The Lass Word: Jarran Reed Gets to Prove It With Packers

Veteran DL finds the right place for a resurgence.

Jarran Reed was on the verge of NFL super stardom.  It was January of 2019, and the Seattle Seahawk defensive lineman had just finished up a breakout season.  He had amassed 10.5 sacks, 50 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 24 quarterback hits.  He was becoming the dominant force the Seahawks had envisioned when they traded up to take him 49th overall in the 2016 draft.  He was entering the final year of his rookie deal and was in line for a huge contract extension. 

But a few months later, something happened that took him by surprise, and changed the course of his career.  He received word that the league was suspending him for the first six weeks of the 2019 season.  What made the penalty so hard for him to swallow, was the fact it was based on a domestic violence incident that had happened two years earlier, and for which he had never been charged. 

In the early morning hours of April 27, 2017 police were called to Reed’s home in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue.  According to the Seattle Times, a 21 year old woman who identified herself as Reed’s girlfriend, told police he had grabbed her by the throat during an argument and then dragged her by the wrist down a few stairs before she broke free.  The Times further reported police recommended to the local district attorney that Reed be charged with 4th degree assault.  Reed maintained from the start that the incident had been misrepresented and, after an investigation, the city’s prosecuting office declined to pursue the case further, feeling there was “insufficient evidence to prove the crime occurred.” 

Two years later, the NFL revealed it had conducted its own probe of the incident and determined it was a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.  That policy has been controversial because it gives the league broad powers to enforce discipline, and to do so on any timeline it chooses.  Reed tried to appeal the suspension but was denied.  Afterward he posted the following message on his Twitter account: 

“I apologize to those close to me, including my family, the entire Seattle Seahawks organization and the fans of the team for putting myself in a position where I could be disciplined by the NFL.  While I totally disagree with the decision by the NFL, I still must accept it and take responsibility for the situation.  I have learned from this and will do everything I can to make friends, family, teammates, fans and the Seahawks proud of me moving forward.” 

The former University of Alabama star returned to the team in week seven of the 2019 season and played well enough to earn a two year, $23 million extension.  But his production in 2020 slipped to 6.5 sacks and 14 hits on the quarterback, playing in all sixteen games.  Those are not terrible numbers, but apparently the Seahawks judged he had lost the momentum that had him on the path to stardom.  They asked him to restructure his deal and, when Reed wanted more years in return, the relationship went sour.  The Seahawks released him after the 2020 season. He didn’t stay unemployed for long.  He signed a one year deal with the Chiefs for $5 million.   

The durable 313 pounder played in all seventeen games, but his numbers were modest at just 2.5 sacks and 19 quarterback pressures, prompting whispers that his best days were behind him, whispers that got louder when the Chiefs allowed him to walk. 

No player wants to go out that way.  Any competitor worth his salt wants to go out on his own terms.  Reed entered the free agent market, carefully looking for the best place to provide him the opportunity to prove he can still be a top notch talent.  When the Green Bay Packers asked him to come in for an interview, something clicked immediately.  “This is a great place.  I knew as soon as I came in here on my visit, I knew this is the place I wanted to play at for the season” he said at OTAs.   

Indeed the fit seems to be right.  Playing alongside folks like Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and first round pick Devonte Wyatt, Reed likely won’t see a lot of double teams.  The Green Bay defense is a unit on the rise, and coordinator Joe Barry seems to excel at using veteran players in a way that maximizes their abilities, as he and his staff have done with the likes of De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas. 

Bill Huber of SI.com wrote that the signing of Reed was Green Bay’s “most savvy” move of the offseason.  “He definitely brings an element in terms of being able to rush the passer, which we need” chimes in Matt LaFleur.  “He’s got a great attitude.  He’s a fun guy to be around in practice, and I think he has acclimated himself well to our system.” 

Well enough to understand he has something to prove, and he’s in the right place to prove it.

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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9 points

Comments (48)

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NickPerry's picture

July 22, 2022 at 06:36 am

"Bill Huber of SI.com wrote that the signing of Reed was Green Bay’s “most savvy” move of the offseason."

