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Vince Biegel senses urgency to bring 'championship caliber of play' to Packers' defense

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Vince Biegel senses urgency to bring 'championship caliber of play' to Packers' defense

-- Given everything Green Bay Packers linebacker Vince Biegel underwent in his rookie season, from start to finish, there shouldn't be any shock that he struggled when he finally saw the field.

It took until early November for Biegel to be activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to the active roster, paving the way for him to play in the following nine games.

16 total tackles were all Biegel accounted for in those games, but considering he entered the summer in a wheelchair, that's probably 16 more than anyone would've predicted.

The Wisconsin native has a lot on his plate entering his second season, but he's off to an exponentially better start than he was a year ago.

At this point, Biegel will be available for the Packers by the start of the regular season, barring he completes a healthy training camp regimen and flashes in all four preseason games. If anything's for certain, the Packers could certainly use the depth at outside linebacker.

"I had great OTA's and I felt I had a very strong camp for spring ball," Biegel told Mike Lucas of "I want to continue to do what I laid out in the spring and stay on top of my playbook this summer."

2017 was a completely different story -- no OTA's, no minicamp, no training camp. No anything. A full, healthy offseason under his belt, however, could be the first stepping stone towards extensive playing time under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

"He [Pettine] is all business," Biegel said. "With a ton of football knowledge.

"Coach Pettine has asked me to do a lot of things that I was doing at Wisconsin, like line up on a wide receiver and reroute him. Like cover wheel routes on running backs. ... Versatility is very important at outside linebacker. [Former Wisconsin defensive coordinator] Dave Aranda asked me to do those things early-on for him and Coach Pettine has asked me to do the same."

In Pettine's freshly-implemented scheme, Clay Matthews may even be shifted from his natural edge position to play inside. That could open up more snaps for Biegel opposite Nick Perry, all he has to do is stay upright.

Biegel and Matthews have both stayed in close contact. They both trained together at EXOS in San Diego along with Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark and Lance Kendricks. 

As a result, Biegel is up above 250 pounds for the first time in his playing career, helping him pack on some size and strength entering his second season.

"Emotionally, I'm getting prepared for the length of the season. Once July 25 hits, it's full-go basically -- and hopefully -- until February when we're playing for a championship.

"The urgency now is to bring that caliber of play to the defense. And not to just hold up our end of the bargain, but to win games on the defensive side of the ball."

Most of the Packers' pass rush in 2018 is going to be driven by the scheme, which is a large part in why there's so much optimism in Pettine and why the Packers didn't take an outside linebacker in April's draft until the seventh round.

With two surgically-repaired feet and a chance to build considerably off of his rookie campaign, Biegel is in line to give the Packers a promising boost in their pass rush.


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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (27) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

porupack's picture

Sure hope so, but if coaches believed he was ready to go last year in November, and he had little to show much late in the season, after absorbing head knowledge most of the season.....I have my doubts.
It indicates the physical tools are average/below average.
But, passion/confidence/smarts can compensate, so maybe he makes a leap this year, and its not uncommon for pass rushers to make big step up after strong offseason regimen.
The coaches seem to believe he could forestall an early round draftee at the position. .
I don't expect much impact however, as the evidence so far indicates a serviceable, but not above average pass rusher.

Nononsense's picture

I don't think its indicative of anything. Hes a 4th round pick, most 4th rounders don't come in a tear up the league in their first year, yet alone a guy who missed all of training camp and the preseason with surgery on both feet.

Everson Griffen a 4th rounder played gunner on STs for a couple years for the Vikes before he started making a big impact at DE.

With a little experience, added weight and a better scheme, this year will provide a better idea of what we have in this Dogg.

Reggie Gilbert will show why he should have been playing all of last year and I think we finally get to see a more comfortable Chris Odom who spent last year learning the nuances of playing OLB instead of 4-3 DE.

If these guys can play, I'm confident that Petti ne will get the most out of them on the field.

The TKstinator's picture

Blake Martinez was a 4th rounder too.

TheBigCheeze's picture

....quit talking about the dirty vikings.....and quit calling them "vikes".......only lowlife queenie fans call them that......they are a dirty team.....and karma's gonna be a big, fat green & gold beotch......GO PACK!!!!!

porupack's picture

Reading your post, is kind of my point; sure, he was injured and gets a redshirt. But I would still have expected more of him last year when coaches felt he was ready for live action. Thus my cautious optimism.
I am in agreement that off season workout, and especially Pettine are reasons to hope he makes an impact, regardless of the round he was picked. I don't judge the potential too much on any player on round picked 1-5.

