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'Disciplined' Reggie Gilbert disruptive in Packers' preseason opener

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'Disciplined' Reggie Gilbert disruptive in Packers' preseason opener

-- For Reggie Gilbert and the rest of the Green Bay Packers' defense, there's no more holding back when rushing the opposing passer.

The 25-year-old edge rusher is entering his third season with the Packers since being signed as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2016, and the role he's stepping into is going to be bigger than ever. At least it should be.

Gilbert spent all of 2016 and most of 2017 on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster for the final two games of the season -- both of which after the Packers were already eliminated from playoff contention.

He's hoping there's somewhat of a different script waiting for him in 2018, and for the Packers' sake, they should be too.

"Reggie Gilbert’s a heck of a football player," coach Mike McCarthy said after Thursday night's win over the Tennesee Titans. "Just so proud of that man when you watch him come off the practice squad, change his body. He just does it right. He’s very disciplined. ... I would think he had some very good numbers tonight."

The Packers don't have much to write home about behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, the two primary starters at outside linebacker.

Kyler Fackrell, also entering his third season after being drafted at No. 88 overall in 2016 and Vince Biegel, drafted No. 108 overall last year, are the projected backups. Fackrell, however, hasn't exactly built up much of a case as to why he should be playing outside of special teams.

Gilbert, meanwhile, was consistently beating his blocks on Thursday night, managing to find a way into the Titans' backfield more often than not. He shouldn't even need to do that on a regular basis in the Packers' final three preseason games to earn a roster spot, as that seems as if it's already solidified.

"I felt like I was able to do some good things out there, I felt I was able to be a little disruptive," Gilbert told Packers.com. "I thought I could’ve done a couple things better. I could’ve been more effective in certain areas, but overall, I think I had a solid night."

Much to the dismay of those wanting to see Gilbert last season after knowing what he was capable of given how he played in the 2017 preseason, spending a near full two years on the practice squad may have been crucial in his development.

"I definitely think it paid off now," Gilbert said. "If anything else, it just boosted my confidence. I feel like I’m in a position right now that you have to have a lot of confidence in. You have to be humble, but you also have to be confident in your abilities, and when you have that, it definitely elevates your play."

After falling behind 10-7 early, the Packers responded with 24 unanswered points, thanks to the efforts of, not just the offensive unit, but players on the defense such as Gilbert and the rest of the group.

The Packers and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine rolled with a "vanilla" approach as to the looks they ran, and that may have been a result of the 18 players -- and 15 starters -- who didn't dress for the game.

Still, the Packers and their backups on defense managed to hold the Titans to just 10 points until the final minute-and-a-half of the fourth quarter when they finally got back into the end zone for just the second time of the night.

"It just showed the type of players that we got. We’re not just going to put our heads down and keep our heads down. We just have to come out on the next series, keep getting better and just play hard."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

dobber's picture

Gilbert playing well and being able to give this defense quality snaps means a lot...especially with Ryan injured.

Bearmeat's picture

I don't think Ryan and Gilbert affect each other at all. They play vastly different roles.

A more accurate statement would be: "Gilbert producing quality snaps will be important, because Fackrell isn't going to do it and we haven't heard much from Biegel as of yet. And we all know it's a matter of when, not if, the starters get hurt."

This team really needs another OLB.

dobber's picture

Gilbert playing well means that CMIII can play more snaps inside--especially on early downs--without putting a sub-par player on the field on the edge. I suspect they're going to need some run-down snaps in the middle from #52, and being able to play him inside diversifies the pass rush.

Bearmeat's picture

And also keeps CM3 from banging into 310 lb OTs every play. l like it. Of course that won't work as soon as any OLB gets hurt. But I like it.

Rossonero's picture

If Gilbert doesn't make the roster this year, then he never will. McCarthy has said similar things in the past, but I hope this is Gibert's year.

Coldworld's picture

Gilbert looked in a different class to any other Packers edge defender who played. Should be a lock. How high that class is remains unclear though.

Maddygirl1's picture

Gilbert will not be cut. Especially with how thin our back up pass rush is.

(Gutey... PLEASE trade for K. Mack!)

carlos's picture

K. Mack would be awesome. Big money, but is doable. Depending on what you have to give up. Probably won’t happen, but with Gute anything’s possible. Gilbert played great. Martini could be ok if he cleans a few things up and I think Fackrell is not flashy, but assignment sure. Plays smart. Just wish he’d be more disruptive. The 7 th round LB showed some positive things. Not sure about his name at the moment-is it Donnelson. I’m probably way off on the name.

carlos's picture

Dinners on. I bad.

carlos's picture

Man, Donnerson. I really bad.

