Just when we thought it was safe to come out of the injured linebackers’ waters, we get news today that Green Bay Packers outside linebackers Nick Perry and Mike Neal failed their physicals and were placed on the physically unable to perform list.
For those of us who were previously most concerned about the inside linebacking position because of the Packers’ inactivity in finding more talent at that position in free agency and the draft, we can now shift our concerns to the outside.
Perry, who has seemingly been injured every time he steps on the field, missed five games last season with a broken foot. Though he finished last year on the roster, he missed the entire offseason program. So, his PUP listing isn’t too surprising.
However, it’s Neal’s addition to the list that is more perplexing. Though Neal has also had his fair share of absences from the roster, he was on the field this offseason playing opposite Julius Peppers and in Clay Matthews‘ stead.
So, his listing today is a bit odd. He was injured in the Packers’ home playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but because he was involved in the offseason practices, one has to wonder what’s up.
Either way, Packers officials have to hope that they can get back to full strength sometime early in training camp. Having a full complement of talent at the position is going to be crucial to the Packers defense.
If the team is to show improvement on the defensive side of the ball, it’s critical to have linebackers who are healthy and ready.