Wounded Packers Could use a hand in Perry's Absence

The marquee match-up on Sunday between the Packers and Seahawks was marked on many calendars coming into 2016. It was unforeseen, however, just how drastic the playoff implications would be in the eventual outcome.

The Packers are clinging to their hopes at a last-ditch desperation run at the postseason and are currently 2-0 since quarterback Aaron Rodgers said that his team could run the table down the final six-game stretch. They're one-third of the way there.

The odds were already stacked against the green-and-gold underdogs, but now with a star pass-rusher in Nick Perry already ruled inactive for this game, playoff dreams are already beginning to disintegrate.

It was reported on Wednesday that Perry, the team's starting outside linebacker who would normally be on the opposite edge of Clay Matthews, suffered a significant hand injury against the Texans last week that underwent surgery to repair multiple broken fingers. Head coach Mike McCarthy already ruled him out for Sunday. There is hope, nevertheless, that Perry could play in the games following the upcoming showdown with a club securing his hand, much like wide receiver Jeff Janis did at the beginning of the season. However, his role was limited primarily to special teams. 

Perry was having his best season after being drafted to Green Bay in 2012 and fending off a couple of injury-plagued years. He currently leads the team in sacks and his trailed closely by Julius Peppers and Matthews - both of which are under the watchful eye of the coaching staff. On Wednesday, Peppers didn't practice for the first time in his three seasons with the team. Meanwhile, Matthews was ruled out of practice both Wednesday and Thursday, expecting to be evaluated on Saturday to have a final decision be made on his availability.

It's likely Peppers was taking a break from the commotion he's stirred up in recent weeks. At 36-years old, he's second on the team in sacks and playing more of a role in the defense now than ever before.

Rather than playing inside on passing downs which he had become accustomed to doing under defensive coordinator Dom Capers in the past, Peppers has seen an extended influx of playing time opposite Perry while Matthews was transitioned back to inside linebacker due to injuries.

In his last five games, Peppers has played an average of 39.6 defensive snaps. He started the season averaging 29.5 through the first seven. The Packers' goal over the summer was to keep Peppers' legs fresh for a late-season run that would culminate in a postseason trip. So far, it's beginning to look like it's the 15-year veteran's time to shine, and there couldn't be a more detrimental time for him to light a spark.

"We're trying to make it work with what we have," said Peppers, who last Sunday, surpassed Michael Strahan on the all-time sacks list on Sunday, moving him into lone position at fifth. "We've been limited for a while now. We get guys in and out, hopefully we get some of these guys that are banged up back. We have an important game coming up."

"Important" wouldn't even come close to describing the magnitude of going up against the Seahawks.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (17)

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NickPerry's picture

December 08, 2016 at 05:54 am

This one really hurts. Perry has been really effective against the run and his 8 sacks are nothing to sneeze at no matter when they came, he still has 8 sacks in 12 games, many of them without a threat on the other side. Even if he was to come back and play with a club we've all saw how difficult that is. Matthews, Jenkins, and Burnett all struggled with a cast. Tough to play in the NFL with basically one arm.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 08, 2016 at 06:38 am

As if the Seahawks game wasn't already tough enough, now we have to play it without one of our best players in the front 7. And what makes matters worse is that Mathews is a shell of himself trying to play through a separated shoulder.

When the injuries have hit, they hit hard in their positions. First it was CB, then RB, and now LB.

This game against the Seahawks other players are simply going to have to step up. Datone Jones, Julius Peppers, Jayrone Elliott and whoever else is asked to play OLB.

With Pennel's suspension I could see them elevating Gilbert from the PS. They need help at OLB. With Mathews, Fackrell and Perry injured the depth is very thin.

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Lphill's picture

December 08, 2016 at 07:14 am

What happened to Fackerell ?

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 08, 2016 at 07:16 am

Hamstring

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NickPerry's picture

December 08, 2016 at 07:34 am

Well S***!!!!!

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Handsback's picture

December 08, 2016 at 07:59 am

Well, it's down to Elliott and Jones stopping those runs and applying the needed pressure. This team is always hit by injuries as most teams are, but this year it seems concentrated on specific positions. I don't see how Capers can pull any magic out of his pass rush hat this week.

