Perhaps it isn’t quite accurate to say Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews’ production has dropped.
His sack numbers have dropped, for sure. He’s now second in the league with 11.5 sacks — Miami’s Cameron Wake has 12 — after leading the league for most of the season and he hasn’t recorded a sack the past two weeks.
Matthews is still a factor on the field, though. He has 46 tackles on the year, which is an average of 3.8 tackles/game.
However, over the past three games, Matthews has averaged five tackles a game, so he’s still making plays.
He’s also getting double teamed, which has opened up opportunities for other players to get to the quarterback. Defensive end Cullen Jenkins has three sacks over the past two weeks and outside linebacker Frank Zombo has two over the same period.
Obviously, all the attention being paid to Matthews is paying off for Jenkins and Zombo, both of whom rush from the opposite side of the field.
Still, some people are wondering whether the hamstring injury that sidelined Matthews earlier in the year is affecting his play. Well, no, it isn’t, thank you very much.
Matthews appeared on Rich Eisen’s show on Wednesday and discussed, among other things, his supposed drop in production.
“I feel fine. I feel 100 percent. I’m still playing with the same attitude and recklessness I’ve playing with throughout the whole year,” Matthews said. “If you’re talking statistically in regards to sacks, they haven’t come as of late, but I think we’ve had some great opportunities with other guys opening it up. I’ve been getting a couple extra blockers thrown my way, but it’s no excuse. The bottom line is we’re winning games and hopefully I can get a few more sacks. I feel like I’m making the same impact since week one. Hopefully I can keep that up, our team can keep that up and I can help us benefit from it.”
That was probably the most interesting part of Matthews’ appearance, but if you want to listen to the whole interview, click on the link.
I assume Dom Capers is smarter than me so if it was this easy, I imagine he would have done it already, but my suggestion would be to have Matthews line up wider, especially on obvious passing downs.
In viewing the tape, it appears that the right guard is doubling Matthews when he spins to the inside. Because of this, the right tackle really only has to worry about the outside move. If you line Matthews out wider, the right tackle has to confront him farther up field where Matthews has the option, and room, to go either inside or outside.
then they slide protection and chip him with a RB and the flat is open to a flare pass. Not worth the risk, in my opinion.