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Cory's Corner: Packers must add depth at OLB

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Cory's Corner: Packers must add depth at OLB

The Packers rolled the dice by making Vince Biegel their only outside linebacker taken in the 2017 NFL Draft.

But I did like what Packers general manager Ted Thompson did. Instead of getting T.J. Watt, he was able to squeeze even more value and turn it into potential starting cornerback Kevin King and Biegel.

However, where Thompson could’ve added even more insurance was at outside linebacker. He is counting on Nick Perry, who has been riddled with injuries his entire career, and Clay Matthews, who has also been stung with injuries and has lacked explosion coming off the edge.

More outside linebackers in the stable would’ve allowed Matthews to play more of a hybrid role, which he has excelled at in the past.

And then the news about Biegel, who had foot surgery last week and remains questionable to be back in time for training camp which starts July 27.

At this point, Thompson has to start thinking long term. Even though he has admitted that he doesn’t work in windows of time for winning championships, he has to understand that the time is now.

The obvious name is Elvis Dumervil. The 33-year-old only played in eight games for Baltimore last year, the only season in his 10-year career that he didn’t play at least 13 games. A few people predicted that Dumervil would go to Green Bay before Biegel’s injury news and now it just looks like a formality.

Dumervil cannot play significant snaps anymore. But he can provide an added spark on third down. But if you are still seeking more quarterback pressure by playing only ⅓ of the snaps, why let Julius Peppers walk? Peppers played all 16 games the last three years and averaged 8.3 sacks a season. Those are numbers that I doubt that Dumervil can duplicate.

Another interesting name might be Justin Trattou. The Vikings’ 28-year-old edge rusher played in 16 games for a Minnesota defense that was ranked No. 3 in the NFL in yards and No. 6 in points last year. He knows what a top defensive unit looks like and most importantly, he is athletic by being able to use his 6-foot-4 frame to deflect or snatch passes out of the air.

Losing Biegel was a big blow because of his energy and attitude. He is the perfect linebacker because he has an uncanny ability to be involved in just about every play.

The injury bug stung the Packers last year and it looks like 2017 has gotten off to another lousy start. Now it’s up to Thompson to counter Biegel’s injury. Even if Biegel is able to come back before training camp, will we see the same Biegel that the Packers drafted? Because if he doesn’t play with his foot buried on the gas pedal, that’s not the Biegel that got him drafted in the fourth round.

Thompson addressed the thin running back situation in the draft that forced Ty Montgomery to become a lead running back last year. Now it looks like outside linebacker is going to be newsprint thin — unless Thompson can bring in some depth.

The defensive backs picked in the second and third rounds could make a nice impact this season, but since outside linebacker is the lead actor in the Packers’ defense, the entire unit will be crippled if that position is exposed. 

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Lphill's picture

Get on the phone Ted . Hello Elvis, Dwight ?

croatpackfan's picture

I have some issues with this article...
"... he has to understand that the time is now."
"Dumervil cannot play significant snaps anymore."
Let's pay some money to old washed FA, to make one spot less for young guy, who will not be able to play significant snaps, and who is obviously old enough that his productivity fell of the cliff...
"...interesting name might be Justin Trattou. The Vikings’ 28-year-old edge rusher..."
You will sign DE to already crowded position, plus Vikings cut him, plus he should learn at his age how to play OLB...
Last one:
"And then the news about Biegel, who had foot surgery last week and remains questionable to be back in time for training camp which starts July 27."
The latest news was that he is expected to be ready to start TC on July, 27th. First report came from Demovsky who was panicking that Biegel will miss TC. Biegel will be ready for TC...
Last repots, like
gives us new point of view...
So, I would looking at young guys first, then make some panic moves.
I bet, TT will do the same...

cuervo's picture

There is no need to panick or rush to add anyone at this time. As training camp gets closer and begins, additional players will become available.
As I have stated many times, I fully expect Ted will sign someone to add to the group because they simply do not have enough proven players there now.

dobber's picture

June 1. The magic day is June 1. I think Dumervil and others will still be on the market then (unless some key player somewhere blows an ACL in OTAs), and that's when the market should restock a little bit.

