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MintBaconDrivel  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 5:08:42 AM(UTC)
Jason Wilde said:
ORLANDO, Fla. — B.J. Raji is getting his wish: He will return to nose tackle in the Green Bay Packers' defense, putting him back at the position where he had his greatest production.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy, speaking during a luncheon interview with Wisconsin reporters covering the annual NFL Meetings, confirmed Tuesday that Raji will be back in the middle of the Packers' defensive line after not lining up on the center the past two seasons.

Raji, who was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, re-signed with the team on a one-year, $4 million deal which could be worth up to $6.5 million with incentives,

After a breakout season in 2010, when he had 6.5 regular-season sacks, another sack in the playoffs and an unforgettable pick-six interception in the NFC Championship Game victory at Chicago that sent the Packers to Super Bowl XLV, Raji hasn't had a sack in 35 regular-season games, dating back to Nov. 24, 2011 against the Detroit Lions. Last season, he was credited with 36 tackles (14 solo, 22 assisted) and did not have a sack, forced/recovered fumble or pass deflection. He was credited with three QB hits and 10 hurries by Pro Football Focus.

But McCarthy acknowledged that Raji spent most of the past two seasons at the three- and five-technique spots on the line, which lessened his impact.

"We played B.J. a lot as a 3. My conversation with B.J. is that I want to keep him over center, keep him in the A gap more and tailor things more to his specific skill set and cut him loose," McCarthy said Tuesday. "I think B.J. will do a good job. If you look at the package B.J. was used in the past, I think we can do a lot less of that, if any, and keep him over the center where he's closer to the football and can be a more impactful player."

Late last season, Raji put on a happy face despite being in a contract year and swore to reporters that he wasn't complaining about his non-playmaking role.

"Quite frankly, people that understand the game know what time it is. Everything else doesn't matter," Raji said then. "I'm older now and I understand that part of being a good teammate is understanding what is required of you. I don't label myself as a two-down defensive lineman; I'm just a two-down defensive lineman for us this year."

Asked if Raji ever expressed unhappiness with his role to him, McCarthy said the two talked in Raji's postseason exit interview and again during the re-signing process.

"He felt he did what he was asked to do," McCarthy said. "I've had a number of conversations with B.J. He's a young man we drafted, we brought him into our program. He's had success. (In recent years) he's been asked to do things a little differently and I think it's a process we need to get him back over center."
wpr  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 5:17:02 AM(UTC)
Good to know. He sure couldn't have been less impactful if he laid down on the LOS.
play2win  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 5:18:33 AM(UTC)
I love this. About time! Square pegs go in the square holes for a change. I don't know what the hell Dom was thinking with the way he had been used these past 3 years. Maybe this D comes back together this season. Raji just wants to play, and I am glad Mike is cutting him loose. I think we will see a much different player this year.
nerdmann  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 5:21:29 AM(UTC)
Which is to say, impactful. lol

Raji gets a shot. I'm glad Mike is taking these steps on D.
play2win  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 5:37:00 AM(UTC)
Mike sure seems to be taking the reigns on D. I don't know if it is to deflect criticism of his friend Dom, or to light a fire under his ass. Clearly, Dom has been doing some things that just have not worked. Much of it had to do with a lack of pure talent at key positions. Moving Raji to NT is the smart move, and should have never been moved to the 3 or 5 tech, especially when they saw after trying it that it wasn't working, hindering his effectiveness.

I always thought he was not used correctly, and I hope that's the case, because he has been mostly ineffective for 3 years now... Inordinately high number of snaps 2010-2011, then out of position. We really needed another NT to rotate with him, and for whatever reason, they never did that with Pick, which I never understood. I do think we will see a new, better Raji this year.
Wade  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 7:18:42 AM(UTC)
Sorry, but at best this is management-speak.

At worst, this is delusional on McCarthy's part. Until Raji puts together an entire season of "more impactful", I'll believe it when I see it. "Pass rushing nose tackle" may be Raji's best role, but save for the second half of 2010, IMO he hasn't shown himself as more than a rotational-quality guy.

Mike, you and Ted can spin giving the guy a 4 million contract however you want. IMO the best that can be said of his performance under his first contract was that it was consistently inconsistent.

I'll believe it when I see it.

User is suspended until 4/29/2043 11:56:55 PM(UTC) texaspackerbacker  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 7:53:02 AM(UTC)
I have been one of Raji's biggest detractors in here, but I feel a little bit positive about this - I'm at least willing to wait and see before complaining more about him still being in Green Bay.

My suspicion regarding the "why" of using him at DE is that maybe Raji himself balked at playing NT in the past. Now he has been humbled, and hopefully will do a good job at NT. I could see him as kinda a Jay Ratliff type - a penetrator and occasional pass rusher from the NT position.
yooperfan  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 7:54:50 AM(UTC)
play2win said: Go to Quoted Post
Mike sure seems to be taking the reigns on D. I don't know if it is to deflect criticism of his friend Dom, or to light a fire under his ass. Clearly, Dom has been doing some things that just have not worked. Much of it had to do with a lack of pure talent at key positions. Moving Raji to NT is the smart move, and should have never been moved to the 3 or 5 tech, especially when they saw after trying it that it wasn't working, hindering his effectiveness.

I always thought he was not used correctly, and I hope that's the case, because he has been mostly ineffective for 3 years now... Inordinately high number of snaps 2010-2011, then out of position. We really needed another NT to rotate with him, and for whatever reason, they never did that with Pick, which I never understood. I do think we will see a new, better Raji this year.


So what took McCarthy so long to make this change?
It appears from his comments that he recognized the misuse of Raji quite some time ago.

steveishere  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:08:20 AM(UTC)
yooperfan said: Go to Quoted Post
So what took McCarthy so long to make this change?
It appears from his comments that he recognized the misuse of Raji quite some time ago.



