Power Play: Packers new LBs have less finesse, more strength

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packer Football' started by Da-news-now, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Da-news-now

    Da-news-now RSS Reporter Reporter

    +156 / 2

    One week ago the Green Bay Packers were lining up with Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott as their top two reserves at outside linebacker.

    “They’re the same guy,” an AFC executive in personnel said Wednesday. “Finesse backups.”

    Today, the Packers have brawny Ahmad Brooks right behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Fackrell remains, but the new fifth man at the position, Chris Odom, is a power player as well.

    Do the Packers’ recent moves suggest a definitive shift toward size and strength?

    “It’s hard to say,” an NFC personnel chief said Sunday night. “You’re not going to find guys like Clay Matthews or Von Miller so you’re trying to get what’s out there.

    “They’re trying to do a couple different things to generate pass rush. More strength and power than finesse and wiggle. With Nick Perry and Ahmad Brooks, those guys will help the run game.”

    Four days after Brooks (6-3, 260) agreed to terms, the Packers on Sunday announced the signing. To make room for Brooks, center-guard Don Barclay went on injured reserve with an ankle injury dating to Aug. 10. Because he was carried through the final cut to 53, he’s eligible to practice after six weeks and be activated after eight if designated for return.

    The Packers also traded Elliott (6-3, 255) to the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional 2018 seventh-round draft choice. The Packers receive the pick if Elliott is on the 46-man game-day roster for three games.

    And, they were awarded Odom (6-4, 262) on waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.

    In July 2006, Brooks worked out for scouts on the Virginia campus after being declared eligible for the supplemental draft. On grass, he ran 40 yards in 4.68 and 4.75 seconds, posted a 32-inch vertical jump and a 9-8 broad jump. He scored 16 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test. 

    His arms measured 33 1/8 inches, his hands 9 ½ inches.

    It’s anyone’s guess how Brooks would test 11 years later. It’s probably to Brooks’ advantage that because of injury and modest development he played merely 1,030 snaps from scrimmage in his first five seasons (eight starts).

    From 2011-’13, however, Brooks logged 944, 977 and 965 snaps as a 90%-plus playing-time left outside linebacker opposite Aldon Smith in San Francisco. His snap counts were 603, 740 and 918 the past three seasons.

    “He will (help) Green Bay because he’s smart, he’s strong and he’s very athletic,” another NFC executive said. “He just got caught in that 49er whole deal where they’re trying to turn it over. You don’t want him out there every down but, yeah, he can still play.”

    Odom, meanwhile, will be asked to make a major position change as Brooks once did. Cincinnati used a third-round draft choice on Brooks in that supplemental and played him at middle linebacker for two years.

    In Atlanta, Odom played 161 snaps with his hand down as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. He ran 4.81 in March at Arkansas State’s pro day, posted jumps of 31 ½ (vertical) and 9-6 (broad), and bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times. His Wonderlic was 14.

    “Tall and long,” an NFC personnel man said. “Long-levered. Good enough athlete. Just a little stiff and straight-line.”

    Odom finished the exhibition season with 15 tackles (four for loss), two sacks and one pass defensed.

    “His rush was OK but how do you evaluate that in the preseason, anyways?” one scout said. “He fits kind of what they do because he can play up or down and he’s a pass rusher, which is really what they need.

    “He’s not going to be a dynamic (Julius) Peppers-type coming in but he gives you athleticism, size and activity coming off the edge.”

    Odom started just three games and had only four sacks in his first three seasons at Arkansas State. The son of Cliff Odom, who started 104 of 167 games as an inside linebacker for four NFL teams from 1980-’93, Odom became a prospect with a 12 ½-sack senior season.

    “Their conference (Sun Belt) and their team is better than people think it is,” said an NFC scout. “I think he’s kind of like that. Kind of flying a little low under the radar but somewhat productive.”

    Odom has adequate arm length (32 5/8) but his hands, just 8 ¼, are tiny. The Falcons have a strong five-man depth chart at defensive end and the Arkansas State free agent ($4,000 signing bonus) became the odd man out.

    Green Bay assumed his base salaries of $465,000 this year, $555,000 next year and $645,000 in 2019.

    “I don’t think you’ll see a lot of quick twitch,” said one scout. “He’s not a fluid bender like a Kyler Fackrell, but he’s bigger. Like a Nick Perry at the point with straight-line pass-rush ability.”

    One of the scouts said he was aware the Packers had been shopping Elliott, a fourth-year free agent from Toledo who might benefit from a change of scenery and the Cowboys’ 4-3 defensive scheme.

    Elliott made the team with an NFL-high five sacks in 2014 exhibition games. With his speed (4.77), long arms (33 ¾) and huge hands (10 3/8), there was hope in the organization that he could team with Matthews to provide a two-pronged edge rush.

    Expectations were raised, and Elliott was unable to meet them as a pass rusher.

    “One-trick pony,” said one personnel man. “Up field, and if he got stopped he quit. He did pretty well on special teams on occasion.”

    Elliott worked hard to increase his strength, and at times this summer he appeared improved setting the edge. Still, he was always better playing the run away from him than at him.

    “He played hard,” an AFC executive said. “He is what he is. Taller guy.”

    Elliott, who was nursing a bad back for several weeks, finished with 363 snaps from scrimmage and 782 on special teams. He led the Packers in special-teams tackles in 2014 and ’16.

    Also Sunday, nose tackle Brian Price was awarded on waivers to Dallas.

    “I’d keep him,” an AFC personnel man said last week. “He’s got a motor and he’s stout.”

    The post Power Play: Packers new LBs have less finesse, more strength appeared first on Bob McGinn Football.

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  2. TW

    TW Moderator

    +1,281 / 14
    Let's assume McGinn is right. Anyhow, I agree. The Packers kept hyping Elliott, and he never did fit into the mold of a 3-4 OLB. That seems to be a way too common thing coming out of GB. Almost always, surrounding linebackers, or defensive backs. Guys they invest heavily in, tout them as a "perfect fit," then throw them under the bus, insinuations that this at least a small part of why the defense fails. Of course, they add injuries to the list. It's done! Not Capers or McCarthy's fault, even though McCarthy will stand there and say; "It's all on me! I'm the Head Coach!"

    I've never liked it when people offer excuses for actions, indicating it's not their fault, then throw themselves on the sword to take the heat. The sword always seems to be a rubber, kids toy. It's just show. They really don't believe for a heartbeat that they should take the responsibility for any of it. It's all "execution failures."
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