Nick Perry's picture

"Even though he has admitted that he doesn’t work in windows of time for winning championships, he has to understand that the time is now."

I have to agree with Cory here, the time is now for the Packers to win another SB or three. Maybe it's time to "work in a window" since Thompson has had nothing but HOF QB's and only one SB. I mean we are talking HOF, not Pro Bowl QB's. If Thompson was to develop even a smidgen of urgency it could prove useful by the end of the year.

I doubt Ted does a thing at least till the start of cutdowns. I still think/hope he'll add someone at the OLB position before the start of the regular season. Even before before Biegel had surgery the Packers needed help at OLB. Now they may need even more.

MarkinMadison's picture

I'm with you. Rodgers has four prime years left. After that, if he is still playing at a high level the Packers will be very lucky. I'm not saying TT has to go out and break the bank, but no one left on the FA market at this point is going to be able to demand that you put yourself into a future of salary cap hell.

Not signing another OLB at this point would be a mistake IMHO.

DThomas's picture

I think Thompson should add a veteran OLB because of the injury history of the starters and the loss of Peppers and Jones. So I hope Thompson continues his out-of-character signings of free agent vets. But I thought another OLB vet was needed before Biegel had surgery. Elliott and Fackrell both have potential but remember Elliott missed six games due to injury last season. For those that say Elliott has had three years to learn the position, the counter argument is yes, he's had three years to learn and still had limited snaps (when healthy) at OLB and not because the Packers pass rush was fantastic and he wasn't needed. Fackrell mainly has to get stronger and that's something he certainly can do. But neither has done it and there's a huge gap between potential and NFL performance. The other OLB on the roster is Johnathan Calvin, an UDFA.

I do take issue with this, "Losing Biegel was a big blow because of his energy and attitude. He is the perfect linebacker because he has an uncanny ability to be involved in just about every play." That last sentence should have been written in past tense. Don't get me wrong, I want Biegel and every other Packer to succeed, but he probably has to gain some strength too and we just don't know how he'll adjust to the NFL.

For those who say let's wait and see, I say I'm sure glad Thompson didn't take that attitude with Jahri Evans. What if he had waited and Evans signed elsewhere? Whoever is at the top of their list as an available veteran OLB won't be available forever. I hope Thompson adds that player within the next few weeks.

Bert's picture

Interesting to see the difference between TT and BB. Belichick realizes he has a narrow window with Brady and has been going "all in" the last few years to win SBs. Note how he traded most of his draft in 2017 to fill immediate needs. TT on the other hand "doesn't work in windows". I think more of a sense of urgency may be beneficial on Lombardi Ave. I don't do windows either but, like Brady and the Pats, once AR starts to fade the window will close rather suddenly.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

I'm not panicking at all. Why do people keep ignoring Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott? Both are entering their primes. Fackrell was a highly effective all-around OLB in college, and has now had a year to get accustomed to the NFL--where he already got two sacks in minimal playing time. Elliott led the NFL in sacks in the preseason a couple years ago, had better athletic testing than Clay Matthews, and has had three years to learn the position.
Even if Matthews, Perry, and Biegel end up losing extended time to injury, I believe Fackrell and Elliott can be adequate replacements on a defense which has been greatly improved in the secondary and on the line.

ShanghaiKid's picture

People are aware of Elliott and Fackrell, they are just both unproven commodities. Elliott couldn't beat out an aging Peppers, or an average Datone Jones for snaps. Fackrell couldn't hold the point against the run, which is why you saw his snaps diminish. There's no panic, but there is deserved concern beyond Perry and CMIII.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Green Bay is in BIG trouble at OLB. It's the one spot on the roster where there is not any proven depth. You've got Elliot, who has all the measureables, but has been around long enough that he should be progressing, but is not. He's the Jeff Janis of the OLBs.

