The Burke Blotter: Where is Clay Matthews?

If anyone has purchased any cartons of milk lately, you might see a familiar face on it.

He’s 6’3″, 255 lbs. and his hair is unmistakable. He also has added a beard in the past few months.

If you have seen Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, please contact the Packers at 1265 Lombardi Ave. in Green Bay, WI.

Matthews has completely disappeared this season. With general manager Ted Thompson going out of his way in free agency to add Julius Peppers, the thought was Matthews would have a stellar 2014 now that he finally had some help with the pass rush.

Instead he has gone AWOL. Peppers has been as good as advertised but it has been Matthews that looks like a slow 34-year old.

Matthews had no tackles last week against the Miami Dolphins and had only one against the Minnesota Vikings the week before that. For a guy who signed a contract not too long ago making him the richest linebacker in football, these statistics are unacceptable.

Is he hurt? Matthews did injure his groin earlier this year but he hasn’t been listed on the injury report the last couple of weeks. Is it possible that the groin could be affecting him?

It’s a possibility but he has been so out of place on so many plays that injury does not cover all the issues Matthews has been having. He is missing tackles and isn’t even getting into the backfield for a chance to make a play, let alone actually making one.

How bad has it gotten for Matthews? Only two short years ago he was the second most beloved member of the Packers by the fans behind Aaron Rodgers.

Now? He’s become a punchline. His Twitter account has become nothing but advertising space for Tide and Verizon. He gets more face time on commercials than he does on game days. This would normally be considered “troll” behavior but in Matthews’ case it is completely true.

Matthews was paid to be the Packers’ leader on defense but that role has now since slipped to Mike Daniels. Matthews got help in the pass rush but he has actually gotten worse and not better.

The Packers still need him. The defense has shown a lot of promise with Matthews struggling. Just imagine how good it would be if Matthews returned to Pro Bowl form. They’d have the most ferocious pass rush in the NFL.

That said, he needs to improve and fast. If public opinion is already turning on Matthews, it won’t be long until Packers management reacts the same way. Having his contract turn into an albatross would not be good for Green Bay going forward.

Is Matthews washed up? Not yet, but he is currently playing very poorly. He now looks like just a guy and not the second coming of Ray Nitschke many thought he looked like in 2009-2010.

Matthews is playing terribly, but hey at least he looks good doing it right?

Time to shape up, Clay. Companies won’t care much longer how your hair looks if you keep playing like this. Those endorsement deals will vanish. Players who play poorly don’t do commercials very often.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and


34 thoughts on “The Burke Blotter: Where is Clay Matthews?

  1. I will repeat my post from few days ago on So, either you do not read comment section or you think this, what I wrote, is rubbish:
    “I think that opponents shows much more attention to Julius and Clay (to Julius after his few very good games), and that is why the guys from the middle od DL had more success in bullying QB, or even recording sacks. Also, when Clay is out of the field, they doubles Julius and liberated space for Nick and Neal… Can this be something that should be taken in consideration when we are trying to judge Clay’s performance up to date…”

    I would like to know your opinion on this possibility…

  2. The ‘what’ of how Matthews is playing is pretty much evident to everyone who watches him, although subject to one’s own interpretations. Mine is that he’s 1) lost some novelty and been neutralized by opponents, 2) is overpowered by big OT’s, 3) crashes the fake on the RO way too hard, and, 4) plays very little in the horizontal anymore, which used to be one of the things that jumped off the screen when you watched him.

    The ‘why’ of how Matthews is playing remains his secret, albeit a very expensive one.

    PS – Anyone notice how when he was playing well, we called him “CMIII, The Claymaker, Predator, Beast”? Now, he’s just “Clay Matthews or Matthews”? Fans are fickle.

