We know who the Green Bay Packers starters are at outside linebacker. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.
We now know who their backups will be. Reggie Gilbert and Kyler Fackrell.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine raved about Gilbert on Wednesday.
“All you gotta do is watch the tape. Reggie’s done a good job,” Pettine said. “And he’s done a good job at practice too. It’s not just because he’s going against backups. He’s done a good job against our ones. He’s smart, he’s tough, he’s coachable. He’s done a real nice job for us.”
It is assumed Gilbert is now the Packers No. 3 outside linebacker, which could actually be a large role. Both Perry and Matthews are injury-prone.
As for Fackrell, he didn’t get a rave review from Pettine, but he is yet to fall completely out of favor.
“Fackrell’s had his ups and downs. There was the glaring mistake he made in the game, I’m not going to beat him up for that,” Pettine said. “Overall, he’s been consistent. He grades out well on the practice sheet.”
Gilbert has been one of the sensations of training camp. He had 2.5 sacks last week and played great in week 1 of the preseason as well.
Fackrell, a former third-round pick, has been pretty much what he’s always been. Underwhelming.
Looking beyond those two guys, Pettine had nothing to say about former Wisconsin Badger and fourth-round pick Vince Biegel. That’s not a good sign for the second-year player.
Biegel lost much of 2017 because of a foot injury. He played sparingly when he returned. This year, he hasn’t shown much of anything.
At this point, it appears Biegel may be in a battle with Chris Odom for a roster spot. The Packers kept five outside linebackers to open the season last year.
But as always, forming the roster is a numbers game. The Packers seemingly have more depth on the defensive line and at cornerback than they did last year. So maybe they only keep four outside linebackers?
However that shakes out, it doesn’t appear the Packers are counting on Biegel for much.