You've got Fackrell, who flashed very occasionally as a rookie, but is now almost 27. He's not going to get much stronger.

You've got Biegel, who is a rookie, and will now miss at least the rest of the offseason. And you've got UDFAs. Friggin great.

Throw into that equation that our two starters, who are not game changing players in the first place, are ALWAYS hurt.

I forsee very little pass rush from our OLBs this year. Frigging great. (Again.) The DL is going to have to be monstrous. The secondary is going to have to be ready to cover for 7 seconds on 3rd downs.

Dumerville could help if he's healthy enough. But there's a reason he's still not signed by anyone. Barwin should have been picked up.

Now the cupboard is all but bare, and we are left hoping that street FAs and mid-round rookies make meaningful contributions at a critical position. Again. Thanks, Ted.

Please retire.

dobber's picture

"Dumerville could help if he's healthy enough. But there's a reason he's still not signed by anyone. Barwin should have been picked up."

I agree that OLB and the edge rush is this point, it's the most concerning aspect of this team because its dominated by subtractions while the DB positions have benefitted from additions. I have a hard time believing that the rush will show "addition by subtraction". I think Dumervil would net some good snaps on passing downs, but he won't log the snaps that Peppers did...who had to play more than just passing downs last season as Perry and Matthews nursed injuries. On obvious passing downs, I'm not sure how much of an upgrade Dumervil will be over Elliott (if they'll actually commit to using Elliott).

As for Barwin: it takes two to tango. They kicked the tires on him early. Clearly there was no mutual interest...either he was and the Packers weren't (or vice-versa), or neither party walked away from that initial conversation with any interest. I liked his potential fit, too, but I let that one go a long time ago. It never appeared to be in the cards.

Nick Perry's picture

Still holding out hope a player is cut that you completely don't expect to be cut like Josh Sitton for example AND Thompson swoops in and signs him. Granted Ted isn't really known as a "swooper" but he has surprised us more than once the last few seasons (i.e. Bennett, Peppers).

I completely disagree about Frackrell BM. He's only 25 (26 in November) and the difference in his training from Utah St and GB is pretty big. He can get much stronger and the mans work ethic is enormous from what I've read. This is a kid who's married, has a kid, and is smart enough to know his time is now. He's not out partying with teammates or chasing women, he's home or at the Packers facility training to be better. Maybe my "Homer Shades" are on too tight, but I still really believe in this kid.

worztik's picture

Nick... you're saying that partying and chasing women is a bad thing? I agree to a point but, it's better than drinking and chasing men!!! IMO... just sayin'... HaHa

The TKstinator's picture

"just sayin'"...?

dobber's picture

"ha ha"...

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Yeah NP,

Sorry. I think you have your homer shades on too tight. None of us know what is going to happen. All we can do is prognosticate based on the evidence we have. RC is right that what we have is far less than the coaching staff and personnel department at 1265 Lombardi.

However, I'd just like to point out that we've had this SAME discussion about the following player groups in past years. ALL of these groups NEEDED young players to step up.

2011: DL. ILB. OLB. FS. RB.
2012: RB. FS. ILB. TE.
2013: RB *this worked out*, DL, OLB. FS. ILB. TE. - not so much
2014: DL. ILB. FS *this worked out*
2015: CB. RB. WR3. TE.
2016: WR2/3. CB. RB. LG *this worked out*
2017: RG. CB. ILB. OLB.

How many young guys have stepped up in that time with ALL those needs??

1. Lacy in 13/14 (but not in 15/16)
3. Taylor in 16.

So you and RC will have to pardon my healthy skepticism. TT/MMs track record in "the young guys making that jump," and "we didn't want to take snaps away from the young guys." SMH. It's not a good track record!! Please NP, name me another 2-3 times that it happened where a 1st/2nd year player made a big difference as a starter. IF you can, I'll eat my hat.

I state again - we've seen this movie before. OLB looks awful going into 2017. Every team NEEDS veteran leadership at times. And FA is a good patch when draft picks don't look all-world.

