Without Khalil Mack, What Are the Answers at Outside Linebacker?

The Khalil Mack dream is dead. So, now what for the outside linebacker group?

Since Brian Gutekunst took the reins as general manager this year, he’s made it a clear priority to address the problematic cornerback play that has plagued the Packers’ defense.

But every investment has an opportunity cost.

By definition, it’s impossible to make fixing every problem a “priority,” and in aggressively trying to fix Green Bay’s ailing secondary, Gutekunst left the outside linebacker position virtually unchanged this offseason.

It appears that the Packers were in on the Khalil Mach sweepstakes—just as Gutekunst promised when he got the job—but, alas, the offer wasn’t quite good enough. As it stands now, the team has four outside linebackers on the roster, and one of them is Kyler Fackrell. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are productive when healthy, which is frustratingly rare. And twice a preseason darling, Reggie Gilbert will be asked to be a very productive in games that count immediately.

A team can’t be deep at every position, and it appears this is one group where the injury risk is high and the ramifications of a major injury could be devastating to the Packers’ chances at a ring.

But I still believe in Matthews and Perry. Both are still good-to-very-good players even if neither is a star, yet some fans are insufferable with their criticism of the duo. It could be because they both have large contracts. Maybe it’s because they were first-round picks. Or perhaps people have just gotten sick and tired of just having the same problem year after year. The reasons, however, almost always have to do with context—not the players themselves.

If instead they were two new guys named May Clatthews and Pick Nerry, who produced just the same, fans would likely be fine with them. Perhaps they’d still wish for a star, around whom opposing coordinators were forced to build game plans, but it’d be considered a solid duo. Fans will certainly feel however they want, but it’s important to remember that evaluating a player is not at all the same thing as evaluating a front office’s evaluation of a player.

Fans have a hard time knowing how to feel about injury-prone players. When Matthews is healthy, his athleticism jumps off the screen, while Perry is a steady No. 2 when he’s right. But getting 32 starts from this pair looks impossible at this point, and fans are already frustrated with that Week 5 hamstring pull that feels totally inevitable for Matthews. All of that is fine.

But saying these guys aren’t tough is simply not okay. The irony of a spectator sipping a beer in a his favorite watering hole while declaring these players “soft” is just too much. To make matters worse, when Matthews is playing through his myriad soft-tissue injuries, that beer sipper complains that he’s not any good.

There is a point where “playing through the pain” is detrimental to the team, and unfortunate as it is that Matthews and Perry seemingly dance around that point every season, it’s not their fault they get hurt. The situation is frustrating, but blaming the players is a silly response.

Rooting that Gutekunst would bring in reinforcements, however, seems absolutely called for. Mack would have been a tremendously exciting addition, but that saga is now over. Other teams aren’t willing to even let quality backups free, but perhaps the Packers will stumble upon some small measure of veteran help, much like they did with the Ahmad Brooks addition last year.

Long-term, however, the outlook is bright. Pass-rushing is a highly coveted skill, and the players who do it best are taken early in drafts. A first-round pick has led the NFL in sacks eight of the last 14 seasons, and seven of the top 10 sack artists last year were drafted in the first round.

The bottom line is that teams need to invest serious draft capital into rushing the passer if they want serious results, and next year’s draft just happens to be loaded with pass-rushing talent. Including versatile, bigger lineman that may be seen as the long-term answer Muhammad Wilkerson’s spot, there could be as many as a dozen players taken in the first round who give quarterbacks nightmares.

It’s still incredibly early in the scouting process, but the Packers’ needs may align perfectly with the draft’s strengths in a year when they have two first-round picks. And If I can see the path to a long-term plan here, it’s likely that Gutekunst could see it months ago, and it just might have been the reason why he chose to address cornerback instead of outside linebacker this year.

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Matt Kelley is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter via @hustleandheart1

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Comments (85)

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Gforcetrivers's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Anybody else worried about blocking that guy?

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Point-Packer's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:50 pm

For the foreseeable future and likely till #12 retires. Yeah....

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Qoojo's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:32 pm

It depends on the rest of chicago's DL. Mack alone can be handled. When they last played in the regular season, Mack had 1 sack for 5 yards, 1 tackle, and 1 assist. In my opinion, he isn't a game changer like Reggie White. He is really good, but he can't carry a defense for stretches like White could.

