September 23, 2017, 03:00:07 PM

Author Topic: A Scoutís Take on the Addition of OLB Ahmad Brooks by the Green Bay Packers  (Read 562 times)

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Offline Bob Fox

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A Scoutís Take on the Addition of OLB Ahmad Brooks by the Green Bay Packers

By Bob Fox



The Green Bay Packers addressed a depth problem at outside linebacker on Wednesday, as they signed Ahmad Brooks, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners cut Brooks last week, which gave the Packers a chance to add some sorely needed help at the outside linebacker position.

Injuries have been piling up at the OLB position, as Clay Matthews suffered a groin injury against the Denver Broncos last weekend in Green Bayís third preseason game, plus Nick Perry suffered an ankle injury the week before playing against the Washington Redskins.

Head coach Mike McCarthy indicated to the media that both Matthews and Perry should be ready to go in the season opener versus the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on September 10.

Still, there is cause for concern, as the team expects the brunt of the pass pressure on opposing quarterbacks to come from Matthews and Perry, who both have had been somewhat injury prone in the respective careers.

In the past five seasons, Matthews has missed 13 games due to a variety of injuries, while Perry has never played in all 16 games in any given season in his career and has missed 20 games in his five years in Green Bay.

Matthews has 72.5 sacks in his eight-year career in Green Bay, but only has 11.5 sacks the past two seasons combined. Itís important to note however, that No. 52 was used mostly as an inside linebacker in 2015, plus also started three games there again last season.

Perry had a career year in 2016, as he had 11 sacks, which is almost as many sacks (12.5) as No. 53 had in the four previous seasons.

In 2016, Matthews and Perry were joined in the outside linebacker rotation by Julius Peppers and Datone Jones. Both Peppers and Jones left the Packers via free agency this past offseason, so the Packers were hoping that both Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott would step up their play in 2017.

In addition, the Packers also drafted Vince Biegel of Wisconsin in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft.

Fackrell has been sort of a non-factor so far in his development, while Elliott has been hampered by a back injury.

Biegel has not been cleared to practice yet due to having foot surgery back in May and will most likely start the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list.

That made the signing of someone with the background of Brooks somewhat imperative. The 6í3″, 255-pound Brooks was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006, but was waived in his second year and picked up by the 49ers. It was in San Fransisco where the career of Brooks blossomed.

In eight years with the 49ers, playing OLB in a 3-4 front like the Packers use, Brooks had 370 total tackles, 53.5 sacks, three interceptions (one for a touchdown), 12 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Brooks was also named to the Pro Bowl squad in 2013, plus was named second-team All-Pro in 2012 and 2013.



I wanted to get the take on the addition of Brooks by the Packers from one of the best in the business, NFL scout Chris Landry.

I had another opportunity to talk with Landry shortly after the Packers signed Brooks on Wednesday, on 620 WDAEís Steve Duemig Show.

Quote
ďAhmad Brooks has not played real well for the Niners,Ē Landry said. ďHe is someone who I expected to get another chance, as they [49ers] are getting a little younger there.

ďWeíll see if Green Bay can get something out of him. Situationally on a better team, it makes more sense. They [49ers] were rebuilding and he really wasnít all that thrilled with being a kind of guy who was going to lead a bunch of young guys in San Francisco.

ďSo weíll see if it will work out. I would temper my enthusiasm. Other than getting him spot play, which he can be very effective in doing, his play has regressed quite a bit.Ē

The Packers plan to utilize Brooks in just the way Landry believes he will be effective. That is getting him on the field on a situational basis.

Before the Packers signed Brooks and he was just in for a visit, associate head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss said this about the possibility of Brooks playing for the Packers.

Quote
ďHe can do everything that we would ask him to do in our scheme,Ē Moss said. ďHe can play to the tight end side, he can play to the open-end side. He can play the outside linebacker, he can play the elephant. If he were to be placed on our roster Ė however that decision goes down Ė he could come right in and fit right in.Ē

Time will tell how things will work out with the 33 year-old Brooks playing for the Pack. Green Bay signed Peppers when he was 34 years-old and got three productive seasons (25 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions for touchdowns) out of him.

No matter what happens with Brooks, the Packers still need to get some production from Fackrell, Elliott and Biegel at some point during the 2017 season.

But at least the team now has a solid veteran who has only had less than six sacks in a season once in his career in San Francisco. That was when Brooks had five in 2010. Other than that, Brooks has always had at least six sacks per season in eight years with the Niners.

Brooks also plays the run well, which is also an important asset to have at OLB.

