Packers' Clay Matthews on OLB Depth: 'Not That Great'

-- Swapping out defensive coordinators isn't the only cure to the Green Bay Packers' woes on the defensive side of the ball. Players need to hold up their end of the bargain, too.

Veterans such as outside linebacker Clay Matthews know this, and as the fourth-oldest player on the team's roster, he's also well aware all of the responsibilities of producing efficient pass rush can't fall on the shoulders of just him and his counterpart, Nick Perry, alone.

If anything, the removal of Dom Capers and hiring of Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator sparks even more of a flame under the Packers' group of edge rushers. They may feel they need to show that the troubles on defense the last few seasons haven't entirely been their own doing.

"What [Pettine's] trying to bring is a mentality," Matthews said after the Packers' first public OTA practice on Tuesday. "All the small details are highlighted as far as what we're trying to work on and what we're trying to improve. There's just a lot that goes into the meetings that you can take away from at this point, especially for me and for young guys who I think are really going to benefit this defense.

"Hopefully, we can keep pace with the offense that we've had here for so many years and be a top-tier defense. I'd like to think we have the guys and obviously the coaching staff."

Matthews' 2017 season saw him play in 14 games and record 7.5 sacks, which was his most since 2014 when Capers began experimenting with him at inside linebacker.

Under Pettine, who deploys a plethora of different defensive looks and manufactures pressure in ways that can ask even some of the worst pass-rushing units, there's a chance Matthews could ideally be played in both his natural edge position and inside.

Moving Matthews inside in spurts would also give someone like Vince Biegel or Reggie Gilbert -- a fourth-round pick from a year ago and an undrafted free agent whose home has been made on the practice squad -- some reps on the outside.

Along with Chris Odom and some undrafted free agents, that's essentially the Packers' edge group entering 2018: Matthews, Perry, Biegel and Gilbert. They also have Kendall Donnerson, who they used their 248th overall selection on in last month's draft.

"Well, I wasn't surprised with the first two picks, I'll go ahead and say that," Matthews said of the Packers' decision not to take any of the top edge rushers that were available in the draft. "But obviously, you look at the depth at the outside linebacker position, and it's not that great. That's not a slight to the guys who are behind Nick [Perry] and myself, but you look around the league, a lot of times they're rotating in pass rushers."

Matthews, now entering his 10th season, will be learning under a new coordinator and grasping the handles of a new scheme for the first time in his career. He was drafted by the Packers shortly after they hired Capers in 2009.

After nearly a decade of stellar play that saw Matthews become the franchise sack leader, he'll play the role of the elder statesman and possibly set an example for the young depth trio to follow.

"You can look a couple years ago when we had Mike Neal and Julius [Peppers] here, Datone [Jones] as well. We had a pretty good rotation. Sometimes I'm sure it doesn't work out the way in which [the front office] wants, and obviously, they only get so many picks and only have so much cap money to spend.

"I'm happy with the picks they made, and at the same time, it does show you, you know, their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have. At some time I'm sure it will be addressed, but for the time being the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain."

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (100)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

May 23, 2018 at 10:39 am

"But obviously, you look at the depth at the outside linebacker position, and it's not that great."

OK, Clay. If I look at the OLB starters, obviously; it's not that great either.

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Lare's picture

May 23, 2018 at 05:12 pm

Perhaps during the filming of one of their insurance commercials Aaron can pull Clay off to the side and explain to him the concept of "players play, coaches coach and management makes player decisions."

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croatpackfan's picture

May 24, 2018 at 02:20 am

Good one!

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Johnblood27's picture

May 23, 2018 at 11:01 am

as I listen to the questions being asked and the articles being written this time of year, they aren't that great.

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Tundraboy's picture

May 23, 2018 at 04:00 pm

Yeah. What a boring day. Early injuries, minor but.... Coaching Interns, Mercedes Lewis and now this.

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Don Hutson's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:28 am

Mathews displayed his frustration that the Packers can't rotate OLBs, complicating his ability to stay effective and healthy. That's legitimate. But that in the dynamics of the draft and team needs/development management passed on available OLBs to address other needs, he is way out of line! And he dissed his three younger team mates. Some maturity issues here.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:40 am

I don't think it's maturity as much as it is, "not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer". I don't think he's the smartest football player we've ever seen in GB. Physically talented yes, but if he was smarter he might figure out a way not to be sucked into every RB delay, where he runs outside the left tackle and takes himself COMPLETELY out of the play. He never seems to learn from his mistakes, and now it's becoming clear why that is.

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:09 am

I don't know why we presume these guys are all dumb.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:26 am

Please show me the quote where I said "all these guys are dumb".

