Packers OTA Notes: Mike Neal at OLB All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Mike Neal
Neal saw more time at outside linebacker at Tuesday’s OTA’s

The Green Bay Packers resumed OTA’s and one of the big stories from today’s practice was defensive end Mike Neal, who lined up at outside linebacker during a portion of today’s activities.  He was also with the OLB’s as well as the defensive ends during position drills.  Neal spent some time at OLB last week as well.

It should be noted that there are some question marks at outside linebacker, especially in those who are proven at the position.  Behind starter Clay Matthews is Nick Perry, Dezman Moses, Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba.  Perry is expected to re-assume the other starting OLB spot when the season begins, although he still is not 100% back from a wrist injury that ended his rookie season after just six games.  Moses filled in some last year after being signed as an undrafted free agent, but doesn’t appear likely to make a big jump.  Palmer was the Packers’ sixth round selection in this year’s draft and, while the team seems very high on him, he has yet to play a down at the NFL level.  Mulumba was an undrafted free agent that the Packers signed immediately following the draft and, like Palmer, has yet to play a down at the pro level.  Green Bay lost OLB’s Erik Walden and Frank Zombo to free agency.

It’s too early to tell if the team has seen enough to think that Neal can move outside on a more regular basis, but he clearly did enough last week to get another look.

Other notes from the Twitter accounts of various media that were in attendance at today’s practice, including Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Ty Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee:

  • Jarrett Boykin appears to have the inside track on one of the wide receiver spots vacated by the departures of Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.  Last season, Boykin impressed late during the pre season and was the team’s choice as their fifth wide receiver.  He did leave today’s practice early after he appeared to sustain an leg injury.  He hobbled off the field and was being tended to by the team trainers.
  • Andrew Quarless continues his quest to return to the team after suffering a severe knee injury late during the 2011 season.  Head Coach Mike McCarthy commented on Quarless after today’s practice, stating “clearly the best shape he’s been in. …He looks really good. Excellent job in strength and conditioning.”  This is seemingly good news for the team as Quarless had been the team’s second option at tight end prior to his injury.
  • In punt return drills, it was Randall Cobb, Jeremy Ross, Johnathan Franklin and Jordy Nelson taking reps today.
  • Tramon Williams showed well today and he will need to continue to do so throughout this offseason.  With Sam Shields expected to sign his restricted free agent tender, Williams will be battling standout rookie Casey Hayward as well as Davon House for the other outside cornerback position.
  • Marshall Newhouse took reps with the first team offensive line at right tackle and appears to be the frontrunner for that position, at least for the time being
  • Don Barclay was lined up at several positions along the offensive line.  Barclay filled in last season at right tackle after the team lost Bryan Bulaga to injury.  With the team having drafted offensive lineman David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter, Barclay’s future with the team came into question.  With Tretter having suffered a bad ankle injury last week, Barclay’s versatility is likely too valuable for the team to let him go.
  • Defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was not present at today’s practice.  He continues to work through some of the logistics that stem from his past legal troubles in his hometown of Houston, Texas.  Until then, Jolly will not be able to participate in team activities.  McCarthy stated that he would not comment on Jolly until he is officially a part of the team again.  It is not certain if Jolly is in Green Bay or when he might get on the field.
  • Inactives for today’s practice:  Derek Sherrod, J.C. Tretter, Desmond Bishop, Dezman Moses, DuJuan Harris, Davon House, Jerel Worthy, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly (absent), Kevin Dorsey, Charles Johnson.  Because McCarthy does not typically address player health during OTA’s, it is unknown why some on this list did not participate today.

We will have more updates here as the week progresses.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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29 thoughts on “Packers OTA Notes: Mike Neal at OLB

    1. My guess: part of it is health-related and the other is that they are high on who they have. It would seem that they expect Perry back and full strength. Moses is still a question mark (my opinion). And they appear to have decent plans for Palmer, although it’s hard to assume a guy will work out before they put the pads on and get into game action.

  1. Adequate back-up at OLB is another problem that TT failed to address in this year’s draft. UFA Malumba is probably a better prospect than Palmer. Why TT didn’t draft Ty Powell when he had the chance beats me.

    1. Ty Powell? Ho w do you know he’s such a better prospect than Palmer? Palmer looked as good to me as any other mid round pick. At that point your projecting for the future more than present production anyway.