Handsback's picture

Nononsense is right in that he's a 4th round pick for a reason. Now, if he's a diamond in the rough it will show pretty early this season. I suspect that Gilbert will have a greater impact on sacks than Biegel who by his discussions with Pettine will cover some backs and pressure the wideouts. Doesn't mean that's all what he will do, but indicates to me he'll be used more in coverage/run-stopping than pass pressure. Pettine will be giving a new wrinkle here and there and that should put a lot more pressure on the QBs.

I hope that Biegel comes out and kills it.....I just think he'll need some more seasoning considering he got very little experience last year.

Nick Perry's picture

The beauty of Mike Pettine and Pettine's scheme is he'll adapt his scheme to the players strengths that he has available to him. The strength of this defense is the D-line and that's where a lot of the pressure will come from. I have a better feeling about Matthews this year than most just because I believe Pettine puts him in favorable positions with scheme . I think he could do the same with Biegel too.

Biegel tested very similar to Matthews at the combine AND he has a nonstop motor. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with Biegel this season and Gilbert too though most it seems are expecting it from Gilbert. Between the two I'd think 10 sacks is a reasonable number and are numbers definitely obtainable in Pettines scheme.

White _tornado's picture

I hope youre right about Biegel and Pettine for that matter. 10 combines sacks for Biegel and Gilbert seems a little high.

As for Pettine adapting his D to fit his players strenths, I was under the understanding that all NFL coaches were supposed to do that.

Nick Perry's picture

LOL...Every NFL Coach other than Capers.

Rak47's picture

You didn't watch Dom Capers much , huh?

White _tornado's picture

Gave both you guys thumbs up.

What bothers me even more than Capers ineptitude was that MM allowed it! He is the man in charge. Its been said over and over that fans dont know anything. The Packers have people in charge that are supposed to know. Why was Capers allowed to have his D stink up the field for so long? Why was Edgar Bennett allowed to keep a job for 3 years that he was bad at? Why was Alex Van Pelt allowed to not have his back up QB ready to play after 3 years in the league?

Nick Perry's picture

All good questions and all 3 are gone now. I KNOW we improved at the OC and DC coaching positions. Hopefully Rodgers is loving his new QB coach in the very near future.

Tundraboy's picture

Spot on,but I'm trying to forget all that. MM has as much to prove as many a player,so let's go. Nice thing with Pettine around we have a coach who appears to not waste much time waiting for results. And with Philbin hopefully another voice to push MM when he needs it during the game.

PatrickGB's picture

During this downtime things get boring. But This is the best article I have read on Biegel. Yet, make no mistake, he is no Clay Matthews. However, I do agree that Clay could be a great MLB if we had a decent outside pass rush and the middle of the D was dominant. If Vince can cover then I expect great things from our pass rush. Of course I am assuming that our CBS can cover for a few seconds while the pass rush is doing their thing.

TJ Coon's picture

Biegel is no joke if he can stay healthy. Don't forget, he was a star athlete in highschool while also being a great hockey player. Dude is beast!

Point Packer's picture

We simply do not know that. Hell, there's no guarantee he even makes the squad.

White _tornado's picture

Exactly!! All we have is hope that Biegel has improved, will make an impzct and stay relatively healthy

Packer Fan's picture

I hope he makes a second year jump. I don't see him getting worse. Like Randall did. Too much character. So it is like, how much of a jump will he take. Can you imagine if both Biegel and Gilbert make good jumps? Steady pressure for the whole game. Guys making plays. If this happens, Pettine will be like an all world coach.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Biegel is perfect for the scheme, and now he's healthy.

Let's not forget that, when healthy, this was an explosive player at Wisconsin.

Health permitting, I think Biegeil will have a huge 2nd year jump. Huge.

Jonathan Spader's picture

My problem with Biegel is my green and gold glasses get put over my red and white glasses making it hard to see.

Point Packer's picture

There's also your collegiate glasses vs your pro glasses.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

I just had a glass of white, a glass of red, and followed with a glass of gold and am having trouble seeing straight too.

Jonathan Spader's picture

I guess you'll get the green in there when you throw it all up ;)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

A bottle of red, a bottle of white,
It all depends upon your appetite.

Lare's picture

In addition to Pettine, the biggest improvement to this defense is going to come from increased speed, athleticism and better depth. The Packers should be able to rotate DL, LBs and DBs in order to keep them fresh and more productive.

Biegel doesn't have to have 8-10 sacks to be effective, he just needs to do his job whether that be pressure on the QB, set the edge against the run or cover RBs/TEs. He has the ability to do all three.

Rak47's picture

"he (Pettine) is all business with a ton of football knowledge". I absolutely love hearing the players buying into Pettine scheme and knowledge with respect. Also impressed BIegel has his weight up over 250lbs, shows he's working hard to get to where he needs to be.

Since '61's picture

Until I see Biegel have an impact on the field I am sticking with my Biegel with a smear from the deli. Thanks, Since ‘61

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