1) Introduction: We know Clay Matthews all too well by this point in his career. He’s a great, though just short of elite, outside linebacker who averages about 10 sacks per season and has a constant motor for the quarterback. We also expect him to deal with a couple muscle pulls or minor injuries each year, keeping him from reaching that next level. Still, Matthews is a force that opposing offenses have to reckon with on this Packers defense.
2) Profile: Clay Matthews
- Age: 28
- Born: 05/14/1986 in Northridge, California
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 255
- College: USC 12.
- Rookie Year: 2009
- NFL Experience: 6 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: With the addition of star veteran Julius Peppers to the OLB corps, we expected to see a slight increase in the productivity of Clay Matthews. Finally having another competent bookend on the line would limit the opponents’ ability to constantly double-team him, giving more one-on-one opportunities.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: As expected, Clay Matthews missed some time and played at under 100% with a groin injury early in the season. While he never missed a full game, it was clear the injury limited his effectiveness. On the other hand, Matthews saved a pathetic ILB group when he became a moveable piece among the entire corps of linebackers. His presence in the middle helped to shore up a porous run defense.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Despite our frustrations with Matthews’ inability to reach the elite level we’ve always expected of him, he still tilts the field in many ways. He also took over his new duties as a part-time ILB with professionalism and productivity.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: To be frank, Matthews was a little underwhelming come the postseason. Sure, he had a “heckuva” hit/block on Russell Wilson during a turnover play, but that also managed to net the team a 15-yard penalty and Matthews a $22,050 fine. And then there’s the inexplicable sideline appearance during the most crucial moments of the Championship Game . . .
7) Intangibles: When Clay Matthews is healthy (insert joke here), his motor never stops running, and though it does get him in trouble sometimes, Matthews is a high-energy player that always tries to get a jump on the ball.
Season Report Card (Player Grades):
(B+) Level of expectations met during the season
(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C+) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: B——————Follow @ChadToporski