August 16, 2019 at 8:20 am #904liny linyParticipant
GREEN BAY Dexter Williams Jersey , Wis. — In Baltimore, Za’Darius Smith played second fiddle to Terrell Suggs.In Washington, Preston Smith was the trusty sidekick to Ryan Kerrigan.With Green Bay, Kyler Fackrell toiled behind veteran starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.More Packers coveragePhotos of the Week: 7/21/19 – 7/27/19Packers rookie Gary’s biggest critic is himselfTop Tweets: Former Badger TJ Watt has impressive four-year transformationPHOTOS: 2019 Green Bay Packers training campPackers’ Rodgers, LaFleur ironing out offense, building chemistryIn a sweeping revamp of the outside linebacker group, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst signed the Smiths to massive free-agent contracts, released Perry, allowed Matthews to sign with the Rams, and used a first-round draft pick on Rashan Gary.The Packers are betting on the new starting tandem of Smith and Smith to give the pass rush a much-needed lift. It could hardly be worse. Matthews got only 3 1/2 sacks, the fourth consecutive season with less than eight sacks for the six-time Pro Bowler. Perry had 1 1/2 sacks in an injury-plagued 2018 season, a far cry from his career-high 11 in 2016.The Smiths, however, never were the best pass rushers on their former teams. Za’Darius Smith had a career-high 8 1-2 sacks for the Ravens last season, giving him a total of 18 1-2 in four seasons. Preston Smith had a career-low four sacks for the Redskins last season, giving him a total of 24 1-2 in his four seasons.Nonetheless, with a four-year, $66 million contract for Za’Darius Smith and a four-year, $52 million contract for Preston Smith, the Packers’ new outside linebacker tandem should be tone setters on defense.“You said ‘should be?’” Za’Darius Smith said after Wednesday’s organized team activity. “We are. They brought us here for a reason.”The reason is to get after the quarterback. While the Packers ranked seventh in sack percentage, their pass rush on a play-to-play basis was lacking. With the additions of the Smiths and Gary, plus the return of Fackrell, who had a career-high 10 1-2 sacks last season, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine hopes he can get more pressure through personnel rather than scheme.Yet Elgton Jenkins Jersey , their skill sets will allow Pettine to be creative. With the Ravens, Za’Darius Smith lined up at outside linebacker on some plays, but moved to defensive tackle in passing situations. Gary is viewed as having the same skills. Preston Smith is more of a traditional outside linebacker. Fackrell had a big season as a pass rusher but is comfortable dropping into coverage.“What I like about the room is that it’s not all the same guy,” Pettine said last week. “I think in every position room you need to have that variation in skill set so that way you can do some different things with different guys and move them around. We’re obviously very encouraged about that room and what they’re going to be able to do for us.”With Za’Darius Smith and Gary having the size to rush from the interior, outside linebackers coach Mike Smith said the Packers will use the Smiths, Gary and Fackrell as a foursome in some passing situations.“It really challenges you if you want a certain protection scheme and you have no idea where he’s going to line up. It’s hard to do that because some of the protections are totally dictated upon how you call a concept,” first-year coach Matt LaFleur said.The key for the Packers will be turning potential into defense-changing production. Neither of the Smiths has reached double-digit sacks in a season. Fackrell’s breakout season came on the heels of a total of five sacks his first two seasons. Gary, the 12th overall selection in last month’s draft, had only 9 1-2 QB traps in three seasons at Michigan.Nonetheless, Mike Smith last week said he rated Gary the best outside linebacker prospect in the draft – even ahead of Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, who went No. 2 overall to San Francisco. While the Smiths are embracing their new opportunities, Gary is embracing the high expectations.“I don’t put nobody in front of me,” Gary said. “I feel like I’m the best at what I do and now that I’m here I’m still working for that. I learn from Z, I learn from Preston, so there’s still a long way I’ve got to go, but I never put nobody in front of me.”Notes: Five players did not practice Wednesday. S Josh Jones continues to skip the voluntary offseason workouts as he pushes for a trade, and center Corey Linsley was a late arrival due to travel issues. DT Mike Daniels and rookie LBs Ty Summers and Greg Roberts were present but recovering from injuries. . WR Davante Adams, who did not practice in front of reporters last week, was on the field. “It’s good to be out there with the team, getting some reps in, working with the new offense,” he said. . Incumbent K Mason Crosby went 4 of 5 on field goals while challenger Sam Ficken made all five attempts. COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Forrest Gregg, the great Hall of Fame lineman for the mighty Green Bay Packers of the 1960s that Vince Lombardi called the “finest player I ever coached Dexter Williams Jersey ,” died Friday at age 85.Barbara Gregg said her husband of 59 years died in Colorado Springs from complications of Parkinson’s disease.