Jersey Al Brings His "A" Game On Matthews

Al Bracco has done a fantastic job in his examination of Clay Matthews' dwindling sack numbers.

Our good friend Al Bracco (who has changed the name of his site to AllGreenBayPackers.com) has what can only be called a sensational post looking at the play of Clay Matthews and what the truth really is behind his dwindling sack numbers over the course of the last month or so.

Money quote:

...what did the 49ers do to help control Clay Matthews? Well, on 10 of those seventeen pass rush attempts, he was double-teamed. They used a variety of combinations, OT-OG, OT-RB, TE-RB, but you could tell they were very aware of where he was at all times. They also ran and threw a lot of quick passes to the other side of the field, away from Matthews.

And yet, despite all of this, Clay Matthews was very close to recording two or three sacks. Twice he had Troy Smith in his grasp (once around the waist and once around the leg) and both times Troy Smith was able to unload the ball. Now, in other games this season, I’ve seen quarterbacks be in the grasp for less time and be called down, so there was certainly no help from the referees on those plays.

So despite a nagging injury, limited chances due to being used more in a containment role, double-teams and a lot of plays away from Matthew’s side of the field, Clay still had some chances and came as close to recording two sacks as you can without getting credit for it.

Be sure to read the whole thing where Al charts out every single snap Matthews took on Sunday. Just fantastic stuff.

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Comments (9)

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jdondlinger's picture

December 08, 2010 at 01:46 pm

I'm not concerned about Clay. He gets so much attention and double teams, it is going to be harder to get sacks. As long as it is allowing other guys (Jenkins, Zombo, Raji, etc.) to get free and get sacks, then Clay is still contributing.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

December 08, 2010 at 01:48 pm

I was just reading the Sporting News cover story on Matthews and he says, "I make sure tackles feel me when I'm holding the edge. I like to jack them up to the point where you're not going to run it outside of me."

That just made me think of A.J. Hawk's improved importance this year and how he's being helped out by Matthews and the entire team doing a great job of funneling running backs to the inside linebackers.

It seems like this team does a good job of turning running backs inside to where their help is.

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thepretzelhead's picture

December 08, 2010 at 01:58 pm

Good prop to Hawk. And yes, how nice it is to not have to yell "outside contain" at the TV. That was a common lament B.C. (Before Capers)

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PackersRS's picture

December 08, 2010 at 02:30 pm

The 3-4, as far as I know, has 2 key weakness compared to the 4-3.

It's the edge containment and playing a spread offense.

With our team, we have a DE and a NT that excells at rushing the passer, so we can play teams spread.

And our OLBs are great against the run, so we're able to contain the run to the outside.

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rickybobby's picture

December 08, 2010 at 02:31 pm

He does not look to have the same pop/explosion as he did in the beginning of the year. His spins and changes of direction are not nearly as sudden. Yes, teams are changing the way they play him but his injury is most assuredly a factor.

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WoodyG's picture

December 08, 2010 at 02:44 pm

CM3 is only 24 years old & at the peak of his physical maturation ..... If he can only practice once a week on a limited basis, then you have to think his injury has some affect on his play ......

A meaningless game vs. Chicago in week 17 & a 1st round bye would be the perfect scenario to maybe get CM3 close to 100% ..... Alas, it may not happen.

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bogmon's picture

December 09, 2010 at 11:05 am

It doesn't seem likely, but I think the Bears' are about to be exposed.

I think they could lose the next four. Watch for Minnesota to bring it to the Bears for sure.
I'm not sure how I feel about the Packers' upcoming games. The Pats are strong; NY worries me....I think the Packers handle Bears at Lambeau.
When you match the passing game of Green Bay vs. Chicago's secondary it definitely favors Green Bay.
Also, Green Bay's secondary is superior to Chicago's receiving corps. I only worry about Cutler's potential to pull off a few of Martz's 'big plays' somewhere in that game.

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Michael's picture

December 09, 2010 at 11:13 am

"A meaningless game against Chicago..." Turn in your Packers fan card. Every game against the Bears is meaningful to us. It is always two of the first games I check our schedule for each year so I know if we are playing the home or away game first. "meaningless game against Chicago..." better look up some Packers history.

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Cole's picture

December 08, 2010 at 03:20 pm

Sacks are an overrateed statistic anyways. The more improtant one is Qb pressures

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