The Green Bay Packers have signed a truly stunning number of free agent players since March of this year, and the team continued that trend on Wednesday as they agreed to contract terms with outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. The moves that Ted Thompson has made this year are precisely the types of signings that a vocal portion of the Packers’ fan base has been clamoring for — bringing in veteran players at positions of need on relatively team-friendly contracts.
From a football-only perspective, the Brooks signing appears to be a slam dunk. He is an ideal scheme fit for the Packers’ system, he has been consistently healthy and productive, and he brings a physical edge that the team has been looking for on defense.
But what cannot be ignored is Brooks’ off-the-field baggage. There appears to be a pattern of behavior that dates back to college, when he was dismissed from the University of Virginia’s football team. Next month, he faces a pre-trial hearing on sexual battery charges. In between, he has also been accused of allegedly hitting a teammate with a beer bottle (no charges were brought) and was accused of punching a woman in 2008 (Brooks accepted mediation to have those charges waived).
The Packers cannot claim to have moral high ground relative to the rest of the NFL, as they have employed players with criminal records in the past. However, it is still important to mention this pattern of behavior in the context of his signing. We obviously cannot say what transpired during Brooks’ interviews with the Packers, and presumably these issues were discussed. But now, Brooks is now a member of this team, and fans will be left to make their own judgments about whether the signing is appropriate.
Shifting gears to the rest of the Packers’ roster, the team faces the Los Angeles Rams tonight in the final preseason game before the final cuts. Tonight’s game will be the last chance for bubble players to prove that they deserve a spot on the 53-man roster.
Tune in tonight to see which players flash and show that they deserve to make the team.
Packers believe they're getting 'tough, tough' player in Ahmad Brooks - ESPN
Toughness is one of the common refrains from the Packers' coaches about Brooks over the past few days, as Winston Moss mentioned in his comments Tuesday.
Ahmad Brooks brings versatility to Green Bay Packers' defense | Packersnews.com
The other key to Brooks' game is the ability to play on both sides. He immediately will slide into the #3 outside linebacker spot ahead of Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott, and should provide valuable insurance behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.
Trevor Davis showing there's more to his game | Packers.com
Davis had a nice game last Saturday, with three catches for 39 yards, and he bounced back from a muffed punt two weeks ago with another nice return. Another good performance tonight would lock him onto the roster (he might be there already anyway) and could also earn him some early playing time on offense.
5 players with most to gain in Packers’ preseason finale vs. Rams | Packers Wire
Christian Ringo had arguably his best game last Saturday in Denver; if he can put another good batch of tape together tonight he might lock in a roster spot of his own.
2017 NFL season preview: Floor, ceiling for each NFC team - NFL.com
NFL.com sees the Packers finishing no better than 13-3 but no worse than 8-8, and they think that the team's overall success hinges on Ty Montgomery's role.