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Clay Matthews excited about Peppers signing

Apr. 16, 2014
 

Linebacker Clay Matthews believes he will see fewer double-teams now that the Packers have signed Julius Peppers.

In an interview with USA Today’s Tom Pelissero, Matthews also said he expects his broken thumb to be healed in time for the start of training camp.

What follows are a few highlights from the Matthews’ interview. Read the full transcript at USAToday.com (http://usat.ly/1l2Mp8z).

On the presence of Peppers:

“This guy's (6-7), 290. I'm 6-4 on a good day and 255. They're going to double the big guy, and that leaves plenty of opportunities for me. I haven't had too many one-on-one opportunities, and when you do, you're expected to win — at least in our locker room — the majority of the time, because that's supposed to be a mismatch. … I'm excited about it, because it provides kind of a new spark and a new energy.”

On his thumb:

“It's going well. I had surgery (Dec. 24), and I maybe got (the pins) out late January. Almost immediately, I pushed myself to get back in the gym. Obviously, I had to be smart. But it started with rigorous physical therapy three times a week, just because the way in which I injured it wasn't like a typical break. We had to treat it more like a soft tissue injury — like an ACL or something — because it required manipulating the tendon and drilling holes in bones and this and that. … I have a good picture I can show anyone of my hand after surgery. It honestly looks like I got a shark attack.”

On when he will be ready to play:

“I don't know what the percentages are, but I think I'm at about 75, 80% of where it needs to be, because your dominant arm's supposed to be 10% stronger than, in my case, my left arm. It's getting there. By the time the season rolls around, it'll be fine. I'm optimistic about it. I mean, I've never heard of a career-ending thumb injury.”

On outside linebacker coach Kevin Greene's departure:

“Kevin takes the game so seriously. He's one of the few guys who I know who actually plays for the love of the game, and he believes in a team philosophy, a team goal. It's refreshing to see, because a lot of guys will climb the political ranks and they play that game — not to say that's with the Packers. But I think losing really just ate at him. He loved winning. He loved winning, and you can't fault him for it. I love winning, too. Like I tell my dad — he wants to get into coaching, too — those guys are there (at the team facility) longer than I am, and I can find myself complaining about how long I'm there. So, I understood (Greene's decision), and I was very thankful for the time I had with him. He taught me a lot. But I'm really also excited about moving forward with a new coach and hopefully picking up a few things here from a veteran guy like Peppers as well as now, with the inside linebackers, hopefully forming a cohesive group of working off one another.”

On his confidence in Dom Capers:

“Everybody's excited about our defense and what we're capable of. The injuries and some shortcomings here and there — it's been our Achilles' heel for a few years now. But we've always led the league in one category. We'll lead the league in sacks but give up the most yards. We'll have the most turnovers, but have the most (of something else). We need to operate on all cylinders. When you have an offense with Aaron Rodgers and those guys over on that side who are going to score at minimum, at least 24 points a game — I'm being (conservative) — you expect your defense to take care of their end of the bargain.”

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