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Offline Zero2Cool  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, September 3, 2008 10:23:17 PM(UTC)
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[img_r]http://graphics.jsonline.com/graphics/packer/img/news/sep08/xjolly02.jpg[/img_r]Green Bay - To understand how important it is for the Green Bay Packers to have defensive tackle Johnny Jolly healthy and available this season, pull out some videotape of the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers' opening-day opponent.

Right smack dab in the middle of the field resides the Williamses - the beating heart of the Vikings' defense - some 651 pounds of force pumping energy through the entire unit. If you were building a defense from scratch, Kevin and Pat Williams would be your first choices.

The Packers might not have gotten first pick but they, too, feel as if the middle of their defensive line can control the flow of the game, especially with veteran nose tackle Ryan Pickett filling half the bill. But to reach the next level, the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Jolly is going to have to establish himself as more than just a prospect.

"I think we have a real good shot at being pretty good," Pickett said of his pairing with Jolly. "I don't think we'll ever get the same recognition as (the Williamses) because we play a whole different style of defense. But we have a chance to make some noise."

Pickett is back from a summer-long absence caused by a hamstring injury and his return will immediately improve the Packers' run defense. Listed at 330 pounds, he can clog the middle and make it easier for the linebackers to flow to the ball without interference. But he's also nimble enough to work his way down the line of scrimmage and make tackles.

Jolly, entering his third season, has the speed and quickness Pickett wishes he had, and his hands are so quick he can control offensive linemen before they control him. If the day comes that he plays the game with more of a thinking-man's approach, he might be the perfect complement to Pickett.

"I've seen a lot of growth," Pickett said. "I think before he was just into making plays. Now I think he learned to be patient and pick his spots. When you don't let the game come to you, you end up making mistakes, getting out of your gap, allowing for a big play.

"You have to learn how to just know when to go. I think Johnny has come a long way in that manner because he's always been athletic. Now he's starting to rely on his mind and think about things."

Maturity remains an issue with Jolly.

The Packers were extremely disappointed when he was arrested July 8 after police did a search of his vehicle outside a Houston nightclub. According to news stories citing the official police report, cups of liquid codeine were found in the car and a bag of marijuana was found on a 22-year-old man. A 21-year-old was also arrested for misdemeanor unlawful carrying of a weapon

Jolly faces felony charges of possessing at least 200 grams of codeine. Because of the seriousness of the charge, prosecutors are expected to allow a grand jury to decide whether there is enough evidence to go to trial. His next court date is scheduled for Sept. 16.

More than likely, Jolly won't face interruption of his season because even if he must go to trial, chances are it won't happen until next year. The Packers are hoping he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and will learn from his mistake.

In the meantime, the Packers are expecting big things from Jolly, whose star was rising last year before he tore his rotator cuff in a victory over Carolina on Nov. 18. He started seven of 10 games in 2007 and finished with 35 tackles, a sack and five passes batted down.

"I think Johnny has grown up a lot," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He has been through a number of things here in the past year from a personal standpoint. Professionally, the shoulder hasn't been an issue for him.

"(He's a) very good, very instinctive football player, a tough physical football player. He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played."

On the other hand, some would say he carries it a little too far sometimes.

During training camp, Jolly was a regular combatant with his offensive linemen, often talking trash and then getting into physical confrontations with them. During one night practice, he took off his shoulder pads and walked over to a group of offensive linemen as though he wanted to fight them.

He was quickly escorted away, but seeing him in the middle of scrums was a common sight during camp.

"We're just having fun," Jolly said. "I'd never do anything to my teammates. It's just like a thing where you're tired out there and we needed a little spark in practice and that was something that got everyone's attention and we finished up practice good."

Jolly insists that the guy talking trash and mixing it up with anyone is nothing like the guy he is off the field.

"I'm laid back," he said. "That stuff, that's just football. It's not a different person, it's just something to get my teammates motivated."

