The Green Bay Packers know you can never have enough pass rushers. That’s why, when it comes to guys who can pressure the quarterback, they do their best to remain stocked up.
And in typical Packers fashion, another promising young talent has come along in the name of Kyler Fackrell.
Fackrell, a third-round pick out of Utah State, had a rough start to training camp. At times, he appeared overmatched and at one point, there was a question of whether he would make the 53-man roster.
Certainly, the Packers weren’t going to give up on a high pick that early. And it’s a good thing they didn’t, because as the season got closer, Fackrell improved.
The rookie started pressuring the quarterback and played well late in the preseason, shoring up his spot on the roster. Then, after some early-season injuries to Clay Matthews and Datone Jones, he was called upon at outside linebacker — and so far, he’s delivered.
After just one tackle in two games, Fackrell has had a sack in each of the last two. His sack against Detroit was a thing of beauty. The one he got against New York, may have changed the game.
At the time, the Packers were up eight and the Giants were starting a two-minute drive. New York was going to get the ball to start the third quarter, so it had the chance for back-to-back scores.
Then Fackrell made the biggest play of his young career. The rookie burst around the edge and chased Manning down from behind, while also knocking the ball out.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 10, 2016
Green Bay recovered and converted the turnover into three points, which gave the Packers a comfortable 11-point lead at the half.
“Dude was a beast,” outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott said. “Guy comes to work, doesn’t say much and just does his job. As a teammate, personally, I’m proud of him. Guy came here since day one and just continues to make plays. He’s continued to get better like every day.”
The development of Fackrell is key, not only for this season, but for the future.
Matthews will obviously be around long term. But Julius Peppers, Nick Perry and Datone Jones all have expiring contracts. It’s likely that at least one of those guys is back, but either way, Fackrell will be counted on to play a major role in the near future.
And after the way his career has started for the Packers, it looks like Fackrell will be more than up to the task.