Found May 27, 2013 on
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Nick Perry has all the attributes you could want for an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He's listed at 6-3, 274 pounds and runs the forty-yard-dash in 4.63 seconds, has pass-rush ability and is strong enough to hold the point of attack against the run.
Athletically, Perry is rare. Men of his size and stature are not normally blessed with his kind of athleticism. Those attributes are exactly the reason the Green Bay Packers selected the former USC standout in the first-round of the 2012 NFL Draft and it's those same attributes that lead you to believe Perry could be in-line for a breakout season in 2013.
Perry's first season in Green Bay can be classified as a disappointment. Not because Perry played poorly but because his initial Packers campaign lasted just six games after a wrist injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
There were some struggles along the way, as the college defensive end transitioned to outside linebacker in Dom Capers' 3-4 defense. Yet, as a rookie he still managed to post two sacks, 15 tackles and six pressures in his first six games as a pro.
No one on the Packers coaching staff will tell you Perry was where he needed to be -- yet he was doing a solid job setting the edge in the run game and was starting to flash some signs as a pass-rusher as well before the injury ended his season.
Now as the Packers open up the voluntary Organized Team Activities with Perry starting opposite Clay Matthews at outside linebacker, both the team and the talented second-year man are looking for big things in 2013.
"We can't forget how many of our young players, our rookies, played on defense last year," McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Frankly, for as excited as we are about the 2013 draft class, the most improvement of our football team will come from the men that are already in the building."
Even without Perry playing a key role last season, Green Bay was still able to put ample pressure on opposing quarterbacks as Matthews and the defense posted 47 sacks in 2012, good enough for fourth in NFL. Yet, in the most critical game of the season, the Packers surrendered 537 yards and 45 points to the San Francisco 49ers in a Divisional Playoff loss.
It was clear that night that the Green Bay defense lacked the playmakers and firepower on defense to be Super Bowl champions. General Manager Ted Thompson did his best to address the need in the 2013 NFL Draft with first-round selection Datone Jones, who figures to add some pass-rush presence of his own to the defensive line -- but what the Packers really need in 2013 is for Perry to take his game to the next level.
"I'm going to do what I can," Perry said inside the locker room Tuesday. "First thing's first. That's helping the team. I'm moving toward that direction."
Besides being healthy again, the former USC standout is optimistic because he now has a much better understand of Capers' complex scheme and is finally getting comfortable playing from a two-point stance.
"I have one year that I have learned the system," Perry said. "I think it was good that I did all the learning I did when I was hurt. Now, it's a little bit easier. Now, it's just all the things I want to piece up and put everything together by learning the whole defense instead of just pieces."
Critics of the young linebacker said that he played slow at times in 2012 and did not look comfortable in the 3-4 defense. Both of those statements are fair and accurate. But as he enters his second season in Green Bay, his comfort level is much higher than it was a year ago -- meaning he can stop thinking and start using his tremendous physical skills to wreak havoc on opposing passers.
This much is clear, if the Packers are going to get back the Super Bowl in 2013, they are going to need more difference makers to emerge -- and while his rookie season may have been a struggle, Perry is perfectly positioned to become the next impact player on a talented but young Green Bay defense.
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Nick Perry has all the attributes you could want for an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He’s listed at 6-3, 274 pounds and runs the forty-yard-dash in 4.63 seconds, has pass-rush ability and is strong enough to hold the point of attack against the run.
Athletically, Perry is rare. Men of his size and stature are not normally blessed with his kind of athleticism. Those attributes...
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