Fack Attack: Packers' Kyler Fackrell surging into quality pass rusher

-- Kyler Fackrell probably would've loved to pair his hat trick with a victory in Seattle Thursday night.

The Green Bay Packers' third-year linebacker tallied three sacks in a game for the second time this season, a feat that hasn't been conquered since his teammate, Clay Matthews, did it in 2010.

But for as good as he played -- and for as unsatisfied as he was with his own performance -- it virtually meant nothing for a team now sitting below .500.

"A win is really all that matters, you know?" Fackrell told Packers.com following the loss to the Seahawks Thursday night. "I'm happy with how I played, but I think I left some plays out there, so it’s definitely not like I played a perfect game. It was a tough loss."

Fackrell has eight sacks under his belt in his last seven games. Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who the Packers had reported interest in signing before the start of the season, has seven through as many games.

It's a potential turning point in a young career for Fackrell, who has arguably been the Packers' best edge rusher this season to the surprise of many.

His rejuvenation could very well be attributed to the arrival of new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose track record in getting the most out of his players has been well documented.

The plays Fackrell left on the field in Seattle, however, could've been enough to contain Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

On top of the three-headed running back rotation they sport in Chris Carson, Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks also utilize Wilson in a plethora of read-option packages en route to picking up chunks of yardage at a time. While he only ran for 17 yards against the Packers' defense, the threat was always there, as was the zone-read.

They even used a similar package in which Wilson kept the ball and found tight end Ed Dickson uncovered over the middle of the field for a 15-yard touchdown.

"I think they always have that in their back pocket," Fackrell said. "They pulled them out in those critical times and we weren’t able to make a play in those situations."

The Packers have a long week ahead of them to get healthy -- four players left Thursday night's bout due to injury and didn't return on top of the four starters already ruled out before the game -- before they venture into Minnesota for their second meeting with the Vikings this season.

Oddly enough, having Fackrell in place of Nick Perry -- still rehabbing from a knee injury -- could be vital down the stretch of the final six games if his stellar play continues. Stellar play that veteran linebacker Clay Matthews evidently had a significant influence on.

"Clay’s been great. I’ve learned a lot from him, playing with him. All of us have a great deal of respect for one another with our ability to pass rush. I’m sure they focus on Clay a lot more than they focus on me, so that helps me.

"I approach every game the same. Some of them, plays just kinda come to you sometimes. You have those kinds of nights."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (20)

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 16, 2018 at 01:36 am

Every now and then a player written off by the fans and against all odds breaks on thru to the other side. Kyler Fackrell appears to be one of those rare players. Kyler, congrats to you on your recent success this year and I wish you nothing but more success going forward. You are outplaying K-Mack. I think that says it all.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 16, 2018 at 06:46 am

He has more sacks than K Mack. I don't know about out playng overall.

That said he has surprised us all. Sometimes it's nice to be proven wrong.

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dobber's picture

November 16, 2018 at 09:45 am

I'll admit the need to eat some crow...intrigued by Fackrell when he was picked, but lost faith in him pretty fast. He didn't look good in the Capers scheme...in fact, he looked pretty bad.

The encouraging thing from my perspective is the fact that he's doing more than one thing: he's recording sacks, he's beating LTs 1-on-1, he's making key tackles playing in space. We can point to a couple plays per game that he's making key tackles in the open field or in coverage. Still, remember this: Fackrell has 6 sacks against the Seahawks and the Bills, and 2 sacks in the remaining 8 games. Buffalo is 2nd in sacks allowed this season. Going into this game, Seattle was tied for 9th.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 16, 2018 at 01:16 pm

He's earned the right to be called our OLB1. When he starts making plays against a good OT and when the other team is concentrating on him - that's when I'll buy it. Not until then.

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MITM's picture

November 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm

He had a sack vs andrew whitworth who I believe hadnt given up a sack in 2 years at that point so yea

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GBPDAN1's picture

November 16, 2018 at 01:36 am

Fackrell ( Sackrell) also had 4 tackles for a loss. Incredable! If he keeps this up, They will have to start producing Fackrell jerseys for sale. Who would have thought?

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 16, 2018 at 01:56 am

"Who would have thought?"