    2. Seriously Powell had fewer sacks at a lower level of competition than Palmer did last year. Powell is slightly faster, but no numbers on Palmer for quickness, so who’s to say who’s the better prospect. Palmers arms were significantly longer, which helps in pass rush. Both were late round prospects that need a lot of development. Can’t see how one is significantly better that he’ll be able to help this year anyway. Its about potential late in the draft and the Packers scouts clearly thought Palmer was a better long term prospect.

      Just didn’t see anything about Powell that makes him stand above Palmer. Guess I’ll go w/ the Packer scouts over you on this one!

  2. If only TT could be as smart as Greg. TT has given you very little to criticize. Be Happy!

  3. TT is one of the most overrated GMs in the NFL. For every Aaron Rodgers he has selected in the draft, he’s selected three Justin Harrells. I will give him credit in this year’s draft for selecting Datone Jones, for trading up to get Johnathan Franklin, and for his numerous trades to acquire 11 draft picks. But, what did we get out of those 11 draft picks besides Jones and Franklin? A RB with a fused big toe? Look at all of the players that TT missed who were available to him at the time he made each selection: Terron Armstead, Quinton Patton, Jesse Williams, David Quessenberry, Bacarri Rambo, Jordan Poyer, Nick Williams, and Ty Powell. We could have had all of these players in addition to Jones and Franklin, plus our final pick could have been TE Zach Sudfeld or another OLB, Central Florida’s Troy Davis.
    Jersey Al wouldn’t be publishing articles about the insanity of Mike Neal as a possible OLB or the merry-go-round that is our offensive line had TT done his job. Maybe one Super Bowl every 15 years or so is good enough for you, but it isn’t for me. In two years a Super Bowl Championship team has fallen to being the 3rd or 4th best team in the NFC despite having the best QB in the NFL. You tell me who is to blame.

    1. You assume that your ranking of these draft prospects is an accurate assessment of their future NFL success.

      1. No I don’t. Based upon the Packers’ needs and the players’ talents and their past performances in college, these selections would have, on paper at least, made the Packers’ draft the best in the NFL.

        This team prides itself on building from the draft. The team’s slippage from a legitimate Super Bowl contender to one fortunate enough to get into the playoffs is due, in part, to less-than-great drafts for the past 3 years.

        1. Good thing Thompson doesn’t scout based on paper or whatCBS grades on. You act like the guys you know are automatically bettrr even tho your not a scout. More well known doesn’t equal better!

          I would say your ratio is back ass wards. Thompson probably hit on 3 for every Harrell

          1. In addition to Harrell, let’s all remember the great football careers as Packers of other outstanding draft picks by Ted Thompson; such as: Caleb Schlauderaff, Ricky Elmore, Lawrence Guy, Jarius Wynn, Jamon Meredith, Brandon Underwood, Breno Giacomini, Brian Brohm, Pat Lee, Clark Harris, DeShawn Wynn, Korey Hall, Allen Barbre, Aaron Rouse, David Clowney, Korey Hall, Brandon Jackson, Jason Spitz, Abdul Hodge, Ingle Martin, Corey Rodgers, Will Blackmon, Tony Moll, Tyrone Culver, Dave Tollefson, Terence Murphy, Marviel Underwood, Brady Poppinga, Junius Coston, Mike Hawkins, Mike Montgomery, Kurt Campbell, Craig Bragg and Will Whitticker, among others. Where are they now? Certainly not in Canton.

            Although it is too early to tell, I strongly suspect that we may also wonder some day about Derek Sherrod, Jerel Worthy, Nick Perry and, perhaps the pick who may turn out to be the biggest bust of them all, Eddie Lacy.

            1. 6th rd, 7th rd, 6th rd, 5th rd, 6th rd, 5th rd, 2nd rd, 2nd rd, 7th rd, 7th rd, 6th rd, 4th, 4th, etc etc etc… Lets see I think Meredith is still in the NFL, Hall played a couple year for GB, hardly a bust for a 6th, Jackson was a productive role player for the SB team, Murphy retired due to neck condition, Blackmon was a pretty good return man, Underwood never recovered from a serious knee injury. Giacomini is a starter in Seattle now. Spitz was a starter until an injury ended his days in GB and ultimately his career!

              For the Brohm and Lee 2nd round misses, we also have Nelson, Jennings, Cobb, Colledge, Collins. That’s 3 to 1 ratio in the 2nd rd. When you get past the 4th rd its 50/50 if they even contribute much less become starters!

