So'oto Stuck on Roster Bubble

Vic So'oto was a standout of last year's preseason and training camp. This summer, aside from a sack against San Diego, he's been mostly invisible. He'll need a repeat of last year's final two preseason games to carve out a role on the team.

It was almost one year ago today — Aug. 26, 2011 — when Vic So'oto forced his way onto the Green Bay Packers' roster.

The undrafted free agent from BYU, making the transition from collegiate defensive end to professional outside linebacker, recorded four tackles, one sack and one forced fumble against the Colts' starters. A week later, So'oto tallied three tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown and one forced fumble against Kansas City.

Despite such promise, So'oto was practically a nonfactor once the regular season began. Due in part to limitations on special teams, he played in just seven games. He was given his shot at the end of the season, with 72 snaps in the final two games. Despite getting his first sack against Detroit in Week 17, he wasn't active for the playoff game.

The Packers preach the gains made by players from Year 1 to Year 2, but that seemingly hasn't been the case for So'oto. Of the seven outside linebackers on the roster, So'oto is pretty clearly No. 6 — ahead of only Frank Zombo, who hasn't practiced in training camp due to an injured hamstring.

"No, no, I think Vic has improved," disagreed outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene. "He's improved in his pad level, he's improved in his pass rush, he's improved in his run defense, he's improved in his pass coverage. He's improved, absolutely."

"I put in a lot of work," So'oto said, "and am getting better and it's been a good training camp. Hopefully, I've gotten better and reached the point where they'll be confident to put me in there whenever they need me."

Barring a dramatic turn of events — like those that happened against the Colts and Chiefs last summer — So'oto might be the odd man out when final cuts are made. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are the starters, Dezman Moses and Erik Walden are the No. 2 tandem and So'oto and Brad Jones have formed the third pair. Walden is having a good camp — he had sacks on back-to-back plays on Monday — and Moses and Jones are on all four special-teams units. So'oto isn't a No. 1 on any of the special team. He had a sack against San Diego two weeks ago and finally recorded his first win in the one-on-one pass-rushing drills on Monday.

"He probably needs more opportunities and, hopefully, we can get that to him in the Cincinnati game," coach Mike McCarthy said. "But, yes, he has definitely flashed. I don't think it's a matter of the big play or the pass rush for the sack. It's really his overall play, his contribution on special teams. Those are the goals he needs to reach."

So'oto has two games to get off the roster bubble. Two games to show that the promise flashed last summer is ready to become production. Two games to show he's worth a spot on the final 53.

"It's kind of the same," he said. "You can't really control what happens outside of your play. That's the way I go at it is just go out there and try to make plays when you have opportunities."

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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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