Clay Matthews Does Not Enjoy Playing Pat-a-Cake

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Clay Matthews

Clay Matthews

But he knows he’s going to have to. The newly-minted leader of the Green Bay Packers defense, Clay Matthews, said things are going to change under his watch.

It looks like the changes will be starting with him. The Packers know they need to prepare differently for read-option attacks. Exhibit 1 is the playoff debacle in San Francisco, where 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick torched the Packers for 181 rushing yards and 263 passing yards.

The Packers somehow didn’t prepare for that attack at all prior to the game. Then the coaches spent part of the offseason studying it at Texas A&M. Good thing. They face two read-option teams in the first two weeks of the 2013 season — San Francisco and Washington.

And Matthews says he’s changing his style of play to be ready for it, somewhat to his chagrin.

“I like to get after it. I like to just be going for it, getting after the quarterback,” Matthews said. “With this, it’s the complete opposite. You have to sit there and play pattycake with the tackle, making sure the quarterback doesn’t escape the pocket. You have to read and make sure who’s taking the ball, who’s not. It’s difficult for me to just kind of sit back, especially when Kaepernick was having such success throwing the ball that game, too, which caught us by surprise.”

The good news is, Matthews says the Packers will be ready next time.

“With the game plan we have, we feel good about going into the season, especially seeing a few of these teams with these read-option, pistol-style quarterbacks,” Matthews said.

The Packers will know if their adjustments and personnel changes will make a difference against the read-option after those first two weeks. If they don’t, there’s a good chance the team will start 0-2.

Fortunately, they don’t face another team that plays a similar game until they get Chip Kelly’s new-look Eagles in week 10.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

18 Comments on "Clay Matthews Does Not Enjoy Playing Pat-a-Cake"

  1. Kyle

    Really excited to see what the Packers have in store for the read option teams. With Datone Jones, Nick Perry and Clay Matthews, it should be much easier this season.

  2. PF4L

    I don’t like Clay Mathews having to be throttled down to stop running QB’s. There are 10 other players on the field, Maybe if BJ Raji and others stopped playing pat a cake at the line. Maybe they could make some plays. OR….Maybe Capers can get his head out of his ass and prepare a game plan for these teams, or at least make adjustments…Like after Kaepernick rushes for his 1st 90 yards, before rushing for 91 more. Embarrassing. It seems like if the plays don’t come from Clay, they don’t get made.

    • rebelgb

      Its unfortunate we play these teams when we do since its all but guraunteed that both Kaepernickle and Graffiti Da Turd will be hurt by half way through the season.

      Anyways what we really need is for Raji to have a break out all pro year.

      • Phatgzus

        I have a feeling RG III may be hurt by the time he faces the Packers, it just seems lie he’s trying to rush back before he’s completely healed, he’s done that once already. Even if he is healthy, the kid’s a stick (by NFL standards), one good pop and he’s chillin on the sidelines.

    • Abe Frohman

      Not so sure I agree with Raji being the answer. If the pocket collapses from up the middle, that forces the mobile quarterbacks one way or another – in space where they can do the most damage. The trick is to collapse the pocket evenly and not give them that outlet. That affects your ability to rush because you have to maintain lane disciplines.

  3. Savage57

    I’m pretty good with the idea that no matter how much it eats at his soul to not chase red meat, given how versatile and how much of an athlete this man is, he’ll find a way to Cutlerize these pistol, read-option phenoms.

  4. ay hombre

    When Vince Lombardi knew teams were spending a ton of time preparing for the power sweep, he simply would throw it out of the playbook.

    I’d actually have to laugh if both San Fran and Washington never called one read/option/pistol snap after it has been so publicly splashed around about the resources we’ve used to defend it.

    RESOURCES WE SHOULD HAVE FUCKING — — USED LAST YEAR BEFORE BENDING OVER AND GRABBING OUR ANKLES VERSUS THE NINERS.

