Injuries force Packers to adjust
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The banged-up Green Bay Packers have lost another key player to injury with outside linebacker Nick Perry scheduled to have hand surgery.
Coach Mike McCarthy said he doesn’t know how much time Perry will miss. He was off to a good start as the bookend to fellow edge rusher Clay Matthews with 1 1/2 sacks.
The Packers’ first-round draft pick in 2012, Perry had a breakout 2016 last season with 11 sacks in 14 games.
The loss of Perry places added importance on the return of Ahmad Brooks, who was a full participant in practice on Wednesday after missing the Week 2 loss at Atlanta because of a concussion.
Brooks was signed by the Packers after the 49ers cut the veteran pass rusher before the regular season. Brooks had 51 1/2 sacks in eight seasons with the 49ers.
“We’re going to have guys who (have to) step up and rise to the occasion … that’s the nature of our game,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “You move guys around and try to have the best 11 combination with the guys you have available.”
Brooks said on Wednesday that he was 100 percent and had full clearance to do everything in practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
“It’s not frustrating. It’s just unfortunate,” Brooks said about being hurt so soon after joining Green Bay. “I really wanted to come here and show what I was all about from the jump and that’s the very first game of the season.”
Now Brooks, second-year player Kyler Fackrell and rookie Chris Odom, who just joined the Packers a couple of weeks ago, will be counted on to help fill in for Perry. Linemen Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark might have to take on more pass-rushing responsibilities too, Capers said.
McCarthy called Perry a “violent football player.”
“He’s physical, he plays the game the right way. If you look at his play style, I mean that’s really part of his game, the violence that he plays with, with his hands,” the coach said.
The team on Thursday also brought back defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, who was just cut by the Packers last week. The veteran will help add depth up front with standout lineman Mike Daniels dealing with a hip injury.
Perry and Daniels were two of 13 players on Green Bay’s lengthy injury report this week. The Packers might have to make up for the losses of two stout pass rushers who helped spearhead the defense-fueled, season-opening win over Seattle .
“Sometime, we’ll get the band back together and get after the quarterback,” Matthews said.
Besides Perry and Daniels, the other players who missed a second straight day of practice were: S Kentrell Brice (groin), WR Randall Cobb (chest), CB Davon House (quad), LB Jake Ryan (hamstring/concussion and LT David Bakhtiari (hamstring).
“The goal is taking it day by day and progressing through the protocol that they have me in, and whenever they give me the green light, that I’m able to get out of the gates and hit the ground running, literally,” Bakhtiari said.
WR Jordy Nelson (quad) was a full participant for a second consecutive day, while starting RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle) was downgraded to limited. The Thursday practice is usually the longest of the week for the Packers.
Backup offensive tackle Jason Spriggs was placed on injured reserve to make room on the roster for Jean Francois.
SERIES RECORD — Bengals lead 7-5
LAST MEETING — Bengals beat Packers 34-30, Sept. 22, 2013
LAST WEEK — Bengals lost to Texans 13-9; Packers lost to Falcons 34-23
AP PRO32 RANKING — Bengals No. 27, Packers No. 7
BENGALS OFFENSE — OVERALL (27), RUSH (22), PASS (22)
BENGALS DEFENSE — OVERALL (5), RUSH (31), PASS (1)
PACKERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (27), PASS (4)
PACKERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (8), RUSH (t-20), PASS (9)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Bengals have won last three meetings. … Each team had four turnovers in last meeting in 2013, including fumble returned for touchdown for each side. … Bengals trying to avoid first 0-3 start since 2008, when they went 4-11-1. They’ve gone 0-3 13 times in club history, failed to have winning record any of those seasons.
… Bengals haven’t reached end zone in 25 possessions, settling for three FGs.
… QB Andy Dalton’s 28.4 passer rating in opening 20-0 loss to Ravens was second lowest of career. He’s thrown four INTs, lost fumble.
… DT Geno Atkins had two sacks vs. Texans. He’s been involved in sack in six straight games, tied for longest streak in Bengals history. It’s longest active streak in NFL. .
… Packers QB Aaron Rodgers reached 300 career TD passes in fewest attempts (4,742) in NFL history. With 73 career interceptions, Rodgers also first to reach 300 passing TDs before throwing 100 interceptions. He passed Tom Brady (115) for fewest at time of reaching 300 passing TDs.
… LB Clay Matthews (74 sacks) one sack from passing Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (74.5) for most in franchise history since 1982. …
Fantasy Tip: PPR alert! WR-turned-RB Ty Montgomery has been just as effective in short passing game as on ground, including six catches for 75 yards and short shovel pass turned into touchdown last week against Atlanta. He could be more involved in passing game if Packers have more injury-related protection issues.