Thanks, Ted.

RCPackerFan's picture

"You've got Elliot, who has all the measureables, but has been around long enough that he should be progressing, but is not. He's the Jeff Janis of the OLBs."
Or they were using the guys with a higher salary ahead of him. Now they are gone so he can show what he can do.

'You've got Fackrell, who flashed very occasionally as a rookie, but is now almost 27. '
Or since he was born November 1991, he is 25 until November. Which he will be 26...

I believe the Packers think a lot of these 2 guys and that is why they let Peppers and Jones go.

Nick Perry's picture

Maybe I'm wrong but Elliot just doesn't seem to get many snaps at OLB. Even after his game in the 2015 season where picked off Wilson and caused a fumble on the Seahawks last possession did he play that much at OLB. One thing is certain, the Packers NEED these guys to step up and quick.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

He can't stop the run, at all.

dobber's picture

Neither can I...I've been waiting by the phone, but it only rings when my boss calls to tell me to get off the internet.

RCPackerFan's picture

While he may not be stout, when he has played he has played well against the run.
I would say his biggest weakness is probably the run defense though.

dobber's picture

Elliott missed several games to injury in the middle-end part, I think. I can't remember if it was a hand or a knee...given the Packers luck last year, it was probably both.

RCPackerFan's picture

No he doesn't get many snaps. They had Peppers, Jones, Perry, Mathews all ahead of him. Now Peppers and Jones are gone. Its time for Elliott to shine!

I think they feel really good about these guys.

dobber's picture

I hope they do...

It might be the difference between "feeling good about them" and "feeling good enough to try"...

RCPackerFan's picture

The way I look at it. They are there every day in practice. They see what these guys are capable of.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Dobber nailed it.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

26. Not much better than 27... still old for a 2nd yr.

So they think highly of a young guy. Big deal. Where have we heard that before, and how often has it worked out? I don't trust our GM when referring to a young guy making a very big jump. Recent history has taught me better.

dobber's picture

No...25. Will be 26 mid-season...and still have the several prime years to contribute.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Ok. Fine. I hope RC, NP and you are right. With the injury prone starters we have though, if Fackrell doesn't improve, this team is in deep Doo Doo. Biegel is the fall back plan x2. I don't buy Elliot. He's been around GB too long to not make that jump.

dobber's picture

I know I'm right...I count to 25 really well! ;)

And I agree about the thin line this defense is treading at OLB...

RCPackerFan's picture

I hope I'm right too...

The thing with Elliott, it kind of reminds me of Drivers situation. He never really got a full opportunity until the guys ahead of him left. Similar to Jordy and others. Elliott really hasn't had that many opportunities with a lot of action. He has played some and has made big plays. He just needs more opportunities. With Jones and Peppers out of the way, he should get more. Its up to him to make the most of them.

dobber's picture

I always want to look at the contract to figure out just how much a guy is valued by a team. Elliott has been on a series of one-year, low-money contracts since the Packers picked him up as a UDFA...

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

That's right RC. Driver and Nelson didn't get shots until the GOOD starters in front of them left. You point me to the GOOD starters at OLB we've had other than Peppers in 2014 and Perry for 1/2 of last year.

When we don't have good players starting, and the backups can't get snaps, that should tell you something.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

RC, I think your suggestion is actually kind of damning:

"Or they were using the guys with a higher salary ahead of him. Now they are gone so he can show what he can do."

Wk3: Jones, CM3 out, Elliott plays 28 snaps to Fackrell's 37;
WK8: CM3 out- Elliott plays 12 snaps to Fackrell's 19;
WK9: CM3 out- Elliott 0 snaps (20 on STs) and Fackrell 14;
WK 10: CM3, Jones out- Elliott plays 22 snaps, Fackrell 29;
WK 14: Perry out-Elliott plays 20 snaps - Fackrell out.
WK 15: Perry out-Elliott plays 0 snaps (11STs), Fackrell 4.

