The Green Bay Packers defense has been among the worst in the NFL recently. They have allowed an average 38.25 points per game in their four-game losing streak and have given up more than 40 in back-to-back weeks.
There is no question, at this point, the Packers have hit rock bottom.
If you consider the game against the Cowboys, which Green Bay allowed 30 points, then the Packers have seen opponents score 30 or more in five of the last six games.
Chicago was the only team that didn’t eclipse 30 points against the Green Bay in the last six outings, which is a definite cause for concern.
While injuries are a contributing factor to Green Bay’s struggles, the Packers simply need to play better and in some cases, use their personnel better.
One example is Clay Matthews.
Matthews has been hurt, but he has played in six games. He played 59 snaps against the Redskins.
For the season, Matthews has 14 tackles and three sacks. Against Washington, he had 1.5 pressures, zero sacks and made no real impact.
Matthews just hasn’t been all that dynamic is his return to outside linebacker. Maybe his hamstring injury has affected his play, but it’s obvious he hasn’t been himself.
At the same time, the play at inside linebacker for the Packers has gone from bad to worse. Bob McGinn details some of the issues here in his ratings of Green Bay vs Washington.
Blake Martinez has hit some kind of rookie wall. Joe Thomas is also proving he cannot handle a full-time role and Carl Bradford is a joke.
How Ted Thompson and the Packers thought he could play, is beyond me. He was an absolute disaster against the Redskins. He can’t take on blockers, he misses tackles, he can’t play.
Bradford isn’t an NFL player, but somehow, since he has been on the practice squad forever, the Packers gave him a shot. There has to be a better solution, which brings me to my point.
A Jake Ryan return would help, but I also believe the Packers should consider moving Matthews back to inside linebacker, at least on a part-time basis.
Outside linebacker will be fine. Julius Peppers, who had a sack and a batted pass against Washington, had one of his best games. Nick Perry also registered a sack and was stout against the run. Datone Jones and Kyler Fackrell also aren’t terrible.
Thomas and Bradford are. Martinez also hasn’t been much better, especially against the run.
My solution, is give Matthews some snaps there. He can hold up against the run; he can cover and he’s very skilled as the inside blitz. He was also an All-Pro there. At OLB, this season, he’s been far from that.
The Packers need an inside linebacker that can play and one of the few on the roster who can, is Matthews. And at this point, truthfully, what do they really have to lose?