    1. Reasonably interesting article. There is no control for how many points were allowed by the QB’s defense in each situation, just whether they won the game or not. Even a control for whether the QB’s team took the lead after having been down in the 4th quarter would have been interesting. I am not sure about the quality of the receivers. Manning had Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, and later Pierre Garcon. Out of Jennings, an older Driver, Nelson and Finley, I don’t see an elite WR, other than Nelson, and that is only for the last 2 years. (Harrison caught 143 !!! passes one year – he was truly an elite WR.) In 12 of Manning’s 17 seasons he threw 33 or fewer TDs, including 7 with fewer than 29, only one season with over 40 (49) and last year when he threw 55. He played 16 games in every year except the year he missed completely.

      Rodgers might be too cautious with the ball, but his low Int % has made for winning football, w/o a doubt. He now has a WR in Nelson to whom he can throw one up for grabs if necessary.

  3. This might be heresy, but I have been a bit disappointed in all of the OLBs, including Peppers. Not mightily disappointed, more like under whelmed. I was hoping to see more speed and athleticism sideline to sideline. There is still time for them to step it up, especially Peppers as he get more comfortable in his role. If I had to pick out an OLB for praise, it would probably have to choose between Perry and Peppers.
    Actually, the ILBs are playing about a bit better than I expected. Now, if Guion and the rest of the d-line can continue to get better vs. the rush, we might still have something.

  4. “He is missing tackles and isn’t even getting into the backfield for a chance to make a play, let alone actually making one.”

    Kris, according to PFF, Matthews only has 1 missed tackle this year.

    1. He only has 1 missed tackle…..

      So his being unable to get in the play is a blessing for his stat sheet tackle box or his not having a chance to ‘miss’ more tackles being more viable the worry as Kris writes…

      “… isn’t even getting into the backfield for a chance to make a play, let alone actually making one.”

      I don’t think having missed 1 tackle is enough to defend his play. 🙂

      1. “I don’t think having missed 1 tackle is enough to defend his play.”

        I think you missed the point of my comment.

        1. Other than saying,when he is involved in a play with opportunity to make the tackle he only missed one tackle,I guess I am missing a point.

          Please….do explain your point as I want to understand.

          1. The point was that the article said missed tackles (plural) while the stats say missed one tackle (singular). Not to difficult to understand. Whether Clay was supposed to be in position to possibly miss other tackles is irrelevant to that point.

            1. And here I thought it might be of shattering significance…..if it were two misses the world and the articles premise didn’t come to an end… it.

          2. The point is that you can’t knock a guy for missing tackles when he has only missed one.

            It’s like arguing that Jeff Janis is a bad player because of his dropped passes this season.

            If you want to use other arguments, go ahead. But there has to be some validity to them.

  5. I think Clay is constipated and just needs to have a good bowel movement. Peppers said he would happily give him an enema, but TT stepped in and said, ” if anyone is giving enema’s it will be me”. My prediction – – Clay has a clear bowel on Sunday and I feel sorry for Sham Newton.

    1. I will likely appear confused here but..isn’t the argument with Matthews actually about him having a bowel movement (crapping himself) on the field via his play and not before the games start,therefore isn’t Matthews being constipated.. moot?

      Perhaps he needs something to help bind him…maybe some of what Perry has been taking since he appears to have somewhat ceased to crap himself weekly on the field. 🙂

        1. No T, you are the problem. Go shut yourself up in the bathroom and continue to write comments worthy of a 14 year old.

  6. Al and fellow readers: I am ending a self-imposed two commenting ban to apologize for two inappropriate and tasteless posts I made two Fridays ago. Wishing that fellow commenters would die is beyond the pale. Again, I apologize.

    1. I wouldn’t worry about it WKU, just reading the vile comments of Big T ( who I still contend is a troll, probably a Viking fan, masquerading as a Packer fan), below shows that your comments were most likely tame by comparison.

  7. I think he is playing injured. The last two weeks he has played pretty badly. But for the first four games, he was playing like his usual self, all over the field.