As long as MM doesn't go stupid for too long, and refuse to give help if and when it is needed, Packers should be able to mitigate Mack most of the time. Mack probably will get a few sacks over the years when Rodgers hangs onto the ball too long.

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Oppy's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:51 pm

No more so than I was worried about blocking John Randall, both of the Williams, Jarred Allen, Mike Singletary, Lance Briggs, Ndamukong Suh, etc etc.

Yes, Mack is a great pass rusher.
No, it's not the first time the Packers have had to deal with great defenders in the division.

I enjoy competition in the games. I don't know that'd I'd care to watch if everything was easy and a guaranteed win. I look forward to watching Bulaga, Bakhtiari, and everyone else battle against Mack and defend the edges.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:45 pm

Not any more than blocking the likes of Von Miller,, Terrel Suggs, Anthony Barr, Myles Jack, Jadeveon Clowney........ or any other great linebacker of any NFL team. Aaron Rodgers is a master of avoiding pressure and making great plays outside the pocket or with his legs. I'm sure Mack will get his share of sacks, but Rodgers will more than make that up with his own skills and athletic abilities as well by way of extending plays and throwing touchdowns passes. Go! Pack! Go!

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The TKstinator's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:13 pm

I am not worried in the least.
I’d be shocked beyond belief if I were tasked with blocking Khalil.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 05, 2018 at 12:59 am

My (imaginary) money would be on you, TK.

1st: hit him with a joke about his bank account.

2nd: joke about the grass being greener on the defensive side of the LOS.

3rd: persuade him that there's a $10 bill on the ground by the sideline.

4th: flex your biceps at him.

I mean the guy can't pass rush if he's doubled up laughing, right?

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The TKstinator's picture

September 05, 2018 at 06:10 am

I like where you’re going with this!

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Qoojo's picture

September 05, 2018 at 11:52 am

If I had to block him, MM would not complain about my pad level with my fetal position blocking technique.

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DraftHobbyist's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:18 pm

I loved this article. It brings up a lot of good points, which hopefully brings some of the critics back down to Earth. One point I'll add is that improving the secondary does improve the pass rush. It's hard to get sacks when the secondary can't cover for any length of time. Health will be huge, though.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Our D line is gonna make the fact that we dont have a group of All World OLBs irrelevant...just sayin...

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Our OLB's state their irrelevance without any help from the DL.

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4thand1's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:50 pm

Frackrell is your man. Or should we call him Unsackrell?

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:04 pm

Read my comment below.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:07 pm

Also...he's still on the team...what does that say about all others were rooting for to beat him.

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4thand1's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:27 pm

Tarynfor51

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EdsLaces's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:59 pm

Hahaha...bazinga

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EdsLaces's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:00 pm

I missed you too..

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fthisJack's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:24 pm

have the Packers played a meaningful game yet this year? why don't you stop the whining until you see what happens on the field Sunday, Debbie Downer?

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The TKstinator's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:36 pm

In all honesty, I really do think that some people avoid disappointment by not getting their hopes up in the first place. Or being “too smart” or “too realistic”. Everybody’s gotta decide how they enjoy GB football. To me, it’s merely entertainment, not life and death.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Aged & overpaid. Overpaid & off-injured. And inexperienced.

(Though if MM had half a brain, the latter would have been on the field from the get go last year)

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DraftHobbyist's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:58 pm

Gilbert wasn't nearly as good last year as this year. MM could've put Gilbert out there, but I don't think he would've done much, honestly. All he had was a speed rush to the outside, and when the OL knows what is coming, it's not nearly as difficult to block. The Offense can scheme runs his way as well. Gilbert has developed other moves now such as his cut into the inside or even sometimes a bull rush, and that collection of moves makes him much more dangerous.

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Coldworld's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:17 pm

Did pretty well at the end of the season when given a chance. Looked good in preseason last year too. Not sure I agree, although I accept that he may have improved further.

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DraftHobbyist's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:38 pm

Well, statistically he recorded 1 tackle in 2 games.

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Community Guy's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:52 pm

hmm.. methinks down-voting is sometimes over-used.. maybe well constructed criticism, if received in a good way, will make us better.

