Ranking the Packers (No. 30): Raven Greene
GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a tradition that stretches more than a decade, here is our annual ranking of the 90 players on the Green Bay Packers’ roster. This isn’t merely a look at the best players. Rather, it’s a formula that combines talent, salary, importance of the position, depth at the position and, for young players, draft positioning. More than the ranking, we hope you learn a little something about every player on the roster.
No. 30: S Raven Greene (5-11, 197, third year, James Madison)
Before last year’s season-opening game against Chicago, Greene changed his number from 36 to 24.
“I just wanted to start the year off with something different and hoping it brings me some luck,” he said at the time.
So much for that. Greene’s second season ended like his first: on injured reserve.
In fact, in Greene’s two seasons, he has more trips to injured reserve than starts (one). Still, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s philosophy makes Greene a potentially vital piece of the puzzle.
Last season, according to Sports Info Solutions, the Packers lined up with six-plus defensive backs on 52 percent of the snaps. That was the highest percentage in the league by a wide margin, with Baltimore a distant second at 43 percent. In other words, Green Bay’s base defense isn’t the 3-4. It’s not even nickel, which has become practically the NFL’s universal base defense. It’s dime, with a safety filling the role as the second inside linebacker.
Greene won the dime linebacker job in training camp last summer and played a big role with 56 snaps in the defensive masterpiece that was the Week 1 upset at Chicago. However, he suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 against Minnesota and didn’t play again. He had seven tackles and one pass defensed in 70 snaps.
Greene’s rookie season also ended with an ankle injury. Because he couldn’t run, he lived in the weight room. He returned with a rocked-up upper body. While the Packers listed him at 197 pounds, he said he weighed 212.
“Really, just everything fell into place,” he said. “I was up here doing a lot of the same things. I couldn’t really run as much obviously going into everything. The weight went on and I was actually pretty glad with how fast I could still move and looking to build on it some more.”
Why he’s got a chance: With his bulk and athleticism, Greene is a natural for the dime role. And with Ibraheim Campbell unsigned, Greene will enter training camp as the clear front-runner for that key job. However, availability is the greatest ability. With only 113 defensive snaps on his NFL resume, can he stay on the field?