Packers swap CB Lenzy Pipkins in exchange for LB Antonio Morrison

-- The weekend wouldn't be complete without Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst completing a trade, apparently.

On Sunday, the team announced they had required Indianapolis Colts linebacker Antonio Morrison in exchange for cornerback Lenzy Pipkins, giving the Packers a chance to provide a little more stability to a weakened middle linebacking unit.

Morrison, a third-year player drafted in the fourth round in 2016, is stout in run defense. At 6-1, 241 pounds, it's as if he's the replacement the Packers have been searching for in the absence of Jake Ryan, who tore his ACL in training camp last month.

The Packers are also awaiting word on their rookie third-round pick, Oren Burks, who suffered a shoulder injury during pre-game warm-ups prior to Friday night's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Morrison accounted for 812 snaps -- 75.4 percent -- of the Colts' defensive snaps last season, ranking third on the team. He's also someone who has just one missed game under his belt since entering the league.

The Colts changing from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense may have been the biggest contributing factor to Morrison's sudden disposability, as some outlets suggested he wouldn't even crack the Colts' 53-man roster come September.

Under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, the Packers are going to offer a variety of looks, including both 3-4 and 4-3 formations. It's in packages like that which Morrison likely wouldn't be infused into, but rather, playing him as a first-down run defender.

Coming out of Florida, Morrison didn't participate the combine in 2017 despite being invited due to a staph infection, which reportedly had him on antibiotics for over a month. His second opportunity -- his Pro Day -- was in jeopardy as well. Four days after having a catheter taken out of his chest, Morrison still trained in front of onlooking scouts.

It's why his athletic numbers aren't exactly much to write home about. Morrison ran a 5.10 40-yard dash, a 4.64 20-yard shuttle and a 7.69 3-cone drill.

The services of Pipkins, meanwhile, were no longer needed in the Packers' cornerback room evidently. While he showed flashes in last year's preseason slate, he's been relatively quiet in 2018, making him an interesting trade option. The Colts' cupboard is bare at cornerback, which also helps.

The Packers also have Ahmad Thomas and Greer Martini, two dark horse contenders to make the opening day roster at inside linebacker.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (73)

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dobber's picture

August 26, 2018 at 01:36 pm

I distinctly remember Morrison as a high-energy guy who didn't test very well. He was over a year removed from a knee injury at that point. More productive than his test numbers would indicate, though. Not sure how he rated on PFF last year. Strictly a run-down, downhill, thumping ILB and likely an ST maven.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2011/profiles/antonio-morrison?id=2555160

I give BG credit for turning players who were likely on the outside looking in for impending cuts into roster help.

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GBPDAN1's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:07 pm

This is a great move if Burks won't miss much time. We needed a run down thumper to fill Ryan's spot and this acquisition didn't cost much at all. Of course Morrison will not replace Burks pass defense and sideline to sideline production. I really hope we hear good news regarding Burk's shoulder this week.

This move also saves money incase we are in the running for Mack . If Mack's hold out lasts into October/ November, it would be highly likely that the Raiders would be open to trading him. Signing Bowman or another Veteran would have cost more. This also saves money if we need to sign a veteran safety at some point.

Now if Burk's injury is Severe or problematic through out the season, signing Bowman would have been preferred by me.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

August 26, 2018 at 04:07 pm

good work on getting 'maven' in there

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The TKstinator's picture

August 28, 2018 at 06:49 am

Quoth the maven ‘nevermore’.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

August 26, 2018 at 04:16 pm

.

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DraftHobbyist's picture

August 26, 2018 at 05:51 pm

I'm not sure Pipkins was on the outside looking in, but even if he was set to be our #6 CB on the 53, I still like the trade because I don't think we lose much (if anything) picking a guy like Hawkins, or we can go with the ST's guy in Goodson.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 26, 2018 at 06:16 pm

Agreed. Pipkens was not a sure thing to make the 53 (I've heard rumblings from posters, not media, about Goodson and even Waters), but I sure figured he'd make the team.