If the Packers are going to hold up on defense, Jolly will have to do a lot more than motivate this year. Only three true defensive tackles were kept on the roster - end Cullen Jenkins will serve as the fourth - and there isn't anyone as big and talented as Jolly ready to take his place if he fails.

He has to make every snap count.

"I think he's an ascending player," end Aaron Kampman said. "He knows it and he's working to hone his craft. I think he has a lot of potential and he knows that this could be a big year for him."

Dang, I still think if Tim "Six Shooter" Harris when I see 97.
Offline millertime  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, September 3, 2008 10:56:47 PM(UTC)
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I hope Jolly plays well this year. We really need a stout run defense to give our secondary a rest.

As far as the criminal charges go, I hope justice is served. If the codeine was his, I guess he should get punished according to law. I personally don't have a problem with drug use compared to most in society, so I don't really care if he gets in trouble or not.
Offline Jakest3r  
#3 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 12:28:09 AM(UTC)
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He did a very nice job for us when he was healthy, so I'm pretty excited to see what he does now that he's back.
Offline longtimefan  
#4 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 2:05:47 AM(UTC)
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I been tihnking all along that Pickett is the man we need to produce, but after reading this, Jolly is right up there with Pick
Offline porky88  
#5 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 2:24:02 AM(UTC)
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I don't doubt that Jolly can be a force in the middle. Both he and Ryan Pickett impress me a lot. My doubts with Jolly is his off the field problems. I don't think he'll be suspended this year. If he is, then it's 2 games tops but I wonder if he can actually stay out of trouble for a long period of time.

Basically he went from being a core player I thought the Packers should keep for years to come to being a big time question mark.
Offline tromadz  
#6 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 2:46:00 AM(UTC)
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" said: Go to Quoted Post
I don't doubt that Jolly can be a force in the middle. Both he and Ryan Pickett impress me a lot. My doubts with Jolly is his off the field problems. I don't think he'll be suspended this year. If he is, then it's 2 games tops but I wonder if he can actually stay out of trouble for a long period of time.

Basically he went from being a core player I thought the Packers should keep for years to come to being a big time question mark.


I agree. However the best part is there's a good chance he plays this entire season. Thompson will address this problem during the offseason. I wouldn't be shocked if our #1 or #2 pick is a DT, cuz Thompson is crazy like that.

I, as I have all last season, this offseason, and this preseason, like our defensive line. The injuries are a pain, but nobody is hurt too serious except Bustin Harrell, but nobody was counting on him, which is smart.

Tavaris Jackson will be killed Monday.
Offline Bigbyfan  
#7 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 7:31:36 AM(UTC)
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Some people forget that Johnny Jolly actually STARTED over Corey Williams, the guy everyone is so upset that we lost. Jolly is gonna be a beast
Offline bozz_2006  
#8 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 8:32:06 AM(UTC)
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" said: Go to Quoted Post
Some people forget that Johnny Jolly actually STARTED over Corey Williams, the guy everyone is so upset that we lost. Jolly is gonna be a beast


smart man. Not that we aren't going to miss Corey, but yeah, Jolly is a beast.
Offline Greg C.  
#9 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 8:54:10 AM(UTC)
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" said: Go to Quoted Post
Some people forget that Johnny Jolly actually STARTED over Corey Williams, the guy everyone is so upset that we lost. Jolly is gonna be a beast


As I recall, they each started about half the games, and I think Jolly started more games than Williams down the stretch. I liked Jolly a lot last year. I can't say I saw quite the same spark in him during the preseason, but it's only the preseason. If he's the same player he was last year, we'll be in great shape at DT with him and Pickett. Jolly is especially good at knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage.

EDIT: I remember now that Jolly got hurt toward the end of the year. But before his injury, I think he was getting more starts than Corey Williams. He was a player on the rise.
Offline TheEngineer  
#10 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 9:02:03 AM(UTC)
Rank: Registered

Joined: 8/8/2008(UTC)
I recall Jolly being fantastic last season. I'm not worried about Jolly at all, I think he can be great. But the only thing I worry more than his health is this codeine issue.
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