5 things to know about new Packers LB Justin Hollins

GREEN BAY – The Packers claimed their third waiver of the 2022 regular season on Thursday.

The fourth-year veteran has 97 career tackles, 11 quarterback hits and seven sacks in 49 regular-season games (seven starts). Five of them have come to the Rams this season.

Here are five things to know about the new Packers linebacker.

1. Hollins worked with Joe Barry in Los Angeles.

The 6-foot-5, 248-pound linebacker will rejoin the Packers’ defensive coordinator after a stint with the Los Angeles Rams in 2020. Barry served as the Rams’ head coach/linebackers coach for four seasons prior to that. Move to Green Bay in 2021. Hollins had his most productive season in Barry’s final year in Los Angeles, recording 28 tackles, five quarterback hits, three sacks and a forced fumble. “I think he’s going to transition quicker in terms of learning the terminology and understanding the basic concepts of the defense,” Hollins Head Coach Matt LaFleur said of getting to know Barry. “So hopefully that will allow him to come out quicker than a guy who isn’t used to that style of system.”

2. He entered the NFL with Vic Fangio’s defense.

As Denver’s fifth-round pick in 2019, Hollins had the opportunity to learn from two of the game’s brightest defensive minds in then-Broncos head coach Vic Fangio and outside linebacker coach Brandon Staley. Hollins posted 21 tackles and a sack as a rookie. Hollins was claimed off waivers by the Rams before the start of the 2020 season and reunited with Staley, who had just been named LA’s new defensive coordinator. Staley was hired as the Chargers’ new head coach the following year, but Hollins remained with the Rams until his firing last weekend. He finished with 76 tackles, nine QB hits and six sacks in 34 games (seven starts) in LA. Hollins grabbed a Super Bowl ring in February with 27 tackles (16 special teams, 11 defensive) in a 23-20 win over Cincinnati.

3. Hollins will help fill a need for Green Bay on defense and possibly special teams.

The Packers were on the edge of the market after losing running back Rashaan Gary to a season-ending knee injury in Detroit earlier this month. The Packers have only had three outside linebackers (Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbar and Jonathan Garvin) on their 53-man roster since Gary’s injury. La’Darius Hamilton was promoted from the practice squad against Dallas and Tennessee. Out of Oregon, Hollins looked like a linebacker with positional versatility. In addition to his work on defense, Hollins played 375 career games on special teams.

4. He led the nation in forcing during his freshman year at Oregon.

Hollins was a three-year outside linebacker at the University of Oregon, finishing his final collegiate campaign as the nation’s leader in forced fumbles with five. His eight forced fumbles in 2017-18 were the most in the nation during that span. Hollins, who finished with a team-best 6½ sacks and an interception, became one of 19 FBS players since 2000 to have at least five sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception in the same season.

5. Hollins was a high school teammate of Myles Garrett.

A native of Arlington, Texas, Hollins played at Grace Preparatory Academy before transferring to Martin High School as a freshman. There, he played defensive end like Garrett, Cleveland’s future No. 1 overall pick in 2017. A three-star prospect, Hollins recorded 59 tackles (49 solo), four sacks, two fumble recoveries and one blocked play. Season in Martin.

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