Greene's Focus On Game, Not Fame

Hall of Fame finalist Kevin Greene is confident a potpourri of outside linebackers will rise to the occasion on Sunday against the Giants.

Last weekend, Kevin Greene became a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time.

"I'm really honored to be on the list," Greene told Packer Report on Friday. "I've been on the initial list a bunch and the 25(-man list of semifinalists) a bunch. My focus right now, this is my job, this is what I do. It's an honor to be on the list but I'm really, really, really focused on what I'm doing."

He has reason to be focused on Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game against the New York Giants.

There's an old football adage that goes something like this: If you have two quarterbacks, you have none.

To put a green-and-gold spin on that old football adage, if you have four right outside linebackers, you have none.

"Not at all," disagreed Greene. "I feel solid about all of my guys. I feel absolutely solid that they're all going to be in there and play their hearts out and be where they need to be."

Being in the right place and making a play, however, are two different things. Erik Walden started the first 15 games but has fallen out of favor after recording just three sacks and struggling against the run down the stretch. He might be the starter against the Giants, anyway, but Brad Jones, Frank Zombo and Vic So'oto are all in the mix for playing time.

"What we're doing is we'll go with the hot hand," defensive coordinator Dom Capers told Packer Report. "Each one of those guys have done some good things through the course of the season. I don't know that any one guy has distinguished himself as, ‘He is the guy.' When you have that situation, you get in the playoffs, you're going to go with the guy that's out there making plays. I could see any one of those three guys out there playing."

In Capers' scheme, outside linebackers are meant to be the star. That's why Greene is in contention to be in the Hall of Fame and why general manager Ted Thompson moved up in the 2009 draft to get Clay Matthews.

However, Walden finished with as many sacks this season as he tallied in Week 17 against Chicago last year. Zombo, whose fifth sack of last season came in the Super Bowl, finished with just one. Jones and So'oto recorded their only sacks of the season two weeks ago against Detroit.

"I feel like I've had a back-and-forth regular season," Zombo said. "I'd like to come out and get a couple of sacks — that'd be awesome. No matter what my role is, whether it's special teams or defense, hopefully good things come out of it."

Without any consistent production from that spot, opposing offenses haven't paid a price for zeroing in on Matthews, who wound up with just six sacks.

"Yeah, would love to see one of those guys step up and have a big-time game opposite Clay," Greene said. "Absolutely. That's the reason why I've got those guys in there: to give them all a shot to be that playmaker opposite of the Claymaker."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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