With Frank Zombo ruled out for Sunday’s game, the Green Bay Packers will turn to Erik Walden to start at outside linebacker.
Walden was waived by the Miami Dolphins earlier this season and the Packers signed him on Oct. 27. The Packers are Walden’s third team in three NFL seasons. He’s never started an NFL game.
The good news is Walden has gotten extensive work in practice. With Clay Matthews practicing only on a part-time basis due to a shin injury, Walden has gotten most of the reps with the No. 1 defense.
That hasn’t exactly translated to on-field production yet, though. Walden has seven tackles through six games with the Packers. He recorded two against Detroit while playing for Zombo in the second half.
While Walden appears to be a serviceable pass rusher, the concern is he isn’t very good against the run.
“It’s been something I’ve had to work on,” Walden said. “Coach (Kevin) Greene, he always stresses the run is basically a mind thing. Anybody can get out on the edge and rush the passer, but that’s kind of a mindset to stop the run.”
Fortunately for the Packers, this week’s opponent — the New England Patriots — are primarily a passing team.
Barring a roster move, Walden looks likely to be thrown into the fire. Diyral Briggs is the only other backup outside linebacker on the roster.