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So You’re Telling Me Clay Matthews is a Leader?

Clay Matthews

We have not gone easy on Clay Matthews, particularly when it comes to his supposed leadership ability (and willingness to lead).

The death blow to that conversation, in our eyes, came in last season’s NFC Championship game. We’ve been over it 100 times. He quit and then told us he did so because his main objective is himself.

The signs were apparent before that, however. The reluctance to move to inside linebacker, the maddening focus on sacks, the failure to be elected captain and the talk of being a leader without any actual action.

It’s as if Clay thought becoming the highest-paid defender on the team automatically made him a team leader. That he didn’t have to do anything but sign that contract.

Well, things have seemingly changed this year.

Matthews seems more comfortable at inside linebacker and less worried about if he’s going to get his beloved sacks. He was somewhat forced into a leadership role, at least in on-the-field terms, when Sam Barrington went down and Matthews got handed the defensive headset.

And of course, he’s been playing at a high level. The same high level he started playing at when he was moved to inside linebacker in the middle of last season.

So that brings us to this.

ESPN is all over Matthews this week, stroking him for redefining himself and becoming a leader.

We’re on board, for the most part. Matthews is playing well, doing and saying the right things and he does appear to be demonstrating some leadership qualities for the first time in his career.

If these things continue, we might be able to forget how that NFC Championship thing transpired.

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. JMALLABER October 29, 2015

    Quit in the NFC Championship? Keep throwing shit against the wall. Something is bound to stick eventually.

    1. Packer Bob October 29, 2015

      He took himself out of the game so I can understand how people might view that as quitting. I didn’t see Richard Sherman on the sidelines after he busted up his elbow. But whatever, I don’t really hold a grudge. What matters is what he does this year.

  2. Kato October 29, 2015

    Who is “we?”

  3. UpNorth October 29, 2015

    Last year was last year, let it go already. Matthews is a dynamic player who was slotted to be a starter at ANY linebacker position on the field coming out in the draft.

    In my opinion, it was a waste keeping Matthews on the edge strictly to rush the passer. Of course he is fantastic at it, but teams also got wise and started kicking him out and running right at him in order to take him out of the game. A player with his motor and rush skills makes him dangerous from ANYWHERE on the field. Moving him last year was the best thing they could have done, because now he can come from the edge, inside or drop back on coverage.

    He is simply more dangerous now and in a position he will thrive and still get many more sacks in the future. As for the leadership aspect, being forced to wear the headset will do that to a player I think, but at the same time, I believe he is simply maturing and coming into his own as a competitor and teammate. Lucky to have him.

  4. Anthony October 29, 2015

    Clay Matthew is the best and plus that was last year this is this year

  5. Phillthy October 30, 2015

    I think this is tremendous! I saw him getting lost in one goal, now with more responsibilities he’s maturing into a better leader. This is great for the team and hopefully contract negotiations.

  6. Renegade October 30, 2015

    No one really knew who Clay was until after the Packers’ Super Bowl win in February 2011. Then when he starting being recognized, he whined and complained about being double and tripled teamed. A very high paid defensive lineman this year took as a challenge and a honor to have that many players against him as he sees himself as a threat to opposing teams. Last year Clay was quoted as saying he thought the team was cutting him when they called him into the coach’s office to tell him they were moving him inside. That shows me he doesn’t have much confidence in his playing. Quite honestly I don’t ever remember his father or uncle complaining as much as Clay has. Even his kid brother hasn’t had much of a career and he never complains.