Playing smart important to powerful Packers nose tackle Brian Price

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Brian Price (96) is shown during their preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.

GREEN BAY - If nose tackle Brian Price makes the Green Bay Packers' 53-man roster, it’s not going to be because he’s stronger than the guy across from him.

It’s going to be because he’s stronger than the guy across from him and can use it to his advantage.

The 6-3, 322-pound Price is the only true nose tackle on the team other than Kenny Clark and Letroy Guion, the latter of whom will miss at least the first four games because of a suspension. There’s room for Price to carve out a spot for himself after getting a small taste of action as a rookie last year.

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But it will require him to play smarter.

“I think between last year and I’d say this year, I’d say I have a lot better IQ for the game,” said Price, an undrafted rookie who was active for two games in ‘16. “I can slow things down, whether it’s a block in front of me or if it’s a play in the backfield. That’s the comparison with being a rookie last year where you’re everywhere, eyes are everywhere and you can’t stop moving enough.

“Sometimes it’s good to just slow yourself down a little bit and make the play.”

Slowing down is not something that comes easy for Price. He’s pretty hyper and would have a hard time getting through a china shop without knocking down a few displays.

He does 200 push-ups a day during the offseason and his mentor is fellow defensive lineman Mike Daniels, which pretty much says it all.

“I’m kind of a brutal guy,” he said. “I don’t mind the contact. So, if we’re hitting hard, count me in. I’m in for it.”

Price has been using his impressive upper-body strength to bull rush opponents, but with short arms, he has to use proper form in order to disengage and get to the quarterback or running back. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac is trying to get him to use his feet to help set up the bull rush and there are times Price gets it and times he doesn’t.

You can tell in one-on-one pass rush drills when he gets it because the other guy usually gets pushed back five yards. When he doesn’t, he gets swallowed up.

“That’s one thing I try to specialize in is my bull rush,” he said. “It’s good to have a crazy mentor like Mike. I get to pick up small things along the way from him and he gives me tips. His No. 1 tip for me is 'be yourself, be crazy.' I’m cool with that.

“But it’s all about technique as far as your bull rush goes, as contradictory as that sounds. Otherwise, it could be a mess.”

On Friday night, Daniels went nuts when Price blew up a running play in the physical combo drill, reminding him that's what he can do for the defense this year.

Price said he’s not playing the roster game in his head because it’s a waste of time. He said he knows there’s a lot of competition and there’s no need dwelling on it.

“I feel that whatever the situation may be there’s always room for me to fit in somewhere,” he said. “So right now I’m trying to make it work out here in Green Bay.”

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