Packers awaiting big things from Nick Perry
“We know we’ve been close (the last two years), we know we’ve had the team (to contend for more titles), but came up short.” The notable personnel losses since the end of last season notwithstanding, the Packers remain the team to beat in the NFC North and should be in the conversation for conference-title contenders. The reshaped offense still is formidable with Rodgers at the controls and may finally have some balance to it with the additions of highly regarded running backs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin in the draft. The Woodson-less defense also has some young reinforcements in the wake of the horrific 45-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. Strengths: Rodgers inflicted most of his damage on opposing defenses last season – 4,295 passing yards, 39 touchdowns to only eight interceptions, league-best 108.0 passer rating – without an injury-riddled Jennings and a sparingly used Driver on the field. “It was me, Jordy and Randall (Cobb),” James Jones said of the guys who gave Rodgers a trusted and productive receiving corps in 2012. Those three playmakers are ready to break out even more in the coming season. “I believe we have three 1,000-yard receivers in this (locker) room,” Jones added. “I believe me, Randall and Jordy, if we all stay healthy, we can all reach over 1,000. It’s exciting.” All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews is enthused for the season ahead. Not only did Matthews, like Rodgers, cash in with a big contract extension in the offseason, but the fearsome pass rusher (16 sacks in 2012) has some help in getting after the quarterback. Versatile defensive end Datone Jones was the team’s first-round draft pick this year, and his arrival prompted the coaches to give end Mike Neal a long look as a stand-up linebacker opposite Matthews during the offseason workouts.
“He made sure every step counted. Every move of the hands counted,” Miller said. Miller spent the preseason with the Bears in 2012 but was released Aug. 31. Then the Packers called in October for a workout. “I jumped for joy. No question,” Miller said. In December, the Packers activated Miller for Week 15. Otherwise, he was a practice player with the team, always looking forward. He’s still so new to the team, the picture of him on the Packers website has him in a Bears uniform. But he doesn’t care.
Nose tackle Jordan Miller took circuitous route to Packers
Greene pointed to the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts as evidence. Check Out Your Url Perry, of course, had one sack in that game and Clay Matthews Youth Jersey lost another due to penalty. But what caught Greene’s eye was an effort in pass defense against Colts receiver Reggie Wayne . “He carried Reggie Wayne vertical Aaron Rodgers Baby Jersey up the field in a Cover 2 concept and it was as good as I can coach it,” Greene said. “He carries an All-Pro vertical up the seam in a hip-trail position. That tells me: You know what, he can do everything coverage-wise. He progressed during his time last year as a player.” Proficiency in pass coverage will keep Perry on the field in 2013. But his pass rush and speed on the edge are why the Packers drafted him last season and how he can best help them address the issues that surfaced in the playoffs. Greene sees them as all part of a larger picture. “This position takes a little time to settle into,” he said. “It’s hard to come out of the gate at this position because there’s so much involved with the eyes.