The writers at Titletown Soundoff are giving you their “Bold Predictions” for this year’s Packers’ season. Check back daily for new Bold Predictions. Have your own prediction? Tweet them to @titletownsound and we will feature them in a future article.
I have a problem. I have a tendency to hold onto a player’s promise longer than I should. Sometimes I make excuses for them. I know it’s not rational. I can’t help it. I’m only human.
In this case, I’m talking about Nick Perry. He was very good at USC and it seemed his pass-rush game would translate well at the NFL level. His Football Outsiders’ SackSEER grade was a gaudy 90.6 (out of 100), enough to make any fan giddy. Suffice it to say, he hasn’t quite lived up to these high expectations, but fans can make excuses. “He’s been injured.” “He’s more effective on the right side, and Clay Matthews lives over there.” And so on.
This year is the year of Nick Perry. We will finally get his long awaited breakout, and he will end up leading the team in sacks. Here is why.
Clay Matthews got bumped to the middle late in the season and performed admirably. He will never be a full-time ILB, but don’t be shocked if we see him playing in that position quite often (He may be in the middle for more than 20% of his snaps). Matthews playing a bit more in the middle opens up more time for Perry on the right side. A little extra attention paid to Matthews in the middle should also open up some outside rushing opportunities. It is also likely that we will see a decrease in the usage of Julius Peppers this season. He played 74% of defensive snaps this past season, and it would not be shocking to see that number drop to around 67% in an attempt to keep him fresh for the playoffs. That will open up even more snaps for Perry, although those will likely end up being on the left (Peppers played over 80% of his snaps on the left side).
Beyond the fact that I believe Perry is going to have a big season, all those factors above add up to some decreased sack numbers for Matthews and Peppers. A slight decrease in their numbers – and a spike in Perry’s – leads to Nick Perry holding the Packers sack title at the end of the season.
Thank you for reading. Dusty Evely is a featured writer for Titletown Sound Off. You can follow him on Twitter @DustyEvely. For even more Packers content, follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.