TIA

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:32 am

Perhaps not you, per se, but we've seen a wide range of comments to this effect over the years regarding players. It seems to be a stereotype people buy into.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:58 am

I actually think the majority of them DON'T get credit for not only being physically gifted, but extremely intelligent.

But there are still some that are dim bulbs. Matthews should be much better than he is with all his experience and obvious physical talent. There's something holding him back from reaching his potential, and I could never figure out what that was. (besides all the injuries) His inappropriate comment about the talent of HIS teammates has made it clear he's somewhat lacking in the IQ dept. JMO of course.

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 11:00 am

I agree: most athletes have tremendous dedication and motivation. It often translates to most of what they do...including learning and other pursuits.

We have to be careful, too, where the media paints a guy into a corner or edits comments out of context. In this case, it appears that's not what's happening, but too often it does. Still...one comment in 10 years...

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billybobton's picture

May 24, 2018 at 01:39 pm

because we listen?

when RANDALL talks of all pro level play what other conclusion is there?

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Don Hutson's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:32 am

Maybe AR isn't the model of team diplomat CM needs.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

May 23, 2018 at 11:21 am

I know alot of content here runs parallel with journal sentinel's.. (and I know that's inevitable), but I got deja vu from that headline

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SpudRapids's picture

May 23, 2018 at 11:27 am

I'm not reading into the pass rush until we see what Pettine's defense looks like.. maybe Gute is waiting a year to find out what Pettine needs and he'll use his 2 first round picks to target Pettine's guy in next draft. Seems like a good move to me. You had two glaring weaknesses on this defense, corner and edge. Gute played his cards to the strength of this draft which was corner. You can't fix everything at once and I doubt there is Von Miller type that'll emerge from this draft anyway.

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Turophile's picture

May 23, 2018 at 12:47 pm

One pass rusher no-one talks about is Oren Burks.

While at college, he played safety, rushed the passer from the outside, played ILB and rushed from there. He was very versatile and is very athletic indeed (6'3", 233lb, ran sub 4.6, jumped 39.5" vert, 11'10" broad. His height, wingspan, broad, vert, shuttle and 3 cone are all rated as being in the top 20% of linebackers this year, three of them in the top 10%.

I'd be looking less at playing Clay inside, more at giving Burks chances to rush(mostly from the inside position). While OLB needs help (and will probably get it in next years draft), CMIII, Perry, Biegel, Gilbert will have to take most of the snaps in 2018, while Burks can provide pressure sometimes inside.

I'd also like to see Ryan - almost a forgotten man these days - get some rushing opportunities. He has played OLB and has some experience rushing the QB, whether he does it from the inside or outside. Same applies to Martinez. You can get pressure packages for Brice and J.Jones too, as well as other players not named.

All things considered, I think the Packers get by there for a year, and could maybe turn out middle of the pack in pass-rushing (which would be fine this year). It IS a challenge for Mike Pettine, but not a disaster area.

PS I like the size and speed of round 7 EDGE guy, Kendal Donnerson (6'3", 250lb, 4.48 40 time), and he plays with a hair-on-fire demeanour......but I don't think he's ready for a while. That size/speed/demeanour should give him a great chance to earn playing time on ST while he learns OLB though. Having said that, Fackrell had some measurables (6'5", 245lb, 4.72 speed), but hasn't jumped out yet, and he will have to, as this is the crucial year three for him.

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flackcatcher's picture

May 23, 2018 at 01:32 pm

No matter the scheme, this is a passing league now. 5-6 DB is the main package on defense. Drafting CB/hybrid DB is always going to be a high priority for this team in the future. The Packers have the personal for the defense to play against the pass heavy offensives in this league. The reality is the LB is thin by design. This started last year under Capers, and is continuing under Pettine. Would Pettine like to have a bigger LB group, sure he would. But as Dobber pointed out yesterday, these are roster spots that are a need elsewhere on this team. LB vs. DB, 10 years ago the LB position wins, today it's the DB/hybrid. That's the way it is in the 'new NFL'.

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4thand1's picture

May 23, 2018 at 11:30 am

IT IS TIME, for CM to become a leader and kick some ass again. The last couple of years have been just above average for Clay, but the Packers have a really solid D line. He and Perry should get plenty of one on one match ups to win so earn your money. If they don't, free up a ton of cap space next year.

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Finwiz's picture

May 23, 2018 at 11:51 am

No more KNEELING for NFL millionaire, activist malcontents. If you're on the field, you WILL stand for the national anthem.

Either stay in the locker room, or your employer will be fined by the league. About time Goodell.

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WKUPackFan's picture

May 23, 2018 at 12:13 pm

It is not shocking that you support authoritarian abuse of minorities.

Fake "patriots" support forced displays of patriotism. Facism has come to the NFL.