Bearmeat's picture

I agree Maddy. Unless a trade absolutely guts our draft in 2019, Gute has to try and make it happen. Things do not look good between Mack and the Raiders at all. This would be the rare opportunity to grab a true blue chip talent at pass rusher.

fthisJack's picture

i was hoping Beigel might show something. got washed out on a couple plays and really was not productive.

LambeauPlain's picture

He did get the fumble. That's productive.

Spock's picture

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Spock's picture

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Nononsense's picture

If Gilbert doesn't make the roster this year as the first guy off the bench at OLB than someone needs to be fired. He just flat out affects the offense and the QB.

Biegel didn't look too bad, he was getting off blocks and looked quick out there on a few plays but doesn't affect the offense or QB the way Gilbert does. New guy Hearns didn't impress me much. Odom didnt stand out.

Donnerson forced a fumble and played pretty physical out there so cant wait to see more from him.

sonomaca's picture

Why did Gilbert not make the roster last year? Landry was impressive. Could have traded up a few spots...

Duke Divine's picture

"Why?" D-Bahk asked the same question after having to block him everyday in practice last 2 years. The answer is Tinkering Ted's main gauge...DRAFT STATUS! Gilbert has flashed 10x what Fackrell has flashed but that 3rd round status won out the last 2 years...No other explanation for it...With that crap out the window now I believe Gute will be inclined to keep him and Petine will have him on the field a lot!

Bearmeat's picture

Another possible explanation is that Dom preferred Fackrell for some reason. Gilbert wasn't exactly what you would call assignment-sound when he showed up.

dobber's picture

He was a college DE, too, and not used to playing in space. He's trimmed down a little and hasn't lost his ability to set the edge.

fthisJack's picture

Landry was impressive against Murphy. he wouldn't have gotten a whiff if Bahk was there.

LambeauPlain's picture

Fackrell has as many sacks as Landry last night;-)

dobber's picture

I was glad to see Donnerson look useful and not get totally overwhelmed or washed out in his snaps. Incredible athlete.

fthisJack's picture

if Fackrell doesn't pickit up, i could see him getting cut and keeping Donnerson.

dobber's picture

It's possible that Ryan's injury and a potential need for help in the middle might save Fackrell's bacon.

porupack's picture

Seems like Gilbert= at rookie salary, humble, hard working, and slightly above average talent at maybe 8-10 sacks season + 3 first round draft choices.
vs
KMack= $21-23 million/year at maybe 15 sacks season, potential drama/distraction (holding out on team to reneg on a signed contract).

How did DSuh turn out for the Dolphins, supposedly the final piece of a supposedly dominant D.

Bearmeat's picture

You're comparing Mack to Suh? Seriously? Suh has been dirty his entire career. I've never seen nor heard that about Mack.

Holding out for more money is the the only thing a player can do to force management's hand. Remember, these guys have very short careers. I'd hold out if I were Mack too.

If we had to send 2 1st round picks to the Raiders for Mack, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Colin_C's picture

It seems kind of funny that for years with TT, people bemoaned that we didn't shell out stupid money for slightly above average FA's. Now, we have a (very small) chance to shell out stupid money for a generational talent, and people want to roll with the UDFA's. I'm one of Gilbert's biggest fans, but comparing him to Mack is just nuts right now. It sounds like things with Mack and the Raiders are going nowhere, as he wants 22 million a year. That's a ton of money, but honestly he's probably worth. This video pretty much sums up why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQGV0u5Gf08

LambeauPlain's picture

Thanks for the link. Great analysis. Mack would be 3.0 as to the effect he would have on the team...2.0 being Sir Charles...and 1.0 being Reggie.

Pettine would employ this beast all over the front 7.

Bearmeat's picture

Yep.

A defense with our DL, budding CB room and Mack is a top 10 unit easy. This would be a Canton-esque move for Mack IF Gutey can do it without giving away 3 high picks.

We play the Raiders in Oakland in week 3 of the pre-season on national TV. Wouldnt' it be awesome to see Mack stroll into that stadium in Green and Gold with a shiny new 100 million dollar contract? :D

Spock's picture

" with a shiny new 100 million dollar contract?". No, that would NOT be awesome. If it was a "shiny new" GB friendly contract, THAT would be awesome. Otherwise, No, just, No.

LambeauPlain's picture

With the apparent emergence of Gilbert, I wonder if McKenzie and Chuckie would bite if Gute offered up both 2019 first rounders and CMIII...or Perry in exchange for Mack?

CMIII is a FA next year and trading the oft injured and big contract Perry would clear cap space to sign Mack.

Remote and unlikely...but I recall how far fetched it appeared in 1993 when #92 ended up in GB!

Fordham Ram's picture

There really is no rush on our part. If Gute lets the Raiders sweat it out a good deal might fall in his lap. Who knows, if Oakland is desperate enough maybe they'll make him an offer he can't refuse.

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