned piece of chicken. Not that it’s burned and it’s ruined, but it’s hard and you can’t penetrate it, you don’t want nothing to do with it. Know what I’m saying?”
Whatever that means…
The Barrington-Martinez dual should be one of the more interesting battles of training camp. The Packers defense should also be better for it.
Agree Joseph, competition is good. I do wonder how much Barrington’s bad ankle in the preseason had to do with his foot issue in the first game last year. You can guarantee Barrington will put up a fight if healthy and maybe if not healthy. It is also possible the real battle is between Barrington-Ryan or Martinez-Ryan.
It’s not necessarily Barrington vs. Martrinez. It could also be Martinez vs Ryan for starting inside backer.