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Packers Have Lacked a Tackling Machine – Until Now?

A handful of inside linebackers put up gaudy tackling numbers each season. They’re all over the field and they’ve been the cornerstones of some great defenses.

A good example of a consistent tackling machine was the San Francisco 49ers’ Patrick Willis, who somehow recorded 174 tackles in his rookie year. From 2007-13, he averaged almost 131 tackles per year.

When Willis retired due to a toe injury, NaVorro Bowman picked up where Willis left off. In his last four years of play (he missed 2014 due to injury), Bowman has averaged over 147 tackles. He led the league with 154, last year.

Topping even these numbers is the Carolina Panthers’ tackling demon Luke Kuechly, who from 2012-14, averaged over 157 tackles and twice led the league in the category.

The most impressive numbers by a Packers linebacker in recent memory are those of Nick Barnett. In a five-year stretch from 2003-07, he averaged over 121 tackles per season.
Next in line would be A.J. Hawk, who averaged over 104 tackles per season from 2009-13.

While inside linebackers dominate the top of the NFL’s tackles list, the Packers have done far better at the safety position. Morgan Burnett averaged over 104 tackles from 2011-15. In 2014, he led all safeties with 129. That tied for ninth overall in the league. His 123 tackles in 2012 was also tops among safeties that year.

In just two years, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has averaged 97 tackles. His 100 tackles in 2015 ranked second-best among all safeties.

The only other Packers among the league’s top 50 tacklers in the last 10 years are linebacker Desmond Bishop (13th in both 2010 and 2011) and safety Charlie Peprah (49th in 2011).

The good news is that the Packers just might have the tackling machine they’ve lacked at inside linebacker… probably since John Anderson was in town.

Fourth-round pick Blake Martinez was an outstanding tackler at Stanford.

As a junior, Martinez led his team with 102 tackles and was named an All-Pac-12 honorable mention. As a senior, he increased his team-high in tackles to 132. That total led all Pac-12 tacklers by a wide margin, with only two other players reaching triple digits. It also helped get him named to the 2015 All-Pac-12 first team.

Add in Stanford’s 45-16 Rose Bowl win over Iowa and Martinez finished his senior season with 141 tackles, including 75 solo.

Keep an eye on Martinez this preseason. While his coverage skills are all anyone is talking about, his tackling prowess might quickly land him in the starting lineup.

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Rob Born

Due to Aaron Rodgers’ reckless ways, I’m officially launching the Campaign for GM Gutekunst to Acquire the Best Available (Veteran) Backup Quarterback – NOW.

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14 Comments

  1. Chad Lundberg July 19, 2016

    Everything i read about this guy is something along the lines of him being the next great draft steal.

    1. Nick July 19, 2016

      This is the packers we’re talking about. Play a productive rookie?i think not.

      1. Draymond Green July 20, 2016

        PLAY ME, STEPH CURRY, KLAY THOMPSON, ANDRE IGUOADOLA AND KEVIN DURANT. AND LET ME KICK MY NIGGA STEVEN ADAMS IN THE BALLS AGAIN.

  2. PF4L July 19, 2016

    Did the season start yet? Holy fuck.

    Tackling machine? This guy hasn’t even made a tackle in pre-season yet.

    The problem with bragging about the amount of tackles the safety’s have had, is it’s a reflection of how many missed tackles or assignments the D line and linebackers had.

    1. Killer July 20, 2016

      Of all the 3-4 teams in football — roughly half the teams — you would be hard pressed to find a 3-4 team with more deficient ILBs. This has been true year after year after year. Now, I am taking Clay Matthews out of that equation. When he is on his proper massive doses of PEDs, he is an outside linebacker. Without the PEDs he would not even be a practice squad level player.