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Bert's picture

May 23, 2018 at 02:57 pm

Good point Colin. Thanks.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 08:26 pm

The National Anthem is a song designed to unite Americans of all beliefs and honor veterans. Do you really think that one time of the week is the best time to make a political protest?

As for "fascism," Fin is doing nothing of the sort. Nearly all of us are told not to make political protests at our workplaces, because it's out of place and bad for business.

The Anthem protests have cost the league incredible sums of money in viewership (advertisers aren't pleased), ticket sales, and especially merchandise sales. These players are largely protesting against half their fanbase that doesn't vote like them--and that is a terrifying message for an employer to see spewed by employees.

There is no hint of "authoritarian abuse of minorities" in Fin's words--you inserted that out of political bias. Fin wants the players to do what all employees of every political belief are called to do: Respect the nation providing the setting for their craft.

Your post has no merit.

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LayingTheLawe's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:27 pm

As Chris Long stated so well in his statement the NFL just made a business decision. Snowflake conservatives cannot conceive of someone not having the same opinions as they have, so when confronted with an alternate world view their response was to be unable to watch football even if the other 98 % of the players agree with them. The NFL feared loss of viewers and made a rule. An employer has every right to make rules for times they consider to be work related. But the rule has nothing to do with their patriotism and everything to do with their bottom lines.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:53 pm

Completely wrong and childish.

Every citizen has the right to watch what they wish as free consumers, and watching people who despise you is not a happy time--or do you spend time and money on people who despise you? As you are clearly a proud liberal, need I remind you of all the countless boycotts led by your side? My goodness, you outnumber the Right in boycotts at least 10-1, and that doesn't even take into account your silencing rightwing speakers at college campuses, driving them off with mobs and violence.

The NFL didn't just fear loss of viewers--they were losing huge numbers of viewers, and tickets, and merchandise sales.

I can't--and wouldn't want to--engage in political protest at the workplace. It's out of place and offensive to half the clientele that doesn't share my views. Besides which, I actually care about them and want them to enjoy the product for which they are paying.

Next time, think a bit longer before trying to make a point.

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2018 at 10:06 pm

"I can't--and wouldn't want to--engage in political protest at the workplace."

Do you have millions of people watching you at your workplace every week?

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 05:29 am

No, just hundreds, Dobber.

If I had millions, my point would be even more correct.

Look, this isn't about whether someone is politically Left or Right. It's about caring for people and valuing all customers equally. The Packers' customers are paying to unite behind the Green and Gold, not divide along the battle lines these protests have caused on threads like this one.

The Anthem represents unity for all Americans and reverence for veterans. Using that one time of the week to protest is a specific insult to those who vote differently from you, and to veterans. For instance, while this isn't a direct analogy, what if I used the special time of your kid's birthday to protest your politics? What if I waited until every year when you threw a party with pony rides and clowns (I hate clowns, but...), and then picketed outside your home with some angry group?

That insults your child. I can protest any other time, but I choose to do at your child's special time. That's vicious, plain and simple, and it wouldn't matter if I did it silently or with shouting.

Worse yet, these players are doing it at the workplace, where a divided clientele PAYS to come forget their divisions and unite for 3 hours behind the Green and Gold. No Dobber, these players are doing something far worse than what I could--or would--ever do to my customers.

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:15 am

"That insults your child. I can protest any other time, but I choose to do at your child's special time. That's vicious, plain and simple, and it wouldn't matter if I did it silently or with shouting."

A protest is not a protest without a platform.

The fact that we talk about it, and argue about it, and it shows up on the news, and influences FA signings, shows that they've picked an impactful one for their message.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 09:25 am

Impactful? You just want it to be impactful?

How about respectful? How about considerate of all involved, rather than just those sharing your position?

The protests show zero balance. They don't address enormous data which can be presented against their views. They don't care about that half of the paying audience they're purposefully offending. They don't care about the fact that virtually all their audience would be fired if we engaged in protest activism at work. They don't care about the rights of their employers to present a unifying setting for their clientele to enjoy the product.

The players abandon all balance so they can advance their one-sided agenda at the expense of everyone else. That's not good.

That's not using a platform. That's flatly abusing it.

The difference between us is simple: I oppose any such abuse of this platform by anyone, regardless of political position. You support it for those sharing your views. You want consequence-free speech for those holding your views, at the expense of everyone else involved. I want equal respect for everyone involved.

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:03 am

I have purposefully not forwarded my political views here. Nor have I really weighed in on either side of the kneeling/ownership thing except to say that there are players who might be trying to stay clear of this who might get pinged by it through no fault of their own.

