There are plenty of reasons for the Green Bay Packers to be excited about their potential on defense heading into the 2013 season. Despite the lasting memory of the 2012 season being their inability to tackle Colin Kaepernick in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, the defense still has plenty of pieces in place to become something special.
One of those components is 2012 first round pick Nick Perry who played in only six games a year ago before wrist and knee injuries prevented him from playing again last season. In his part-time role during those six contests, Perry managed to get two sacks and flash plenty of promise for what lies ahead in his career.
At 6-foot-3 265-pounds, Perry is the ideal fit in defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ multi-look defense. In a similar mold to fellow pass rusher extraordinaire Clay Matthews, Perry can use his familiarity with edge rushing from his days at USC to get to the quarterback while his athletic build allows him to drop into coverage when necessary as well. This will allow Capers disguise his looks defensively and confuse opposing offenses on a regular basis.
Perry is penciled in as a starter this coming season with last year’s first-stringer opposite Matthews in Erik Walden now a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Going up against left tackle Bryan Bulaga in practice will help Perry to refine his pass rush moves and learn quickly to accelerate into the upper echelon of edge rushers in his second NFL season.
There’s no doubt that he has one of the best possible coaches a player at his position could ever ask for in arguably the first of the stand-up edge rushers in should-be Hall of Famer Kevin Greene with his 160 career sacks. As the outside linebackers coach with the Packers, Greene told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel following the playoff loss to the 49ers that he expected big things from Perry in 2013. Greene said of Perry:
“He can be physical. He can rush the passer. He can do the whole spectrum of this position. He just needs to come back with a good mind-set and go get it.”
If Perry can stay healthy in 2013, there should be no worries in Green Bay about any similar debacles to what took place in last year’s postseason. His potential is still very much untapped, and the Packers are just waiting for him to come into his own as a pass rusher. As a full-time starter in 2013, there’s no better time than the present.