Clay Matthews 2014 Report Card – Packers Player Grades

Green Bay Packers Report Cards, Player Grades

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

Career Stats and more


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


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


11 thoughts on “Clay Matthews 2014 Report Card – Packers Player Grades

  1. I would give him, at least same grade as Julius. He did help Julius in his production, too, did he?

  2. Your c- is being kind in my opinion it should be a f when a player can not finish a game because he is tired just boggles the mind..He is paid the big bucks to play every down for 60 minutes and if he is running out of gas by the end then maybe he needs to get back in the gym and work out harder..maybe get up in the morning and run for 60 minutes to get in better shape!

    1. Could be that Clay Matthews got his bell rung and was a little messed up. He played his bag off for 55 minutes – I doubt that he quit on the team. You notice how teams don’t tend to encourage discovery on some of these incidents. Did you notice how little was said about Julian Edelman after the Super Bowl.

    2. I read several packer related sites. I have not seen any articles or quotes that suggests that CMIII was just tired. CMIII is a high motor guy. He plays through injuries and pain, and I see nothing in his history that suggests he doesn’t want to be on the field in big games or during big situations.

      1. There were a few articles stating thats what he said, then one come out that he got his bell rung also..I can understand if the latter was the reason but he stood on the sideline smiling and did not get no attention from medical personnel and then made a appearance in the OT so I take it as he was tired was the reason!

  3. I’m okay with this. I might have gone with a B+, close call. Some value in being able to play all 4 LB positions. As for comparing him to Peppers, about the same year, but CMIII probably had a little better year. CMIII is much better against the run than Peppers, and that is too big a facet of the game to not take it into account more. Peppers had more big plays, though. Stats:
    898 snaps, 71 tackles, 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles 1 Int 9 passes def 7 stuffs
    808 snaps 55 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 4 FF, 2 Int, 11 PD, 4 Stuffs for Peppers.

  4. I think the question regarding Matthews is whether his best football is ahead of him or behind him? I also start to wonder if he’s worth more to us in trade than he’d be on the roster?

    1. At this point, using Matthews on multiple fronts brings good value to the team. As a one-trick pony, edge rusher, his effectiveness was declining well beyond the weight of his contract. If the NFL was a trading league, your idea might have legs. As it stands, we just need to be creative and get the most out of his considerable skills.

  5. Without a doubt, Matthews is our best defensive player and the most fun to watch on that side of the ball. Wasn’t his slap down of Wilson’s stiff arm a thing a beauty?! I think your overall grade is low considering he was learning a new position this year and yet still got 10 sacks and makes the most impact of any player on the defensive side. Without Matthews moving to middle linebacker, our season would have been quite different (Nobody debates that). Without Matthews during most of the last 5 minutes of the NFC championship, our defense melted (No one on defense made a play or could rally the team to do so). I’d gladly have Matthews give up a few sacks by playing middle linebacker and moving around more because his impact is so huge for our team.

    1. I share your opinion on Clay. The D improved greatly with him at ILB. Peppers was more like a boom or bust player this season while Clay was constantly productive. He just had less turnovers than Peppers. I still liked having Peppers at the edge. But it would be cool if Ted could aquire Phernell McPhee, Phillys Graham or maybe Orakpo.

Comments are closed.