Packers Should Move Clay Matthews Inside Permanently

After playing a season and a half at inside linebacker, Clay Matthews moved back outside for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. The problem though, was the move wasn’t very productive.

Certainly, injuries were a factor, but in 12 games, Matthews managed just five sacks. And down the stretch, when the Packers needed him most, Matthews just couldn’t seem to produce much of anything.

After losing to Atlanta, it’s clear the Packers need playmakers on defense. Matthews used to be one. This season, he wasn’t and maybe as a pass rusher alone, he won’t be ever again.

In 2014, playing a variety of positions, Matthews had 11 sacks. In 2015 and 2016, one season inside and one season outside, he has 11.5. He has also forced just one fumble the past two seasons, after creating 12 in his first six seasons.

The six-time Pro-Bowl selection and former¬†First-Team All-Pro, battled a shoulder injury that definitely hampered his ability off the edge, but in truth, Matthews’ pass rush skills were in decline before that. His ability to beat tackles around the edge, just isn’t what it used to be.

However, that doesn’t mean the former first-round pick can’t still play at a high level. Green Bay just needs to consider moving him back inside to better utilize his skill sets. He’s a good tackler, he can take on blocks, he can run and he can cover. He can still rush from the outside on occasion, but he can be equally effective doing it from the interior.

Related: Time for Dom Capers to Go

Matthews is very good running the blitz and stunts inside. Better than anyone on the current roster. The truth is that neither Jake Ryan or Blake Martinez or even Joe Thomas, are nothing more than average.

The void at inside linebacker still exists and the best way to fill it, is with Matthews.

chris peterson

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5 Comments
Nick Perry

I’ve been one of those Packers fans who looks forward to the day Thompson retires. In 2010 the Free Agents he signed when he was first here paid off. The Packers don’t win SB 45 without Woodson and Pickett, matter of fact they don’t even play in it. Funny thing has happened since then. In 2011 the Packers and New England were the 31st and 32nd ranked defense that year. Matter of fact the Packers were able to secure the 32nd spot after beating the Lions behind Matt Flynns 6 TD passes. Since then the Patriots have retooled and won 2 SB’s. Thompson does nothing and the Defense is right back to where it was in 2011, in the toilet. Such is the life for a Packers fan under TT. Just sit back and watch him do absolutely nothing.

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jimmysee

So they can add Williams or others to the greatly expanded training camp roster, then make a decision as they cut down — so no need to give up on / release / put on waivers a young player to sign him? When do rosters balloon to training camp size?

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chris peterson

They have already. You can have up to 90 now. And Green Bay usually brings in tons of UDFA and camp bodies. Just instead of all those tryout players give a few veterans a chance to see if they can still play. Sometimes it won’t work but sometimes it will.

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jimmysee

Seems like that is a good way to add experienced depth to the roster — not necessarily a headliner or headliners, but depth which we know is needed every year.

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