Last week, reader DaveK made a good point about Clay Matthews’ play recently: not good. He was positively a liability in the Miami game – how many times did they run inside through the huge gap he left when rushing up field? It was like he wasn’t even trying to anticipate what kind of play they were going to run. He had no tackles, no sacks. And the truth is, this year, he hasn’t seemed like himself out there. Now, I know we’re going to start hearing things like “he’s playing his role and covering his assignments as asked….etc…etc” as we’ve heard about Hawk now for 9 years. But if that is the case, then Capers needs to find a different assignment for the guy. Right now, it’s not a stretch at all to argue that Nick Perry is outplaying Matthews right now. (The other thing I’ve noticed that is frustrating is he continues to have untimely injuries – he’s not been on the field in big moments of a few big games because of those injuries…frustrating.)
Even Clay admits he’s not on his game. Read here.
Interesting. I decided I should take a full look at stats before completing trashing Matthews’ season and I’ve uncovered something notable. Matthews is tied for 5th in the NFL – the entire NFL – in passes defensed with 5. He leads LBs in this stat and his name is listed among a whole slew of DBs, hardly any other LBs. And who is tied for 6th in the NFL and 2nd among LBs for passes defensed? You guessed it – Julius Peppers. As I had suspected watching the games, Capers seems to be dropping these guys back into coverage a lot (might also explain why they both have a pick). I don’t like this. I think Capers sometimes gets too cute with his schemes and this to me is an example. I can understand dropping these guys into coverage occasionally so there is a surprise element but the number of times it happens I think takes away from the surprise. And most importantly, it also takes our two best pass rushers away from pass rushing (only to be replaced by some ill-conceived inside pass rush attempt by guys like AJ Hawk). This may also explain why the Packers are very much average in terms of overall sacks. Let these guys do what they do best – rush the QB.