For the second time in as many days, a free agent defensive player from an NFC North team has signed with a division rival. For once, though, it was not a former Packer moving to Minnesota. No, this time it is defensive end Israel Idonije, who has reportedly signed a contract with the Detroit Lions, leaving the Chicago Bears in his past.
Idonije spent the bulk of his first six seasons in Chicago as a reserve and rotational player on the defensive line before becoming a primary starter in 2010. Since then, he has played in all 48 games, starting 42 of them, and recorded 20.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Idonije seems like a candidate to start at left end opposite rookie Ezekiel Ansah, with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly as the tackles. However, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert notes, his versatility and ability to play end or tackle will make him very useful in Detroit.
What does this mean for the Packers? Well, it means that the Lions have an even more formidable defensive line, and that the interior of the Packers’ offensive front will need to be stout and solid in all phases of the offense. With several young, aggressive players manning the line, the Lions’ defense may be susceptible to screen passes, and I would expect them to be a big part of the Packers’ game plan when facing Detroit this season.