Bill Huber and I see the Jarran Reed signing in a very similar way. Reed has something to prove and IMO he definitely has plenty left in the tank. Lining up Reed with Clark, Wyatt Gary, and Preston Smith, with Campbell and Quay Walker backing them up... Oh HELL YEAH!!!

I was stoked when I heard the Packers signed him and I'm even more stoked now. This was just another great move by Gute, a low-risk high reward deal that helps the Packers in the event of injury AND gives them better depth than they had in years IMO.

15 points
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NickPerry's picture

July 22, 2022 at 06:37 am

Oops, double post...Sorry folks.

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Guam's picture

July 22, 2022 at 07:19 am

Yup. I think this signing could be just as important as the Campbell signing last year. I have higher hopes for the Packer D-line than I have had in a very long time.

8 points
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mnbadger's picture

July 22, 2022 at 12:19 pm

Guam, let me expand on your thought about high hopes for the d-line.
I have higher hopes for the entire Packer Defense than I have had in a very long time!
This indeed looks like an extremely savvy addition, one that our old regime wouldn't have considered. GPG!

4 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 22, 2022 at 07:42 am

Couldn't agree more Nick! Very good addition that will pay big dividends.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:07 am

Reed was pushed inside in Kansas for the first half of the season and didn’t look good. He was better against the run than billed but not much of a threat. Then they signed Ingram and DT Jones moved back inside, Reed started to play better and to face less double teams, getting better throughout the remainder of the season and peaking in the playoffs.

If we signed him to rush as an outside DL , not play inside in base, we may have a steal. If we see him as a DT in base, maybe not. While we don’t line up in base much (or haven’t under Barry), the same concept applies elsewhere. Reed could thrive off attention to Clark and punish it if used smartly, based on last season. He is better against the run than Lowry but he’s better used to disrupt. If we use him that way, he and we could really celebrate this contract.

7 points
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x24's picture

July 22, 2022 at 10:03 am

What do you make of Clark's new physique? Do you think Clark slimmed down to play inside?

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PeteK's picture

July 22, 2022 at 10:25 am

Conjures up the question of who will play the all important nose, Slaton, Ford? Remember 3rd worse against the run by avg at 4.7. I guess the plan is to have lighter and quicker DL that can penetrate.

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Coldworld's picture

July 22, 2022 at 11:59 am

It seems unlikely he lost weight to play inside. As has been pointed out recently, he has playing a more DE role recently. As PeteK notes, it does beg the question of who will play the inside role when we go 3 down. Last year seems to suggest Reed isn’t best used there.

Slaton is a big guy but actually more effective disrupting than clogging the run. Ford is the only pure NT and he’s a 7th round rookie. Other than Ford and Slaton, the next biggest man was Clark. The rest are all listed at sub 310.

I suppose we will see, but I would be concerned if the plan was to use Reed there based on last year and based upon where I see his abilities really helping make a difference. Perhaps the way they intend to use DL is seen as sufficiently different or the fact that we don’t go 3 DL that often is seen as making the issue a distraction. Alternatively, Clark may have added mostly muscle mass not weight loss or they may see Slaton as run ready after last year.

Something to watch, but I hope we use Reed to the maximum advantage possible allowing that Kenny is the first we should plan for.

3 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 04:34 pm

The run defense was .71 yards per carry better when Slaton was on the field last year.

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Coldworld's picture

July 23, 2022 at 08:43 am

That’s interesting, but I don’t recall Slaton being a visible reason for that particularly through individual play. Perhaps it would be more telling to look at what formation and game circumstances Slaton got snaps in? I say this as someone who is positive about Slaton. I also think it’s fair to note that the Barry D took time to settle. I think Slaton took more snaps late. That too could explain the difference in part.

I do think that this off season signals that we have not seen a DL and ILB group in the form Barry wants to optimize his D. Gute seems to have been actively reshaping those groups to give him the pieces he needs to realize his vision, something Gute did for Pettine and LaFleur previously. Now we need to see how Barry uses his new front 7 assets. As you have suggested, things may be a little different.