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DraftHobbyist's picture

September 04, 2018 at 04:32 pm

I prefer a little more analysis with my criticism, not just hyperbole.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:16 pm

Are you actually questioning the intelligence of GB’s highly successful head coach?

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Archie's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:06 pm

Reggie Gilbert is the big hope for this year. He moves/performs like a #1 draft pick, at least in the pre-season. If he gives us 3 OLB that can play, that will be a big deal. Gutey has accomplished a lot in one year at the helm. Mack would have been a grand slam but alas, it didn't happen, probably because OAK figured the Bear's would be drafting significantly higher than the Pack and NOR. I'm not sure about that but according to Vegas, it's definitely the expectation. Yes, Gutey went to work on our pass defense. Just not sure our Safeties are fixed yer. HHCD looking more and more like a huge bust. Maybe Josh Jones too. Ted was a horrible GM. Gutey & Pettine to the rescue.

Gutey also tried to fix the passing game. He let Jordy go. Replaced him with Graham/Lewis and drafted 3 freak WRs on the cheap. Kumerow may be a bonus. He also fixed the back-up QB problem, something TT/MM were never able to do. If the OL stays healthy, it should be a competitive season. If not, it will be a long season and MM will finally get his well deserved ticket out of town. Will Pettine be the next Packers' HC? Could be if D shows big improvement. Still surprised Pack is counting on Cobb as a #2 WR. He looks like a #3 or $4 to me. To short limbed and too slow to put the fear of God into any defense. Allison too. Adams & Graham will get tons of coverage. They still really need another big time WR. A James Lofton type would be perfect. :)

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zoellner25's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:07 pm

But we have Kyler Fackrell! I mean, Kyler Freaking Fackrell!!! He's awesome!!!

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:11 pm

Think about all the awesomeness that he wasn't suppose to beat out.....which does not put me back on his wagon....as a reminder to those few who will context it to mean so. : )

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The TKstinator's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:19 pm

Sometimes a baseball player steals second base without a throw from the catcher. I like to call those “uncontexted”.

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fthisJack's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:29 pm

i don't think he wants you on his wagon anyway, Debbie.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:10 pm

The "answer" is that pass rush isn't exclusively generated by dominant OLBs destroying their OL blocking assignment mano v mano every play. Inside pass rush, disguise and scheme can play a huge part in getting heat on the QB.

The way Gute attacked the offseason show me that he believes they are not in as bad shape as many fans seem to believe. Gute put his fingerprints all over the roster but did not really do anything to add outside pass rush.

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tinyIvan's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:19 pm

Even if Matthews and Perry stay healthy having only 2 legit OLB pass rushers just isn't enough. The defense will only be successful if the interior line collapse the pocket routinely. Next offseason look for a few additions at OLB.

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Coldworld's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:55 pm

I believe Gilbert is legit, and was last season. The question is why he wasn’t playing sooner?

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DraftHobbyist's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:02 pm

I don't think Gilbert was legit last season. He had one move, which was a speed rush to the outside. Did you ever seen him successfully pull off any other move? (I don't need proof; I'll take your word for it.) I didn't, but I have seen him successfully pull off multiple moves this year. I don't think he was ready this year, but I think he's legit as a rotational guy this year.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:16 pm

Well he did get accolades for bull rushing Penn,who in the words of Josh Sitton was trying to wipe his ass with the awkward hand and not the dominant one. So can every opponent offer same with their T's...I don't think so but there is that 'hope'....trying to be optimistic. : )

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Coldworld's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:18 pm

Yes, bull rushed Penn for one.

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DraftHobbyist's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:44 pm

I admitted that Gilbert has developed more moves this year, but my argument was that he didn't have these moves last year. So yes, he bull rushed Oakland's RT during the preseason, but what about last year?

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Community Guy's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:56 pm

i think McCarthy already did something of a public mea culpa on this.. i am ready to move on to the 2018 season.

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Monsmoy's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:36 pm

As you say, fixing every problem (area) as a "priority" is not possible. The great thing about the 2019 draft is, whilst defensively very strong, it also has a better O line selection than 2018. 2 x first round picks could allow two pass rushers, which you insinuate would be as planned by BG. I would argue that, with such depth of defensive players, we should take one first and then 2 x O Line. The depth will allow a very good pass rusher in round three and even round 4. We have two "priority" areas and picking in the right order will allow us address both.