What I've said is that the players have access to a huge platform. It's different from any of us who lack the ability to reach millions of people at any one time. It's clearly making their stance known. They're getting exactly what any protest needs: attention....from all sides. As a result, it is clearly impactful--a word I chose carefully for its neutrality. It neither condones nor condemns.

Save your "you, you, you's" for someone you can meaningfully pin them on.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:25 am

Don't run from it - man up and take responsibility.
You clearly inferred your political position.
Some people are capable of "reading between the lines", where others require things to be stated more directly.
Being a teacher stigmatizes you to one side as a matter of high probability.

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:29 am

Wow...
Just....wow.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:32 am

Yeah wow....you've been outed?
LOL

"Welcome to the party pal!"

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:54 am

I think you'd be surprised....

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Red Foreman's picture

May 24, 2018 at 01:29 pm

Not based on the ignorance displayed in his other posts. Some of us were able to understand the 'human' objective point you were trying to make.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 01:38 pm

Really now, oh wise one. Please enlighten me with the ignorance displayed in prior posts, so I may correct the error of my ways, and walk the desired straight and narrow path to your level of perfection.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 09:53 am

"shows that they've picked an impactful one for their message"

"Impactful" is NOT a word....you as a teacher should know that.
It's a platform with impact yes, but it's a highly inappropriate use of it.
They are killing their place of business - their employer.
If this continues, and it doesn't sound like it will, I will start watching hockey and be done with it. I'll root for the Minnesota Wild. (and I HATE hockey)

Thankfully we don't have any Milwaukee Brewers kneeling during the anthem, so I can still watch them.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:28 am

The adjective impactful, a late-20th-century coinage, is frequently derided as a meaningless buzzword, but the word is here to stay whether we like it or not, and many people find it useful.

The main gripe is that impactful is illogical because the suffix –ful means full of, and impact is not a quantity and hence can’t fill anything. The problems with this complaint are (1) that –ful also means having the quality of, and that (2) impact bears the secondary sense the power to make an impression, and such power can be a quantity.

Another complaint against impactful is that it tends to take the place of longer-established alternatives such as powerful and influential. While this might be true in some cases, the fact that impactful has become so entrenched in the language suggests that many people don’t find it to be an exact synonym of those words and that it has shades of meaning all its own.

Perhaps the best point against impactful is that it is frequently associated with bad business writing, but this is less and less the case as the word continues to make inroads into other types of writing.

>>I'm in business, and I don't use the word, as it gets flagged as grammatically incorrect in any memo I write. I HATE typo's in memo's, but my direct report (Treasurer) doesn't seem to be aware or care. LOL<<

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Language evolves. It always has and it always will. I don't always like the way it changes over time, and perhaps avoid certain words in formal writing, but impactful is pretty well accepted now.

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The TKstinator's picture

May 24, 2018 at 10:31 pm

We continue to devolve toward emoji’s, grunts, and clicks.

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flackcatcher's picture

May 24, 2018 at 01:40 pm

I have Dobber. And to tell the truth it is a bit unnerving.

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Don Hutson's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:37 am

Facism and concise verbage obviously don't go together.

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Red Foreman's picture

May 24, 2018 at 01:23 pm

Isn't that a fact. Couldn't agree more.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

May 23, 2018 at 03:33 pm

How many players where even kneeling anymore?

All the NFL just did was stupidly reignite an issue that had all but died out on it's own. Now the NFLPA will sue and it will be all we hear about again. There's a chance that the NFLPA could win and then even more players will be kneeling.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 08:13 pm

The NFL didn't reignite this; they acted upon it.

The league is losing 10's of millions in lost viewership, ticket revenue, and merchandise sales. It's simply not good business to send a message that you despise half your fanbase. It's simply not wise to take a song dedicated to uniting all Americans and honoring veterans and use that one time of the week to declare your hatred for all Americans who don't vote like you--and that is precisely the message being sent.

Asking NFL employees not to make political statements at their workplace is asking the same of them as most of us at our workplaces. I certainly couldn't protest America at work--why should they?

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LayingTheLawe's picture

May 23, 2018 at 05:57 pm

It shows how this was all such a brilliant move by kapernick to kneel down. Because it made people like this lose their freaking minds. Kapernick could have held press conferences morning, noon, and night for three years straight and never gotten the attention to his cause that kneeling once garnered.

Just yesterday there were some conservatives here snickering in a different post about how sensitive liberals are, but we all know who the real snowflakes are. Conservatives can't stand it when you disagree with them and they just can't accept that a different opinion can even exist. they try to paint any difference in opinion as dangerous, immoral, or illegal.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 08:17 pm

Ummm...all I see is you attacking people for politics on a sports blog.

Kaep cost his industry incredible sums of money--and himself a job. If you are so full of hate against people with different politics that you would call Kaep "brilliant," then I'm pretty sure it isn't those dastardly Conservatives who are spreading the hate...