1 points
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mnbadger's picture

July 22, 2022 at 12:22 pm

He looks like a stout linebacker or TE.
I hope this change in physique is by design and not related to reduced training or different diet/supplements to his diet or worse yet, health issue?
GPG!

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 03:52 pm

You can't get anymore inside than NT? I think he lost weight because with the weapons upfront they're going to play a more attacking, penetrating style.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 03:48 pm

Two down posts for a sorry folks 🙄

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stockholder's picture

July 22, 2022 at 07:30 am

The DL has been neglected too long. Who isn't looking forward to see Reed play. The DL is changing. And the past is the past. Reed isn't in decline. He's been hurt emotionally by the NFL. "The present is the only thing that matters now." He'll be out standing.

7 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 22, 2022 at 07:55 am

Reed brings not only depth but starting qualities. Reed is going to allow the front 7 players perform at a higher level simply by being a quality & experienced DL. Guys like Clark, Gary & Preston are going to benefit by his presence. I have been frustrated over the years by the Packers not investing in their DL. Watching the Giants, Tampa, 49's DL take over playoff games against the Packers has been disheartening, particularly when the Packers DL has been so pedestrian. Having a good pass rush at Edge is important, but nothing beats collapsing the pocket up the middle. This season the Packers have a strong DL but also quality Edge rushers.

5 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 22, 2022 at 11:41 am

Let's hope the Packers' DL knocks the snot out of opposing QBs this season!

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 03:53 pm

"Jarran, can show us on the emotional support doll where the NFL hurt you?"

-1 points
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mrtundra's picture

July 22, 2022 at 08:16 am

I, for one, am really excited to see our DL dominate opposing OLs, this season! It will be a thing of beauty! GO PACK, GO!!!

7 points
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mnbadger's picture

July 22, 2022 at 12:24 pm

. . . and a long time coming. GPG!

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

July 22, 2022 at 08:23 am

I loved the signing of Reed. We finally have went out and got some veteran help on the DL. I do not want to besmirch Tyler Lancaster, but he is a back up type of player. I liked him, but he was not a starting caliber of player. We definitely needed an upgrade over him. Adding Reed gives us a veteran to pair with Clark. Reed should help solidify the DL.

I like Bill's terms of most savvy move. That fits really well. Getting Reed could be the most under the radar move that makes the biggest difference.
What it also does is it doesn't force Wyatt to have to come in and be the starter from day 1. It will allow him a bit of time transition to the NFL. It will give Slaton time if he isn't ready to take a step also. We are not relying on these guys to take a big step.

This is a move that could put us over the top and won't go recognized as a big move. Similar to when we brought in Ryan Pickett years ago. Not flashy but a key player to our defensive front.

5 points
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PeteK's picture

July 22, 2022 at 10:44 am

Pickett ( 330) and Raji ( 337) formed a great tandem against the run. Reed at 304 lbs makes me agree with Coldworlds comment about him being better at the DE position. I just wonder if Clark losing all that weight helps us inside against the run. Wyatt is also about 304 lbs.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

July 22, 2022 at 01:02 pm

Barry will play more four-man fronts with their hands in the turf and roll stunts. The heavy 3-4 of Dom is like the Maginot Line--fixed fortifications and easy to maneuver around.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 04:36 pm

You mean 2-4-5 right?

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 22, 2022 at 08:10 pm

No, I would expect change and using his guys as a true hands-in-the ground front will play to their strengths, especially with Walker brought on board. He can go 2-4, 3-4. 4-4, 4-3 and 4-2 looks if he chooses. If you stay static you are neutralized. He has an experienced group that know many schemes. Use their knowledge to your advantage. Pack keeps Six D-linemen, or watches the SB on a beach in Guam. Some pine for Fritz and his D. It was a 4-3/5-2 set ups and LeRoy Butler played the Wildcard, just as Woodson did. The Experienced guys have to make the Big Plays. The DBs have to Pick the Ball. Sacks create Fumbles. Finish. Get Aggressive. Win the Big Game....

