With quarterback Aaron Rodgers still on injured reserve for at least a few more weeks, the Green Bay Packers have to find other ways to remain in the playoff picture. One way would be for the team’s defense to step up their play, something head coach Mike McCarthy has been waiting on for a number of years. Last week in a 23-16 win over the Bears, the Pack harassed Chicago rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky all afternoon. The defensive star of the victory was outside linebacker Nick Perry, who racked up six solo tackles and three of the team’s five sacks.

Is the six-year pro ready to up his game for the rest of the season?

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In his last 22 regular-season contests, Perry has managed an impressive 18 sacks. That’s a stark contrast for the 2012 first-round pick, who played in only 46 contests in his first four NFL campaigns and tackled opposing passers only 12.5 times. He got a one-year deal from Green Bay Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson – this after the team decided not to pick up the fifth-year option on the 28th overall pick in the ’12 draft. The former USC product came back with 11 sacks and got another new deal (details via Spotrac) to the tune of five years and 59 million. And after some early injuries in September, he’s bounced back in fine fashion.

Stepping to the forefront

This season got off to a promising start defensively for the defending NFC North champions. In the Green Bay Packers’ season-opening 17-9 win over the Seattle Seahawks, coordinator Dom Capers’ unit limited Pete Carroll’s club to 225 total yards and totaled three sacks. Perry finished the afternoon with three tackles and 1.5 quarterback traps.

But a week later in the Sunday night loss at Atlanta, he suffered a hand injury that required surgery and kept him out of the Week 3 clash with the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the second straight season Perry had such an issue.

“He’s a violent football player," explained McCarthy to ESPN’s, Rob Demovsky, back in late September.

“He’s physical. He plays the game the right way. If you look at his play style, I mean that’s really part of his game, the violence that he plays with, with his hands.”

Now Perry has had a hand in reviving the pass rush. After totaling only 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his first five contests this season, the veteran linebacker has racked up 13 stops and 4.5 QB traps in the team’s last three games. Will Perry continue his hot play this week against the Baltimore Ravens? Don’t bet against it.