JayElliot: 136 snaps 8 tackles, 1 sack, Hurries Not listed (<4 anyway)
Fackrell: 161snaps 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 hurries

Elliott never makes the list for most pressures, meaning he had 4 or fewer in 2015 and 2016, and 2 or fewer in 2014. The coaches consistently gave Fackrell more snaps even when CM3, Perry, and or Jones were inactive in 2016. Elliott will be making more money than Fackrell and Biegel. Maybe he will have to overcome draft status in 2017?

dobber's picture

"You've got Fackrell, who flashed very occasionally as a rookie, but is now almost 27."

No, BM. He turns 26 in November. While that might feel only marginally better, its a full year of his prime that's still available.

dobber's picture

"Another interesting name might be Justin Trattou."

The same Justin Trattou who has 13 tackles, 0 sacks, and 2 INT over 5 seasons? I think they'll do just as well with Reggie Gilbert off the PS...

RCPackerFan's picture

I feel like I'm one of the few that is not panicking over Biegel having surgery.

Perhaps I should be more concerned, but from what I have read so far, he is likely to be ready for training camp.

I don't think there should be any rush to go out and sign someone now. Perhaps they will down the road, but i don't think they have to yet.

Nick Perry's picture

"I feel like I'm one of the few that is not panicking over Biegel having surgery."

RC... You don't have a Pessimistic bone in your body my friend, that's why you never panic!! LOL...

RCPackerFan's picture

lol. probably not.

Seriously though. He had surgery and was said to be able to be ready at or near the start of training camp.
This is the same foot he had problems with his senior year, and he came back to play with it.
I'm not overly worried about it.

Nick Perry's picture

"I feel like I'm one of the few that is not panicking over Biegel having surgery."

RC... You don't have a Pessimistic bone in your body my friend, that's why you never panic!! LOL...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

^^^ This.

I'll be terrified when RC doesn't think we have enough talent on the roster somewhere.

RCPackerFan's picture

When I say I'm not panicking over Biegel having surgery I'm mostly talking about him.
From everything I read he should be ready for training camp or shortly after, if everything goes well. One thing to remember with Biegel is that he played with the injury last year. He also played well with it.

As far as the OLB position goes, right now I think guys like Fackrell, Elliott, Gilbert, Calvin, and others need as many reps as they can get in OTA's and whatnot. A guy like Dumerville, I wouldn't rush to go after just because Biegel has surgery. If they said he was out 6 months it would be different. But he is to be out about 6-8 weeks. At this point I am not sure how much Dumerville will offer. Other then name is he going to offer more then Fackrell or Elliott?
I can definitely see them looking to add someone to the position, but doesn't mean it has to happen today.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Sorry RC, just meant as gentle kidding. I'm not overly concerned about Biegel's surgery. Now, I wouldn't rush out and sign Dumerville because of Biegel's surgery, but I might rush out and sign him if TT thinks he has anything left in the tank simply because we are pretty thin at OLB even with Biegel.

As a note, vested vets like Dumerville get 100% of their salary guaranteed if they are on the roster week 1. If they are not signed until week 2, vested vets receive only 25% guaranteed. I wonder if Dumerville will have to wait until after the Sept. 10 game? Or maybe a team signs him in July, cuts him on final cutdowns with the intention of picking him up at the start of week 2? [Can't help working the cap/CBA!]

dobber's picture

I think other players/agents would see you do that and they'll be not so likely to sign with you on FA deals. They notice when you don't treat players on the "up-and-up".

...course, except for this off-season, that's really not a problem for TT.

RCPackerFan's picture

No need to be sorry. I knew what you were saying.

I agree with you about Dumerville too.

Thats interesting about veterans. I honestly didn't know that about the week 1/2 thing.

Bert's picture

I'm not panicking about Biegel at all. If the success of our season hinges on the health of an unproven 4th round draft pick then we are in BIG trouble. I seriously doubt if Ted & Co. are going to panic either.

