GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Clay Matthews is still learning to play inside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. He said he’s in favor of the move despite comments reportedly made by his brother indicating otherwise.
Matthews said Thursday that that there was “not much truth to that” after Philadelphia Eagles inside linebacker Casey Matthews said that Clay didn’t like the move. The Packers’ Matthews said he still got grief from his teammates.
The Eagles and Packers meet Sunday at Lambeau Field. Matthews said that he was still learning the nuances of the position and getting more comfortable.
Coach Mike McCarthy has been coy about where Matthews might line up. Matthews had a memorable debut playing inside much of the game last week against Chicago, getting 11 tackles and a sack.
“I said, ‘Sure.’ I was all for it,” Matthews said in recounting his response to McCarthy when approached about the move. “Because I’ve played a number of positions on this team, as well as being all over the field. But to say the extent in which we ran it, I think that was a little surprising at first.”
Against the Bears, Matthews played inside when the Packers had four linebackers and five defensive backs. It helped shore up the run.
Matthews moved to his traditional role rushing from the outside when the Packers went with six defensive backs.
“As long as I know where to be, what to do, I think there shouldn’t be any falloff,” Matthews said.
The sixth-year linebacker out of Southern California has been known as a prolific pass rusher since joining the league, with 53 1/2 career sacks. He has just 3 1/2 sacks through nine games this season, in part because the Packers have been lining him up as more than just an edge rusher.
Playing Matthews inside allows the Packers to give more time to Nick Perry, who has three sacks, and Mike Neal, who has two sacks. Otherwise they would play behind Matthews and Julius Peppers, who has a team-high five sacks.
Green Bay has also rotated players at inside linebacker alongside veteran A.J. Hawk. Matthews is more athletic than any of the three players who previously held the position.
“He played extremely well,” McCarthy said. “We’ll see where he plays this week.”
Note: Starting guards Josh Sitton (toe) and T.J. Lang (ankle) were limited in practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday. They played well against Chicago last week in spite of missing some practice last week with the same injuries.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.