Clay Matthews' role hinges on Packers' needs

Ryan Wood
View Comments
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) gets flipped by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Clay Matthews (52), defensive end Mike Daniels (76) and Andy Mulumba (55) at Lambeau Field.

Each week, Clay Matthews’ role hinges on what the Green Bay Packers need to win a game, defensive coordinator Dom Capers said.

With Sam Barrington lost for the season last week, and the Seahawks’ vaunted run offense coming to town Sunday night, the Packers needed Matthews to play full-time inside linebacker. That meant no snaps as an outside linebacker, no rushes at the quarterback off the edge.

“Not as much as he’s used to rushing,” Capers said, “and not as much as I’d like to rush him. What you have to do week in and week out is you have to do what it takes to win the game, and Clay knows that. That could change one week to the next. We didn’t have a lot of alternatives last night.”

Matthews was the Packers’ lone linebacker in the dime package, a role he almost never played before. It was partly to match up against Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham, Capers said. Matthews also played linebacker in the dime package last season when the Packers hosted the New England Patriots, who feature star tight end Rob Gronkowski.

But the Packers also needed Matthews to call defensive plays, a job that often goes to the dime linebacker. So when the Packers sent an extra defensive back onto the field in obvious passing situations, they kept their best pass rusher off the edge.

“He’s done a good job with that,” Capers said of Matthews calling plays.

— and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

View Comments