Maybe the Green Bay Packers should’ve considered giving Jamari Lattimore more than eight defensive snaps in 2012.

Since taking over for an injured Brad Jones, the third-year inside linebacker has been on a tear with 19 tackles and two sacks in three starts, along with contributing on a run defense that limited Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson to 60 rushing yards in Sunday’s 44-31 win.

It’s come to the point that the Packers might have to consider finding him on a role on defense even though Jones appears to be nearing a return from the aggravated hamstring injury that’s sidelined him for a majority of the month.

“Yeah, I think he sure has,” said Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers of Lattimore working his way into the conversation. “He’s athletic. With a lot of these spread offenses, they’re giving you three, four wide receivers and have really good receiving running backs, that type of thing. I think he’s a guy who’s going to be a matchup guy for us.”

The thing about Lattimore is he wasn’t even the first option. A stalwart on special teams, he didn’t see the field until fourth-year veteran Robert Francois tore his Achilles tendon 12 snaps after replacing Jones.

Despite entering the league around a light 228 pounds, Lattimore made the Packers’ 2011 roster as an outside linebacker before Capers and the defensive coaches opted to shift him and Jones to inside linebacker a year ago.

Working outside served as a natural progression for where the Packers are playing Lattimore these days. Thus far, he’s been tenacious on single-coverage tackles, inside blitzes and in defending the run. Despite seeing defensive snaps in only four games, his 11 stops are the fifth most on the defense, according to Pro Football Focus.

“I think it does because he has a little different perspective of the defense,” said Capers of how outside linebacker aided Lattimore’s development. “He has a good feel of what those outside guys are doing and what the front guys are doing and how he has to fit off of those guys and understand his gap control and all those things.”