July 26, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (99) during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in Green Bay, WI. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy just rookies, so don't go expecting too much out of them. It's detrimental to your health, as a fan of a football team, to jump to conclusions that rookies are going to perform spectacularly out of the box. Both players are going to have some serious ups and downs this season, like all uber-talented rookies do, and everyone needs to mentally prepare for that to avoid going crazy.
However, I'm excited. Really excited. Why? Because on the first day of training camp, the first team nickel defense was Dom Capers' signature 2-4-5, and it featured both Worthy and Perry. Clay Matthews lined up opposite Perry as a stand-up pass rusher, while Worthy played alongside B.J. Raji.
From a pure physical talent standpoint, this is an unbelievably massive improvement from Erik Walden and the rotation of players who occupied the other pass rushing position next to B.J. Raji. The team also has rookie Mike Daniels as a rotation defensive end/3rd down defensive tackle, and if Lawrence Guy is all the way back from his injury, he has a chance to help at this spot as well.
We don't know how good Perry and Worthy are going to be, but I'm already extremely encouraged by the fact that they're in the first team 2-4-5 nickel right away in training camp. The coaching staff isn't throwing Casey Hayward or Terrell Manning into the fire yet, but they're apparently confident in Perry and Worthy's abilities to rush the passer in the NFL right now. Considering how awful the Packers' pass rush was in 2011, that's spectacular news.
I'm not expecting Perry and Worthy to put up huge sack numbers in Year 1, but they should help right away and offer massive improvements over the guys who were there previously. Matthews and Raji are still young and due for extensions, and there's no way that Ted Thompson is going to let either of them leave.
I know it feels like jumping the gun, and I fully acknowledge the giddy gun-jumping nature of this post, but I'm so excited about the potential of these four forming a four-man pass rush unit for the next five-plus years. They won't be truly elite right away, but it's tough not to predict eventual great things for this group if they stay healthy, and if both Matthews and Raji get new contracts. As a four-man unit, they have the potential to develop into one of the elite pass rushing groups in the NFL.
The Packers have concerns at various points on the field, but my worries about the pass rush are fading without even seeing a game. Just hearing that Worthy and Perry are already on the first team nickel defense already has me excited.