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Packers Defense Hit Hard By Injuries to Ryan and Brice

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Packers Defense Hit Hard By Injuries to Ryan and Brice

The Green Bay Packers made it through just three practice sessions before the injury bug struck on Monday.  In a big way.

Safety Kentrell Brice was carted off of the practice field Monday with an apparent leg injury.  Mike Clemens of Sirius XM NFL Radio was among the first to report the injury via Twitter:

Shortly after Brice left, linebacker Jake Ryan went down and was clutching his knee and screaming in pain.  Michael Cohen of The Athletic was among the first to report the Ryan injury via Twitter:

While the severity of Ryan's injury hasn't been confirmed, sources have reported that the Packers fear that it's significant and could end his season.  This from Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

Both were starters for the Packers defense last season and the loss of one or both leaves holes that will need to be addressed and filled. 

Brice had been taking reps at safety along side Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, allowing the Packers to move Josh Jones around, including at inside linebacker in some sub packages.  The loss of both Brice and Ryan may complicate things for the Packers, depending on how they plan to use Jones. 

Quinten Rollins has spent time at safety during the first few practice sessions and Tramon Williams has also lined up at safety during individual drills.

Blake Martinez is the only inside linebacker with any significant NFL experience in that role.  Behind him are Ahmad Thomas and rookies Oren Burks and Greer Martini.  Clay Matthews could move inside as well but not before potentially leaving the pass rush shorthanded.

Among free agent options for the Packers are veteran linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Brian Cushing along with veteran safeties Eric Reid and Kenny Vaccaro.  The Packers could also pursue a trade.

Defensive lineman Mike Daniels also left Monday's practice with a leg injury and did not return.  Daniels' injury is not expected to be serious.

 

-- Jason is a freelance writer and has been on staff since 2012.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (59) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tarynfor12's picture

The ball is now in Gute's court...let's see how much of Thompson he doesn't have in him.

Tundraboy's picture

As much as this hurts,Im pretty sure Gute is not going to take the Ted approach,and will do something other than hope someone on the "depth" chart steps up.

GBPDAN1's picture

Well put, Tarynfor12 !

We all know with Ted it would be business as usual, as in the next inferior player up. Come on BG, go get some help buddy !

dobber's picture

Can you play ILB or SS?

The TKstinator's picture

Probably too big a risk after what can only be termed a “significant heart injury”.

dobber's picture

...but it was only a SMALL part...

The Marathon Man's picture

Oh c'mon now...there are a lot of future all-pros among former UDFAs from Valdosta State or wherever that will be happy to earn the league minimum right now.

Duke Divine's picture

That didn't take long...

4thand1's picture

Somebody get some raid and blast the injury bug.

mrj007's picture

Packers could not wait even for ONE GAME to have two starters hit the IR (likely) and Matthews could not even wait until training camp to get hurt. If FFB ever created a scoring category for injuries, green bay would be the top pick..... Unfortunately this is not really a shock. It was gonna be next to impossible to field a decent defense to begin with and this certainly won't help.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"Mike Daniels told me he took a shot to the thigh on 1st snap of team drills." Roth -beat writer

"Mike Daniels returns to field with helmet in hand after going into Hutson Center earlier." Dougherty

Bulaga previously said the trainers want him to wait for the 9-month mark to practice, which would be Monday or Tuesday next week.

MITM's picture

I know he isnt too popular amongst my fellow commenters, but I like Jake Ryan. Jake Ryan is an above average run defender, with a knack for making plays at or behind the line. Sure hes a liability in coverage, but people always act like the majority of starting ILBs in the NFL arent for some reason. If you have a 3 down ILB on your team who is as good vs the pass as he is vs the run, you are in the small minority and are very lucky.

Ryan - based off a few pictures ive seen and articles i read seemed to have really busted his ass extra this offseason getting quicker and leaner - in an attempt to be a more complete player, to be a better player for the team we all love so much. I feel for the guy.

As far as FA goes, Cushing is retired. Bowman is interesting but at what cost on a 1 year deal. Otherwise im sure a notable cut will be made at ILB and we will see what Gute does. If Pettine says he needs a body id imagine hell get one

The TKstinator's picture

As for that last part: I think as fans we go for name recognition which constitutes a very small # of players. GB has a whole pro player personnel staff to rely on, so let’s give them a chance.

However, if we find out today that GB brings in Navorro, I’m not complaining.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The injuries are the worst part of football. Almost forty years I've been watching and it's still sickening to see guys get hurt like this.