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:18 pm

The only time they played with 4 D linemen was 4-3-4 as their short yardage/goal line defense for about 25 snaps. They played more than twice as many snaps using one D lineman than with 4 but some of that was probably when they used Z or Gary as a stand up rusher inside.

I think the addition of Campbell means they get bigger in the back 8 not upfront. They might play a little more with 3 down linemen but I think it will be mainly less dime more nickel. They brought in the big guys to rotate them and keep them fresh, not to get them all on the field at once.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 04:26 pm

It was a different league then. Teams played nickel less than 50% of the time. Even the body types have changed. Just look at a picture of Raji and then Slaton in minicamp this year. If there's only a 5 lb difference between those two I'm a proud uncle to a monkey. Teams are passing more than ever and you can't have a 350 lb two gapping NT that's a liability vs the pass. Slaton is a big dude but he's not carrying a ton of extra weight around his midsection and has good movement skills for his size. He had some good pass rush snaps last year.

Last year the Packers played nickel around 550 snaps and dime a little over 200 snaps out of around 1070 snaps or around 70% of the time. I don't think Clark trims down unless he was told they have a different plan for him this year. I think they believe Slaton can handle the NT spot when the play in a 3 man front, which is only around 30% of the time. That comes out to about 20 snaps a game for Slaton but I think he'll get a few snaps in the two man looks too so about 25 snaps a game. They'll keep Ford or another NT on the PS and activate them against run heavy teams like the Patriots and Eagles.

0 points
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PatrickGB's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:33 am

I liked the move. While his play may have dropped off in recent years. Comment’s from above have postulated why. I like that the team has put some effort into trying to rectify the problem. With a stout line and savvy and skilled LB play in the middle I expect to see fewer teams trying to run the ball down our throat. My hope is that the defense can hold down points until our offense gets up to speed.

3 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:38 am

This D line has the potential to be as impactful to the D as was Fritz's squad of Reggie, Gilbert, Shawn and Santana. Those guys dictated how the offense attacked the D, with futility being a usual result as Fritz's D was the #1 unit in the NFL. The D line was the catalyst during the SB years in '96 & '97.

I know Barry mostly played nickel last year, but with this current D roster, great options exist for playing more base and pressuring QBs into hurries, knock downs, INTs and sacks...especially when you have such speed and range behind the front 5 with Walker and Campbell and 4 studs in the backfield.

And the D line has the depth to grind the OL down and exhaust them by the 4th quarter.

For this reason, I think they keep 6. A rotation Clark, Reed, Wyatt, Lowry, Slaton and I think high energy, never quit Hefflin will see the offense wearing down in the 4th quarter for a change.

I just love great defense. Lambeau is going to very loud when the D is on the field this year...reminiscent of Fritz Schumer's Defenses. (RIP, Fritz!)

The Iron Brigade.

5 points
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mnbadger's picture

July 22, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Question: what kind of animal would downvote the wonderful post above? I hope the voter explains what they don't like about these comments? GPG!

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 22, 2022 at 01:11 pm

Heflin will have to fight it out with Ford. With Clark going 3-6 tech/DE, they will need another stout guy for the nose/1 tech.

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Coldworld's picture

July 22, 2022 at 02:52 pm

Heflin doesn’t strike me as a NT

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 05:04 pm

Definitely not. Like I said earlier in the thread I think keeping Ford or another NT on the PS and activating them for games against run heavy teams. There's enough talent upfront now to rotate guys out when they're tired or having a bad day(night).

I thought Slaton has a couple things he needed to clean up but he made enough splash plays where they must feel confident that he will, judging from Clark's new physique.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:48 pm

With the demise of the Covid rules, we are back to risking waiver claims every time one promotes and tries to return a player and the ability to protect practice squad players each week has gone too. That makes relying on promoting as you suggest risky if a player actually performs.

