With Matthews out, former USC teammate Nick Perry must finally step up
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com Senior Editor
~Ted Thompson went against the grain and made USC’s Nick Perry his first round pick in last year’s NFL Draft.
Rather than trade a mid to late-round pick for former TCU first round pick Jerry Hughes, who had been a non-fit as a stand-down DE in the Colts’ system, Thompson chose to roll the dice with the larger man in Perry.
This despite the fact that Perry himself admitted he felt more comfortable and natural as a hands-down DE in a 4-3 defense.
Almost two seasons in now, and the results with Perry as an OLB have been about the same as Hughes was for three years as a DE in Indianapolis: Less than Desired.
Enough about missing on Hughes though, which still pains me.
Perry has, at times, displayed that power that made Thompson gamble on the former Trojan. But as physical as he looks, he’s been injured almost as often as he’s made impact plays.
With no Matthews the rest of the year, it is time for Perry to stay on the field, and start crushing quarterbacks, running backs, and blockers getting in his way.
Jay Cutler, when given time, will pick apart the Packers secondary. With tall targets in Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and Martellus Bennett, those guys are mismatches for any secondary, if the quarterback has time to throw. When Matthews was suited up, he often got the best of the Bears LT and harassed Cutler into forced throws. Those were often interceptions for the Packers secondary.
However, that was when Nick Collins and Charles Woodson were lurking back there.
Now, you have a team full of safeties for Green Bay who have a combined zero (0) interceptions on the whole season. Zip.
Sam Shields and Tramon Williams each had key late picks of Tony Romo two games ago, but that was the famous December 4th quarter RomoCoaster. And that was with Matthews pressuring.
Now, no Matthews. And that means Perry, as well as Mike Neal, need to raise their game and wreak havoc around the edges getting after Cutler.
If Perry does breakout and have his first impact game of his career, the Packers have a good chance of beating Chicago, winning the division, and getting into the tournament.
But if Perry is quiet again, or breaks down like an old Dodge, then the Packers defense might doom both the Packers season and Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers’ Packers coaching tenure.