PHILADELPHIA - Clay Matthews cracked open his old playbook at inside linebacker over the holiday week, just in case. Sure seems like it was a good idea.
An ankle injury will keep inside linebacker Jake Ryan inactive for the third straight game when the Green Bay Packers play at the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. He’ll be joined by fellow starting inside linebacker Blake Martinez, who injured his knee last week at Washington.
Without either starter, the Packers are down to Joe Thomas and Carl Bradford at inside linebacker. Bradford was put on the 53-man roster for the first time last week, and is likely nothing more than a special teams contributor. The Packers could have no other choice but to move Matthews to inside linebacker, the positon he occupied each of the past two seasons.
Matthews proved more than capable at inside linebacker, starting midway through 2014. He has earned Pro Bowl nods each of the past two seasons. Yet it’s a move the Packers have been hesitant to make, preferring to keep their top edge rusher at outside linebacker.
It could be argued Matthews has more impact inside. Matthews has just three sacks this season and as a rendered a nonfactor last week. He has missed four games with a hamstring injury.
While the middle of their defense is depleted, the Packers secondary gets a needed boost from cornerback Damarious Randall's return. Randall will play for the first time since Oct. 16 against the Dallas Cowboys. He has missed five straight games with a groin injury that required surgery last month.
Guard Don Barclay is active, presenting coach Mike McCarthy another interesting decision. The Packers will choose between Barclay and rookie tackle Jason Spriggs at right guard, replacing inactive starter T.J. Lang (ankle). Spriggs played well in Washington after replacing Barclay in the second half, following Barclay’s pregame shoulder injury.
Here is the full list of Packers inactives vs. the Eagles:
- ILB Jake Ryan
- ILB Blake Martinez
- RG T.J. Lang
- C JC Tretter
- DT Christian Ringo
- CB Demetri Goodson
- OLB Kyler Fackrell