Kampman: Oversimplifying the Case
When a team is struggling, there tends to be a great deal of knee jerk reaction from it’s fans, who often demand immediate solutions to what may be complicated problems. Regarding the Green Bay Packers, we’ve already heard calls this season to fire the coach and/or general manager, trade or bench players and sign free agents. The problem with all these ideas is that nothing happens in a vacuum. For the most part, football is so interconnected among it’s positions that a move in one area affects many others. If a team does make any of those moves, it also requires someone to replace them. And if that someone isn’t better than what you have already, it defeats the purpose.
The latest example of this is the situation of Packers linebacker Aaron Kampman. There has been speculation since training camp, much of it fueled by Kampman himself, that his talents are ill suited to the 3/4 defense the Packers currently employ. So, it seems to be a popular notion right now that the Packers should trade Kampman to a team that can make better use of his ability.
On the surface, the move makes some sense. Kampman appears to be underperforming in the fact that his sack totals are down from previous years. Coming on the heels of Green Bay’s loss to Minnesota during which they put virtually no pressure on Viking quarterback Brett Favre, those concerns are magnified. Conventional wisdom says he’s not equipped to cover receivers as expected in the 3/4. He’s also in the last year of his contract so the Packers risk losing him without compensation if he decides to sign elsewhere next season.
Unfortunately, reality intrudes. In the abstract, it’s easy to say the Packers should move Kampman (or any other player, for that matter). But, as fans, we don’t have access to know if there’s anything available out there that will help the Packers in return. If it doesn’t make sense to lose him next year and get nothing in return, neither does it make sense to give him away now. Just because the Packers haven’t been able to utilize him to the fullest so far doesn’t mean that they can’t yet make adjustments to do so. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers has stated repeatedly that Kampman has done what’s been asked of him. Maybe he needs to start asking something else.
Teams generally spend their entire offseason planning for one approach. To turn around and go in a different direction is difficult. With the trade deadline looming this week, it’s important for the Packers to find out, starting today against the Lions, if Kampman can be an effective 3/4 linebacker in the mold of his coach Kevin Greene. If he can, the Packers will be better for it. If not, maybe they can get something for him and make everyone happy.
Either way, change just for the sake of change isn’t a positive solution to any problem.