Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan is reportedly out for the season.
Now the worst case scenario has been confirmed.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Ryan is out for the season after being diagnosed with a torn ACL.
This is disappointing for Ryan, who was entering an important contract year. We wish him a speedy recovery, and hope he re-signs and comes back to Green Bay fully healthy next season.
It’s an injury that leaves the Packers in a tough position at inside linebacker.
Last year’s NFL co-leader in tackles Blake Martinez will start in Mike Pettine’s defense, but there is now some uncertainty on the depth chart.
Third-round pick Oren Burks will now likely see a larger role in his rookie season, but the depth at the position is somewhat concerning without Ryan.
Ryan’s injury could force Pettine to get creative, perhaps using more defensive backs. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Pettine has been doing just that so far at training camp:
"“Ryan was starting in the base defense, but Pettine has used numerous combinations with Martinez, replacing Ryan with cornerback Quentin Rollins, safeties Josh Jones and Jermaine Whitehead, and rookie linebacker Oren Burks in the dime package.”"
So, what’s next?
Do the Packers start with Martinez and Burks in the base defense? Could Pettine use second-year Vince Biegel inside more often, or as Silverstein noted in his article, could Clay Matthews spend some more time inside?
Injuries are guaranteed in football, and every team will lose a key player at some stage. Unfortunately for the Packers, Ryan was an important player in the middle of the defense, and early in training camp, they must adjust.