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Packers Linebackers: Perry Left, Matthews Right

Clay wants the ball. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Clay wants the ball. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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If this weekend's rookie mini-camp is any indication, Dom Capers and the Packers coaching staff appear poised to move Clay Matthews III back to the right side, his primary position in his rookie year of 2009. This is because the Packers' first round pick Nick Perry took all of his reps on the left side over the weekend, as noted by Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin.

On Perry's position on the left side, coach Mike McCarthy commented "It's a starting point." Perry's reaction was equally as ambiguous:

They gave me a spot to play, and that's where I'm going to play it. Hopefully all goes well. I may play the left side.

Perry's pass-rushing abilities are not in question when deciding where to play him, as his 22 collegiate sacks indicate. What will be more difficult for Perry is adjusting to playing coverage from the linebacker position. The physical tools are present, as Perry ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash and showed a 38.5-inch vertical jump, but learning the techniques will be key. About learning coverages, Dom Capers said, "We'll ask him to do more of that than he's done. But that isn't uncommon."

Since the left outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 defense focuses more on rushing the passer, putting Perry on the left side would free up Matthews to roam the right side and play in coverage more frequently. That will immediately provide an upgrade from the rotation of Erik Walden, Frank Zombo, and Brad Jones in coverage alone, in addition to the obvious benefit of taking pressure off Matthews in the pass rush. Given the two players' skill sets, it seems logical to move Matthews back to the right side.