There's only one person here who did think that but was a year off. I have to give her a shout out but I remember Taryn constantly talking about him and how great she thought he would be. Maybe all it took was a Nick Perry injury and a change of defensive coordinators to bring out the best in this guy. Either way, I am glad we at least found one pass rusher out of the four for the future because Lord knows we need one. We all thought it would be Gilbert. Kyler Fackrell has been borderline dominating at times. It's amazing and one of the few bright spots in an otherwise depressing season.

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GBPDAN1's picture

November 16, 2018 at 02:28 am

I think Pettine helped Fackrell. Let Perry sit, he's useless at this point .

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 16, 2018 at 02:44 am

I agree 100%. Pettine is a special coach. Imperative he stays on this team.

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GBPDAN1's picture

November 16, 2018 at 03:17 am

If the Packers release MM , which seems likely, they need to keep Pettine. Give Pettine another stud edge rusher, another good inside LB and safety, we will have a top 5 D next year.

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stockholder's picture

November 16, 2018 at 09:21 am

Your choice is 3 #1 picks. The edge rusher will happen! The ILB is Ryan coming back. The problem is no one is a fast ILB in this draft. And Jones could be Burnett with more time. Williams isn't playing bad. His replacements are. Still rd. 2 or Free Agency. Team has to many holes yet. And when a team does, it's hard to point fingers or fire MM. #12 will be a problem for anyone now. When MM was brought in, it was because he knew Favre. Who worked with A-Rod that they could bring in? Nobody! It's time to retire #12. His mind is to inflated. Did you see Holmgram was in the booth last night? Interesting!

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 16, 2018 at 10:10 am

Thank you for the shout out. I commented a couple days ago that Fackrell may prove me wrong twice...giving up on him after last season and then by me not maintaining my usual conviction and with his play last night making me regret that.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 16, 2018 at 06:33 am

“Plethora” sighting!
But no “aforementioned” to go with it?
What is salt without pepper?
What is ketchup without mustard?
What is peanut butter without jelly?
I am crestafallen.

PS: after last evening’s debacle, I hope you can handle a little mild yanking o’ chain!
(PPS Seriously, keep up the good work)

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egbertsouse's picture

November 16, 2018 at 07:29 am

Kyler Fackrell is your best defensive player. Nuff said.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

November 16, 2018 at 08:08 am

I see no passion in MM actually never have but he is being exposed. An aging AR without go to guy on 3rd down Jordy cant carry the team when there is no creativity or surprises on offense. 6 more weeks of McCrappy.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 16, 2018 at 08:41 am

I've been hard on you, Zach. I apologize. Fackin' good article. Well done!

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

November 16, 2018 at 05:59 pm

Rodgers still hasn't gotten over Gutey & MM letting Jordy go.
U wonder why, all of a sudden, Rodgers 3rd down conversion rate & his red zone TD ratio has gone way down?

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HankScorpio's picture

November 16, 2018 at 06:26 pm

Jordy Nelson is done as a credible WR in the NFL. His last 2 seasons have demonstrated that quite clearly. Rodgers knows how the business works. Maybe the Packers haven't done an adequate job of replacing Nelson. That's a tall order since he was so good. But I doubt the down turn in production has anything to do with whether Rodgers has gotten over Father Time claiming yet another NFL career.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 17, 2018 at 12:31 am

Shirley you can't be Serious?

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leaerin4's picture

November 19, 2018 at 11:22 am

I'm not throwing in the towel on this season yet. We should have kept Dix to finish out the season. Injuries are inevitable. We must beat Minnesota in Minnesota which is a tall order. Chicago knocked them off so a win over them puts us in the hunt for the final wild card. A playoff game is better then none at all. We know how that feels from last year. Playoff experience is invaluable to a rookie. Running the football with Aaron Jones sets up the passing attack. Where's Jake Kumerow? He had a great preseason and so did Tonyan. Activate Kumerow and Tonyan takes the place of Graham. I think our offense can put up points on any defense. Davante is having a great season and is being overlooked as one of the best in the league. We owe the Viqueens for the tie at Lambeau Field that the refs clearly gave them. GO PACK GO!!!! Let's get a ROAD win!!!

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