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Qoojo's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:20 pm

You can't fix everything in one year. All the changes appear to be steps forward. In past years, I really couldn't say that. Plus, TT totally hamstrung the team by almost completely ignoring one of the basic tools for building a team.

Looking at the offseason this year, I think most would that Gute did all he could to improve the team. Gute used all tools available, and possibly even avoided ruining the future by going overboard with a trade for Mack once the price escalated too high.

Now comes the interesting part, seeing if Gute's decisions really improved the packers.

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Community Guy's picture

September 04, 2018 at 04:03 pm

time will tell.. i like Gute and i liked TT.. clearly Gute addressed the corner and tight end positions.. Burks at ILB may be the kicker to really improving the center of the D for the short and mid-term future. some tasks left to do include: depth at OLB, depth at O-line and, maybe, finding a play-making safety.

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Qoojo's picture

September 04, 2018 at 07:51 pm

It's kind of sad what's happened to the safety position over the past couple years. The CB situation made it look better than it really was too.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:45 pm

"Or perhaps people have just gotten sick and tired of just having the same problem year after year."

Yes, for about 7 years.

My hope is that Pettine isn't monomaniacally dependent on the OLB position to pressure the QB as Capers sometimes seamed to be.

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4thand1's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:56 pm

Next year's draft is going to a good one. Gute, in no way could have fixed all the glaring problems this year. A lot of people have stated that this is a 2 year process, and I see pash rushers and o line addressed in next year's draft. With 2 picks in the 1st round Gute can move up and get an impact player.

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Rcariveau's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:57 pm

I think Perry and Matthews are legit, it is just the injury that is bound to happen to both of them. How long until one of them is playing with a club or situational pass rusher due to injury. Gilbert I like the buzz, but playing in two games that didn't matter at the end of last year, and a good preseason isn't enough to hang a hat on. I hope Gilbert is the real deal and can offer something off the bench we haven't had since Peppers. This is GUTE biggest offseason blunder. Ignoring OLB for the second year, which TT did last year.

I get passing over Marcus Davenport for the additional 1 next year. The hope was to get someone later in the draft of Free Agency. That didn't happen, then it was after cuts maybe a legit pass rusher would get picked up. That didn't happen. Our inside guys are beasts so maybe we truly only do need 4 guys, but we need all 4 guys to be available. I guess next year we can draft back to back to back edge rushers to make for the last two seasons.

I will give it time as I think the biggest solution on Defense this year is our new coordinator. Also that our young stud corners can play, which it looks like they can.

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dobber's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:15 pm

I think you highlight the answers as they stand: scheme, coverage...and add a dose of Reggie Gilbert and a healthy supply of bubble wrap.

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Coldworld's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:19 pm

Completely agree that scheme is an important factor. Novelty alone should make the rush less predictable. Pettine has also been pretty good at mixing it up with his past teams.

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Daren726's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:30 pm

Good pass rushers are hard to come by past the first round most years. Since the packers pick so late in each round, most years the good prospects are gone. Even this year when we traded down to 18, there really wasn’t any more good prospects available after the saints picked at 14. We usually get one shot at a good pass rusher each year, and it’s our first pick. Next year we might get two, if there are enough good prospects left between picks 25 and 32.

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Duneslick's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:21 pm

Passed on Davenport because they really needed a corner more. swapped draft picks and got a first next year too. I don't think people really see how good of a draft greenbay had. Look at what they drafted and don't forget they got a first rd pick next year too.

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Rcariveau's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:44 pm

Yes we needed a corner, but the draft was thin at edge rushers and Davenport could be special or a total bust. Jaire was an interesting pick since nobody really covered him through the draft for GB media. But getting Jackson in RD 2 who will probably end up being better than Alexander. Seems you can get a corners just about anywhere in the draft compared to edge guys. Fackerall isn't anything, I would be blown away if he gets 3 sacks this year along with 10 QB pressures.

I do like the trade GUTE made to get an extra 1 for next year and we still got a pick in RD 1 this year. Just feel like the 2nd or 3rd most important position in the game has been neglected for 2 years running.