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LayingTheLawe's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:30 pm

Colin Kapernick peacefully protested for social change and the only hate was that directed against him. He gave up any benefit being a football player would ever have given to him. He can now never be a coach, an announcer, an espn analyst or anything, so he must really believe in his cause. Eventually, someone else will similarly believe in a cause and kneel and force the NFL to see what level of action they will take.

No social change has ever occurred anywhere in the world without being disrespectful to authorities. This country was founded by the Founding Fathers being disrespectful to authorities. The foundation of living in a free society is the ability to be ABLE to be disrespectful to authority. People that perform these actions risk their jobs and reputations but believe their cause is important enough to do it. This is far from the last time someone will campaign for social change in a public setting.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:45 pm

Kaep wore socks depicting the police as pigs and donated $25,000 to a charity benefiting a cop-killer. He also wore a T-Shirt honoring a Communist executioner.

But hey, you hate the same people he hates, so you concoct spin to defend him. It's your thing.

Meanwhile, you say not one word about the fact that he's choosing a song designed to unite us and honor veterans as the one special time of his week to protest--yep, that's pretty hateful. You say not one word about the fact that he is engaging in political protest at his workplace--something virtually none of us could (or would want to) do.

Just silly spin about peaceful protest--as if anyone's saying he killed anyone.

Pathetic.

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Bert's picture

May 23, 2018 at 08:51 pm

Blah, blah, blah. There isn't a dime worth of difference between a liberal or conservative ideologue. Both trained to act and react according to some goofy ideology that they have been programmed to react to. The media and politicians love this crap. Let's keep the ideological bull crap off the Packers forum.

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WKUPackFan's picture

May 24, 2018 at 07:52 am

Interesting request Bert, since you are the guy who went straight to the "Colin" card above. It's fairly obvious which side you gravitate to. The side that won't be satisfied until segregation is once again the norm.

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Bert's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:17 am

Geeez WKU. That's quite the stretch. Now I'm a segregationist? Grow up!!!

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 09:28 am

Who is advocating segregationism? Please cite the post advocating this position.

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kevgk's picture

May 23, 2018 at 08:56 pm

you sound pretty sensitive ironically

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croatpackfan's picture

May 24, 2018 at 02:30 am

I would not enter this "political" discussion, just wanted to know how US Constitution can be applied on this issue - do the minority have right to express themselves publicly, or they are not allowed, because they are minority that might disrespects majority symbols...

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 05:26 am

Good question, Croat. Allow me to answer.

The minority have equal rights to express themselves publicly, but paying customers have equal rights to express dissatisfaction with politics being injected into a setting where they're paying big $ to forget politics for 3 hours and unite behind their team.

In short, America provides free speech, but not speech free of consequence. The workplace is no place for political protest. It's always offensive to about half your clientele (whichever half disagrees with you). If I engaged in political protest at work, I'd be fired immediately, and it would be a good decision.

Furthermore, these players are specifically choosing the National Anthem--a song designed to unite all Americans of all beliefs while honoring veterans--as their time of protest. That means they're specifically protesting America and insulting veterans. Do they have that right? Sure, free country. But is it acceptable to offend so many paying clientele, both at the game and TV viewership? Absolutely not, and the employers have equal rights to respond to the players' offensive usage of their rights in the workplace.

So Constitutional freedom is fully in play here, Croat--but the rights of the employer and customer must also be considered, not just the rights of the employees. One can protest, but another has the right to be offended, and another has the right to protect his/her business interests. ALL rights are in play, not just one group's.

No one has the right to protest free of consequence. That would deny everyone else their rights.

Hope that helps.

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croatpackfan's picture

May 24, 2018 at 07:08 am

Thank you for answering on the proper manner. I really did not want to enter political discussion, just wanted to understand how some of you see that issue...

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 07:42 am

You bet, and thanks again for an excellent question.

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WKUPackFan's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:06 am

Except that your answer was incorrect. The anthem and flag are symbols of the freedoms accorded by the Constitution. One of those freedoms is the right to peacefully protest wrongs against others. You are elevating these symbols to the status of sacred religious objects. If you wish to worship those objects, that's fine.

The flag and anthem do not represent only veterans. They represent all of us, all colors, genders and religions. The unity aspect is the unity of providing equal and individual rights for all.

With regard to your observations on reply to Finwiz, everyone here knows that his prejudice against African-Americans and the LGBT community is well documented . If you do not understand that you have not been keeping up.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 09:34 am

I elevated nothing to religious status. Your response is bizarre.

Look, you want speech free of consequence, but that is offered nowhere in the Constitution. The games on Sunday are a workplace, and employers have the right to not want half their clientele needlessly offended. Your agreement with those doing the offending changes nothing.

