Packers inside LB Jake Ryan playing catch-up

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY - Inside linebacker Jake Ryan finally got the go ahead to resume practice after missing several weeks with a hamstring pull and it came just in the nick of time if Ryan still intends on being a starter.

"I felt great," Ryan said of his return to the field. "It’s tough, but I’m just going to take it day-by-day and see what happens."

Ryan was penciled in as a starter this year after capturing a spot late last season, but his training camp has not gone the way he envisioned. On Aug. 1, he suffered a pulled hamstring in the same leg in which he pulled the muscle and missed two games last year. But it was in a different spot, he said.

“I had one last year during the season and I’m learning from it," Ryan said. "Offseason, I worked on it, everything, and it happens again and that’s a thing with football. That’s a thing, so just (make sure) better preparation for practice, hydrate more, stretching. Everything I can do to make it better."

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Ryan, who started seven games last season, including the playoffs, said he worked on improving the flexibility in his hamstring during the offseason and thought he was past it. But the one thing that kept it from being worse was that he recognized the problem right away.

"Yeah, I knew exactly what happened and how to treat it and stay off of it and I took myself out right when it happened," he said.

Ryan, a fourth-round pick last year, was paired with rookie Blake Martinez in the early going. Since he's been gone, Martinez has improved, veteran Sam Barrington has returned and backups Joe Thomas and Carl Bradford have made strong pushes.

While Ryan said there's enough time for him to be ready for the season opener against Jacksonville, there's no guarantee he'll get his job back. But he said he's not feeling any pressure to push things too fast.

He did not do much other than individual drills Monday, but is expected to do more Tuesday. It has not been decided if he'll play Friday night in San Francisco, but if he doesn't, he'll likely play in the last game at Kansas City.

"I don’t think I’ve taken any steps back," he said. "I think I’ve been trying to do everything I can off the field just to get back on."

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