The Packers returned to the practice field on Sunday following their second preseason game against the Steelers and one player was fired up about the closed practice. Nick Perry returned to practice on Sunday for the first time this year.
The timetable for his return to game action is still uncertain but all signs are pointing to him be ready for week 1 against the Chicago Bears.
Nick Perry was officially activated off the PUP (physically unable to perform) list this past Sunday in what has been an extremely long road back from offseason ankle surgery. He sat out all team OTA’s, mini-camps, and training camp up until this point. Perry was hoping he would have been cleared closer to the opening of training camp. Perry clearly thinks that he will be ready for week 1, as he has been chopping at the bit to get on the field with a goal of a week 1 return.
For now, the next step is 11-on-11 work and maybe some preseason action in the last 2 games. There is not a lot of time remaining to get ready for Chicago but it is a doable goal, depending on how he quickly adjusts to the new defensive scheme and feels after each practice. We do not know if he will see any preseason game action, there is a chance that he will play in the final preseason game for a series, but chances are his first real game action will more than likely be when the Packers kick off their 100th season week 1 against the Chicago Bears.
Nick Perry has always been held back due to injuries, and we are not talking about the strained or tweaked muscle kind of injuries but the broken bone type of injuries. When Perry has been healthy, he has produced and been a threat opposite of Clay Matthews. In 2016, he had 11 sacks in 14 games. Then in 2017 before injuries struck again, he had 7 sacks in the first 8 games.
Mike McCarthy and Brian Gutekunst are counting on Perry to be vital piece of new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense. A healthy Perry is going to take pressure off of Clay Matthews and make the defensive stronger and better. The rise of Reggie Gilbert this summer has provided the team with some depth and will keep Matthews and Perry fresh, hopefully reducing the risk of an injury for either player.
Nick Perry isn’t a Khalil Mack type of player that would cure the Packers pass rush, but the team’s brass, coaches and players are expecting big things from him this year. There is hope inside 1265 Lombardi that he can get 15 sacks and stay healthy for the full season. Now it is one practice at a time and getting ready for the regular season. It is exciting to finally get to see what the defense will look like with everyone healthy.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag