Camp Preview: By Numbers at OLB

We look at one key player, one darkhorse, one new face and one person on the bubble, plus provide some numbers you might not know about the outside linebackers.

One key player: Clay Matthews is one of the most feared defenders in football, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers takes advantage of that by moving him around the defense to take advantage of mismatches. Presumably without Cullen Jenkins, the pressure is on Matthews to take his game up another level.

One darkhorse: Remember Brad Jones? He's the forgotten man at the other outside linebacker slot. As a rookie, Jones probably was an upgrade over the injured Aaron Kampman. He had a quiet second season, though, which ended after just six games due to a shoulder injury.

One on the bubble: With Brady Poppinga set to be released on Friday, the one veteran who might not survive camp is Jones. Jones missed most of his rookie training camp with a back problem and missed a lot of it again in 2010 with the shoulder injury that doomed his season. He absolutely must get through camp this time because there's depth. Erik Walden and Frank Zombo showed some promise and a sixth-round pick was used on ...

One new face: "Ricky Elmore should bless his stars that he's going to get coached by Kevin Greene," director of college scouting John Dorsey said. "He's got a lot of traits that Kevin seeks in the position. I think he's relentless. I think he can play every snap like it's his last snap, and that's what Kevin demands. He can be physical because he's got size. Even though he doesn't run a fast 40 time, he plays the game faster than his 40 time. He's going to help create competition and maybe he can get some playing time opposite Clay."

4.5: Number of sacks in five postseason games by Matthews. Only Reggie White, with eight, has more in franchise history (sacks became an official stat in 1982).

7: Combined sacks by Zombo (four) and Walden (three) during the regular season. Among 3-4 outside linebackers, only nine individuals had more. That probably explains why outside linebacker wasn't a priority in the draft.

40: Quarterback hits by Matthews, according to the Packers' count. Zombo had seven, Jones six, Walden five, Robert Francois three and Poppinga had one for a combined total of 22.

3: Sacks by Walden in the Week 17 game against Chicago. In his previous 36 regular-season games in the NFL, he had zero. He added another in the wild-card game at Philadelphia.

0: Missed tackles last season by Jones, according to Pro Football Focus. Jones finished the season with 37 tackles, according to the Packers. Walden missed one tackle and finished with 31 stops. Zombo missed five tackles and finished with 67 stops.

3: Number of times Francois was released by the Packers last season. But, in a perfect example of their season, he started one game and played extensively in the NFC Championship Game due to injuries.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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