GREEN BAY — Packers LB Jake Ryan is set to return to practice for the Packers’ defense on Friday, Head Coach Mike McCarthy announced.
It will be important for Ryan to return, given that rookie LB Blake Martinez is now out with a knee injury. Ryan, Martinez and Joe Thomas have taken the bulk of the snaps at inside linebacker for the Packers this season, and Ryan’s recent absence necessitated the promotion of Carl Bradford to the active roster to have any depth at the position.
“Everything looks good with Jake so far,” McCarthy said of Ryan, who is recovering from an ankle injury. “We need him. Definitely, Jake Ryan is important to how we move forward. He’s made a ton of progress. I’m excited to see him out at practice today. It’s great to have him back.”
Ryan has missed essentially the last two games. He was injured on an early punt at Tennessee two weeks ago and was out of the game before Green Bay’s defense ever took the field. He then missed last week’s game at Washington.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the Packers’ run defense has allowed its two biggest runs against it with Ryan out of the lineup, a 75-yarder at Tennesssee and a 66-yarder at Washington. Prior to Ryan’s departure, the longest run against the Packers this season was just 29 yards by the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott.
“He’s really comfortable with what’s being asked of him,” McCarthy said of Ryan in his second season. “The adjustment part of it is cleaner for him. He’s playing a lot faster. He’s a heck of a football player. He’s instinctive, he’s tough.”
As for QB Aaron Rodgers’ comment on Wednesday that he thinks the Packers “can run the table,” McCarthy had no qualms about it.
“I love it. It’s an expression of confidence,” McCarthy said. “That’s a statement he made. I read about it just like everybody else. It just shows what’s going on internally. The fact of the matter is you have to win the next game. We all get that part. This is a big challenge going to Philadelphia.”
Packers.com will have more following practice and locker room interviews.