Burks said his week one availability was still in doubt. Didn't mention week 2. So, I guess we carry Martinez, Burks, Thomas and Morrison? IR seems extreme and he's not eligible for PUP. That's a medical decision, of course, but that 4th ILB, if carried, is going to impact another position. Oh well, stuff happens in the NFL.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:30 pm

August 26, 2018 at 01:26 pm(edit)

His analysis from the 2016 NFL Draft, courtesy of NFL.com:

"This two-time second-team All-SEC pick is undersized, but extremely productive; he hit triple digits in tackles in 2014 (101) and 2015 (103, leading the team), and doubled his impact in the backfield between those two seasons, going from six to 12 tackles for loss. The fact he played at all this fall was a tribute to his work ethic, as he came back from undergoing multiple surgeries on his left knee to repair an injury from the 2014 Birmingham Bowl. However, teams will have to check into his background due to two arrests (punching bouncer, barking at a police dog/resisting arrest) within five weeks in the summer of 2013. If he can convince general managers that his hard times are behind him, they'll bank on his talent."

Morrison, 23, was a 4th-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Florida. He's netted 97 total tackles so far in his NFL career. In two season with Indianapolis, he’s started 19 of 32 games.

Edit: Pro Football Focus gave Morrison an overall grade of 35.8 and it ranked 83rd among all linebackers in 2017.

Glad to see Gute sticking to his word of exploring every avenue of improving the Packer roster. We need linebacker depth. I'll be watching Morrison in the 4th preseason game.

I thought Ahmad Thomas played well against the Raiders.

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4thand10's picture

August 26, 2018 at 01:59 pm

I have been very impressed with Ahmad Thomas... all the pre season games so far have show me he is a willing tackler, above average in coverage. I have no stats to show this, only what I’ve seen with my eyes so far with him.

I like this trade a lot because Pipkins was a likely cut and Morrison would do just fine inside. Total heads up move by Gute...saved 2 guys jobs.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:24 pm

Barking at a police dog?

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:30 pm

Barking at a police dog sounds ruff. (That was for you TK)

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Oppy's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:37 pm

Jonathan, quit being such a heel.

Sorry, when people start throwing around the bad jokes and puns, I can't help but jump into the fray recklessly without paws.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 26, 2018 at 03:47 pm

Oppy, you need to learn to just sit and stay when the puns start rolling over.

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Oppy's picture

August 26, 2018 at 03:55 pm

I refuse to be muzzled.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 27, 2018 at 08:33 am

Can we just let sleeping dogs lie?

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The TKstinator's picture

August 28, 2018 at 06:51 am

I feel like a proud papa looking at all this sweet work!

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Samson's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:31 pm

Yes --- barking at a police dog is illegal in 47 out of 50 states plus all US territories.

It's in the contract that the union who represents police dogs worldwide.

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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2018 at 05:31 pm

Thomas is a cover backer who, like Burks, is an overgrown safety. I think he makes the roster behind Burkes while the last LB spot is now between this fellow and Martini, who I think will make the PS.

As others have said, we need a thumper in Ryan’s absence. We did not have one built to hold up to our division foes. Hopefully Burkes can now concentrate on coverage once he returns. In that role I think he will bring a real upgrade

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 26, 2018 at 10:45 pm

It's also stupid in all 50 states.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 27, 2018 at 08:34 am

Great one!

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KenEllis's picture

August 26, 2018 at 01:41 pm

"I give BG credit for turning players who were likely on the outside looking in for impending cuts into roster help."

Totally agree.

Looks like Gut wisely learned not to follow in Ted Thompson's footsteps by almost always rolling with undrafted rookies rather than making this type of trade for an established NFL player.

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fthisJack's picture

August 26, 2018 at 04:10 pm

i think Pipkins was expendable. it seemed like Waters and even Goodson had passed him on the depth chart. i hope this Morrison can provide run stuffing help....83rd among LB's doesn't look that great.

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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2018 at 05:36 pm

I liked Pipkins, but he was at best #6 ( excluding possibly Goodson, who may make it for ST).

Goodson aside, I have no idea who would be next in line. Brown has disappeared and not impressed by Waters so far—was hoping for more after the pre-injury hype for him this time last year.

To me that suggests Goodson will be our gunner and the last CB.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 26, 2018 at 09:37 pm

1) Williams
2) King
3) Alexander
4) Jackson
5) House
6) Hawkins/Goodson/Waters/Brown
7) Rollins

Hawkins looks best of group 6 so far in preseason. Rollins could make it as the 6th is shows anything at LB or Safety as a versatile 2nd round pick. Based off of his performance through game 3 he needs to be cut.

