A big adjustment for Kampman

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Amid discussion about his players' potential fit for the 3-4 defense, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Tuesday that Aaron Kampman will shift from defensive end to outside linebacker in 2009.

Check out coverage from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Green Bay Press-Gazette. McCarthy said Kampman will be at outside linebacker when "we line up in the first base defense" but emphasized that new coordinator Dom Capers will devise a role around Kampman's skills. "There's not just one mold for each position," McCarthy said of the 3-4.

I guess I'll believe it when I see it. I agree that Kampman isn't a good fit as a defensive end in any version of the 3-4. At 265 pounds, it would be hard for him to play a position that has some of the responsibilities of a defensive tackle in the 4-3. But at a gangly 6-4, Kampman doesn't have the body type of a modern 3-4 outside linebacker, either.

(For comparison's sake, Kampman is four inches taller than Pittsburgh's James Harrison and two inches taller than the Steelers' LaMarr Woodley. The Steelers' 3-4 scheme finished 2008 as the NFL's top-ranked defense.)

It's true that Kampman played linebacker for two years at Iowa, but it's hard to escape the feeling that he his ideal position is a 4-3 defensive end. How many eight-year veterans make the transition to a position that requires more quickness, a greater comfort zone in space and a new pre-snap stance? I'm sure it can be done, but it's only fair to say that Kampman has a lot of work ahead of him.

The most encouraging news is that McCarthy alluded several times to the possibility of adjustments and tweaks to the traditional roles of the 3-4. If Capers can create a role that puts Kampman on the line of scrimmage and allows him almost solely to focus on rushing the passer, then this move could succeed. Otherwise, the Packers will have taken a player who has 37 sacks in the past three years and put him out of position.