Green Bay Packers look for depth at outside linebacker
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — With Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, the Green Bay Packers feel great about their starting outside linebackers.
The depth hasn’t quite developed, though, which is why the team hosted free agent Ahmad Brooks on Tuesday. Brooks, a two-time second-team All-Pro, was released by the San Francisco 49ers last week.
Brooks is 33, which would make him the third-oldest player on a Packers roster that perennially has been one of the youngest in the league under general manager Ted Thompson.
However, Kyler Fackrell, last year’s third-round pick, and Jayrone Elliott, a key special teams player, haven’t seized the opportunities created by the free-agent departures of veterans Julius Peppers (Carolina) and Datone Jones (Minnesota).
“It’s time for one or two of those guys to step up and really show what they can do,” outside linebackers coach Winston Moss said on Tuesday.
“At our position, you would like to see them in a playmaking mode, a disruptive mode. We’re being more assignment-conscious. I want them to cut loose a little bit.”
Moss has been after Fackrell to be less “assignment-conscious” and more of a playmaker throughout training camp. Last week, Matthews used a baseball analogy in making the same point: “You can’t steal second with a foot on first.”
Fackrell has no sacks and only one tackle despite seeing significant action in all three preseason games.
How does he get himself into attack mode?
“I don’t really know how to answer that, how to flip that mindset,” Fackrell said. “I think just playing a little bit more free, a little bit more loose and not so rigid within the scheme.”
Rookie Vince Biegel, a fourth-round draft pick, remains sidelined following foot surgery in May. It’s possible he will open the regular season on the physically unable to perform list, which would keep him out for the first six weeks.
Having missed all of training camp, Biegel will face a “major challenge” to work himself into the rotation once he passes his physical, Moss said.
Matthews (groin tightness) and Perry (ankle) were knocked out of Saturday’s preseason game, didn’t practice on Tuesday and won’t play on Thursday. Speaking before Tuesday’s practice, coach Mike McCarthy said he didn’t have any “long-term” concern about either of the injuries.
Goode wins long snapper job
Brett Goode won the long snapper job again for the Green Bay Packers following the release of undrafted rookie Derek Hart.
Goode was re-signed Aug. 12 after normally reliable kicker Mason Crosby had problems early in camp while Hart was the lone long snapper.
Goode played the previous nine seasons in Green Bay, though the Packers initially decided to go with Hart in the offseason.