No one said the flag and anthem represent only veterans--yet another straw man argument on your part. But the song is meant to unite all Americans--including the groups you cite--and honor veterans.

You don't want "equal and individual rights for all," since you want those holding your political views--the players--to have speech without consequence. This denies the rights of their employers to manage their workplace in a manner that doesn't offend half the customers. Equal rights doesn't just mean consequence-free power for people agreeing with you, but rather equal rights for all--a concept which apparently holds no value for you.

Finally, regarding Fin, I accurately defended his comment in the context given. I have no desire to debate the full history of his past comments and your emotional opinion of those comments. Just going off your points here, I'd find it very hard to rely on your assessment of anyone's views, much less Fin's.

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flackcatcher's picture

May 24, 2018 at 02:18 pm

As a practical matter, the owners over the past 30 years have built or entered into agreements which have made the stadiums a place of private business. If the players wish, then like every union they will have to sit down with the owners and bargain for they can and can't do in the upcoming NFLPA-NFL contract talks. (The back story on how this all started is an example of DoD decision making at it worst.....)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 24, 2018 at 11:02 pm

Croat, even as a retired attorney I don't think I could accurately summarize the law in a short comment (or even a long one since it has been a long time since I read caselaw on free speech, and even Supreme Court Justices differ). The constitution, in general, prohibits government from making laws that restrict the right to free speech (subject to reasonable regulations). You don't have the right to exercise your free speech rights in my living room, to use an extreme example: I can kick you out of my home. If I hire you as a cashier at a grocery store, you can exercise your free speech to tell a customer that he or she is ugly, but as an employer, I can legally fire you for that. I can fire that cashier even if what the cashier said to the customer is factually true. I can fire that cashier if at the end of each transaction the cashier encourages the customer to vote for candidate X. An employer usually is an employer at will (no personal services contract) who can fire a person for any reason not prohibited by law. I can fire a person just because I don't like them as long as the reason isn't one that is protected by law. I can't fire someone because I don't like their race, religion, etc., but I can fire them because I think they are a jerk, or just abrasive to others.

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worztik's picture

May 23, 2018 at 11:55 am

A GREAT move by the league... FINALLY!!!!

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 08:28 pm

I agree, though players staying in the locker room still sends a pretty hateful message. That's not good business.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:44 pm

If staying in the lockerroom sends a hateful message then so does standing in line for a beer.

Do you stand at home when the anthem plays? Every time? If not that tells me a lot about the authenticity of your position.

Colin started out doing nothing but sitting. He just didn't participate. Same as hundreds of thousands of people at stadiums every year. Same as millions in there homes. He only knelt after a request from a true American hero.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:36 pm

A ridiculous comparison.

There is no audience for me in my home. No statement is being made. These players have specifically stated they are abstaining to make a statement, not to grab a sandwich from the kitchen.

Those who stay in the locker room are sending a proud, crystal clear message--they so despise that half of the nation which votes differently from them that they'll use a song designed to unite us and honor veterans as their special time to protest. You support them because you share their political views, not out of some devotion to principle. You hate who they hate, so you enjoy their protest.

I could NEVER engage in political protest at work, nor would I want to. The customers come from every political stripe, and all deserve equal respect and restraint on my part while partaking of the products and services provided.

But hey, I actually love all people, so I must be some kind of nut...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:51 pm

Your not acting like you love all people at the moment.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 05:12 am

Of course I am. I simply disagree with your statement, and believe it is ludicrous on its face. Should I be silenced from describing why?

I want ALL paying fans to have the right to forget politics for 3 hours and unite behind the Green and Gold. These players clearly don't want that. If I treated customers that way at my job, I'd be fired immediately, and that would be a good thing.

Whatever your job, it's likely half your clientele disagrees with your politics. Your job is to set that aside and honor their patronage of your business by providing caring service, not divisive statements.

These players simply have so much hate for half their clientele, they choose the worst moment possible--a song designed to unite us all and honor veterans--as their time of protest. It's at the workplace, and it's at the worst time.

My goodness, I can't imagine ever, even for an instant, treating my customers that way. I care too much about people.

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2018 at 10:14 pm

"Those who stay in the locker room are sending a proud, crystal clear message--they so despise that half of the nation which votes differently from them that..."

Those might also be getting retaped, equipment adjustments, a painkilling shot--who knows what other legitimate reason. The league has now made it so that every player who trots onto the field after the anthem is played will have to justify it or potentially be stigmatized. Whether it has anything to do with protests or not. What a mess.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 05:15 am

That is true, Dobber. But don't blame the league, which is simply responding to a situation it didn't create. Blame those who created the situation, and that is most certainly the protesting players.

