Packers Shouldn’t Move Away From Clay Matthews at ILB

One of the biggest discussions this offseason surrounding the Green Bay Packers is where will Clay Matthews at in 2015? The answer: everywhere

OK not everywhere — but outside linebacker, inside linebacker, spy and rush lineman might be a few places.

The fact is that the Packers defense is better when he moves around from ILB to OLB. He’s an elite pass rusher but Matthews is also one of the best all-around defenders in the NFL.

Matthews move inside greatly improved the Packers’ run defense a season ago and he still notched 11 sacks. Plus as great as he is rushing from the edge, he’s just as good blitzing up the middle. And his presence inside gives guys like Mike Neal and Nick Perry, who can each legitimately play — more snaps.

Perry especially is stout at holding the edge and is a part of the reason the run defense improves when Matthews in inside. Perry is just an average rusher but makes plays from time to time and holds the edge as well as any other OLB in Green Bay.

Neal, on the other hand, is solid against the run but excels when rushing the passer. Those two players as well as Julius Peppers give Green Bay the luxury of moving Matthews around.

Now the Packers just need Jake Ryan and Carl Bradford to develop inside to gibe them the true depth needed at both positions.

But right now, regardless of who is at ILB aside Barrington, Matthews needs to continue to get snaps there. Not all the time, just enough of the time to make an impact.

chris peterson

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