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HarlanHuckleby's picture

August 26, 2018 at 01:45 pm

Pretty good trade to get a journeyman starter in exchange for a guy on the bubble. I was rooting Pipkins to make it as the last corner in but you gotta give something to get something.

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LayingTheLawe's picture

August 26, 2018 at 01:59 pm

Hes only in his third year. Hardly some grizzled old vet.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

August 26, 2018 at 11:53 pm

When I hear the word journeyman, I think of Jake Plummer, for no logical reason whatsoever.

Now Tim Cousins. That's a journeyman

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Oppy's picture

August 27, 2018 at 02:07 am

That's hilarious, J0hn!

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4thand10's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:01 pm

I simply love this. Awesome.

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LayingTheLawe's picture

August 26, 2018 at 01:57 pm

so both teams swap players they probably cut next week anyway? How does a guy with 100 plus tackles last season end on the might miss the team list? Are we missing anything here? I mean pipkins is no loss but why are the colts looking to move this guy?

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4thand10's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:03 pm

A move to a 4 -3. In a 3-4 there are many varying types of linebackers and a team has to carry more of them.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:07 pm

The Colts switched to a 4-3.

Just like the article states...

Morrison is a 4-3 ILB, not enough speed to be a mike or will, maybe a sam, but I guess Colts think not.

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Minniman's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:24 pm

I did some sniffing too and the thoughts were that the Colts were prioritizing speed in their D, which apparently put Morrison on the outer.

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LambeauPlain's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:42 pm

In addition to moving to a 4-3, the Colts have a logjam at LB having drafted 3 this Spring including a 2nd rounder. They are in complete rebuild.

Essentially Gute was able to trade a 3rd or 4th string CB FA, likely to be cut, for a 2nd string ILB 4th round daftee.

Gutekunst got value here.

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LayingTheLawe's picture

August 26, 2018 at 05:04 pm

All the things I read are good. That hes a locker room guy and has been available to play so it all sounds good. Just made me wonder why he'd go from starter to cut.

Seems he'll be a good depth guy and be in the mix while Burks heals.

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Bure9620's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:08 pm

Good trade, CB is a postion of depth. Seems like a good downhill tackler, he's slow though, he's Jake Ryan. Need a coverage guy, Josh Jones? This also solidifies Davon House on the 53.

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Demon's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:11 pm

Please let there be a lineman on his way to austin strauble too.

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Demon's picture

August 26, 2018 at 03:17 pm

Why would someone give a thumbs down? I'm curious.

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Oppy's picture

August 26, 2018 at 03:56 pm

Ignore the thumbs down. Sometimes it means "i disagree", and sometimes it means (childishly) "I dislike this user, regardless of the message", or even occasionally, "I lead a miserable life and I attempt to make the self loathing go away by loathing others for no particular reason. I convey this by handing out thumbs down votes for no particular reason."

There is no understanding to be found in the unreasonable.

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MITM's picture

August 26, 2018 at 03:55 pm

I routinely get thumbs down on anything i post no matter what from some tiny man I probably embarrassed in a debate God knows how long ago

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 26, 2018 at 06:23 pm

I was going to give MITM a thumbs down but I think it is more apropos for the count to stay at exactly -1!

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MITM's picture

August 26, 2018 at 07:22 pm

Yea dont steal his thunder its all he's got

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 26, 2018 at 10:50 pm

"When you remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."

Mark Twain.

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Rebecca's picture

August 27, 2018 at 08:25 am

finally

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LayingTheLawe's picture

August 26, 2018 at 05:06 pm

yeah, good idea. now trade Josh Hawkins or Herb Waters for a backup offensive linemen.

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Lphill's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:11 pm

Looks good against the run so on passing downs put in Burks/Jones , should make for a nice rotation.

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Qoojo's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:14 pm

Good move by both teams as it allows them to "kick the tires for a week" and try out the guys, instead the of last cut mayhem.

I did find it interesting that Pipkins was getting played so late in the preseason games, which could indicate the coaching staff's view of him on the depth chart. I was looking for him and didn't see him, while Goodson, Hawkins, and Waters played long before Pipkins entered the game.