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WKUPackFan's picture

May 24, 2018 at 07:43 am

How is protesting against police brutality a political thing? It only became political when your boy Trump hijacked the issue. Advocating for individual rights for all people is something everyone should agree with.

If you oppose kneeling you support the murder of African-Americans and other minorities by state sanctioned authorities. It is as simple as that.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:34 am

There is a time and a place for everything. The national anthem is NOT that time. National anthem while presenting the flag, is to honor the fallen that gave us the freedom to watch a game on Sunday.

If you want to protest and display your perceived lack of social justice, then wait until after the game and have a press conference at your locker. There's plenty of lap dog, fawning, press sycophants to swallow your every word, and regurgitate it on the 6 o'clock news.

You've been seriously misguided by that university you genuflect to in your username.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:58 am

How is protesting police actions an NFL workplace thing? As for it being political, the players have been exceedingly open about their political views regarding this issue.

As for the issue of police and minorities, I could easily recite stats damaging to your position, but this isn't the place for that. We're discussing whether players should use the workplace and Anthem for their time of protest, and you've provided no rational support for them doing so.

And finally, advocating for individual rights is the furthest thing from your mind, since you care nothing for the rights of paying customers to enjoy 3 hours of activism-free unity behind their team, or the employers' rights to protect the marketability of their product. You just choose the side you like and tell everyone else their rights mean nothng.

In short, you want all-powerful, consequence-free speech for your political allies. Sorry, but we don't do dictatorship in America.

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WKUPackFan's picture

May 24, 2018 at 03:05 pm

"I could easily recite stats damaging to your position".

My position is that all people, including white people, should not subject to being harassed, beaten, or gunned down by the police for no reason. You obviously support such actions.

You can recite all the statistics that you wish. They will not disprove that atrocities occur. Look no further than the Sterling Brown situation currently in the news. The fact that you support the tasing of an African-American over an illegal parking situation tells me all that I need about your attitude towards minorities.

Trot out all of the buzzwords that you want. You have yet to use "safe space" and "virtue signalling". Claiming that this is workplace issue is just another way of saying that you are ecstatic that the powerful white men are slapping the uppity African-Americans down. Quit being a coward and just admit to the racism you are so desperate to espouse, but lack the courage to overtly state.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 08:33 am

Excellent posts ALP - this series of them.
I respect your commentary, even when we don't agree on Packer personnel and coaching.

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Finwiz's picture

May 24, 2018 at 02:36 pm

"Do you stand at home when the anthem plays? Every time? If not that tells me a lot about the authenticity of your position."

Full attention....yes. Silence. Anything else?

I just recalled this ONE event....it was about 1998...Memorial Day race at Charlotte NC speedway - the Coca Cola 600. Before the race they did a full 7 cannon (?), 21 gun salute to the flag, followed by playing of TAPS, just before the national anthem. I was watching the pre-race with my brother, an ex Marine. When I saw this, it was so moving, it brought me to tears, and I was afraid my brother would notice. I couldn't ever talk for 5 minutes. Never forget it. Yes - I respect the flag and what it stands for!!

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Ryan Graham's picture

May 23, 2018 at 01:10 pm

I try not to make much of comments at this point in the football calendar year, but this coming from Clay Matthews kind of pushes my buttons, and as unfair as it sounds if this was someone else I probably wouldn't care. I understand on I'm on the outside of the locker room looking in (figuratively) but for being the fourth eldest player on roster this is not the way to show some leadership, which I'm gonna try not to go down that rabbit hole but if we are being honest with ourselves hes never been much of a leader on this team. Now if hes trying to light a fire...okay I get it. Then dont beat around the bush, and say it with your chest.

Also, for someone who consistently struggles with staying healthy I'm not sure his concern should be with his teammates in this way. why not ask what you can do for your teammates rather ask what your teammates can do for you. I'm probably reading into this a little more than I need to, but this doesnt look or sound great through the lense of the media. Be a leader for once, do your job, and why not, I dont know...do your part to make them better football players if you have such a problem with the depth behind you?

Fire away the dislikes if you must, but realize that comments like this in the middle of May in a transitioning defense isnt all the bright an idea unless your intentions are to alienate yourself from your teammates and your position group.

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Lare's picture

May 23, 2018 at 02:22 pm

I agree. Perhaps if Matthews would accept a pay cut according to his reduced production on the field, the Packers would be able to use that money to improve the depth at LB.

I think anybody getting paid over $10 million a year to not do their job should probably keep their mouth shut.

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2018 at 02:22 pm

Do we know that CMIII was ever approached to take a pay cut?

