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Packers Having Problems At Outside Linebacker

Erik Walden

If you were wondering why you were seeing so much of rookies Vic So’oto and Jamari Lattimore on Sunday, it wasn’t because the the Green Bay Packers wanted to rest Clay Matthews and Erik Walden. It’s because they haven’t been happy with Walden’s play.

Walden has now been pulled two weeks in a row and the Packers have gotten minimal pass rush from the spot opposite Matthews, or anywhere else for that matter, all season.

Walden has 57 tackles and three sacks on the season. Frank Zombo, who saw time as a starter last season, hasn’t been a factor either. He’s played in only four games and has been injured much of the season, but was a healthy inactive against the Bears.

So now the Packers are heading into the playoffs with two undrafted rookies getting important reps. They really have no one to blame but themselves for the problem.

The team knew Walden and Zombo weren’t big-time pass rushers, but did nothing in the offseason to address the issue. It might come back to haunt them, as the defense and particularly the pass rush is the weak link on this team.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. peter December 27, 2011

    I think a lot of the issue is raji is the only one on the d line who can get a push. If the line created more issues then the linebackers would get free, but I guess we’ll have to wait for the draft to get a sec big boy.

  2. Vijay December 27, 2011

    Everybody wants to blame these guys when in truth its our defensive line’s shortcomings that have directly contributed to their lack of success. Yes, they are no world beaters themselves but it always starts up front. When the Packers play well at the line, the rest of their defense steps up their game as well. When the line pays poorly (as has been the case this year) players like these have to compensate and provide help tackling/ covering which limits what they can do from a pass rush standpoint.

  3. geopack December 27, 2011

    Yes, our defense is pretty bad; and no, it probably will not come around as all of us hoped. We are going to have to outscore three teams in the playoffs, of which we are certainly capable of doing. This feeling of uneasiness is not unlike the feeling going in as last year, when there was also nothing written in stone. Should be a white-knuckle January.

  4. Buddymobile December 27, 2011

    A Rod’s going to have to score 30+ per game. The D can’t hold on for 60 minutes.
    Go Pack!

  5. iltarion December 27, 2011

    Ahhhhhh…. the Packers had Frank Zombo, an undrafted rookie, as their starter at ROLB, last year, when they won the SUPER BOWL.

    It isn’t a negative thing that So’oto is getting work. It is a definite POSITIVE. He looked a little healthier, quicker, this week. Keep him out there!

  6. RodgerDat December 27, 2011

    Vic So’oto will be this year’s James Starks. Guy is a fuckin beast

  7. Adam December 27, 2011

    Lets petition Goodell to reinstate Jolly and allow us to dress the opposing QB in a bottle of Promethizine.

    14 sacks a game.

  8. tkhelland December 27, 2011


  9. Daaaave December 27, 2011

    No problem getting some minutes for the backups. Hey they can’t do much worse and might shoe some spunk like Francois and DJ Smith did a few games ago.

  10. Kristofer from Oshkosh December 27, 2011

    DJ Smith needs to be on the field. The Packers should try and get him in the game plan. Dude will be a stud. Francois is an excellent backup for the inside linebacker position, but Smith should be starting sooner rather than later, imo.

  11. PackerBob December 27, 2011

    We’re fucked.

    Haha. I say that half-jokingly.

  12. Abe Frohman December 28, 2011

    I think the D’s problems relate to not having the right personnel. Neal has offered nothing and you’ve got to think the rust is off by now. At the other end spot, you’ve got a converted Nose Tackle. Good luck getting a pass rush out of Pickett. Teams can run on us because we therefore play too much nickel. If there’s no pass rush, then the secondary has to hold up longer. Don’t get me started on the shitty LB play of Hawk and Walden.

    All that aside, the secondary still has too many communication issues. Guys are running wide open still. It’s sickening.