Hopefully that changes next year with 3 selection in the first 2 rounds.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:35 pm

As stated, Perry, Matthews and Gilbert are legit. We have three good pass rushers. Many teams don’t have that. Rather than cry about POSSIBLE injuries why not enjoy what we have and let the future take care of itself?

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Community Guy's picture

September 04, 2018 at 04:11 pm

since the past often portends the future, it is understandable that people expect Perry and Matthews to miss meaningful time this year. i share the concern expressed and wish the Packers had another blue chip pass rusher.

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carlos's picture

September 04, 2018 at 08:17 pm

I like that Gater. I like Donnerson also.

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GatorJason's picture

September 05, 2018 at 03:34 pm

Khalil Mack is 6-3 247 with unbelievable power, explosion and athleticism. I wish Green Bay had a guy on its roster like that.
Oh, wait a minute, it does. His name is Kendall Donnerson.
KD comes at a discount rate of $129,000 on the Practice Squad.
Let Kendall take a peek at what Mr Mack is doing on Sunday and tell him his physical clone earns $23.5M/yr. Who knows, maybe that will incentivize Kendall to elevate his game, unleash his freakish athleticism and become Khalil-lite at OLB.

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Lphill's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:49 pm

We have enough edge rushers , will have an interior rush from any of the D lineman and speedy blitzes from the secondary and no Dom Capers . Rodgers doesn't need the top defense to carry him but the Packers should have a respectable defense this year and 2 first round picks next year.

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Rebecca's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:05 pm

A very sane and concise assessment. Excellent.

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Lare's picture

September 04, 2018 at 03:50 pm

".....it’s not their fault they get hurt."

I agree that contact injuries and broken bones are impossible to prevent, but soft tissue strains and hamstring pulls are mostly preventable. Proper training, stretching and keeping muscles warm during practices & games can really help prevent such injuries.

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Rebecca's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:09 pm

Are you implying that these players and this team aren’t aware of stretching, prefab and training? With millions of dollars invested in Matthews, Perry and the rest, I think the Packers know how to maintain their athletes.

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TJ Coon's picture

September 04, 2018 at 04:04 pm

Look at it this way: both players are looked at as the best in their positions. So, because we didn't get him, I am still okay with it because if you had to choose between one or the other no doubt it would be Rodgers. Yes, they are considered the best at their positions but Rodgers being the goat is eons Beyond. IMHO.

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arthurl's picture

September 04, 2018 at 04:40 pm

Definitely would have loved to see Pack sign Mack, but price was too steep so time to move on. I will be interested to see how MM compensates to ensure better protection for Rodgers. We have Mercedes Lewis to assist the tackle and keep stout defenders at bay. I think the two TE's we acquired will play a huge role for this offense in so many ways. I am also interested to see how the defense performs. First two games should tell a lot. I feel we have the pieces to make some noise.

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fthisJack's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:45 pm

i think he would have been a Packer except that the Bears had more to offer being that they are annual doormats in the NFC North so their first rounders will be much better than the Packers. we never had a chance.

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Rebecca's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:14 pm

“And twice a preseason darling, Reggie Gilbert will be asked to be a very productive in games that count immediately.” All of the games count and as far as we know Gilbert is still relatively inexperienced in the regular season. I hope every player on the field is very productive, otherwise Saint Vincent and I will be very disappointed. Reggie Gilbert will be fine. He’s got fire in the belly and has been very patient.

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4thand1's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:32 pm

Reggie Gilbert is the next coming of Desmond Bishop. Turn him loose. Reggie, Reggie, Reggie chant will return to Lambeau this year.

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TJ Coon's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:56 pm

Do not forget the draft capital that will be used 4 outside linebackers, defensive tackles, defensive ends, and safeties. Next year's draft will be stocked full of exactly what the Green Bay Packers need. So, I'm okay with having many above-average defensive players then busting your salary cap on Mac.

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Handsback's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:10 pm

Two names that haven't been mentioned as difference makers....Philbin and Pettine.
Both guys will have a lot of influence on the gameplan and its outcome.

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badaxed's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:27 pm

"But I still believe in Matthews and Perry"

And I believe in the tooth fairy. she is somewhat fragile also, but usually she can produce at least a "quarter" unless someone rolls over on the hand when trying to tackle the pillow, then its injury time.

