The Packers’ middle linebacker has been a stable

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The Packers’ middle linebacker has been a stable

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 cog at thecenter of the defense [url=https://www.thepackersfanshop.com/Jamaal-Williams-Jersey]https://www.thepackersfanshop.com/Jamaal-Williams-Jersey[/url] , and his consistency should help the defense’s newest pieces." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteAcme Packing Companya Green Bay Packers communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsSectionsPackersOddsAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections The APC PodcastPackers Film RoomFantasy Football AdviceCDTShareTweetShareShare2019 Packers 90-man ranking, 10-8: Blake Martinez hopes to earn a lucrative contract extensionPhoto by Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesWith veteran free agency essentially concluded and the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, Acme Packing Company will once again rank and break down the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster.Today’s rankings, the beginning of the top-10 countdown, reflect a pair of veteran returners on both sides of the ball, in addition to a duo of high-priced newcomers to the Green Bay defense.T-10: Bryan Bulaga, OTOne of the longest tenured Packers on the roster, Bulaga heads into the final year of his contract extension signed in 2015. When healthy, Bulaga has been a good-to-great right tackle for Green Bay and the Iowa product bounced back to play 14 games in 2018 after just five the year before. He continues to be productive as a pass blocker and a stable bookend piece to David Bakhtiari.At age 30, Bulaga is most likely heading into his final season in a Green Bay uniform. Despite rumors that the Packers tried to get him to take a pay cut over the past couple of years, Bulaga has remained Green Bay’s best right tackle option on the roster with the struggles of players like Jason Spriggs and Justin McCray. The signing of Billy Turner may have landed the the Packers their heir apparent to Bulaga a year from now, but the health of Bulaga remains integral to the offense in 2019.T-10: Adrian Amos, SOne of the areas Green Bay struggled the most last season was safety and the front office recognized that with the first round draft selection of Darnell Savage and the four-year, $36 million signing of Amos. A figurative trade with the Chicago Bears exchanging Amos for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should leave the Packers’ secondary in a more enviable position. While Amos is not the turnover-creating machine the Packers have lacked at safety since the days of Nick Collins, his dependability to be in the right place at the right time should help the defensive backs around him. While versatile, Amos should be expected to play the strong position more often than not and allow Savage to make more plays on the ball. With three interceptions and three forced fumbles in four seasons in Chicago, the Packers are hoping that Amos’ best football is still ahead of him at age 26.9: Preston Smith, EDGEFrom one free agent signing in Amos to another in Smith, the Packers got much better this offseason on the defensive side of the ball. Green Bay committed eye-popping money to edge rushers in the spring and the Packers thought enough of Smith’s pass-rushing acumen to offer him a four-year [url=https://www.thepackersfanshop.com/Dean-Lowry-Jersey]Dean Lowry Jersey[/url] , $52 million contract. Smith should team up with fellow newcomer Za’Darius Smith to form a new starting combination on the edge.With Washington, Smith logged 24.5 sacks over his first four seasons while forcing four fumbles and intercepting four passes as a 3-4 linebacker. However, his best season might have been his first, tallying eight sacks and three forced fumbles as a rookie. Durability is a calling card for Smith, who has not missed a game in his pro career, and his experience with new Packers’ inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti — someone Smith is familiar with from their shared time in Washington — should help Green Bay put Smith in the best position to succeed. At age 26, the former second-round pick Smith will get every opportunity to earn his first Pro Bowl nod with the Packers.8: Blake Martinez, ILBLike Bulaga above, Martinez enters the 2019 season in a contract year. The former fourth-round pick has steadily progressed as a member of the Packers’ defense and started all 16 games for the second consecutive season in 2018. Martinez posted career-highs in tackles (144) and sacks (5), while being used more often as a blitzer in Mike Pettine’s scheme.With the departures of Jake Ryan and Antonio Morrison, Josh Jones’ rumored trade request, and the slow development of Oren Burks as a rookie last season, the Packers find themselves thin at the inside linebacker position. Seventh-round pick Ty Summers may bring help, but Martinez is in line to log a high snap count again in 2019. Martinez was on the field for over 98% of the team’s snaps last season and gained 15 pounds of muscle this offseason to help his body continue to hold up to the demand. The consistency of Martinez in the middle is critical to the Packers’ revamped defense, but more big plays would help win him a big contract extension next year. The formal and official push for 18 regular-season games has begun. The latest, and perhaps best, evidence of it comes from comments made Friday by Packers CEO Mark Murphy at the team’s annual shareholders meeting.“What we do know is our current preseason is not a good product,” Murphy said, via Darren Rovell of TheActionNetwork.com. “Our players don’t need four games and it seems like fewer starters are playing in them. Maybe another way to do this is to add one neutral site game and one international one for every team [url=https://www.thepackersfanshop.com/Kentrell-Brice-Jersey]Kentrell Brice Color Rush Jersey[/url] , so we can use this to grow the game.”In other words, one plus one is two. And 16 plus two is 18.That marks a dramatic reversal for Murphy, who has said clearly and unequivocally on multiple past occasions that an increase to 18 games won’t work.“On the 18-game season, with the concerns about health and safety, we can’t justify increasing the season,” Murphy told Peter King in December 2016.Murphy made similar remarks at least three times before that.“I think with all the concern about player health and safety, it would be difficult to go from 16 regular-season games to 18,” Murphy said in 2015.“I think with all the concerns about the health and safety of players, it’s hard to justify,” Murphy said in 2013. “To go from 16 to 18 regular-season [games] would be a lot more wear and tear. It would be additional games for your starters.”Here’s Murphy from 2012: “I couldn’t support a move to 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games]. With the focus on player safety, it would be really hard to support that.”So what has prompted Murphy to do such an about face? Given that he previousy has rooted his opposition to an expanded regular season in concerns regarding player health and safety, Murphy possibly believes that the advances in player health and safety now permit an increase in the total inventory of games that count.Or maybe Murphy realizes that, in the context of CBA talks that haven’t happened since 2011, now is the time to argue that advances in health and safety permit an increase in regular season games. Regardless, something has caused Murphy to change his tune so sharply, and that something likely is the same color as his team’s home jerseys.: Different versions of Murphy’s quotes have emerged, contrary to Rovell’s. Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com writes that Murphy discussed 17 regular-season games as a potential idea. Either way, he previously had been opposed to expanding the regular season at all. He now isn’t.