Biggest Beneficiary of Julius Peppers signing: Nick Perry

NIck Perry destroys Andrew Luck

We’ve all seen the highlights. In fact just a year ago I predicted this player to be the breakout player for the Packers defense in 2013. The highlight that got me to jump out of my seat, which rarely happens, belongs to Nick Perry. Andrew Luck took the snap and dropped back. Yes, he was untouched, but this play showed the power of the Packers first-round pick in 2012. Perry came in untouched and lit up Andrew Luck.

Perry hit Luck so hard that his head snapped forward, causing the official to call him for a personal foul. It was one of the last plays Perry would make in 2012. He suffered a combination of injuries that ended his season. 2013, based on that hit, I called him the breakout player of 2013.

2013 was a frustrating year for Nick Perry. Everytime he would build some momentum he would suffer an injury. He put together some solid games against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field, and in Baltimore against the Ravens. He appeared to have been improving, but could not shake the injury bug. By the end of the season injuries had hampered his effectiveness so much that he was losing snaps to Andy Mulumba.

I am giving Nick Perry one more chance. I believe in Nick Perry, perhaps foolishly. I believe that there are many players who benefit with the signing of Julius Peppers, but the biggest one will be Perry.

The biggest reason is his adjustment to playing without his hand on the ground will likely be over. The Packers are moving next season to a more multiple front like McCarthy claimed they could be before the Combine in February.

After the talk of going more multiple, talk surfaced that the Packers would be using an “elephant” defensive end next season, and those plans were made specifically for Perry.

The signing of Peppers, who is 34, and not likely to learn a new position at this point in his career tells me the idea of going more multiple, and the usage of an elephant defensive end are true.

Perry will benefit from this. As little as there is made about it, it is difficult transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker. The Packers have seen that struggle the last two seasons with Perry, and Mike Neal. Now, instead of fitting players to their scheme, they are fitting their scheme to their players.

With the return of Clay Matthews, the addition of Julius Peppers, a bigger role for Datone Jones, and the emergence last season of Mike Daniels, the Packers have plenty of options to get after the quarterback. That list does not even include Mike Neal. Instead of relying solely on Perry to get after the passer, now he would just be an added bonus. The focus of the offense will not be on him, and Dom Capers will be able to use his personnel in more creative ways than he’d been able to in the past. That will cause Perry to break free and have more opportunities to get hits like he did on Andrew Luck.

With a competent pass rushing defensive line next season led by Peppers, Jones, and Daniels, Perry will have more help around him on the inside, and hopefully a healthy Clay Matthews on the outside.

With less attention on him, and a new position in 2014, look for Perry to have a breakout campaign and show the world what Ted Thompson saw when he took him with the 28th overall pick in 2012.


Jacob Westendorf is a writer at You can follow Jacob on twitter at