As of right now, Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews will miss one month with a fractured thumb. I say as of right now because there is a chance he could still have season-ending surgery. Obviously, the news is not good no matter how one tries to spin it. At this point, the Packers will need one player in particular to step up in Matthews’ absence.
On third-and-9 at the Packers 34-yard line, Matthews sacked quarterback Matthew Stafford for a 12-yard loss that forced the Detroit Lions to punt. It was a huge play by a play maker that kept the momentum in Green Bay’s favor. Unfortunately, it was obvious something was wrong with Matthews as he immediately looked down at his hand while he ran off the field. Team doctors led him into the locker room and he never returned to the game.
Mike Neal will be placed in the starting lineup while Matthews sits out at least four games. However, it is Nick Perry who must step up for the Packers. The 23-year-old will take over for Matthews on the right-side of the defensive line.
Perry and Neal both played well in Sunday’s win, but the contest was never really close. With that being said, Perry did record the first two-sack game of his career, which is something that certainly must be acknowledged. Meanwhile, Neal managed to get his first sack of the season.
Perry has yet to pan out exactly how the Packers had hoped when they selected him in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Part of that reason is because he missed a majority of his rookie season after he suffered a wrist injury. However, there is no time for excuses. He must prove to everyone that he is worthy of suiting up for the Packers and capable of playing at a high level. He has a great opportunity to show his worth, which is something that he must not squander over the next month.