Three Ways Ahmad Brooks Could Help the Packers
The Packers came out of Saturday’s preseason game in Denver with one noteworthy injury: Nick Perry is now dealing with a banged up ankle. Combined with a gimpy foot for Vince Biegel and a bad back for Jayrone Elliott, the outside linebackers in Green Bay suddenly are more injured than healthy.
While this isn’t unexpected, it’s still a headache. Perhaps hoping for a quick fix, the Packers have brought former San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks in for a visit. If he passes a physical and the money is right for both sides, Brooks could join the roster by late today.
While Brooks is no spring chicken at 33, he could still contribute to the Packers defense this year should they choose to bring him aboard. Here are three ways we think Brooks could help the Packers defense.
Situational Pass Rushing
For the last three seasons, Brooks has more or less been a situational player in San Francisco. Since the departure of Jim Harbaugh, Brooks has taken a back seat on the 49ers defense, playing just 52% of the defensive snaps in 2014, 65% in 2015, and a shade under 80% in 2016.
Despite his part time role, Brooks’ raw numbers have not declined much. He’s still produced six sacks in each of the last three seasons. Sacks certainly don’t tell the whole story, but that he’s been able to get to the quarterback in limited playing time is still a positive.
Head coach Mike McCarthy regularly harps on the need for players to stay healthy and available, and Brooks has shown he’s capable of doing just that. In the last six seasons, Brooks has missed just three games, citing his durability as a point of pride in an interview late last season:
“The older that I got the more I realized I need to take care of my body. I’m not 22 any more.I’m not a rookie. I pride myself on trying to stay in the best shape, trying to maintain my weight, eat right, and just do all the little things to be able to perform for the next season.”
It’s no secret that the Packers are hurting at outside linebacker right now. Currently, three of the top five players at the position are hurt to some degree, and if Brooks can just provide a modicum of stability just by way of staying healthy, it could be a worthwhile addition to the roster.
This one comes with an asterisk, but it’s still important. Brooks has demonstrated a consistent ability to get to the quarterback even as he’s aged into his 30s. He’s had at least six sacks in each of the last six seasons, peaking with 8.5 in 2013.
While sacks don’t tell the whole story, that Brooks is still able to put up numbers at an advancing age is noteworthy, especially given the fact that no non-starting outside linebacker on the roster has shown much in the way of a regular NFL-caliber pass rush so far.