Nick Perry's picture

This is a damn shame and it just never gets better. Every damn season we hope for less injuries and right away the Packers are hit. Last year they made it through the preseason before players started dropping like flies in the regular season. At some point don't you have to consider the training staff in place?

Tre Boston was signed by the Cardinals so that leaves Vacarro and Reid. I'd bring in Vacarro and at least take a look if Reid is being Kapernicked by the NFL. Boston signed for 1 year, $1.5 million, a very affordable deal.

Well like someone said above, everyone is watching to see just how different or (gasp) the same Gutekunst is from Ted. I've been praising him since the hiring and I hope he doesn't stand pat. He might wait and see who else becomes available but that could really leave you with limited options.

Well S***!

dobber's picture

"At some point don't you have to consider the training staff in place?"

I have a hard time faulting the training staff on ACLs.

The question ultimately is: how much do you change what you do for a 2-down run-stuffer? Or do you shift toward your strength and plan to play more even fronts, shifting #52 into the middle to help cover for your loss on early downs and get Gilbert/Odom/Biegel more time? I honestly think that's the better plan at ILB, but it continues to expose their lack of depth on the edge.

I would've kicked the tires on Reid and Vaccaro around OTA time...

The TKstinator's picture

Also, all teams suffer injuries. It’s just that (for many of us) GB is under a microscope. Quick: tell me how many injuries the Bengals have had. How about Atlanta? Without looking it up I myself have NO idea. But to assume GB is the only one is a little too bovine for me.

Speaking of microscope: Cobb makes ONE PLAY on Jackson in practice and we discuss it all day. (That’s not a criticism, it’s an observation.)

Nick Perry's picture

@TK...LOL... I was just thinking the same thing as I was making my morning oatmeal. It was ONE lay yet there were 84 comments. Not just one play but one play before the Packers have even played a preseason game.

Excellent observation TK.

Spock's picture

"It was ONE lay yet there were 84 comments." That must have been some lay, lol.

dobber's picture

Even I'm not going there...

Spock's picture

Yeah, dobber, I shouldn't have...but just couldn't help myself (slaps face).

dobber's picture

You just essentially said what we were thinking.

Taking one for the team...

Nick Perry's picture

LMAO...Oops...One PLAY...My bad guys...Thanks for not going there dobber!

The TKstinator's picture

Every once in a while I try to contribute more than just smarta$$ remarks.

Nick Perry's picture

I do to on any ACL injury for that matter but this is something I've long questioned McCarthy on...He's basically fired just about everyone else over the years at some point but never makes changes to the training staff, at least that I've been aware of. Maybe it's just bad luck for 8 straight years. : )

I think Reid would be great in Pettines defense and could pick it up right away. If Reid was signed he'd be the most talented Safety on the Packers IMO, more so than HHCD even. BUT because Murphy is now involved in decisions I have to wonder if the Packers would sign someone like Reid.

Even though I've felt this all along I think you play more even fronts don't you? Unless Biegel, Gilbert, and/or anyone else are able to produce consistently, the lack of depth at OLB is a problem. I LOVE the idea of Perry playing on the D-Line in a 4 man front which would allow Matthews to do what he does best...Blitz from all over, not just the edge. CMIII is at his best IMO running stunts shooting the gaps.

Spock's picture

NP, Yeah, I know as fans we tend to blame the training staff. The Packers training staff has actually won NFL awards for excellence and seems to be well respected league wide. It's football and freak stuff happens. I have a hard time blaming the trainers for beginning of camp injuries as most of these guys are training elsewhere during the off season. TK has a point about not paying as much attention to other teams injuries as we are Packer focused fans. It's frustrating every year. I just hope these young guys are fast healers and can come back from these injuries as quickly as possible.

Lphill's picture

I think we stay with the safeties we have , I believe Rollins will play more safety than corner but I think we bring in a veteran ILB .

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

We have a lot of good young athletic safeties on the team. The sky isn't falling, plus we don't even know the injury severity of Brice yet.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

We have a lot of good young athletic safeties on the team. The sky isn't falling, plus we don't even know the injury severity of Brice yet.

dobber's picture

I think playing S is the only way Rollins makes the team. Brice's injury might have been the best thing to happen to his roster chances.

