B.J. Raji was enjoying a very good summer prior to suffering a season-ending biceps injury against Oakland on Friday night. As strange as this sounds, how much this loss will affect the defense may depend on the physical condition of a 34-year-old man who has spent the summer far away from the dorms at St. Norbert.
It’s hard to imagine general manager Ted Thompson not reaching out to Ryan Pickett in the next day or two – if he hasn’t already. And if the father of six is in reasonably good shape, the defense should be able to withstand the loss of its starting nose tackle. That’s because Pickett is coming off a decent season. The former Ohio State star held his own against the run, and while it’s true that he offers next to nothing as a pass rusher, the 2014 Packers shouldn’t have to rely on their nose tackle to collapse the pocket with Mike Daniels, Datone Jones and Mike Neal on the roster.
If for any reason Thompson chooses not to re-sign Pickett, defensive coordinator Dom Capers will have to rely on a combination of Josh Boyd, Mike Pennel and maybe Letroy Guion to get the job done. That would be risky. Boyd weighs only 310 pounds and has very little experience on the nose. Pennel has been a true revelation this summer, but the undrafted rookie has never gone up against starting caliber centers and guards. As for Guion, he hasn’t taken a snap all camp due to a hamstring injury. Plus, like Boyd, he’s also more of an end.