The Green Bay Packers’ defense keeps getting thinner and thinner. Last week at Tennessee, inside linebacker Jake Ryan went down with an ankle injury on the second special-teams snap of the game and did not return. On Sunday night in Washington, cornerback Demetri Goodson saw his knee practically explode during a punt return, likely resulting in a few torn knee ligaments.
Then later in the game, the Packers’ other starting linebacker, rookie Blake Martinez, suffered a knee injury and did not return. Reports have now surfaced on Tuesday that Martinez’ injury is an MCL sprain that will keep him out a while:
#Packers ILB Blake Martinez (MCL sprain) is expected to miss multiple games, source said. 4th-rounder has started 9 games.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) November 22, 2016
The Packers just promoted linebacker Carl Bradford to the active roster to deal with Ryan’s injury, the severity of which is unsure. However, it is still plausible that the Packers will go into Monday night’s game against the Eagles with neither starting inside linebacker on the active gameday roster.
Joe Thomas will undoubtedly be one of the starters in that game; he has played every defensive snap of the past two contests with Ryan unavailable. However, the Packers would likely need another linebacker either to fill in for Martinez - or to backup Bradford should they choose to start the third-year pro.
The other option is to shift Clay Matthews back inside. He spent the second half of 2014 and all of the 2015 season as an inside linebacker, so he knows the position well. At the very least, expect to see him lined up inside periodically over the next few contests.
Considering the Eagles come into week 12 with the NFL’s seventh-ranked rushing offense, it could get a lot worse before it gets better for the Packers’ defense.