  8. Just throwing this out there but the NFL has only just begun testing players for HGH this season. Not saying he ever took it but if he was it certainly would explain his sudden drop in performance going from Hercules to just a guy. I know there’s been a lot of people thru the years making this claim. I personally don’t think he is taking anything illegal but I know it’s just one possibility and I just brought it up for discussion.

    I still believe Clay is the same player he was a few years ago, I think his groin injury is still an issue and his speed is being affected. He’ll be back in fact I would not be shocked to see this guy get two or three sacks Sunday. He usually responds when people challenge him.

    1. I hate to say this, but I’ve been wondering the same thing. If Packer fans can take off the green n’ gold colored glasses and look at this objectively, you have to consider the HGH angle on this. I think when the rumors started flying about testing for HGH, many of the guilty players began abstaining from usage and it is starting to show up in performance. And you know darn well the players got the heads up from their union reps long before the agreement was struck and became public knowledge. Another player that is being scrutinized the same way is Vikings LT Matt Kahlil. His performance this year has followed a similar track to Matthews, a pro-bowl caliber guy who’s play has fallen off a cliff and disappeared. Plus they’re both USC alums. I’m not making any accusations, but it is something that has to be taken into consideration. Hopefully I’m wrong and his performance picks up as the season goes along…

  9. He’s hurt, So let’s see how the year goes before we write him off.Has been disappointing no doubt.

    1. Other players play hurt(ing) and perform(not on the Packers) but….if he says he’s able to play and the trainers say he can go and MM allows him to play,then this excuse is running cold and old.

      Otherwise,he should say he can’t play and it would be best for the team to sit him a week or whatever and the reason of players wanting to play regardless is also bs as you can’t have it both ways when it hurts the teams chances.

      Either you’re hurt(ing) and can’t perform or you’re hurt(ing) and can perform…pick one.

      If he is ‘injured’ than sit him for his good and the teams. 🙂

  10. This article is to the point and valid. Clay is a shell of himself and has no impact on the game. If the problem is injury, it’s still frustrating because the guy is injured all the time now. A big contact for a small amount of production at this point. Come on Clay!, the D needs you

    1. Clay is in a very bad position right now. If he doesn’t play than the fans will get on him for “being hurt all the time” or “not playing up to his contract”. If he plays hurt (which he is) and doesn’t perform (which he is) fans also complain that something is wrong with him when he claims he’s fine.
      A clear case of damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. At least he has his hair.

      1. Are we 100% sure he’s playing hurt and that’s 100% what the problem is? I just hope we see the old claymaker come November and December. This D will be set for the playoffs if Mathews rounds back into form and the rest of the D is healthy.

        1. I am 100% sure he’s playing hurt. That’s why I am not worried about Clay. He’s almost back to 100% health starting this week so that’s why I am expecting a big game this week from him.

          All you or anybody else need to know that he’s not 100% is in the Bear game when he caught the int pass by Cutler cause by Pennel and proceeded to go out of bounds rather than for a td. Why? He knew his groin was hurting and he cautiously didn’t “push it” and went out of bounds.

          He’s slowly getting back to 100% but he doesn’t have his speed back to 100% which is why he’s being talked about. He’s playing but he’s still not 100%. It’s as simple as that.

          1. Well, you’re probably right, I hope so. Here’s to the CM3 regaining his dominant play making ability.

  11. If he is hurt then he needs to sit out a couple games to get right for when it counts in December!!!! They got Elliot to fill in and IMO he can do a good enough job until Clay gets well enough to play!

  12. From what I seen on TV I think he is hurting. However he could be doing what is asked of him by Capers and sealing off the edge when he looks out of place. Capers has not been one to adjust his defensive plan to the players he has instead of asking the players to fit his system

  13. Clay is playing great. His number just aren’t showing it. If you have read other article the coaching staff and others have said this. You all need to back off and let Clay be Clay and Capers be Capers. We are winning and playing pretty darn good doing it. Go Pack Go.

Comments are closed.