GREEN BAY – They have more than a decade to go before matching their fathers, but Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews will meet his cousin, Atlanta Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews, on an NFL field for the second time Sunday.
Jake Matthews first blocked Clay Matthews as a rookie late in 2014. The Packers beat the Falcons 43-37 on Monday Night Football, and while Clay Matthews hit Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan twice, Jake Matthews didn’t allow a sack.
Clay Matthews said his cousin looks even better on film two years later.
“It’s been really fun watching him on tape,” Clay Matthews said. “He’s progressed a lot in these past two years since we saw him as a rookie. I mean, really their entire offense is a lot better than what we had seen. So that makes it even more fun to kind of touch on that a little bit. It’s fun to see the success he’s had.”
The Matthews Bowl was made legendary by the generation before them.
Clay Matthews Jr. was a longtime linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, and later the Falcons. Bruce Matthews, Jake’s father, was a Hall of Fame tackle for the Houston Oilers, who later became the Tennessee Titans. The two brothers last played each other in Atlanta early in the 1996 season.
As a longtime NFL defensive coordinator, Dom Capers coached many years against Bruce Matthews. Now, as the Packers' defensive coordinator, he’s preparing a game plan against Bruce's son, who like his father was a first-round pick.
Capers said Jake Matthews looks familiar on tape.
“He's a talented athlete,” Capers said. “He's a big guy that can move his feet, can pass protect and there's a reason why they took him, you know, in the first round. I've coached a lot of games against his dad, his dad was the same way. So he's a talented young guy, really what you look for at the left tackle position. That's why he was a high No. 1 pick.”
It can be odd when family members play against each other on a football field. In the Matthews’ case, their positions come in direct conflict. Clay Matthews will try to beat Jake Matthews off the edge more than once Sunday.
Linebackers coach Winston Moss said he can’t tell any difference in how Clay Matthews is preparing for Sunday’s game.
“He plays it very close to the vest,” Moss said, “at least in our room. I don’t know what he shows with you guys in the locker room, and one-on-one conversations, but he’s been very – at least in our meeting room – he’s been very professional about it. He’s given him a lot of credit, as well as giving that offensive line a lot of credit. They’ve come a long ways.”
» On Friday, Clay Matthews was fined $18,231 for leading with his helmet during a hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer during their Oct. 20 game at Lambeau Field. Hoyer suffered a broken left arm on the play and was replaced by Matt Barkley, who was ineffective in the Packers' 26-10 victory.
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