The Green Bay Packers have made some changes to their defensive front seven this season and the new-look defense will get their first test tonight against the San Diego Chargers.
The most notable changes to watch for will be at the outside linebacker position where first-round draft pick Nick Perry will be making his debut with the team. He will be playing on the left side where Clay Matthews was last season, with Matthews moving back to his old position at right outside linebacker.
Perry has a lot potential going into this season and the organization and the fans are expecting big things from the former USC star. He has some of the same athletic abilities as Matthews, but is more of a power player. Perry was a great bull rusher in college and has a great combination of power moves.
As for Matthews, he will be back to his old position attacking the blindside of most quarterbacks. This is where he was for his rookie season before he switched sides and this move should benefit the Packers greatly. Most NFL teams run the ball on the right side of the field where the tight end is usually for extra blocking. Perry’s strength should be better to help stop the run while Matthews can use his speed to rush around the blockers and get the runner from behind. Also, since Matthews is the best pass-rusher on the team, it’s better for him to attack the blindside since that can cause more forced fumbles from the quarterback which will obviously lead to more turnovers.
Another piece of the defensive line puzzle to watch is defensive end Jerel Worthy. He was the second-round draft pick by the Packers and his name has not been brought up much in training camp. However, Worthy will have lots of value to this team as the defensive ends will need to create pressure that they were unable to do last season. If Worthy can create penetration at the line, it can open up lanes for the linebackers off the edge or create good stunt opportunities. It will also allow for lanes to be open in blitz plays and create more havoc for the quarterback.
Tonight’s game will have many players resting for Green Bay, but the one group of players that will be out there getting chemistry together will be the defensive front seven. Expect to see the most of them out of any of the starters in tonight’s game and keep an eye on how well the new players fit in.
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