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Gianich's picture

December 08, 2016 at 04:35 pm

I wouldn't think so either, except for the fact that the Packers are playing one of the worst olines in the league. Bevel knows this and is rolling Wilson out, and with a healthy Rawls he will lean on the run game. Even having a healthy arsenal of pass rushers wouldn't help with the running ability of Rawls and Wilson keeping them off balance. Whether it is Elliot or Perry the fact of the matter is this O-line for Seattle can and will be abused if you ask them to go hat on hat and block straight up. The problem is Bevel won't allow that to happen and I see the Seachicken's offense one step ahead of the Packers defense all game. I just hope they can get some turnovers and the offense puts up around 35.

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egbertsouse's picture

December 08, 2016 at 08:03 am

We all knew this was going to happen sooner or later, Perry never makes it through an entire season. Twelve games is the best he's ever done.

I hope TT doesn't dump a load of money on hin next year.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 08, 2016 at 09:13 am

Martinez was limited in practice wed. If he and Ryan can play that will really help deal with Rawls.

Rawls is my #1 concern.

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Razer's picture

December 08, 2016 at 09:36 am

Given the state of the injuries on defense, I don't expect us to contain Russel Wilson or the Seattle offense. I would be a huge surprise and a real bonus to keep their QB in the pocket and our secondary to shutdown Graham, Baldwin, Rawls and the rest of that offense.

Our only hope is with our offense and against this defense. If Aaron Rodgers and MM can get Montgomery and Jared Cook into the gameplan we will have enough weapons to find a weakness. If our offense can simply move the chains and stay on the field, this is a 50/50 game. If not, we'll all have to live with the image of that gum chewing bastard sticking it to us yet again.

As for Nick Perry, he ends his Packer career as he started it - injured.

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Since'61's picture

December 08, 2016 at 10:47 am

We have won games without Perry before. If Martinez cannot go I would move CM3 to the inside and put Peppers and Eliot at OLB. I would give Lowry more snaps as well, especially since Pennel is gone. (The Packers should just release him ASAP). Seattle's OL is still a weak link and we should be able to make some plays against them.
Regardless of what the defense can or cannot do effectively our offense is going to need to play keep away from the Seattle offense. Hopefully start fast with a score or 2 and then move the chains and chew up the clock. Maybe Michael will emerge in this game based on motivation to prove to the Seahawks that they made a mistake and he gives our run game some consistency. That would be huge in this game. Our OL must win the LOS and Rodgers must execute the quick pass game effectively. With Seattle injured at safety I would work Cook into the game plan more than we have so far. As well as Monty out of the backfield and over the middle. The Packers must play this game like Seattle is the only team standing between them and the playoffs because they probably are. We're playing at home, our offense is clicking and our defense has played 2 strong games back to back. I'd like to see some of our defensive players, like Daniels, CM3, Peppers and Dix step up and stand out in this game. We are going to need some big plays to win. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Since'61's picture

December 08, 2016 at 10:46 am

Deleted, double post. Sorry.

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shinglesmcfanny's picture

December 08, 2016 at 01:55 pm

Wounded Packers Could use a hand in Perry's Absence :
I think Perry could use a hand too... (see what I did there.)

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stockholder's picture

December 08, 2016 at 03:16 pm

Thomas is Alice in Wonderland. Elliott sleeping Beauty. Bradford Humpty Dumpty. Your only making believe if you expect any of these guys to help. It's exactly why your wizard of Moss, should be fired. Peppers, Mathews, Ryan, and Jones must stay on the field. Otherwise the rebound ends. So I feel the packers should move Jones to perrys place. Mathews inside with Ryan, then Peppers. Move clark up and down the line.

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Samson's picture

December 08, 2016 at 04:43 pm

TOP and TOs are the key to this game completely. If Wilson gets too many snaps the GB 'D' will never be able to contain him for the entire game. If GB loses the TO battle (-2 or more), they are in deep $hit. -- The Pack needs to stay close and win on the final drive.

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Allan Murphy's picture

December 08, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Time we see Joyrone Elliott bust out ....

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Allan Murphy's picture

December 08, 2016 at 11:21 pm

#91 with count it 2.5 sacks .

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