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Lare's picture

May 23, 2018 at 03:08 pm

I've never seen anything reported that he was. Perhaps they would have pushed the issue had they drafted someone like Edmunds, but not having done so they're pretty much stuck with what they have.

I suspect they're just going to pay Matthews his $11.3 million this season and let him seek greener pastures next year.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 24, 2018 at 11:19 pm

That or just re-sign CM3 to a contract more in line with his current value. After all, unless Biegel, Gilbert or Fackrell show a lot more, their option would be to lose him in FA (which comes before the draft) and then be forced to use a first-round pick on an OLB. GB probably should and probably will use their top pick on a pass rusher in 2019, a draft that is supposed to have good talent at pass rusher anyway. We just won't know if the player we select after we've already decided whether to pay CM3 is good, meh, or a bust.

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Bert's picture

May 23, 2018 at 01:36 pm

Not sure that telling the young OLBs they are worse than Neal and D. Jones is such a good idea...…..

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2018 at 02:06 pm

He said the depth "is not that great". Interpret that as you will, but...
Fackrell
Beigel
Odom
Gilbert
...these are the OLBs currently on the roster with NFL experience backing up Perry and CMIII.
Are you disagreeing with his assessment?
I'm not.

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Finwiz's picture

May 23, 2018 at 02:27 pm

That's true, but it's a team game. Some things are better left unsaid, for the good of the team.

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 07:27 am

I would argue that this team has been a little devoid of straws that stir the drink in recent years. People have been asking for team leaders to be more outspoken--especially wanting CMIII to be more of that kind of leader--and being outspoken in May is a helluva lot different than being outspoken in October or November. It might be what it needs.

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Bert's picture

May 23, 2018 at 03:08 pm

CM should be leading by example and encouraging the younger players. Given his recent inability to stay on the field (including the OTAs) consistently he should maybe be more concerned about himself than worrying about the quality of the guys behind him. On the other hand given his recent inability to stay on the field I guess he should be concerned about the depth behind him. Lord knows we'll need it.

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Finwiz's picture

May 23, 2018 at 03:50 pm

Good post!
Highly profound words of wisdom for 52.

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Tundraboy's picture

May 23, 2018 at 09:21 pm

I think he was being kind.

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Handsback's picture

May 23, 2018 at 02:12 pm

Claymaker shouldn't be saying anything until he's the established leader in the locker room. Does he think if you didn't go to USC, you can't be a good rush LB?
Just surprised that everyone aren't calling for Kendricks to be brought in and signed. I do think it's strange that the Eagles released him and their back-up just got injured and now they need a MLB.....

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blue eyes's picture

May 23, 2018 at 04:12 pm

Sign Barwin or Kendricks!
Is that better? Lol

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 24, 2018 at 11:27 pm

Because Kendricks is good against the run and has issues in man to man coverage. He is largely redundant. He might be better than our #2 ILB, and we could certainly use another proven player, but he is likely to be too expensive to be our 2nd or 3rd ILB.

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Lphill's picture

May 23, 2018 at 03:50 pm

Use Clay for 3 rd down and long situations keep his legs fresh . Move him around I think this is what we can expect.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 23, 2018 at 07:57 pm

Matthews to his backups: Give up and die.

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2018 at 10:17 pm

...or you could read it as, "Prove me wrong."

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

May 24, 2018 at 09:00 am

True. I'm just poking fun at Clay's comments.

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David Aures's picture

May 23, 2018 at 11:19 pm

Sign Kendricks from the eagles. Now we would have great depth. Doubt he will want to be rotational player though. Who knows worth a try. Just say to Kendrick's, Clay and Nick get hurt every year so you'll be starting soon enough.

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dobber's picture

May 24, 2018 at 07:26 am

"Just say to Kendrick's, Clay and Nick get hurt every year so you'll be starting soon enough."

Kendricks would all but certainly project inside in a 3-4 (so not backing up on the edge), but that assumes the Packers will be playing any true base defense. Pettine likes flexibility in his guys and Kendricks used to be able to run well. Maybe he'll take near league minimum for a chance to play against his brother. Who knows, but in my mind I just don't see a match here.

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4EVER's picture

May 24, 2018 at 09:33 am

ALP for President 2024!

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billybobton's picture

May 24, 2018 at 01:50 pm

it is pretty amusing that people who make insightful and accurate football related comments are so backwards and fact free on non field related issue.

ONE FACT that is easy to check is the revenue. The NFL is not losing anything due to the protests and even if they were the poor billionaires can suck it up and figure it out.

Life can be easy when you make crap up as you go but it does not make you accurate, interesting or worth reading. It makes people wonder what's wrong

9 billion in 2013
14 billion in 2017
NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, wants more. Much more. He has stated that he wants to reach $25 billion in annual revenues for the league by the year 2027.A

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