Bottom line, expect Brooks to be part of a four-man rotation at OLB in 2017 for the Packers, along with Matthews, Perry and Fackrell. Matthews and Perry will get the bulk of the snaps. If Fackrell doesnít step up his play, Elliott will get his shot in the rotation, plus Biegel will get his opportunity as well once he is cleared to play.

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About the Author

Bob closely follows the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, Bucks, Golden Eagles and Panthers, but also enjoys sports in Florida as he is a big supporter of the Lightning, Rays, Gators and Bulls, plus enjoys the Bucs, when they arenít playing the Packers.

Bob always had the itch to return to the media, and he became a writer at a Packer website called ThaPack for a couple of years, before he joined Packer Report, where he was for several years, before joining Wisconsin Sports Online (Packer Chatters) writing about the Packers, Badgers and Brewers.

Bob worked as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report from November of 2011 into June of 2015, mainly covering the Green Bay Packers, but also did columns for teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Wisconsin Badgers as well.

Bob currently writes in his Blog at WordPress and also at LandryFootball.com.


Offline LMG

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Bob do you have an official signing announcement?
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Offline Bob Fox

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No I don't. I'm just going by what NFL Network and all of the state media have reported. Brooks reportedly signed a one-year deal which includes a $3.5 million base salary and could pay him up to $5 million. I know the Packers haven't made an official announcement yet and don't have Brooks added to the roster on their site. They will probably wait until after the game tonight and when the final cuts start happening. That is my guess.

Offline LMG

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Thanks Bob.
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Online OneTwoSixFive

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Bob, I don't think Elliott will be retained on the 53.

While he could be retained, his back problems (bad enough for him to leave the field more than once at TC), may see him cut in favour of Gilbert.

Perry, Matthews, Brooks Fackrell, Gilbert, could start the season, with Biegel on the pup. When Biegel is due to come off pup, the Packers can either keep Gilbert (which might be easier then, if there is an IR level injury anywhere to create a space), or let him go to the PS. Of course they could IR Biegel and keep Gilbert, but it must be tempting to get Biegel in and see what he has.

Another couple of days is all we have to wait, to see how the 53 sorts itself out.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 03:31:36 PM by OneTwoSixFive »
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(Pink Floyd) "Set the controls for the heart of the sun"

Offline Bob Fox

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OneTwoSixFive, I know that the Packers love Elliott on their special teams units. He has been one of the bright spots there. And there aren't many overall there. Not when one looks at the rankings of the special teams units as of late, which are done by my buddy Rick Gosselin. In 2014, the Packers were ranked 32nd. In 2015, 17th. In 2016, 29th. The back issues could be the reason he might be waived with an injury settlement, or perhaps he could even go on IR, as the NFL is allowing teams to put two players on IR this season who can be brought back and play. I like what I've seen from Gilbert, although he was partially responsible for the TD run by C.J. Anderson last week. Besides rushing the passer, you have to be solid vs. the run as well at OLB. Time will tell what will happen, but there always seems to be a surprise cut or two. One guy who I really like is undrafted rookie WR Michael Clark. I talked to Chris Landry about him as well and will be doing a story about that conversation. He's probably headed to the practice squad, but he's good enough where he could picked up by another team. If the Packers keep seven WRs on the roster, he might have a chance to stick.

Online OneTwoSixFive

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Interesting, Bob. Does this mean you think Tripp will make the 53 as well (I believe he is currently out with concussion) ? He is a core special teamer (all four units) and could be a reason why the Packers keep a fourth ILB, instead of just three.

I wasn't aware how much the Packers liked Elliott. That being the case, I guess it all depends on how debilitating his back is, and what the recovery time is projected to be. I didn't see Gilbert as specially gifted (he ran a 4.9 something 40 time), but he could fill a role, either all this year, or until Biegel returns.

As for Clark, the toughest decision is how many WRs will be on the PS. My guess is in week one they go 7, with Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Janis, Davis, Yancy, with McCaffrey or Dupre as the last pick. Week two they reactivate Allison, Dupre goes to the PS, to join McCaffrey and Clark. That PS is going to have an imbalance between offense and defense of at least 6-4, maybe even 7-3.

Clark is just too raw to stay on the 53 (imo), but has huge upside. It's the classic dilemma, big upside, not ready yet, carries a risk (of losing him) if put on the PS.
(ricky) "Personally, I'm putting this in a box, driving a stake through its heart, firing a silver bullet into its (empty) head, nailing it shut, loading it into a rocket and firing it into the sun. "

(Pink Floyd) "Set the controls for the heart of the sun"