Like betting on black 22, the Green Bay Packers don’t have any real idea what’s going to happen with their outside linebackers when they face the New York Giants, on Sunday.
Starter Frank Zombo has essentially been ruled out with a sprained knee.
Zombo tried to practice on Friday and the results weren’t promising. Officially, he’s listed as doubtful.
Erik Walden, who started in place of Zombo last week, suffered a bruised thigh and left in the third quarter against New England. He’s practiced on a limited basis this week, but remains questionable for the Giants’ game.
Diyral Briggs, the top backup behind Clay Matthews, is in the same boat as Walden — also listed as questionable.
The final option is inside linebacker Robert Francois, who practiced both inside and outside, this week.
Interestingly, all four guys are players no one wanted. Zombo was an undrafted free agent. Walden and Briggs were mid-season pickups off the waiver wire. Francois has been shuffled back and forth from the practice squad all season.
Although defensive coordinator Dom Capers is a master at covering up weaknesses in the Packers’ defense, the starting spot opposite Matthews isn’t in optimal shape entering the Packers’ biggest game of the season.
According to coach Mike McCarthy, a decision on the starter probably won’t be made until game time.
“The outside linebacker position, really the next 48 hours is important. Frank Zombo tried to go today, it didn’t work out very well. That’s why he is doubtful. The work of Erik Walden, I thought that looked positive, and we’ll see how he feels in the morning coming off the quad bruise. And Briggs’ durability is a concern too. Those are answers that will probably go all the way up to game time,” he said.