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Matthews Getting Larger Role, Whether He Wants It Or Not

Clay Matthews

With Sam Barrington done for the season, the Green Bay Packers have turned to Nate Palmer at inside linebacker. And since Barrington handled all of the defensive calls, Palmer will now handle those… except when he doesn’t.

The Green Bay Packers’ other starting inside linebacker, who they like to pretend is still an outside linebacker, Clay Matthews, is also taking on some added responsibility.

Matthews and Palmer will both wear headsets in their helmets on Sunday.

The Packers are saying Matthews could be making some calls and that’s noteworthy for a few reasons.

First, Matthews has been playing inside linebacker for less than a year. He was moved inside at the midway point of the 2014 season, so he’s still relatively new to the position. And now he’s going to be at least partially responsible for quarterbacking the defense.

You’re probably saying, “Well, of course he is. Matthews is just as good an option as Palmer.”

And maybe that’s true.

But, and that brings us to our second point — Clay Matthews wanted nothing to do with this.

He didn’t want to be an inside linebacker, he’s always been overly worried about stats (sacks, in particular), and most importantly, he’s proven time and again he isn’t a leader.


And that brings us to our third point.

Don’t misconstrue what we’re saying. Matthews is a good player. He’s just not a leader.

Never has been, despite him paying some lip service to the idea back when he signed his huge contract.

The evidence here is strong.

The Packers wanted Matthews to step into a leadership role when they released Charles Woodson. All they got was a leadership void.

Fast forward to last season, where it became crystal clear. Julius Peppers and Morgan Burnett were chosen as defensive captains over Matthews and then there was the whole quitting in the NFC Championship game incident. When he finally spoke about it, Matthews’ excuse was, “Got to take care of No. 1.”

Leaders take care of the team. They also play through pain.

And yet, here’s Clay Matthews thrust into a leadership role, whether he wants it or not.

Our guess is, he does not.

Monty McMahon

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



  1. Tuson Packer September 18, 2015

    I want and have thought of him to be this total beast of a General but he pads his stats and his body too much. Just to much evidence to ignore it.

    C’mon Clay, do it for the TEAM.


  2. AllthewaywithCLAY September 18, 2015

    You guess not because you are a Clay hater. My guess is he don’t care what you think.

  3. MMTTDCSUCK September 18, 2015

    He is shooting for the HOF! Don’t bother him with team responsibilities! Come on . . .

  4. Andy September 18, 2015

    this pad the stats thing is a bit rediculous. When he switched to middle last year, all anyone talked about was how great he was and how positivley he affected the game. His name came up on every play. When he was just rushing the edge, you’d have him dissapear for long stretches. Surely you want to be the guy that gets talked about all the time?

  5. MMTTDCSUCK September 18, 2015

    Then why do we continue to see statements from him saying he wants to be a pass rusher only?

  6. Chad Lundberg September 18, 2015

    This could possibly work. Matthews hates the idea of expanding his role, but that could be because he’s just got something holding him back. It is possible that when he’s forced to talk to the team and actually starting leading (to some extent) he may actually realize that he’s fit for the job, and therefore start to actually enjoy it.

    I’m glad the Packers are forcing him to because probably would not have done it on his own. Ten years from now when he’s retired he could look back on his career and say that he was very thankful that this happened, because he will surely regret it if he doesn’t at least try for once.

  7. ay hombre September 18, 2015

    Clay is getting more and more pissy in interviews it seems, while at the same time seemingly being more vocal with purpose.

    Check out the SI cover story on Rodgers this week. Clay semi-bashes Rodgers a couple times, from personal quirks and things he’s done online with Olivia Munn…to saying that Rodgers is not in the conversation for the greatest QB ever because he needs another Super Bowl win.

    I don’t argue that logic, but then Matthews says they need to get back there and “finish this time.”

    I thought that was an interesting choice of words.

    Richard Sherman finished hurt.
    Earl Thomas finished hurt.
    Clay Matthews finished early and put on a stocking cap.

  8. ay hombre September 18, 2015
  9. PF4L September 18, 2015

    Clay can be a beast. A beast of a player. You cannot give a guy a huge contract, or a headset for his helmet and say “here, now go be a leader”. you’re a leader, or you’re not.

    But herein lies the problem. When it comes right down to it, we haven’t had any leadership on defense since Woodson, and Kevin Green. And no, i don’t really view Peppers as a leader. “Go down!!”. I also don’t think anyone is proclaiming Capers is a great leader.

    So. the truth of the matter is…if you have to debate who is the leader of your defense, you really don’t have one.