GREEN BAY - Among the many personal transformations that have surfaced during the Green Bay Packers’ offseason, shedding pounds has been the most popular.
From Aaron Rodgers (10 pounds) to Richard Rodgers (17 pounds) to Datone Jones (20 pounds) to Eddie Lacy (???), many a simple carbohydrate were passed over since the end of last season.
Leaner is certainly better for most football players, but dropping weight is not for everyone.
Take outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott.
While the others were skipping late night snacks, he was adding one. While others were trying to drop a size, he was trying to go up one.
“I used to play at 245,” Elliott said. “Now I’m 255. I think it’s good weight.”
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The 6-3 Elliott has made his mark on special teams as a big man who can run and playing at 245 pounds suited him just fine. But Elliott is serious about being in the rotation at outside linebacker and in order to get on the field he knew he had to play the run better and add some power to his pass-rush moves.
Elliott has had some big moments — he made the team in 2014 in part because of his five sacks in the preseason and forced two turnovers in the victory over Seattle last year – but he has not been able to sustain his production.
In part because he’s so valuable on special teams and in part because he has needed to be more consistent, Elliott’s snaps on defense have been limited. He played 14.6 percent of the snaps last season, averaging about 12 per game.
This offseason, he decided to bulk up in an attempt to show he can fulfill all the duties at outside linebacker.
“During OTAs, coach Dom (Capers) asked me what I was weighing and told me to stick to this weight,” Elliott said. “And so I ran with it. I started to eat better and I have more muscle mass and less fat weight.
“My main goal is to be a better run stopper. I feel like with the extra few pounds it will help me set the edge and help me with my pass rush ability, so I won’t get tossed around a lot.”
Keeping the weight on will be a challenge during training camp because for player like Elliott it can be hard to consume enough good calories to match the weight he’s burning off in 2-hour, 45-minute practices in the heat
But he said he’s improved his diet and is hoping that will allow him to maintain his strength.
“I’m trying to eat a better snack at night and hydrate better, just trying to take care of my body,” he said. “I’m trying to be an adult.”