According to coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers will be adding an elephant to the defense in 2014. Not the animal, the position first popularized by George Seifert in San Francisco in the 1980s. Looking to create mismatches, Seifert allowed his weakside end to move around the formation to rush from either side of the line from a two-point stance. Charles Haley and Tim Harris are among the players who played this position with great success. Nick Perry and Mike Neal figure to get first crack at the job, but there’s another player who I think might be an even better choice.
It probably won’t happen, but the more I watch Datone Jones, the more I think he could be the perfect elephant. Instead of forcing the natural 275-pounder to bulk up and battle massive tackles at end, why not let him play at his natural weight and take full advantage of his athletic ability? While Perry is faster and Neal is stronger, neither is as fluid changing direction or as explosive as Jones – two traits that are very important for an elephant. I understand that the coaches would like for Jones and Perry (or Neal) to be on the field together, and hopefully that will happen. But if Jones simply isn’t cut out for end, at least there’s now a fallback option – a potentially very good fallback option.