Maybe after the Oakland game, they (Gute and coaches) decided a run stuffing ILB might not be such a bad idea.

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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2018 at 05:39 pm

This is a reaction to Ryan not Burks, so may have been on the cards by game time perhaps?

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Qoojo's picture

August 27, 2018 at 10:08 am

I was thinking they might have been a little more motivated to trade after watching some of the runs from the Oakland game, and that the other ILBs next to Martinez are more geared to coverage (I think), not stuffing the run.

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Since'61's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:21 pm

Nice move by Gute. We get a player to help our LB corps for virtually nothing by sending Pipkins, a likely cut, to the Colts.

Plus this sends a positive message to the team and fans that Gut e is not going to sit around and do nothing when the team has obvious needs. It shows that he is going to try to improve the team however he can.

Now maybe we can trade Goodsen and Hundley for an OT. Thanks, Since '61

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:25 pm

Can't hurt. Cost nothing. Good trade for both teams.

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cheesehead1's picture

August 27, 2018 at 10:02 am

Nice move, can’t hurt. It’s been said we were going to cut Pipkins anyway, but I’ve also read online that Morrison was a likely cut also. Maybe this will be a win win for both teams.

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Samson's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:32 pm

Believe me, Gute is NOT TT.

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LambeauPlain's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:44 pm

Ted would have signed some street FA or waited several days after cut down day to glean the castoffs.

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Oppy's picture

August 26, 2018 at 04:02 pm

Player for player trades are few and far between in the NFL.

Ted Thompson has actually done it, he got a ST demon / marginal Safety talent in Derrick Martin head up for worthless OL Tony Moll a number of years ago in a straight trade. Getting anything for Moll was an amazing feat.

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Samson's picture

August 26, 2018 at 10:30 pm

That's all ya got!
TT was GM of the Pack for 9 years.
There must be more or maybe not.
That may even be part of the reason TT watches games (now) like most of us do, on TV.

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Oppy's picture

August 27, 2018 at 02:05 am

TT is still involved in the daily operations.
And, again.. player for player trades are not very common in the NFL.
The only difference between what transpired today with the Pipkins/Morrison trade and "waiting for cutdowns to pick a guy up off of someone's scrap heap" is that two teams actually agreed that each other had a guy they were cutting that the other one wanted. That's all.

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hodge555's picture

August 27, 2018 at 04:25 am

And it then gave both teams a week to closely evaluate those players rather than waiting and then having to jump in and cut someone off their 53 roster to make room.
It's a very smart move from both teams, and a great opportunity for both players.

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NJMagic's picture

August 26, 2018 at 02:44 pm

Love this move. I think Burks is going to be a solid
to very good undersized ILB who can help patrol the middle (its 2018, about time!) BUT there is still a role for the run stuffing ILB to replace Ryan. I am going to go on record that this move will be key to stopping a late drive (or two) during the season to give Aaron a chance to get the ball back.

Will not be surprised if Lenzy shined in Indy, a much shorter climb to relevance in that secondary. Wish him best of luck- think this was probably a welcome trade by both teams... Abd both players...

AND for all those who used to criticize TT, this should be reassuring our new GM is truly always on the lookout for depth pieces. That alone is welcome news!!

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Packer_Fan's picture

August 26, 2018 at 03:28 pm

Trade was good for both teams. Morrison wasn't going to play much because of the defensive scheme changes. So Pipkens didn't play much perhaps of the trade. GB gets a starter quality backup and depth With King, Alexander and Jackson, GB has long term depth. Jackson sounds like he will be playing a lot this year. Looks like BG hit big on the first three draft picks. But I think Burks will be limited this year.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 26, 2018 at 03:54 pm

Jackson has really surprised me this preseason. I thought his interceptions came against weak opponents on easy opportunities in college. He played zone and is being asked to press.

So far he's looking like a steal in the 2nd round. Hope he continues to shine and can take William's spot on the outside so William's can move to safety where we could use some more depth.

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Oppy's picture

August 26, 2018 at 04:11 pm

It seemed like Jackson wasn't quite sure if he belonged in the NFL his first week of training camp. Once he realized his game translates and he can compete in the pros, his confidence seems up and he's out there making plays. Looks great.