He probably saw how bad Raji sucked at NT in 2011 and early 2012 and didn't see not having him there as "misuse"
User is suspended until 4/29/2043 11:56:55 PM(UTC) texaspackerbacker  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:24:38 AM(UTC)
steveishere said: Go to Quoted Post
He probably saw how bad Raji sucked at NT in 2011 and early 2012 and didn't see not having him there as "misuse"


True, but as I recall, when Raji played NT, we had Pickett at DE. Having them both playing at the same time was a recipe for crap. Now, with more mobile guys on each side of him, and maybe a different philosophy of use - having him penetrate more, there is some hope for having him not suck.

gbguy20  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:31:02 AM(UTC)
OK so if this is going to happen who is going to take over the 3 technique spot? As of right now we don't have the big bodied Picketts or Jollies to man that spot. This better not affect Mike Daniels, dude is going to be really good if used properly.
User is suspended until 4/29/2043 11:56:55 PM(UTC) texaspackerbacker  
#12 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:54:25 AM(UTC)
gbguy20 said: Go to Quoted Post
OK so if this is going to happen who is going to take over the 3 technique spot? As of right now we don't have the big bodied Picketts or Jollies to man that spot. This better not affect Mike Daniels, dude is going to be really good if used properly.


You're assuming there is going to be a 3 technique spot. THAT was part of the problem. Anyway, Boyd is still around, and maybe Jolly. I'm not even sure Jolly played 3 technique last year though - not much anyway. Where is it written you NEED space occupiers instead of mobile tacklers?

gbguy20  
#13 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:00:20 AM(UTC)
texaspackerbacker said: Go to Quoted Post
You're assuming there is going to be a 3 technique spot. THAT was part of the problem. Anyway, Boyd is still around, and maybe Jolly. I'm not even sure Jolly played 3 technique last year though - not much anyway. Where is it written you NEED space occupiers instead of mobile tacklers?



IDK i just assumed that spot was necessary since we had been using it.
steveishere  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:16:48 AM(UTC)
gbguy20 said: Go to Quoted Post
OK so if this is going to happen who is going to take over the 3 technique spot? As of right now we don't have the big bodied Picketts or Jollies to man that spot. This better not affect Mike Daniels, dude is going to be really good if used properly.


Most 3 techniques I think are not as big as Pickett and Jolly. They are guys like Kevin Williams on the Vikings and Suh on the Lions.
Zero2Cool  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 1:37:29 PM(UTC)
David Dunn is B.J. Raji's agent


Quote:
Q. Was Raji offered that $8 million per season, and was he disappointed with how free agency played out?
David Dunn. I wouldn't believe everything that you read or hear. I think it was important to him that he has that one-year deal to show what he can do. That became such a big thing to him, especially over the last couple of months. To the team's credit, there's a loyalty to that team, not held by everybody, that's neat. Especially with these three guys there is an odd kinship. With B.J., we had long, long discussions. Really soul-searching discussions with him. It became clear he wanted to play for Green Bay. He believes in that. And he wanted it to be a one-year deal where the market might be in a better place next year than it is this year.

Q. So do you sense a certain hunger in Raji for this season?
David Dunn. Oh yeah. As will you, when you're around him. He's not disappointed at all. You'll sense that in him. Whereas Aaron and Clay were coming off of exceptional years when they did their deal, it was wise to capitalize on that, that was not the case (for Raji) — in B.J.'s mind as well. He doesn't mind it being put on him, at all.

mi_keys  
#16 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 3:13:34 PM(UTC)
steveishere said: Go to Quoted Post
Most 3 techniques I think are not as big as Pickett and Jolly. They are guys like Kevin Williams on the Vikings and Suh on the Lions.


If anything, we have an abudence of 3-techs and a derth of 0/1-techs.

Josh Boyd, Jerel Worthy, Letroy Guion*, Mike Daniels and Datone Jones are all more readily 3-techs in our defense.

*I know he was a nose tackle in Minnesota but from what I've read he struggled in that role and would be more suited to a 3-tech.
play2win  
#17 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:13:06 PM(UTC)
Actually, we've got just Raji and Boyd at the 1 tech. Maybe Guion, but I'm with you mi_keys that he is more of a 3 tech. The rest are 3s and some could easily be 5s.

I've been thinking this whole time that if Ted doesn't find a true NT in the draft that he would dial up Pickett, who could easily rotate with Raji as a 1.
nerdmann  
#18 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:20:15 PM(UTC)
play2win said: Go to Quoted Post
Actually, we've got just Raji and Boyd at the 1 tech. Maybe Guion, but I'm with you mi_keys that he is more of a 3 tech. The rest are 3s and some could easily be 5s.

I've been thinking this whole time that if Ted doesn't find a true NT in the draft that he would dial up Pickett, who could easily rotate with Raji as a 1.


Josh Boyd is a NT.

Point being, Mike is stepping in and making sure that Raji is being used properly. In return, it's on Raji to start showing up.
mi_keys  
#19 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:59:38 PM(UTC)
nerdmann said: Go to Quoted Post
Josh Boyd is a NT.

Point being, Mike is stepping in and making sure that Raji is being used properly. In return, it's on Raji to start showing up.


Boyd played nose tackle in college, yes, but he's only 310 pounds (it feels weird saying only to that weight). That's on the small side for nose tackle. For what it's worth, the Packers list him at defensive end. I don't recall him lining up as the nose much, if at all, for us last year, either.
DakotaT  
#20 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 6:06:17 PM(UTC)
I wish we would just go back to the 4-3. We've never had the correct lineman or linebackers to play this defense, with the exception of CM3.
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