Mike Neal is Explosible

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Mike Neal sacks Jake Locker

Mike Neal sacks Jake Locker

We were wondering what the hell was going on when the Green Bay Packers moved Mike Neal from defensive end to outside linebacker during OTAs. Well, the move seems to be working fine so far.

Outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene says Neal has “explosibility.”

What the hell is explosibility? Well, we’re guessing Greene means Neal is explosive.

“He brings a lot of tools to the fight,” Greene said. “His power and speed and explosibility are (some) of them. Clay (Matthews) brings that same kind of stuff to it. It’s just Mike weighs a little bit more with it.”

The question with Neal will remain if he’s too big to play standing up. He weighs 275 pounds and most outside linebackers in the 3-4 are 260 or less.

The Packers seem to think Neal’s speed makes up for his size and that outside linebacker might put him in better position to play the run. Neal had 4.5 sacks as a defensive end last season, but only managed 11 tackles.

That’s a pretty awful tackle total for a guy who played in 11 games.

“I think [outside linebacker] just best suits me. I don’t think I’m a bad run player as a defensive end, but I think using my athleticism is probably the biggest thing,” Neal said. “It just puts me in a better role to be able to use my athleticism. I think the learning part of it is what they wanted me to learn so I can put myself in those positions.”

Ah, the learning part is what they wanted him to learn. Lots of good grammar and speech going on here.

Anyway, we doubt Neal will end up playing a huge role at outside linebacker this season. That is, unless Nick Perry proves to be a failure or Clay Matthews gets hurt.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

15 Comments on "Mike Neal is Explosible"

  1. vj

    Yet another example of a square peg trying to fit in a round hole…nice pick Ted Thompson!!! A fucking 4-3 DE trying to awkwardly find his place on a 3-4 scheme…

  2. the real russ letlow

    I would not want to be a 215lb halfback trying to block this guy on a blitz pick up. If he makes it to the QB once a game, its worth playing him there. If you are a QB or RB and you get trucked by a 275lb hybrid DL/OLB, you are going to remember it. ….maybe……..after you wake up……

    • Phatgzus

      If you wake up, plus it’s not likely he’ll be dropping into pass coverage, maybe a zone assigent once every 3 games, I’m guessing if they line him up as an LB it’ll be in the Psyho or 2-4-5 Nickel packages, and maybe, just maybe sub packages on the 3-4.

  3. FITZCORE1252

    In all seriousness, Neal at OLB is going to be nice… Write it down… Big letters. Idk how often he will line up there, but I think I see where they’re going with this… Brian Caraveau had a nice write up on it. I’m on board.

  4. Deepsky

    I’m not sold on this move. Neal was actually having a good season at defensive tackle last year when he played, so why move him? On top of that, while Neal is a strong guy, he’s slow, so he’s not going to get around many tackles and he doesn’t have good hands like Daniels.

  5. First of all, I’m glad to hear he’s healthy. If he’s healthy, I’ve always thought he could help somewhere. As for OLB, I can’t help reminding myself that can mean pass coverage. Neal seems to be a guy (because of his tweener size) without a position. But if he can just stay healthy, I believe he can help somehow, somewhere, part of the time.

  6. CB

    Forget about pass coverage. Can you spell the word Spell?
    He is there on clear running downs that avoid him in coverage and to spell Clay and Nick to keep them fresh and firing on passing downs.

    When he is in on running siutations, he creates a kwazi 4-3 defense…which is perfect!

  7. PF4L

    I don’t know how the OLB experiment will turn out, no one does, until they play during the season. It’s not a secret that Neal can make plays. If he can stay injury free for a season, i’d call that a win.

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