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4thand10's picture

September 04, 2018 at 07:33 pm

I didn’t know the Raiders won a Super Bowl with Mack.....

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PatrickGB's picture

September 04, 2018 at 08:05 pm

If we run a 4-3 defense a lot then the need for an OLB is diminished. Pett admitted to having it as part of the defense.

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Packer Dave's picture

September 04, 2018 at 08:09 pm

Well, I hope to see a load of four man fronts. This team is built for it. Daniels, Clarke, Mo, Lowry and Adams is a hell of a combo to throw at QBs. Let Perry put his hand in the dirt like he always wanted. Gilbert backs him up / starts opposite. Clay moves all over.... Fackrell gets in for garbage time to limit injuries. Donnerson arrives on the scene mid-late season.

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carlos's picture

September 04, 2018 at 08:24 pm

Well said 61.

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Since'61's picture

September 04, 2018 at 08:20 pm

At this point there are no good answers at OLB. We have CM3 who has declining skills and an increasing injury history. He will make some plays but it's not likely that he will return to his pre-2012 form.

Then there is Perry who has been inconsistent at best when he is healthy. He'll get 2-3 sacks over 2 games and then disappear for 3 or 4 games, usually against good teams, then get another sack or 2 and get injured. That can change this season but it can't be counted on to happen.

Reggie Gilbert looks like an evolving player but he has only played in 2 NFL games which did not mean anything to either team involved. He looks good in preseason but that could be a mirage once the regular season begins. As of today I consider him to be a question mark.

After that we have Fackrell, who on his best day defines JAG.

If we are going to have any answer at OLB they have yet to join the team or CM3 and Perry will need to have much improved seasons compared with the last 4-5 seasons. Also, Gilbert will need to live up to the hype that he has received from the fans and media up to this point. We'll get some answers beginning this week. Thanks, Since '61

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Oppy's picture

September 05, 2018 at 02:16 pm

The ONLY season Nick Perry has been remotely healthy was 2016, and he had a nice year.

I think most people would agree that good pass rushers will have a week here or there where they get more than one sack in a game. Top pass rushers in the league in terms of sacks tend to be around 10-16 sacks in the regular season. If the good Pass rushers tend to have multiple sack games during the year (sometimes more than one).. and typically, the pass rushers with the highest tally at the end of the 16-game regular season have 16 or less sacks.. that means most good pass rushers are going to have games where they "disappear" from the sack category.

Nick Perry's 2016 (AKA: only remotely healthy) season, he was relatively consistent from game to game when you consider the realities of pass rushing in the NFL from a numerical stand point. He was top 8 in Sack total with 11, plus had 4 passes defensed, an INT, and 35 total tackles in a season where he missed weeks 14&15 with injury and played wk 16 injured.

Honestly, considering how incredibly banged up Perry was in 2017, I can't believe people give him guff about his performance last year. He did remarkably well considering he had a broken hand, ankle, and shoulder problems the entire season.

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carlos's picture

September 04, 2018 at 08:23 pm

All these posts are right on, but it boils down to one thing-We need Aaron Rogers for 16 games and healthy going into the post season.

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carlos's picture

September 05, 2018 at 08:14 am

Dog fights make a dog tougher. I have 5 dogs so actually don’t like dog fights. But, I believe it will help build this team. Competition comes every week, but this division and the NFC as a whole is strong this 2018 season. Bring it on!!

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fthisJack's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:35 pm

before anyone jumps off a cliff over the OLB situation let me remind you that the full defense was NEVER on the field together during preseason. the starters played minimal snaps.
also, remember that Pettine wasn't going to show his hand on the new defense in preseason. teams will be dealing with new wrinkles they have never seen.
put 2 and 2 together and this defense will be much better than last years.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 05, 2018 at 01:49 am

I see the issue as akin to Cardinal Mazarin's aphorism about generals: the question is not whether the general is skillful so much but whether the general is lucky.

The question about CM3 and Perry isn't whether they are good football players when healthy or whether they are willing to play through pain, it is rather about whether they can avoid injury.

It may be that CM3's injuries are related directly to his style of play. He plays with his hair on fire and uses burst and speed nowadays to make plays, so pulling a hammy is perhaps a byproduct of his style of play and of the strengths to his game that he relies upon.

