Packers still confident injured rookie LB Kamal Martin has bright future – Packers Wire

An unfortunate injury will likely rob Kamal Martin of the start of his 2020 season, but the Green Bay Packers are still confident the rookie linebacker has a bright future ahead of him.

Martin, the Packers’ fifth-round pick, saw his standout training camp derailed by a knee injury suffered during the team’s scrimmage at Lambeau Field on Sunday. According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, Martin needs surgery to fix a torn meniscus and could miss six or more weeks.

Despite being a rookie, there was a chance Martin could have started at linebacker for the Packers in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s certainly a shame that he had a setback, but we all see a pretty bright future for him here,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said Thursday.

Martin, who dealt with an injury to his other knee during his final season at Minnesota, impressed Pettine and the Packers with his combination of instincts, playmaking quickness and intelligence during camp.

“He’s very instinctive. There are some things that he just did naturally. We use the term triggering. When he sees something he reacts to it quickly. He had a real good knack for seeing things a little bit faster,” Pettine said. “We obviously like his body type. He’s a long guy who has been productive. We knew from the draft process and having him in the spring with all the Zoom interaction that he’s very intelligent, picked it up really quick.”

Without Martin, the Packers will have to rely on some combination of Oren Burks and Ty Summers to play next to Christian Kirksey at linebacker to start the season.

Pettine said both have gotten enough playing time during camp and are capable of handling the spot.

“Both of those guys have gotten quality reps and they are Year 2 in the system, so we’ll certainly be confident if those guys have to go in there,” Pettine said.

In recent years, the Packers have often prefered having just one true linebacker on the field, using a second linebacker in more obvious run situations while employing a hybrid safety type as the hang defender.

Raven Greene, the leading candidate to by the hybrid safety, remains out of practice. Curtis Bolton, who impressed at inside linebacker last summer, remains on the PUP list.

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