At the beginning of the season, Green Bay looked incredibly strong at OLB. Ted Thompson selected Nick Perry, out of starting Packers OLB Clay Matthews’ alma mater USC, 28th in the 2012 NFL Draft. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers hoped to insert Nick Perry opposite Matthews at LOLB, and in so doing, bookend the Packers’ pass rush and take some of the pressure off Matthews, whose production fell in 2011 after a 2010 season in which he had 13.5 sacks, 60 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Heading into their bye week, the Packers suddenly find themselves without Matthews or Perry for at least Week 11, and possibly longer. Matthews pulled his hamstring, an area he has injured before, last Sunday against the Cardinals. Despite having the bye week to recover, Head Coach Mike McCarthy has said that he expects Matthews will be out “a couple weeks.”
On the left side, Nick Perry had injured his wrist early in the season, but hasn’t played since he also hurt his knee in Week 6. When he went to have a second medical opinion, many thought it was for the knee injury, but it has been reported this week that Perry has had surgery on his left wrist. On Wednesday, the Packers announced that they had placed Perry on season-ending IR.
Without Perry, and for as long as Matthews remains out, the outside will be managed by veteran Erik Walden and undrafted rookie Dezman Moses. Both have had splashy moments so far this season; Walden, starting for the injured Perry in Week 7 against St. Louis, had nine tackles and a sack, while Moses made headlines against Jacksonville when he recovered a punt blocked by Davon House in the end zone for a touchdown.
Still, the Packers have to be concerned about the lack of depth at the linebacker position – on the inside as well as the outside, after ILB Desmond Bishop was injured in the preseason. They will want Matthews back come Week 12, when they visit Eli Manning – who has 2,426 yards and 12 TDs on the season – in the Meadowlands.