There wasn’t going to be much suspense with this one. Inside linebacker Joe Thomas was an exclusive rights free agent and he went ahead and signed his tender with the Green Bay Packers on Monday.
Thomas has played two season with the Packers, after being acquired as an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina State.
In 2016, he actually started seven games and, surprisingly, played more snaps than any inside linebacker on the team. Thomas finished with 820 snaps, while Jake Ryan had 690 and Blake Martinez had 480, according to Rob Demovsky.
We looked at that as a failing on Martinez’s part more than anything Thomas did great.
As the story goes, Thomas is pretty good in coverage, but not good at anything else. He has a hard time getting off blocks and we’ve watched him get plowed over by too many running backs. We doubt anyone would call tackling a strength either. It appeared that he played simply because Martinez wasn’t as good in coverage as expected.
Ryan and Martinez were supposed to hold down the Packers’ inside linebacker spots. Martinez was overtaken (or replaced might be a better word) by Thomas in the second half of the season.
Thomas finished the year with 70 tackles, five passes defended and an interception. Interestingly, Martinez had just one less tackle, despite playing around half the snaps.
We would suggest the Packers upgrade the position in the draft, but that almost seems impossible with all the other holes they now have to fill.
Martinez was a rookie! It’s true for me that ILBs can transition well to the pro level. That doesn’t mean they become pro bowlers instantaneously, or ever. If this guy can play decently in the snaps he is given, it is fine. At least teams are not running it up the middle to gain a sure first down like when we had the almighty Hawk. Bottom line, Martinez can be in the rotation. Maybe we can find a superior player, or maybe he becomes that superior player. His athleticism is not particularly shocking, so his ceiling may me not high, but players can compensate for that with instincts (proper positioning, quick play reading).
I agree with the notion that it is too early to tell on Martinez.
Hawk never had less than 84 tackles as a Packer in 9 years. He had more than 100 tackles in 5 of those years. Martinez has a long way to go before being mentioned with Hawk.
What use are tackles made after the RB has already gained 7yds?
SMH…..I don’t remember Hawk being benched his 1st season.
But then again, why would you bench a guy making 120 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, a ff, 2 int, and 8 PD?
I’ll say it again…..Martinez has a long way to go before being mentioned with Hawk.
I think Thomas is underrated and underappreciated, but only slightly. Something is up with Martinez that ain’t showing up in the papers. Either that or the crack (as in on crack) med staff in GB done gone screwed up again.
My God Teddy! These moves are putting us over the top!
In all seriousness, I think it all starts up front, and think the pass rush and defensive should be priority (along with corner). Better line play will help the ILBs.
Better line play, helps everyone. On both sides of the ball.