Watch: Matthews Still Learning Inside Ropes

Clay Matthews has spent most of his first two days at ILB. "It's really important for me to really grasp this opportunity and really take it and run with it."

Photo by Benny Sieu/USA TODAY

Clay Matthews’ midseason move to inside linebacker saved the Green Bay Packers’ season.

After the first eight games of the season, the Packers ranked a dead-last 32nd against the run. During the final eight games, the Packers ranked sixth against the run to boost their overall ranking to 23rd. That impact showed up in the standings, with Green Bay going 5-3 in the first half of the season and 7-1 in the second half.

Based on that success, the Packers are sticking with Matthews as a hybrid inside-outside linebacker for the upcoming season. On Thursday, he worked with the inside linebackers during position drills. On Friday, it was back with the outside linebackers. During the 11-on-11 periods both days, Matthews played almost exclusively on the inside alongside Sam Barrington as he is “still trying to figure out” the nuances of the inside position.

“I need to know what to do,” Matthews said on Friday. “I feel good about it. Obviously, coming off the spring work which I put in, I said I felt like a rookie as far as learning the playbook and everything. Now coming back out here, it's a refresher course. Obviously, I'm not as well-versed as I am at the outside linebacker position (and) being able to kick back outside at a moment's notice. So, it's really important for me to really grasp this opportunity and really take it and run with it. I think ever since last year, I continue to grow into a stronger player on the inside.”

While he might have been playing on instinct and talent at times last season, the change of roles hardly had a negative impact on his production. Remarkably, he had 2.5 sacks in his eight games as a full-time outside linebacker and 8.5 in his eight games working both positions. Generally speaking, Matthews will play inside linebacker in the base defense, some of both in the nickel depending on down-and-distance and outside in the dime.

“I think they'll come,” he said of opportunities to rush the passer. “I think you saw that last year. There were plenty of opportunities. Our defense generally, we're a 75 percent nickel and dime team. That pretty much goes to show the nature of the league and who we're playing against. So, we'll put our best players out there, wherever that might be. If that means rushing the passer on certain situations or playing inside, we'll see. But I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities. Maybe it will just come from inside.”


Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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Photo by Benny Sieu/USA TODAY

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Clay Matthews’ midseason move to inside linebacker saved the Green Bay Packers’ season.

\r\nAfter the first eight games of the season, the Packers ranked a dead-last 32nd against the run. During the final eight games, the Packers ranked sixth against the run to boost their overall ranking to 23rd. That impact showed up in the standings, with Green Bay going 5-3 in the first half of the season and 7-1 in the second half.

\r\nBased on that success, the Packers are sticking with Matthews as a hybrid inside-outside linebacker for the upcoming season. On Thursday, he worked with the inside linebackers during position drills. On Friday, it was back with the outside linebackers. During the 11-on-11 periods both days, Matthews played almost exclusively on the inside alongside Sam Barrington as he is “still trying to figure out” the nuances of the inside position.

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\r\n\r\n\r\n“I need to know what to do,” Matthews said on Friday. “I feel good about it. Obviously, coming off the spring work which I put in, I said I felt like a rookie as far as learning the playbook and everything. Now coming back out here, it's a refresher course. Obviously, I'm not as well-versed as I am at the outside linebacker position (and) being able to kick back outside at a moment's notice. So, it's really important for me to really grasp this opportunity and really take it and run with it. I think ever since last year, I continue to grow into a stronger player on the inside.”

\r\nWhile he might have been playing on instinct and talent at times last season, the change of roles hardly had a negative impact on his production. Remarkably, he had 2.5 sacks in his eight games as a full-time outside linebacker and 8.5 in his eight games working both positions. Generally speaking, Matthews will play inside linebacker in the base defense, some of both in the nickel depending on down-and-distance and outside in the dime.

\r\n“I think they'll come,” he said of opportunities to rush the passer. “I think you saw that last year. There were plenty of opportunities. Our defense generally, we're a 75 percent nickel and dime team. That pretty much goes to show the nature of the league and who we're playing against. So, we'll put our best players out there, wherever that might be. If that means rushing the passer on certain situations or playing inside, we'll see. But I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities. Maybe it will just come from inside.”

\r\n


Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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Photo by Benny Sieu/USA TODAY

Clay Matthews’ midseason move to inside linebacker saved the Green Bay Packers’ season.

After the first eight games of the season, the Packers ranked a dead-last 32nd against the run. During the final eight games, the Packers ranked sixth against the run to boost their overall ranking to 23rd. That impact showed up in the standings, with Green Bay going 5-3 in the first half of the season and 7-1 in the second half.

Based on that success, the Packers are sticking with Matthews as a hybrid inside-outside linebacker for the upcoming season. On Thursday, he worked with the inside linebackers during position drills. On Friday, it was back with the outside linebackers. During the 11-on-11 periods both days, Matthews played almost exclusively on the inside alongside Sam Barrington as he is “still trying to figure out” the nuances of the inside position.

“I need to know what to do,” Matthews said on Friday. “I feel good about it. Obviously, coming off the spring work which I put in, I said I felt like a rookie as far as learning the playbook and everything. Now coming back out here, it's a refresher course. Obviously, I'm not as well-versed as I am at the outside linebacker position (and) being able to kick back outside at a moment's notice. So, it's really important for me to really grasp this opportunity and really take it and run with it. I think ever since last year, I continue to grow into a stronger player on the inside.”

While he might have been playing on instinct and talent at times last season, the change of roles hardly had a negative impact on his production. Remarkably, he had 2.5 sacks in his eight games as a full-time outside linebacker and 8.5 in his eight games working both positions. Generally speaking, Matthews will play inside linebacker in the base defense, some of both in the nickel depending on down-and-distance and outside in the dime.

“I think they'll come,” he said of opportunities to rush the passer. “I think you saw that last year. There were plenty of opportunities. Our defense generally, we're a 75 percent nickel and dime team. That pretty much goes to show the nature of the league and who we're playing against. So, we'll put our best players out there, wherever that might be. If that means rushing the passer on certain situations or playing inside, we'll see. But I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities. Maybe it will just come from inside.”


Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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