3 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 23, 2022 at 01:30 am

They actually left it in there. You can elevate a player up to three times before you have to add them to the roster. They kept the veterans at 6 too, I thought they dropped it to 4 but it's still 16(total) and 6.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 04:53 pm

I think they play even more nickel and less dime. More 2-4-5 and less 2-4-6 and 3-3-5 and maybe a little more base. With Campbell they probably play a lot more Tite fronts when they're in 3 man, clogging the inside gaps and funneling RBs outside where the speed is.

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Coldworld's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:52 pm

My initial thought was to agree, but I think that may not be so with Gary and perhaps Enagbare, whom I see as possibly lining as DL on occasion. Do we really want 4 LBs if Gary is a DL? I think I’d prefer 3 DL and more coverage?

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 23, 2022 at 01:56 am

Those formations counts I cited are counting Gary and Preston as OLBs. That's why the Packers didn't play any 4-2-5. It basically separates the 3-4 teams from the 4-3 teams although base usage is going down every year. I thought it was interesting the other day I read up to 23 teams could carry FBs this year. Maybe defenses are getting so light that offenses are going to try and take advantage of it but it could just be teams aren't very good in short yardage situations compared to 10 and 20 years ago and want to try something different.

When they drafted Walker I was thinking maybe Barry is going to play some Mint fronts occasionally like Smart uses a lot at Georgia. That's when you use a 3 man line but just one Edge rusher, to the wide side of the field mainly. It's basically a way to prevent inside runs and still be able to drop 7 decent coverage guys if it's a pass or bring a 5th guy on a blitz from anywhere. So for the Packers it would be taking Preston Smith off the field to play with Campbell and Walker in the nickel. IDK know if we'll see it or not, colleges are using it to stop spread offenses and you don't see many spread offenses in the pros.

I like Cody Alexander's breakdown of blitzes and he does a good job of breaking down the Mint front here. He does sometimes get a little convoluted in his player descriptions but it's for coaches so they get his wording.

https://matchquarters.com/2019/10/04/georgias-mint-package/

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 05:07 pm

Double post. If I don't get at least 5 downvotes for this I'm going to be very disappointed!

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:20 pm

So disappointed. 😢

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Since'61's picture

July 22, 2022 at 10:48 am

Sometimes a player just needs the right environment to be successful. Hopefully Reed has found that in Green Bay. He has the tools and the experience to be an effective DL for the Packers.

The Packers should have their most effective DL since the 2010 season. With Clark taking on double teams Reed should be able to win his one on ones and be a factor against the run game and enabling our LBs to either get pressure on pass plays and make stops against the run. Looking forward to a strong Packer DL for the first time in a long time. Thanks, Since '61

2 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 22, 2022 at 11:46 am

Will Clark take up double teams this season? We have all heard of him losing weight and thus expected to become faster. However, will the loss of weight make it un-necessary for opposing teams to double team him?

I guess we will know come September. Hopefully he is faster AND more powerful.

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:21 pm

It's more about where they line up. It's easier to double team a guy lined up in the A gaps than the B gaps. I think they have faith in Slaton at NT and Clark will line up more often in the 3-5T spots. You might even see Slaton lining up in two man next to Clark or the others against good running teams.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 22, 2022 at 05:50 pm

I'm wondering if we'll see anymore of the Edge guys playing inside with the beefed up D line. Gary played a few snaps inside last year and Enagbare made some nice plays against guards in college but with the OLB group being thinner it might be a thing of the past.

There is also a lot of mixing and matching they can do to between the Edge and DL groups. If Garvin or one of the other backups is on the field they could put the two best pass rushing DTs out there to supplement the outside rush.

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Coldworld's picture

July 22, 2022 at 09:56 pm

The other factor is that, hopefully, we have at least 2 ILBs that we want on the field regularly and not just on obvious rushing downs.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

July 22, 2022 at 10:59 pm

Clearly, we have too many good DL under contract and the smart thing to do is trade somebody or cut them to create capspace.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 23, 2022 at 05:56 am

😉

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DeezNutz's picture

July 23, 2022 at 11:19 am

Jarran will be just like my brother who is a farmer…out standing in his field.

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