    • Phatgzus

      Nah, the invincible one wouldn’t get rid of the Packer Sweep, he’d ram it down there throat until they choked on it.

  5. GBslacker

    When an average player’s career is just ~3.5 years…

    and

    most players get a mulligan(*) their first year…

    …then there’s very little time to learn the fucked-up Caper’s defense.

    Case in point:
    When two Cardinal receivers lined-up near each other, they split (or picked each other?) about 5 or 10 yards down-field. The two defender’s were fucking clueless as to how to respond. By the time they figured it out, a pass was completed.

    And this is halfway through training camp, where all they do is practice and learn.

    Caper’s zone stuff is bullshit — everyone has it figured out except our defenders.

    (*) The reason they get a mulligan may include one or more of the following:
    …they have athletic ability but no mental ability (seldom does God give with both hands…)
    …they have no experience in a pro-style defense
    …they come from a small school, with limited resources (weight-room, etc) — so their body is not prepared
    …they may have an injury history, and are acquired based on future/potential
    …they may just playstation more than they playbook

    • Phatgzus

      Capers’ defense really isnt that much more complicated than any other D coordinator’s, let’s be realistic, it’s a football playbook they need to learn, it’s not like they’re studying higher order mathematics or quantum mechanics.

      • GBslacker

        from packersnews.com…
        …“Brad learned faster than I did. He’s making plays and that’s all you can ask for from a guy,” Lattimore said. “We made the transition, to me, it’s still hard but you just have to stay focused, tune in and try to get plays down pat and not mess up as much.”

        “still hard?”
        “try to get plays down pat?”
        “not mess up as much?”

        this is the guy’s THIRD camp — sounds like something an overwhelmed rookie would say.

        while you might say it’s *just* a playbook (although I doubt you’ve laid eyes on an NFL playbook…), perhaps you should be realistic and acknowledge that it really seems to be rocket science to these guys.

        even though Capers has gallons of football knowledge gained through the decades, you’re still trying to pour it into teaspoons.

        • Phatgzus

          Actually, I have seen an NFL playbook, and I’m sure there are players on teams with “less complicated” playbooks that have the same issues; there’s a reason he’s not a starter. Furthermore, LBs (particularly ILBs) are essentially the QBs of the defense, they are responsible for knowing not just their assignments but the assignments for each defensive player on ever play, as they interface with both the DBs and D-linemen (DBs and D-linemen are essentially responsible for knowing the roles of their corps only). So when he says he doesn’t have everything down pat yet, he is likely implying he doesn’t know everyone’s role for each play.

    • Packer Bob

      “Caper’s zone stuff is bullshit — everyone has it figured out except our defenders.”

      You won’t find a job in the NFL if you can’t figure out a defensive coordinators game plan. That’s the easy part. Now try actually beating it on the field. Players, not plays you bitches.

  6. vj

    Yeah, let’s not forget that Colin K. out threw our league MVP that game as well. His passes were much more pinpoint that evening. Let’s hope they don’t have any real, new wrinkles to add to their offensive repertoir, or it may be cryptonite for our team when facing this superior style of offense in read-option.

  7. vj

    Once again….the only teams to slow down or control the read option offenses were base 4-3 teams like the Rams….

    You know what Belicheck said the Pats are doing? Preparing base 3-4 and base 4-3 alignments for the upcoming season. Teams that focus on zone blitzes like the Packers, will get torched if they don’t put more space eaters up front and stay gap disciplined….

    • Phatgzus

      Did you know the Patriots ran both the 4-3 and 3-4 as their base LAST year? Apparently not.

      The Bears, Falcons, Pats, and Dolphins all run base 4-3 and SF had no issues scoring on them, Balty runs the 3-4 and they kinda won the SB.
      The Vikings, Cowboys, Bengals, and Rams all gave up a ton of pOints to the Redskins whereas the Giants and Steelers both pretty much shut them down.
      Your assertion is erroneous; as the Vic Ketchman disciple parroted, “Players not plays”, brah.

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