- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Talk of the Green Bay Packers’ pass rush in recent years has started and typically ended with Clay Matthews. The star linebacker has led the Packers in sacks every season since his rookie year in 2009.

Perhaps this season will turn out different and Green Bay won’t have to rely so much on Matthews to get after the quarterback.

“I just think we’ve got some studs on the defensive side,” Matthews said.

Green Bay (3-2) sacked Christian Ponder six times in a 42-10 rout of Minnesota last week. For the Packers, who have won two straight going into their game against Miami on Sunday, that matched the total number of sacks they had in their first four games.

Nine players have at least a half-sack for Green Bay this season. Matthews? He has just one after nursing a groin injury in recent weeks.

“Yeah, it’s good just knowing that we all can get there and we all can make things happen,” linebacker Nick Perry said Friday.

Defensive lineman Mike Daniels tops the deep list with 2 1/2 sacks and Perry has two. After they reviewed the video of last week’s game, Packers coaches credited the defense with 15 quarterback hits, one of the highest totals in Dom Capers’ six seasons as defensive coordinator.

“We’ve done a great job of not only getting after the quarterback but also disrupting him and really just changing, I think, what offense wants to throw at us, especially in light of the players which we have to shut those guys down,” Matthews said.

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Matthews is getting plenty of help trying to run down the opposing quarterback this season.

Capers has been making frequent use of a rotation of four players at the two outside linebacker spots, with starters Matthews and Julius Peppers as well as Perry and Mike Neal. They have combined for 5 1/2 sacks.

“I think it’s, at times, provided a shot in the arm,” Matthews said. “I think it’s only going to help spelling myself and Peppers as well as keeping those (offensive) tackles, guards, whatever it might be in front of them, kind of on their heels, or toes.”

Peppers has made an early impact in his first season with the Packers. The 13th-year pro has 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble, as well as an interception he returned 49 yards for a touchdown against the Vikings.

“Pass rush is one of those things where you get better as the year goes along,” Peppers said. “So hopefully that’s an indication of us hitting our stride and getting better up front and getting more pressure and hits.”

The Packers defense is in good shape health-wise for the game in the Florida heat against the Dolphins. Defensive end Datone Jones is questionable to play after leaving the last game with an ankle injury.

NOTES: Packers WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) has been ruled out for the third straight game. Starting LT David Bakhtiari (back), who was added to the injury report Thursday, is probable to play Sunday. . McCarthy had high praise for Corey Linsley on Friday, perhaps an indication the rookie will remain the starting center after he replaced an injured JC Tretter to open the season. Tretter, who suffered a knee injury in the preseason, is on the injured reserve/designated to return list and eligible to resume practicing next week.

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