What looked like a standout practice for the Green Bay Packers’ burgeoning defense — which picked off Aaron Rodgers three times — turned into an injury-filled disaster.
Two potential starters — linebacker Jake Ryan and safety Kentrell Brice — were carted off the field Monday with injuries. And that was after defensive tackle Mike Daniels dropped out.
While Daniels appears to have avoided anything serious, Ryan and Brice might not have been as fortunate. One source said the Packers fear Ryan sustained a significant and potentially season-ending injury to his right knee. The injury occurred during an 11-on-11 drill late in practice. Ryan pounded his fist on the ground as he received medical attention.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap
Ryan was slated to start at inside linebacker next to Blake Martinez, who tied for the NFL lead in tackles last season.
“He was just devastated,” Martinez said after practice. “Obviously, he was super-excited about the season. He’s been putting a tremendous amount of work in. He’s been awesome throughout OTAs and these past four practices. It’s been good for him. It’s just really tough.
“I talked to him right after I got off the field. Basically, told him if he needs anything, I’m here for him. I obviously don’t know the extent of it. Obviously, everybody will know when they know. I’m just praying for him and hoping the best for him. I know he’ll come back even stronger.”
This could accelerate the need for rookie third-round pick Oren Burks to play a bigger role on defense. Also, defensive back Quinten Rollins has worked at inside linebacker in the sub packages, and the Packers are high on undrafted rookie linebacker Greer Martini of Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, Brice also had been working with the No. 1 defense and was perhaps the leading candidate to replace Morgan Burnett, who signed with the Steelers in free agency. Brice missed the final nine games of last season with a right ankle injury. It was unclear if Monday’s injury was related.
“I think he’s definitely having one of the best offseason programs,” McCarthy said during the June minicamp. “The thing that goes unnoticed, and rightfully so from our perspective, is his communication skills. I love the way he plays. I think the ability to get past the injury and be here the whole time, having him full-go in the strength and conditioning program, you can see he’s really comfortable out there with the adjustments and the communication. I would definitely be shocked if we’re not sitting here after the season thinking that he’s definitely taken a big jump, because I’ve seen it throughout the offseason.”cheap nfl jerseys nike china