GREEN BAY — Watching the Green Bay Packers last season, it became evident they could use some help when it comes to defense. Some of it could come in the form of their first round draft choice, linebacker Nick Perry.
As an outside linebacker, Clay Matthews draws more than his share of attention from opposing teams.
Meanwhile, Perry, Green Bay’s other outside backer is drawing more than his share of attention from coaches and fans — all of whom are eager for someone to provide Matthews with more help than he received last season. Perry says he has realistic expectations for himself.
“Just being a presence out there on the field — stopping the run and applying pressure to the quarterback. I think all those things tie in together to helping the team and all of the guys doing their job,” Perry said.
Perry played on the defensive line in college, so he’s adjusting to a new position, as well as adjusting to the demands of a Dom Capers coordinated defense.
“I think (the biggest challenge) is just the playbook. I think I’m athletic enough to play the position, and there’s a lot of things coming in me right now, so I really need to focus on the playbook and now what’s going on around me, and open my vision. That’s been the toughest thing,” Perry said.
Perry was drafted out of southern California, but grew up in Detroit. He started his high school career at the same high school as former Packers great Gilbert Brown, and says one of the most exciting sporting events he ever played in was a high school football game at Ford Field.
“There’s still room for improvement, and that’s what I am focused on is getting better every day. Just taking it one day at a time,” Perry said.
One thing that isn’t new for Perry is fan support. The Trojans are football royalty in Los Angeles, but the Packers are the Packers across the country.
“It’s a little overwhelming at times, just to see how much support there is, and that’s another thing that keeps me going, is just the support from the fans and everybody just in sync and wanting to win, and I kind of like the whole experience,” Perry said.
As a rookie, Perry will have his first chance to play in Lambeau Field in the Packers Family Nigh scrimmage August 3rd.