Finwiz's picture

I was pretty jacked on Biegel after the draft, but reality is he probably isn't going to have a big impact in 2017. Now with the surgery on the SAME injury he had in 2016, I'm wondering what we have here. Perhaps a congenital problem that may recur over time. I'm a bit concerned about this because football players with foot injuries are a big issue until proven otherwise. I hope this is just a corrective thing and he's healthy for camp, but I don't like the feel of this, particularly considering he had the same injury last fall. Either they didn't fix it properly, or he re-injured it. It really bugs me the luck we have with some of these guys in the draft.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Googling "Jones Fracture" leads to info that this type of fracture is more likely to reoccur than other types. Wonderful.

Finwiz's picture

You have GOT to be kidding.
Lovely - just lovely.
More damaged goods on defense.

Bearmeat&#039;s Phantom Downvoter's picture

I, however, DO have plenty of pessimistic bones. Enough for the both of us. Haha.

RCPackerFan's picture

And I have enough optimistic bones for the both of us. lol.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Instead of loading up in the draft at one of the most important positions on the defense OLB. TT loaded up on one of the least important positions on offense. I'm still scratching my head a little.

dobber's picture

Once you get past round 4, I'll argue that those guys are mostly shots in the dark. If you're counting on a 5th round kid to upgrade your OLB position come game one of his rookie season, then things must be pretty dire. It's always a tremendous bonus when you do find that kid, but you can't count on it...

Razer's picture

Totally agree. I think that Ted got great value in rounds 4 through 7. The WR and RB's are good finds and will pay dividends over the next 4 years. I am not sure that I would be saying that if these were flyer picks on defense.

RCPackerFan's picture

He loaded up with a 4th round, 5th round and 7th round draft picks.
Its not like he loaded up with 1st, 3rd and 4th round picks...

Also, with the mess the Packers were in last year at RB, aren't you happy that they did go out and address the position. (the first times since drafting Lacy and Franklin).

Lets for fun, say they just drafted Williams and Jones in the 4th and 5th rounds. Who would you rather them drafted instead of Mays in the 7th that is going to be a big factor as a pass rusher?

Handsback's picture

Biegel will contribute this season, but maybe not at a 100%. Injuries again hit the Packers even before they get started at TC. Now what to do about it. It does take two to tango and at this point the OLB tree seems pretty bare. Lots of moves by other teams and time before TC starts and before TT needs to make a move.

I hate that it happened, but no need to panic...yet.

egbertsouse's picture

Vince Biegel or, as he is now called, Abbrederis II. Another fragile hometown hero......jeez, what next?

al bundy's picture

He should pair up nicely with the also fragile Mathews, perry, rollins, randle. The good news oft injured starks, lacy, jones, abbedarus are gone now. Ted doesnt take injury history into account when drafting thus the reason this team has so many injuries. Those guys are always hanging around late round one and two for teddy to gobble up.

Razer's picture

I doubt the Packers are going to outsource the OLB. Looks like we have 5-6 on the roster plus we are bringing down safeties to shore up the overall LB group. It probably gives us more flexibility against the pass.

We should all temper our expectations considering this is a Capers defense. It will take the guys a couple of years to figure out the scheme, half will leave and the other half will be confused. I believe that we have enough talent to get the job done but we need a better way to use the talent.

croatpackfan's picture

That si panic. Except few...

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I agree Biegel's injury is a frustrating setback, but I don't see Dumervil as the answer.

Honestly, I don't see an answer in free agency. Let's just roll with what we have, rather than wasting cap space on old legs no one else wants.

al bundy's picture

Ted still left the team with that achiles heel other teams will utilize. True sb teams have no major flaws. Problem could have been fixed in FA not b drafting an injury prone guy 31 other teams passed on at least three times.