If we hit on both Alexander and Jackson.. wow. So far, so good.

When King gets healthy, we're going to have problems finding ways to get all these guys snaps if they're playing well.

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dobber's picture

August 26, 2018 at 04:39 pm

"When King gets healthy, we're going to have problems finding ways to get all these guys snaps if they're playing well."

**Knocks on wood***

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Monsmoy's picture

August 27, 2018 at 03:17 pm

I am an optimist, but even I would say it is very unlikely Alexander and King both stay healthy this season. Corner is such a demanding position now, with teams expecting results there, that there are bound to be injuries. We will need depth although I am also a fan of getting someone across to replace/rotate Ha Ha at FS.

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fthisJack's picture

August 26, 2018 at 04:17 pm

they could have probably had this guy after the cut downs. but i guess this gives Gute a chance to see what he has against KC.

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MITM's picture

August 26, 2018 at 07:23 pm

Im a big college football fan and enjoy watching the SEC games so I saw Morrison play alot at Florida and I was always a fan of his. Hes a big hitter and he usually knows where hes going which eases some of the concerns of his speed. This was just a good trade for us. Veteran depth, will be our biggest ILB size wise, and he brings the wood in the run game and does it in a bad mood as well.

This is the type of move that could prove to be genius. Mason Foster had similar knocks on him and got forced out of Tampa Bay, got signed to a generous free agent deal by the Bears who at the time were absolutely starved for NFL level talent at LB - and he was a surprise cut before the season that year. Being cut by a team that made you a free agent priority and had nothing else at the position would seemingly signal the end, the Redskins signed him a few weeks into the season after a rash of injuries and hes on his 2nd contract now with them. He's been a very solid player from the second he came into Washington, thriving in their 3-4 after having not been a fit in the Bucs or Bears 4-3. Morrison is a very similar player to Foster and I think he could end up proving to be just as valuable.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

August 27, 2018 at 06:31 pm

Good trade for both clubs. Pipkens would probably have been on the PS again anyhow, or cut all together. So gaining a LB like Morrison for an even trade is a good move. Packers are thinner at LB than they are at CB. Let's hope Morrison has as many tackles with the Packers as he did with the Colts and can stay healthy.

Update. I just watched a video on the Packers site of an interview with Morrison and he seems to be a no nonsense, get it done kind of fellow and happy to be in Green Bay. His aggressive style of play is just what the Packers need at the LB position. I wish him well. Go! Pack! Go!

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OldTimer's picture

August 26, 2018 at 07:49 pm

I liked Pipkins, but we didn't really need him with our current group. I do think this will give him more opportunities to play. Best of luck to him!
GoPackGo!

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Cartwright's picture

August 26, 2018 at 08:41 pm

Good to see Gute responded quickly, that Jake Ryan's absence will be missed judging by the poor run defense exhibited this pre-season and Burke's injury. He noticed all those gashes. With the loss of those two something had to happen. Don't know how good Morrison is, but this could be the move that saves the defense's bacon.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 26, 2018 at 08:37 pm

While I know very little about Morrison (other then he started 15 games last year), I love that Gutekunst traded a player that may not have made the 53 for a guy who should help the team.

To me this was a really good move. I really liked Pipkins but they already have Alexander, Jackson, King, Williams, House in front of him. They had very little depth at ILB and with the injury to Burks it made it even thinner.

This is the type of move that Thompson wouldn't have made. And yet another reason why I am really happy to see Gutekunst as our GM. We won't know how his first draft went for a few years, but the early signs of Alexander and Jackson are promising. Burks flashed prior to getting hurt. The 3 WR's all flashed talent. And bringing in the vets so far have been proving to be upgrades. I definitely like what Gutekunst has done!

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Cartwright's picture

August 26, 2018 at 09:00 pm

Some are now thinking that this makes House or Goodson a shoe in for Lenzy's slot but my dark horse player to make the squad is the littlest guy on defense, Josh Hawkins. He showed up in Oakland and his performance may have solidified Gute's decision to let Pipkins go.

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I bleed green more's picture

August 26, 2018 at 10:04 pm

I still love the move a UFDA for a forth round pick one we need.

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