We interrupt this election to bring you breaking @packers news. LB Nick Perry had surgery on wrist today. He's expected to go on IR #PackersOn one hand this isn't such a big deal since Perry has only recorded two sacks and two QB hits. On the other hand, it'll turn 2012 into a lost season for their 1st round pick who might have given the team it's best chance of weathering the storm while LB Clay Matthews is out with a hamstring injury.
— Lance Allan (@lanceallan) November 7, 2012
Supposedly Matthews's hamstring injury isn't as bad as it was in 2010 and the Packers probably have a good idea on how to manage the injury since it's been a problem in the past. But when he does return to the field, he might not be the same player. Back in 2010, he played through the month of November with an injured hamstring and, unsurprisingly, he wasn't himself. One game that comes to mind was the win over the 49ers, when he lined up against then struggling rookie RT Anthony Davis and only recorded one QB hit (no sacks). Before his 2010 hamstring injury, Matthews was dismantling poor offensive tackles like Davis. Once he returns this season, he might not be much of a factor if he's not completely healthy.
No defensive lineman has made much of an impact this season, though DE Mike Neal did beat LG Daryn Colledge last week for a sack, so it'll fall on the linebackers to make a difference in the pass rush. That might come from inside if defensive coordinator Dom Capers dials up more inside blitzes from LB A.J. Hawk and LB Brad Jones, but primarily it's got to come from the outside.
They only offered him a minimal one year deal in free agency, and drafted Perry to replace him, but LB Erik Walden has remained and their No. 2 pass rusher with 11 QB hits on the season. Walden is as inconsistent as ever, he had a great game against the Cardinals but did nothing against the Jaguars the week before, and he'll certainly struggle if Matthews isn't around to occupy additional blockers. He'll be asked to do more, and I'm not sure he's up to the challenge, if Matthews is out.
LB Dezman Moses has gotten rave reviews all year, but he hasn't made a big impact on defense this season. In 115 defensive snaps so far this season, he's recorded 1 sack and 2 QB hits. There's an argument to be made that he just needs more of an opportunity, and it looks like he'll be getting a chance to prove it.
LB Frank Zombo has just returned from the PUP list and he was inactive last week against the Cardinals, so I'm not expecting anything from him until he proves he can step back onto the field. Even then, since he's played so little over the last two seasons, it's hard to believe he'll be an effective player immediately.