Been meaning to post this for awhile, pretty much since Jason Wilde mentioned it on one of his many radio appearances shortly after the NFC Coaches breakfast. Of course, waiting has meant that I've been beaten to the punch, so to speak, by Brian - among others. Yes, Mike McCarthy mentioned having Brandon Chillar (been there, done that) and Nick Barnett rush the passer from the outside.
We’re going to try to be creative with those guys, keeping those guys on the field in sub. I think both Nick and Brandon Chillar have outside pass-rush ability. I’m not saying we’re going to do it all the time, but it’s definitely an option for us that we’ve talked about.
I'm not sure I'm completely sold on Barnett rushing from the outside linebacker position. What I like about what Barnett does in the A Gap blitzes is how he uses his athleticism to weave through the wash and get to the quarterback. When presented with a one-on-one matchup, he rarely wins and usually does his best A.J. Hawk impression, giving his man a shake - which does nothing - and then barreling into the guy, completely negating himself in the process.
Funnily enough, when I went looking for a play that could back up what I'm talking about, I found a play where Barnett is rushing...from the outside - from the left outside linebacker position, the very position where the Packers are so desperately trying to find a compliment to Clay Matthews.Take a look below - it's all there:
Now, a big caveat is in order here:
There is every possibility that Barnett had contain on this play - Roethlisberger is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league after his initial steps are complete and he is downright deadly when rolling to his right, which causes defensive coordinators to use plays where they instruct their left ends and/or backers to rush up the field but to keep under control and to simply set the edge, so as to keep Big Ben in the pocket. That MIGHT have been Barnett's responsibility on this play.
If it WASN'T - well, I've seen all I want to see from Nick Barnett the pass rushing monster at outside linebacker. (I mean, that's Willie Colon, for God's sake. If there's a right tackle Barnett should be able to fly by, it's Colon)