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Matthews Pretty Pedestrian So Far

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Matthews Pretty Pedestrian So Far

Excellent observation from McGinn (as usual) in regards to second year linebacker Clay Matthews so far in camp:

Clay Matthews hasn't been close to a dominant performer. Everyone seems to just assume that the second-year man is on the fast track to greatness because of his excellent rookie season. His impact has been minimal so far.

...Matthews hasn't been special against the run, particularly in his jousts with much-improved run blocker Jermichael Finley . On Tuesday night, it was shocking to see Finley demolish Matthews with hundreds of fans looking on in the first of 10 fiercely contested one-on-one's between the LBs and TEs. They later battled to a draw.

I have to admit, I was surprised at how little Matthews flashed the entire time I was in Green Bay. There were a few times when he got into the offensive backfield (one time he caused Rodgers to curse pretty loudly when Matthews blew up the timing of a screen pass) but most of those were due to the design on the blitz and not as a result of Matthews winning a one-on-one.

Here's a good example of Matthews' pass rush being negated in a one-on-one matchup with Mark Tauscher, who actually throws Matthews to the ground at the end of the play (apologies for the shaky video)

Now, before everyone starts calling me a hater...

It is very, very early in camp. And the defense as a whole is at a disadvantage because they are not allowed to tackle or even hit the ball carrier at full speed. Their natural aggressiveness is noticeably dulled by the multiple restrictions they are under. (No touching the quarterback either) I can see a case being made that Matthews has been told to "mark it" until it's time for some live hitting.

But for a team that is counting on Matthews and little else when it comes to getting to the passer, it would be nice to see even one or two plays that make you go "Wow." So far in camp, there's been precious little of that from Matthews.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Buddy's picture

What does Bedard have to say about his performance thus far? If I remember correctly, I believe I saw him point out Matthews in a number of his tweets from the practices yesterday. Maybe just a slow start?

packeraaron's picture

Just now on Twitter Bedard was asked about McGinn's assessment. His response:

It was a fair assessment. Am I worried about him? Um, no. He's a gamer

CSS's picture

I haven't ever attended a camp, Aaron, but serious question:

Who typically has the advantage and/or wins the one-on-one drills during camp? If it tends to be either offense or defense, why?

packeraaron's picture

I never put much stock in one on ones during drills (you note I omitted McGinn's recounting Matthews results from those drills in my post) It's a nice, pure physical barometer, but there are way too many variables on a football play to be able to equate performance in a one-on-one drill to anything that happens in an actual football game.

As for the rest of your question, it's really hard to say because, as McCarthy pointed out last year, the coaching staff is working on different things every time. Every session has some kind of emphasis and is designed in a certain way by the staff. We as observers can't ever truly know who, if anyone, has an upper hand, though one side or the other usually has one.

TheMills's picture

Interesting. I did notice this post on the JS Training Camp Blog yesterday:

8:35PM - PackersLive: Matthews causes at least one false start among offensive linemen in one on one periods. Even with guys like Clifton & Tauscher. Amazing

PackersRS's picture

Like Bedard said, he's a gamer. It's not about what he did in his rookie year, as much as HOW he did it.

Jon's picture

"We're talking about practice? Practice? Not a game? Practice!"

andrew's picture

i think this is rather silly... hes still young its practice.. he is supposed to test himself.. id be more upset if you didnt see him gettin handled every so often cause if he isnt then he isnt getting better... i like seein hawk gettin a INT and trying to make big plays in practice and work on his pass coverage. the more they get worked the better.. hawk needs to be in practicing pass coverage.. and matthews should be gettin pushed into 1 on 1s with good blockers.. and chillar should be gettin worked in against the run so we see improvements in how they play. people should not be worried about those things and should want to see them struggling.. thats when you see improvements

CSS's picture

Hypothetically, let's say he does take a bit of a step backwards. I don't see a drop in divisional productivity since the Bears, Lions and Vikings offensive lines (that collectively ran from aweful to less-than-average) did nothing to get better in 2010.

Each respective unit on those teams will be more vulnerable than last year. I'm not being a homer here, very serious.

Jeremy's picture

Matthews can't really speed rush if he can't even accidentally hit or touch the QB. Speed is his biggest weapon.

jerseypackfan's picture

Maybe he is taking it easy since last season he had hamstring issues during camp?

nypacker's picture

He did switch sides right? I guess he's getting more acclimated to playing on the left side since he played only on the right during his rookie season.

packeraaron's picture

He did, but not much was happening pre-switch either.

WisconInExile's picture

As was noted in a GBPG article today, Mathews has also asked the running backs to be much more aggressive in chipping him, etc., so that he could get used it before offenses start game planning for him.

This year, he knows he is a starter. He is not the rookie looking to get the coaches' attention. Frankly, I'd rather that he dial it back during the preseason in order to minimize he injury exposure. He knows he can 1-on-1 matchups against starting NFL offensive linemen. Now it's time to focus on the mental game and learning how to better read an offense when playing in coverage.

NickGBP's picture

Thanks for the video. Interesting that Barnett was outside of Matthews on that play. I was trying to figure out where exactly he was lined up. I think we should definitely be moving our players around a lot more than we did last year. Hopefully adds some more unpredictability.

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