Perry has had some soft tissue and joint issues, but the main problems lately have been broken bones, primarily in his hands and wrist areas. I suppose Perry relies on the power he possesses in his hands and general frame, but the broken bones still seem more unlucky to me than symptomatic of his style of play.

The bottom line for me is expected surplus value. Both of them are capable of providing value that exceeds the cost of their contracts, but haven't lately. Worse, due to attrition over the season, they have both been shells of their potential selves by the time the playoffs arrive, at least in several recent seasons.

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ReaganRulz's picture

September 05, 2018 at 07:54 am

Lots of responses here, but didn’t see a ton of comments on our 2 starting offensive tackles. While both have been dinged, they are 2 of the best tackles in the league. If both are semi-healthy, we will continue to block the new Bears guy much like we have done successfully in the past. And when in a pinch, we have the best rated blocking TE in the league to help.

We can all feel good that every team that we play this year will be fretting about ARodgers much like many are about Mack right now. Except that they worry about ARodgers a gazillion times more. So glad that we have him on our side!!!!

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OldTimer's picture

September 05, 2018 at 09:10 am

New season, new excitement. Outside linebacker depth is a concern, but out of the gate, we are still O.K. Interior rush and stronger cornerback play will help a lot. My biggest concern going in is our center/ guard play. Still optimistic overall though! Go Pack Go!

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DenePhillips's picture

September 05, 2018 at 11:09 am

I know people are gonna give me dislikes on this, but that's ok, but "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton .

I gotta tell you I am very, very, very disappointed that the Packers did not sign K. Mack. A player of his caliber does not come along very often. There is no way the Packers could not have signed him. The Packers let the Bears beat them 3x this year. The veteran CB that the Packers were going to sign from the Bears re-signed, not signing Allen Robinson and now not getting K. Mack. - All 3 players went to the Bears. With A. Rogers leading the offense and K.Mack on defense would have put us in the top 10 defenses. You cannot win a Super Bowl without a solid defense. Time is running out on A. Rogers. Packers refused to sign the needed players for Brett Favre and they have now repeated history and will suffer the same result. The Packers had a GOLDEN opportunity to sign one of the top 3 defensive players in the NFL. And, I'm not talking about just at his defensive position, but the 3rd best defensive player in the NFL! With Grute knowing R. McKenzie, Gruden etc,. and having , basically given them Jared Cood and J. Nelson the Packers puliled the old Ted Thompson that it is a winning season if we go 10-6 and stay under the salary cap. This Sunday we will see what K. Mack does and Packers will only be able to dream of what could have been in 2018. I expected Grute to be non-stop aggressive and I believe he failed us. Let's see K. Mack or Reggie Gilbert? Well, looks like R. Gilbert. Choices have consequences and the Packers may suffer their worst potential consequense by not signing one of the best defensive players in the nfl that would have been a rock solid staple on defense.

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dobber's picture

September 05, 2018 at 12:00 pm

*YAWN*

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DenePhillips's picture

September 05, 2018 at 04:45 pm

"Y"ou "A" int "W"inning "N" othing - Y.A.W.N

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billybobton's picture

September 05, 2018 at 01:10 pm

Maybe it is things like CM3 taking himself out of championship games for an extended breather or missing weeks and weeks (along with Perry) for nebulous injury. the bears have LB who broke his hand yet plans to play sunday. Maybe Lott was a nut case to cut off a finger to help win a game. Maybe those days are gone.

Maybe Perry and CM3 are reaping the results of a failed position due to bad drafting and letting peppers walk. Certainly CM3 at least understands the problem with the backups.

Would we have been better off dumping perry and keeping JP?

None of this is directly tied to the two players directly, it was bad choices and decisions around them as well. It was hiding the huge mistake of Randall by forcing haha out of the D to cover him over the top so much.

Perry and CM3 can open some eyes this year just by being able to play in an 11 man defense without the half man randall or missing S.

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Oppy's picture

September 05, 2018 at 02:24 pm

You may have missed it but Nick Perry played all of 2017 with a broken hand.. and that's just one of the injuries he played with.

He played with a broken hand at the end of 2016 going into the playoffs, too.

I get it.. It's more impressive when a Bears player does it.

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