“I lost my sweetheart this morning,” she said. “It’s awful. He died in my arms.”More Packers coverage from FOX Sports WisconsinPhotos of the Week: 7/21/19 – 7/27/19Packers rookie Gary’s biggest critic is himselfTop Tweets: Former Badger TJ Watt has impressive four-year transformationPHOTOS: 2019 Green Bay Packers training campPackers’ Rodgers, LaFleur ironing out offense, building chemistryShe said that in the last two weeks her husband received a constant flow of calls from former teammates and players telling him he’d made such a big difference in their lives.“I’m overwhelmed at the amount of people that loved Forrest, of the number of players that said he made men out of them,” she said. “Forrest loved people. He loved everybody. He loved his children. He loved me. And it just broke my heart. My heart is broken.”She said the funeral will be sometime next week in Colorado Springs and open to the public.Other survivors include their son, Forrest Gregg Jr., of Cincinnati, and daughter, Karen Gregg-Spehar, of Santa Fe, New Mexico.Hall of Fame president David Baker described Gregg, who was enshrined in 1977, as a “giant” who “exemplified greatness during a legendary career.”“He was the type of player who led by example and, in doing so, raised the level of play of all those around him,” Baker said. “Forrest symbolized many great traits and virtues that can be learned from this game to inspire people from all walks of life.”The flag at the hall will be flown at half-staff in Gregg’s honor.Gregg, who earned the nickname “Iron Man” for playing in a then-record 188 consecutive games during his career, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in October 2011. He quickly embarked on a campaign to raise public awareness about the incurable disease, urging others to seek treatment early enough to delay the degenerative effects on both the mind and body.His family and his neurologist said the disease may have been related to numerous concussions he suffered during his playing career in the 1950s at SMU, and from 1956-71 with the Packers and Dallas Cowboys.Gregg never blamed football for his health ailments, however. He refused to join concussion lawsuits against the NFL and said he still would have chosen to play the sport if he’d known there would be a hefty price to pay later in life.In an interview with The Associated Press in 2013, Gregg said he didn’t begrudge those who sued the league, but he had his pensions from his playing and coaching days Vince Biegel Color Rush Jersey , and “I don’t need anything from anybody but what I earned.”A guard and tackle, Gregg is one of four NFL players to win a-half dozen NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls with the Packers. Gregg finished his career with another Super Bowl title with the Cowboys in 1971. The six-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler was elected to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1960s and to its 75th anniversary team.He went on to coach in the NFL for 11 years with the Browns (1975-77), Bengals (1980-83) and Packers (1984-87).Bengals president Mike Brown on Friday recalled his good friend as one who got the best out of his players.“He was demanding. The players didn’t try to cut corners,” Brown said in a statement. “They went out and did what they had to do, and what we were doing worked. We were somewhat ahead of the curve at the time.”Packers coach Matt LeFleur tweeted a famous photo of a mud-caked Gregg and wrote, “I’d like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of a true Packers legend, Forrest Gregg. This picture has been hanging in my home office for the last 10 years and serves as a great reminder of what a tough competitor Forrest was.”After playing 15 NFL seasons, Gregg won 75 games as an NFL head coach and guided the Bengals to their first Super Bowl during the 1981 season, when they lost 26-21 to Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers.Yet, “the finest bunch of players I was ever around,” Gregg told The AP in 2013, “were the courageous kids at SMU” that went just 3-19 from 1989-90.Gregg was hired at his alma mater to restore integrity to an SMU program that was handed the “death penalty” in the mid-1980s for paying players. They went 2-9 in 1989 upon their return and 1-10 the next year, after which Gregg became SMU’s athletic director.“That was one of the most enjoyable times of my football life,” Gregg told The AP. “Those kids restored dignity to the Hilltop.”Going public with his Parkinson’s diagnosis to promote understanding of the disease that affects more than 1 million Americans, “was probably helpful a little bit,” said Dr. Rajeev Kumar of the Rocky Mountain Movement Disorders Center and the Parkinson’s expert who diagnosed Gregg in 2011. “It’s always good when somebody who’s known and respected lends their weight to the importance of research and education.”Gregg suffered countless concussions during his college and pro seasons, and Kumar said those may very well have been the trigger to Parkinson’s, although there’s no way to know for sure.Gregg continued to cast a dignified, larger-than-life presence even as the disease took its toll, stooping his once granite shoulders and turning his booming baritone into a halting whisper over the last few years.In his last interview with The AP he said he hardly recognized the NFL anymore because it was so different from the sport he played and coached. Despite that, his love for the game endured.He lauded commissioner Roger Goodell for making safety a priority and praised the league for enhancing its concussion protocol and cracking down on illegal hits to the head, measures he prayed would lead to less suffering as today’s players age.
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