Green Bay — Desmond Bishop and Erik Walden were the type of linebackers that might have played the game for nothing.
When opportunity arose after anxious years of waiting, their mindset was simple: kick butt and take names.
Together with Clay Matthews and a few other teammates, Bishop and Walden were unselfish street fighters in www.packersnflofficialstore.com an increasingly sanitized game. Limited somewhat in technique, stature and athleticism, the pair provided no-holds-barred nastiness that was vital for a Green Bay Packers' defense trending softer by the year.
Now they're ex-Packers, and their old defense needs a tone-setter or two. Who is it going to be?
Nick Perry is the logical candidate. Anybody who saw him lower the boom on Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck early last season remembers Perry's destructive burst.
"That was about as explosive and violent a hit as we had all year last year," said defensive coordinator Dom Capers. "You look for a guy that can play consistent, but then maybe two, three times a game you go, 'wow.' I've seen him do the things you want him to do."
Perry, a 262-pound physical specimen, has the body and the athletic gifts that Bishop Clay Matthews Jersey and Walden packersnflofficialstore.com/Authentic-Clay-Matthews-Jersey could only dream of having. Kevin Greene, the outside linebackers coach, is looking for hitters above all else, and Perry is well-equipped to deliver a blow.
As a rookie, Perry basically split time with Walden on the left outside before needing season-ending wrist surgery after 197 snaps. Flash he did, but the overall impression was mediocre.
Capers chalks up some of Perry's problems on making the frequently thorny transition from collegiate defensive end to NFL linebacker.
"When it's all new to you you've got to think a lot," said Capers. "It has to become second nature. The second year is when you see the greatest stride with a guy that's made a position move. I liked the way he looked in the off-season."
So did Greene, who is confident Perry will play harder and better.
"He can do everything within the scheme to be a dominant player," said Greene. "He has turned up his work ethic, his attitude, his hunger. He is in so much of a better place this year."
Walden, who got $8 million guaranteed in free agency from Indianapolis on March 12, and rookie Dezman Moses both outperformed Perry last season.
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