They have to commit to shoring up the ILB situation somehow, whether it's by using Matthews there more or by signing/trading for someone (John Simon, anyone?). Yes, they have lots of young unprovens who could play, but they're all undersized and will get had if the Packers play much of any base...and if Martinez gets hurt, they have no inside bulk whatsoever.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

The Saints let their former 1st rd pick Malcolm Jenkins go a few years ago & he has gone on to be a good player in Philly, although a racist one.

The Saints also let their former 1st rd pick Kenny Vaccaro go. He was a stud as a rookie, hasn't played as well after.

He could be a bargain for the $, and he won't piss off the pro-USA/Flag/Vets/Law Enforcement/Soldiers/Anthem people.

He's more physical than Haha but his coverage isn't as rangey....

The TKstinator's picture

Looks like the Saints have a habit of letting their first round picks go.
Marshon Lattimore, anyone?

Spock's picture

Well I hope the Packers use their (Saints) first round pick on somebody worth keeping. I see what you did there. :)

RCPackerFan's picture

If they were to lose both Ryan and Brice for the season, I think the bigger impact would be losing Brice.

Ryan is pretty much a run defender only. Perhaps in Pettines new system he could have been more, but he has been pretty much a run defender only. He is a liability in coverage which in today's football you have to be able to cover. They also can move other players in from other positions to help the ILB spot. Mathews and Jones could play there.

Brice's injury not only affects the Safety position it affects the ILB and CB positions. If Brice is able to play that allows Jones to be able to play an ILB role which would help aid in the loss of Ryan. Without Brice Jones has to play Safety. From what I have heard it also affects how Clinton-Dix can play.

Losing Brice really hurts the defense I think.

carlos's picture

Yeah our biggest fear shakes it’s ugly head. I agree the Packers have too many injuries in comparison to some teams. Chargers have been hit hard also this training camp. Players going down left and right. Shows you how big and fast these guys are. Constant training and in some players something has to give. It’s the disappointing side of a rough game.

dobber's picture

As I understand it, Ryan graded out very well in coverage in 2017 according to PFF. I suspect it's because he didn't do it nearly so often as Martinez (who didn't grade as well) and had more favorable coverage assignments when he did. Without him, the Packers are more than a little short on beef in the middle.

As for Brice, we really don't know what they've lost here except the guy who was running with the 1s. He's played game snaps in the past, but has been hounded for his freelancing/missed coverages as much as he's been applauded for his aggressive hitting. We also don't know how any of these other guys will fit in the new scheme, given a chance.

Nick Perry's picture

I don't know RC...I guess I've never really understood the fascination with Brice some have. As an UDFA he was a great find and I'm glad he's on the Packers but I just don't see how this hurts the Packers THAT much other than depth.

I understand he was starting with the one's in TC but I honestly felt that would be short lived. Other than the one big hit on Beasley I believe it was what exactly has he done?

Edit...I didn't read dobbers comment above before I commented....Sorry

Roaddog's picture

Why don't they wrap these guys up in bubble wrap? Something isn't right when you have injuries three days into training camp.

TruReligion Bethea's picture

Sign Kenny Vaccaro and Navarro Bowman and who ironically I wanted even healthy and I feel where better than we where before the 2 injuries. Hopefully they're able to return this season.

Handsback's picture

The next man up theory will be tested early in Green Bay. The ILB position can be handles through a lot of different guys, but can still be managed without a loss of performance. The same can't be said about the safety position. You want to stop the pass, you better have a Brice/Thomas type guy in the backfield and I don't see any on the Packer's current roster. Doesn't mean I'm right, just my opinion.

fthisJack's picture

it seems like Greer Martini is turning heads at camp. he is in the Jake Ryan mold. not good in coverage but a good run stuffer. hopefully he can continue his development and make the roster. haven't heard a word about Burks so far in camp.
i worry more about the safety position. i could see bringing in either Reid or Vaccaro. you would think they would sign a team friendly contract at this point.

Since '61's picture

I realize that it doesn't look good and given the Packers luck with injuries it probably is not good for either player but we should see exactly how bad these injuries are before we write off the season for either player.

While the Ryan injury sounds severe the injury to Brice may not be as serious. If we do in fact learn that players will miss the season or even substantial time then the Packers need to look at signing FAs to replace them especially Brice.

Very frustrating that these injuries just happen year after year after year. It never ends. Will this team ever catch a break with injures? Thanks, Since '61

carlos's picture

Hoping Brice’s is just the ankle again and the cart was precautionary. Ryan’s, I agree, doesn’t sound good. What a heartbreaker for a player and staff. We all know how it hits us fans.

dobber's picture

I was reading comments from teammates who said it looked bad. I was encouraged by how they seemed to rally around him, though. That's what I like to hear.

