It appears that the Green Bay Packers will finally be getting their top edge rusher back on the field this week. Outside linebacker Nick Perry missed all of the team’s OTA and minicamp practices this year due to his ankle surgery in the spring, and he has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start training camp as a result of the same issue.
However, Perry has been ramping up his individual work during open practices over the last week, and it sounds like he is ready to return. To that end, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on Sunday that the team expects to clear Perry to return to practice and thereby remove him from the PUP list. Perry would be eligible to practice immediately.
The Packers have a pair of open practices scheduled this week, working outside at Ray Nitschke Field on Monday and Tuesday in advance of their trip to Oakland for a preseason game against the Raiders on Friday evening. If Perry is indeed activated and he suffers no setbacks in practice, he may receive some limited snaps on Friday.
This would be a massive boost for the Packers’ pass rush, at least off the edge. Perry has the most total sacks for the Packers over the past two years with 18, including seven in 2017 (which came in second to Clay Matthews’ 7.5). Perry’s presence also would provide defensive coordinator Mike Pettine with a versatile player who can play linebacker in an odd front or put his hand down and rush from a three-point stance in 4-3 looks.
So far, the Packers have seen just one reserve outside linebacker impress in training camp, as Reggie Gilbert has appeared to be deserving of the #3 job behind Perry and Matthews. A full season of good health from Perry will be critical for the Packers’ defense as it looks to build on last year’s 26th-place ranking in points allowed.