Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Mike Vandermause column: Getting 'animal' to complement Matthews a no-brainer

Apr. 27, 2012
 

Loading Photo Galleries ...

  • Filed Under
Analysis: Day 1 of 2012 NFL Draft: Rob Demovsky and Pete Dougherty discuss how well Nick Perry will fit as an outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 scheme.
Nick Perry had 21˝ sacks during his USC career and led the team last season with 9˝. / File/Getty Images

More

Regardless of what General Manager Ted Thompson says about targeting the best available player in the NFL draft, it was obvious the Green Bay Packers were selecting for need in the first round Thursday night.

The defensively challenged Packers were desperate for a pass rusher, so taking USC outside linebacker Nick Perry with the No. 28 overall pick was a no-brainer.

The Packers finished last in the NFL in passing yards allowed and overall defense in 2011, and only two teams in the league generated fewer sacks. Their failure to repeat as Super Bowl champions can be blamed primarily on the defense, and more specifically on a glaring lack of pressure.

So it was obvious Thompson needed to address the biggest weakness on his roster.

No one is ready to call the 271-pound Perry a savior, but his presence is expected to give the defense a major boost.

Perhaps the happiest man on the team is Clay Matthews, who played with Perry at USC. It wasn’t surprising that within minutes of the Packers picking Perry, Matthews was offering him congratulations.

Matthews’ sack total dropped drastically last season mainly because opponents double- and sometimes triple-teamed him. He was the Packers’ only feared pass rusher, and opposing teams took advantage of that.

Perry had 21˝ sacks during his USC career and led the team last season with 9˝. The potential he gives the Packers to generate pressure opposite Matthews could be transforming for the entire unit.

Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene knows this better than anyone. Greene, an outside linebacker during his illustrious NFL career, played opposite such players as Greg Lloyd at Pittsburgh and Lamar Lathon at Carolina.

With pass-rushing threats on each side of the defense, opponents can’t double-team both linebackers. Thus someone is going to have a one-on-one matchup, and that usually results in trouble for the quarterback.

Greene knew how difficult life became for Matthews last season, and during an interview soon after the Packers lost to the New York Giants in the playoffs, he made no secret of the fact Matthews needed help.

“I never was double-teamed as much as I’ve seen this young man,” Greene said of Matthews. “Offensive coordinators have made a statement: ‘We cannot allow (Matthews) to control the game. Whatever we do on the Packer defense, this is the guy we cannot let get started.’ It’s evident. So we do need another animal on the other side, no doubt.”

Three months later the Packers went out and got that animal in the form of Perry, and in Greene’s mind, he will make a major difference.

“It’s going to mean everything,” Greene said in January about adding another dangerous outside linebacker.

If Greene is right, that should put the rest of the league on notice that the days of the Packers defense being a pushover are over.

mvandermause@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @MikeVandermause.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
574 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1013 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

Catch up on the latest in our pregame show every game day.

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports

ORDER YOURS

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports