Green Bay's defensive ends need to play well this season because when their pass rush disappeared down the stretch last year, the secondary’s man-to-man coverage scheme couldn’t hold up.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Packers’ defensive ends entering training camp. For a more in-depth story, check out the story available only to PackerReport.com subscribers.
For starters: Aaron Kampman is one of the NFL’s elite defensive ends. He’s one of only two players with double-digit sacks the last two seasons. Plus, he plays the run with equal aplomb. The Packers need more than they got from Cullen Jenkins during an injury-plagued 2007 season.
In a rush: Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will turn 31 early this season. He was having a strong 2007 season until injuring his ankle. He also had minor knee surgery in late May. Assuming he comes back strong, his roster spot should be safe, even with a $7.7 million salary-cap figure.
Welcome: The Packers have high hopes for rookie Jeremy Thompson, a fourth-round pick and the brother of offensive tackle Orrin Thompson. He might be able to add some juice to the pass rush immediately.
Jeopardy: Mike Montgomery and Jason Hunter contributed next to nothing to the defense last season. Assuming KGB isn’t a salary-cap casualty, one of these players will be out of a job in September. With Hunter being a standout on special teams, the pressure is on Montgomery.