In the past few weeks, the Green Bay Packers have struggled to stop both the run and pass. However, with some good news on the injury front, the defense could make some progress in both areas.
Cornerback Damarious Randall, who hasn’t played since the Dallas game. But according to reports, looks likely to return Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. So does linebacker Jake Ryan, who missed last week’s game after getting injured against the Titans.
Randall wasn’t necessarily playing all that well when he went out of the lineup, but he does have an interception this season and good ball skills.
The Packers have missed both Randall and Sam Shields desperately and at least with Randall back, the Packers depth at corner won’t be so shaky.
But the Packers will need Randall to play better than he did earlier in the season. Otherwise, a defense that has allowed more than 270 yards passing or more in four straight games, isn’t going to improve.
At the same time, Ryan could help an ailing run defense that has desperately missed its leading tackler.
Ryan isn’t a superstar. But he knows how to take on a blocker and how to tackle. Joe Thomas and Carl Bradford just aren’t big enough or physical enough to do so. And it’s showed.
If Ryan didn’t return from injury, the Packers probably would been forced to play Clay Matthews back inside, at least a little bit.
But with Ryan back, Matthews can probably stay outside. And Ryan inside, the run defense that has allowed back-to-back games with more 150 yards rushing, should be better.
Don’t expect Randall and Ryan to be saviors. But both are talented players capable of making a positive impact and shoring up some areas, that frankly, have killed the Packers in recent weeks.
And at least this point, Green Bay will take any good news it can get.