The Green Bay Packers received some unfortunate news as Jake Ryan’s knee injury looks to be serious and potentially season ending.
The Green Bay Packers may have suffered a serious loss at linebacker on Monday. Starting linebacker Jake Ryan suffered a serious knee injury in practice and had to be carted off the field. It is now believed Ryan could miss a majority — if not the entirety — of the 2018 season. Ryan continues to undergo tests, but the initial reports aren’t looking promising.
Over the course of the last three seasons, Ryan has started 27 games for Green Bay (12 in 2017). He’s appeared in a total of 43 games, with 22 of those coming in the last two seasons. In addition to the already astonishingly thin linebacker depth on the team, the Packers may have to replace an 81-tackle linebacker. Ryan has tallied 213 tackles over those 43 appearances.
The Packers finished last season ranked in the back half of the league for total defense. Without making any significant additions, the defensive struggles could continue in 2018. Especially if they’re missing Ryan.
The possible replacements for Ryan include third-round draft pick Oren Burks and Ahmad Thomas, who spent 2017 on the practice squad. Neither look promising, but maybe Blake Martinez can improve on his 96-tackle performance from last season as well as assist the youngsters in growing into the starting linebacker role.
However, not everything is looking gloomy for Green Bay in terms of injuries. Kentrell Brice — who was also carted off the field during Monday’s practice — received some good news on Tuesday. His x-rays came back negative. There is no timetable for his return yet, but the team will have a better idea of when he will return to the field within the next few days.
Regardless, the simple truth is the Packers are going to continue to struggle on defense next season, especially with the loss of Ryan.