Still, Perry has had a year to absorb the defensive play book and study film and that alone should make him a better player out of the gates.
Let’s take a look at some clips of Nick from last season. Despite his short tenure on the field, there are some interesting things happening here.
Welcome to the NFL Nick Perry
Nick’s first game against the 49ers left a lot to be desired. Here he is getting pancaked on the first defensive play of the 2012 season…
He didn’t get pancaked again after that first play, but he still struggled in his first outing. He had difficulty maintaining outside leverage…
As the game against the Niners wore on Perry appeared to find his rhythm to some degree. In this clip, he gets around the right tackle on a nice speed rush. He doesn’t quite get to the QB before the ball is released, but at least he’s making progress.
Nick’s Struggles Continue
Nick continued getting stuck inside against the Bears…
Perry was soon replaced by Erik Walden and shared time with Walden from then on.
Game three against the Seahawks, things started to get interesting. This clip shows Perry handling contain much better. Granted, he’s posted much wider in this formation but he does a good job of standing his blocker up, maintaining contain, and then shedding his blocker to get in on the tackle.
Against the Seahawks Perry also displayed his strength. Watch as he bull rushes on this play. At some point he needed to stop to contain Wilson as he bounced around the outside, but the bull rush was nice.
Nick has a bit of work to do if he’s going to avoid getting burned in pass coverage. In the first clip here he’s beaten badly. Admittedly, it’s against Crabtree, but a big guy like Nick should be able to check Crabtree so far off his route that he’s wandering through the linemen in the backfield. In the second clip, Nick just bites so hard on the run that he can’t recover as the TE releases into the flat.
The Nick Perry I Expect to See in 2013
With all that said, I still have a ton of confidence in Perry going into this season. For starters, whether he was on the field much or not last season, he’s no longer a rookie. He’s studied the playbook and watched the mistakes others have made from the sidelines.
Plus, let’s not forget that not only was Perry a rookie last season, he was undergoing a conversion to outside linebacker. He’s now another year into that conversion.
The truth is… this is the Nick Perry I expect to see more of this coming season…