ErnieErnie's picture

Ryan will be missed. He lacks speed and is avg only but he gives it his all.
As a M fan I was not all that high on this guy so when the pack took him I expected little. Still, he was a decent fill in guy and will be missed. Wish him the best

ErnieErnie's picture

Whats with Daniels, come into camp over weight and out of shape? Way to go guy, you will be a big help on the road to the stupor bowl

Christopher Gennaro's picture

I know maybe the it looks bad coming in over weight, but I have total faith he will be the mean lean machine by game 1. For me he just loves the 1 on 1 fight and he will make the pro bowl this year, just do to the fact he won't be doubled on almost ever play. Love me some Big Diesel, so I'm bias!!!!

Qoojo's picture

Hopefully, the severity turns out to be less than originally thought.

Pettine gets a taste of the packers injury luck. Hopefully, this isn't the trend for the season.

carlos's picture

We can only hope. And maybe pray. Whatever it takes. lol

cheesehead1's picture

Doesn’t sound good for Ryan, wish him and Brice the best. I have confidence that Gutekunst will not stand pat. I know it seems like we get hit hard every year with injuries (and we do) but we’re not alone. Look at SD already this year among others.

dobber's picture

I was a proponent on kicking the tires on these guys (Reid, Vaccaro, Boston) at OTA time when it was starting to look like they were going to have to sign one-year deals for sub-market value. I liked the idea of getting some competition for HHCD in camp and letting them fight it out for an extension. That was before losing one of the safeties who was running with the 1s.

Based on what Boston signed for, these guys are pennies-on-the-dollar value at this point. Even with Jones (who I really like), I would still look into what it would take to bring one of them in. I actually like Reid better than Vaccaro to compete with HHCD. I'm not sure that Vaccaro might not be the better replacement for Brice/Burnett, though.

Oppy's picture

Reid doesn't compete with HHCD, Reid becomes the #1 S in Green Bay the second he's hired. He's on a different level.

Christopher Gennaro's picture

I'm with you with your view on Reid, just don't think it will happen sadly. If Gute pulled that off, it would take huge nuts in this toxic political environment. Oh yeah this isn't to start some debate just my opinion at this time.

DenePhillips's picture

Here we go again. It just doesn't seem to matter how bad or how good this team is when every year there are major injuries to key players. Gunst has done a great job with the coaches and getting the players, but now it is time to take a hard look at the trainers. It seems to be that years ago whenever the Packers opened that new training facility is when all the injuries started to happen. I know it sounds weird, but maybe it's the type of equipment there using or how and when they are using it. I don't know. I do know that there are players who train a certain way and really hardly ever get hurt and players who constantly get hurt. Part I believe is that the players are doing thing they think is right on the field or in the training room, but it is wrong, because they don't know any better. In any event, we need to take a very hard look at this. The Packers seem to always have more injuries to more key players then any other team. It's probably just my imagination I will have to check out the statistics, but I do know we cannot win even with the greatest players in the league on our team if they are constantly getting injured.

Johnblood27's picture

im sure that nobody at 1265 has thought of reviewing the employees, practices, methods, equipment or playing surfaces.

We should write a lwtter to MM and inform him that there may be an issue that some study and analysis could address.

Im absolutely certain nobody in the entire organization has looked into any of this and come to the conclusion that none of the studied factors is to blame.

The TKstinator's picture

Maybe the ice packs aren’t cold enough?

Oppy's picture

Everyone talks about pointing fingers at the training staff, but not a single person asks about the playing surface... smh.

Try googling "Desso Grassmaster Injuries" and see what some sports medicine experts, trainers, coaches and managers worldwide think about a playing surface that has become prevalent in Soccer, rugby, and is featured on both Lambeau and Nitschke fields.

Honestly, I'm not blaming the injuries on our playing field. I believe it's football and there's injuries that happen. But there's an awful lot of people around here who are always ready to fire, fire, fire good, hardworking people, and I've never heard a single one of them say, "maybe the common denominator might be the field they play on? I'll look into it." But they're informed enough to shit can an entire training staff with certainty. What a joke.

DenePhillips's picture

I agree it could be the playing field I was thinking that in the back of my mind.

The TKstinator's picture

And I was thinking that on the SIDE of my mind.
So, great minds...

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