NMPF's picture

Granted Biegel probably will contribute on ST right away but realistically he is behind Elliot and Fackrell on the depth chart. Week 5 or 6 before consistent contribution on the D side. Elliot, Fackrell, Gilbert need all the reps they can get, bringing in a border line(at best) vet is not the answer.

jdrum21's picture

Two thumbs down to this article. Not a mention of the depth we do have at OLB -- Fackrell and Elliot. While Elliot might not be the best option, Fackrell was a higher pick than Biegel. Also, the author seems to write off VB's entire rookie campaign after foot surgery, spoiler alert, most people knew of Biegel's foot issues pre draft. Also, we have ZERO evidence (never having seen him in NFL competition) that Biegel won't bust. I get that he's the hometown favorite and all, but Fackrell was a 3rd rounder so let's not forget he exists just because Biegel is in town. I know it's a slow time for football news but you've got to come harder than that...

stockholder's picture

Cory are you Chicken Little? No to Elvis ,No to Justin. The OLbs will be just fine. I believe your depth is currently on the roster. Give the kids a chance. Brice made it. And I'm sure TT will grab anyone not making it; with another club. (He did find Peppers) Problems happen with injuries. Everyone has to deal with it. Burnett or jones in the middle will push others outside. Worry about the DL instead.

LambeauPlain's picture

I do expect Fackrell will take a step up. He was too productive in college not to expect it. Elliot has teased up to this point, but he's a hard charging player...really shows up on STs.

BTW...thenarticle said the Pack drafted two DBs in the 2nd and 3rd round. They drafted two in the 2nd....

Dzehren's picture

The D can use an upgrade at any position if someone is released or cut surprisingly like a Josh Sutton last year.

Any defensive difference maker regardless of position is needed if they are released.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

I continue to not understand people's fears over the roster's OLB situation. There are two OLB starters: CM3 and Perry--both quality starters. Their backups, ideally, should be young, talented-and-improving, players: in this case, we have second-year third-round pick Fackrell and first-year fourth-round pick Biegl. Both fit the above description perfectly. So what we're talking about is the THIRD-STRING OLB. This is usually a position decided by their strength as a Special Teams player--Voila! Jayrone Elliott, a ST ace.
This doesn't even include the other option: using Josh Jones as an OLB (if all you are worried about is pass rush).
Now, it's true that injuries can dig down into the depth of the roster, and the Packers' OLBs have injury-filled pasts, but none of them have been "lose the entire season" types of injuries. They will rotate.
Again: I'm not panicking at all. A key part of WHY I'm not panicking, is that the DBs and DL both look to be much improved, which will reduce the need for three levels of OLB depth.

dobber's picture

How many games last season were the Packers down at least one of Matthews/Perry? 4? 5? Now you're at your third OLB as a starter and moving your last OLB up the chain by a spot.

How many games this season were the Packers down both Matthews and Perry? At least 2. Now you're starting two backups and your last two OLBs are on the two-deep and will have to play impactful snaps.

It's not about the numbers per se, but rather that we know that the top two guys in the food chain have shown that they're likely to miss a couple games each season. It means your "next-men-up" really need to be able to contribute. Would I be as concerned if I felt that the secondary could blanket receivers and give the pass rush time to get home?...or if I felt that the bottom OLB could set the edge against the run? Maybe not so much.

Finwiz's picture

>Clay Matthews had 20 solo tackles last year and 4 assisted tackles. I get tackle stats are unreliable, but that's...underwhelming<

Think about this once guys. Something's gotta give with Mr. China-doll. Sorry

vin0770's picture

The draft tells us what tt thinks has more certainty to improve the pass defense drafting from where the pack always has to pick from...finding bigger faster dbs that cover better.

Such focus on the sack as a telling stat. Who would you rather have a guy who plays 20 passing plays and gets one sack and is handled otherwise or a guy that puts pressure on every of his 20 snaps pushing up the delivery speed of the qb and never gets a sack? One guy ends up with16 sacks good enough for the probowl right...I know what coaches would rather have.

Actually finding guys that can consistently be a disturbing force on pass plays is so hard to find with any certainty I think tt went the other way.

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