Nick Perry’s hot start to the season continued on Thursday against Chicago.
Perry, the Green Bay Packers’ standout outside linebacker, recorded a sack and his first career interception in a 26-10 victory over Chicago. Perry ranks sixth in the NFL with 5.5 sacks in six games. His previous career high was four sacks in 2013. He’s on pace for 14.5 sacks. In his first four seasons combined, Perry had 12.5 sacks. He’s got at least one-half sacks in five of the six games.
On Friday, coach Mike McCarthy pointed to Perry being healthy and thriving under position coach Winston Moss.
“He’s definitely in the best shape of his career. I think that’s obvious to everybody,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday. “But maturity in his game — and really that whole outside linebacker, elephant room. Winston Moss does an outstanding job. If you look at his time in here, his history here, his players always perform. They also improve, they get better. You’ve seen Datone (Jones) make the shift over, you’ve seen Nick and his shift, and so it’s happened time and time again. Nick’s very comfortable in what we’re asking him to do. His versatility is very important. We’re moving him around and having him in different packages. He’s a tough matchup. He’s a tough matchup for any tackle in this league.”
When healthy, Perry generally has been an impact performer. In 2015, the Packers allowed 0.96 yards less per rush with Perry on the field compared to when he was off the field. In 2014, the difference was 1.29 yards. Among all edge defenders (3-4 outside linebackers and 4-3 defensive ends), those figures ranked second in the NFL both years. He really got rolling in the playoffs last year, with 2.5 sacks vs. Washington and another vs. Arizona. Armed with only a one-year contract rather than a lucrative long-term extension, Perry had no health issues to prevent him from going through the Packers’ offseason program for the first time in his career. It's paid off.
According to Pro Football Focus:
“Nick Perry has been on an absolute tear this season and is showing people why he was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft. He is well on his way to shattering his numbers from prior seasons as he has six quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits, 19 quarterback hurries and 20 stops. Thursday night saw him add a sack, two hurries and four stops on 35 snaps while finishing with a grade of 82.2. He sits as the sixth-graded 3-4 outside linebacker in pass rush productivity and first in run stop percentage. He is also tied with Von Miller for third in total quarterback pressures for 3-4 outside linebackers with 27. While only being in for 98 run plays, which are 19th for outside linebackers, he still has the most tackles with 16 and most stops with 14. Combining these numbers give him the highest stop percentage in the league among his position with 14.3.”
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