              1. A “bust” is a “bust” is a “bust” and the majority of the players TT has selected over the years are nothing more than mere memories. While that may also be the case with most of the other NFL teams, it goes to show that TT isn’t the genius you “homies” think he is. The fact of the matter is that he has allowed the Packers to decline from Super Bowl Champs into the 4th best team in the NFC. This year they will be lucky to win the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers has a limited number of years remaining when he will be at his peak. I’d hate to see him retire with only one ring. Who knows, like Peyton Manning, AR may have to finish out his career with another team to have a chance for a second.

              2. Noone said Thompson is a genius! But he’s as good a GM as any in the NFL. The fact of the matter is he has built the Packers from an aging also ran into a SB contender year in and year out. Blaming a GM for guys that suffer career ending catastrophic injurie is utterly ridiculous. Packers will win the NFCN fairly easily. Bears don’t have the defensive/team leader and are saddled w/ Cutler at QB. Minn has Ponder at QB and an aging D. And Det is schitzophrenic. They will be in he conversation w/ the best teams in the NFC as well as the NFL.

    2. Dude, they were talking about trying out Mike Neal at OLB —LAST YEAR’S OTAs— even though they never did. So, no, it’s not some knee-jerk reaction to an unforeseen OLB situation or due to a poor draft.

      It is flawed logic to complain about all the guys TT missed on this draft before any of them have played a down in the NFL- Just as Chad has mentioned.

      The game isn’t won and lost on paper.

    3. Blame the NFL, Greg. In the last 10 years, the following teams have made multiple Super Bowl appearances: New York Giants, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts. Of those, only the Giants, Pats and Steelers have won more than 1. Countless other teams haven’t even sniffed a SB appearance, let alone a win. It’s today’s NFL. . nothing is guaranteed. If you’re going to take the 2010 win after a 10-6 season and an exception-to-the-rule playoff run, then you also have to take the 15-1 team who gets bounced in round 2. Each team had its flaws that ultimately fell on Thompson’s lap. They happened to win a championship and nullified his lack of activity in free agency in 2010 (and overcame a boat load of injuries).
      You can’t act like this team doesn’t compete each year. 4/32 is 1 in every 8 teams can expect to see multiple Super Bowl appearances in a decade. That’s today’s NFL. And I get the New England argument and how they continue to succeed despite attrition. Just remember, they haven’t won a SB in nearly 10 years.

      1. I realize that “parity” is the best thing financially for the NFL. But, hands down, Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL. He has one Super Bowl Championship ring. Tom Brady has three. It’s a shame that TT can’t provide AR with the supporting cast necessary to win at least one more than Brett Favre.

        Some are content to reminisce about the glory of 3 years ago. I prefer the present to the past. And in the present, I see this team slipping.

  4. aside from Mathews, the Packers have a collection of unprovens at OLB. Stud OLBs are a must in a 3-4 D, just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers. I really hope Perry is the answer opposite of Clay. So far he looks like Aaron Kampman did, a D lineman standing up. The OLB and Safety position both worry me on thus D

    1. Pitts generally gives the OLB/DE transition 2 full years to develop and judge them in year 3. Maybe we should use some of their common sense.

    2. Aaron Kampman also played how many seasons with his hand on the ground in the NFL first? Perry at least has the opportunity to grow into the role.

      You want to pick Pittsburgh as a comparison, but guys like Chad Brown and others who manned that spot and made a name for themselves were excellent pass rushers and not much beyond that. I think Nick Perry has a chance to be at least that.

  5. Stroh. ..TT is in his what? 5th year of the 3-4 D? And he has one OLB position locked down. The other OLB position has been a revolving door joke. I’m praying that Perry is the answer. Its been to long running this D without quality bookend OLBs. Pittsburgh would have never gone this long without nailing down the LBing corners for thier D because they know how important it is.

    1. In OTAs. Not in August. There’s enough of a logjam at DL right now that if he can play a role in the “psycho” that injects more energy in the pass rush, then more power to him. Otherwise, he’s doomed to be a situational pass-rusher on this defense (or trade bait to be a 4-3 DE/DT somewhere else).

      But if you’re going to insert him into that kind of scenario–where I think his role at OLB will best play–he still needs to be able to handle other responsibilities. That’s why you test it here and now.

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