      (Before everyone gets all up at arms about Clay and how Sly never said he gave him PEDs, consider this: At 17 and a junior in high school his own father would not give him playing time on the team and he weighed 165 pounds. Six years later as a junior in college entering the draft he weighed 246. He gained 81 pounds of muscle with only a one inch increase in height in 6 years and allegedly maintained the same speed while increasing his quickness. To put that in perspective, if you worked out and somehow managed to gain a pound of muscle every month for six years you would STILL be 9 pounds behind Clay’s increase. In fact, Clay has been featured on the cover of at least one Roid magazines because his use of enhancing drugs is so obvious. This is where some Clay-defenders weakly try to defend with how “lots of guys at that age in sports gain 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years while maintaining speed and increasing quickness”. Look, there are some relatively fat players, with wide frames and high body fat, like nose tackles, who have increased their weight 50 or 60 pounds in a 6 year time span. But 81 pounds of muscle on a linebacker? C’mon. Go ahead; list all the others. All those high school back ups that went on to be #1 picks and pro bowlers. It is easy to make that list because only Clay is on it. To better put this in perspective the Vikings have a 2nd year DE named Danielle Hunter. He just turned 21. He has a bigger frame in every way then Clay. He is a an avid weight lifter. I guarantee he spends more time workign out than Clay ever did. Guess what? Working out demonically, and with much more room to add weight, and in that same age range as Clay was, from age 20 to age 21 Hunter has, also pretty incredibly, added 7 pounds of muscle. Still a far cry from Clay’s ho-hum average year of adding 13.5 pounds of muscle per year. Also consider Clay’s chum, teammate, fellow LB, and co-draft class member Brian Cushing was caught right away continuing to use PEDs into the NFL even though catching PED use is nearly impossible under current testing procedures. Apparently Cushing was using elephant sized doses. Once he stopped taking them — or at least cut way back — he became a very average player. Anyone who thinks Clay is an innocent and that Sly in casual relaxed comfort zone conversation just randomly chose his name out of a hat (along with Peppers and Sly’s own work out buddy Mike Neal) they are dreaming a dream.)

      The fact the ILBs have been so bad that the team has been forced — FOR MORE THAN A YEAR — to play one of their star players out of position to try to mask the deficiency is a real testimonial to what a poor GM Thompson is.

      1. PF4L July 20, 2016

        Here’s the problem killer. Although you brought up some valid opinions. First, i have to question your obsession with wanting to take the time to figure all those points out and what motivates you to do so.

        Secondly, and the bigger problem is….you lose credibility the more you express your views. You say you can guarantee that Hunter spends more time working out than Clay ever did? What are you basing that on? It’s not your opinion, because you “guarantee” it as fact. Can you state that because you know these 2 people and their timeline of working out over the years? That’s highly doubtful, if not impossible. That alone makes you sound like a fool. Not to mention stating that you “know” without PED’S that Clay wouldn’t even make the practice squad. In other words, get the fuck out of here with baseless idiotic statements.

        Now, the question is, would i be “shocked” to learn that Clay has taken roids? Absolutely not. Nor would i be shocked if it was a proven fact over 40% of NFL players have taken them.

        Steroids is under reported in the NFL, not because players don’t take them. It is because the testing is so weak, it’s borders on laughable. Yes, it wasn’t that long ago where the NFLPA finally agreed to HGH testing. But they did so, making sure the testing protocols were so weak, that players could still use them and test negative. Now…if you want to debate the procedures of steroid testing in the NFL versus procedures used by WADA or USADA in comparison to the NFl, that’s fine. But do some research on the subject beforehand so it may enable you to sound somewhat credible.

        Thank you for understanding.

        1. Draymond Green July 20, 2016

          HOW ABOUT ALL OF YOU UNDERSTAND THIS THE PACKERS ARE NO LONGER THE NAME OF THE NFL TEAM IN GREEN BAY. IT IS NOW THE GREEN BAY PRETENDERS. MY BROS AND I PLAY BETTER THAN THEM WE ARE THE BEST FUCKING NBA TEAM OF ALL TEAM THE BEST PLAYERS OF ALL TIME THE 73-9 RECORD IS BETTER THAN THE 1996 BULLS PF4L CLAY MATTHEWS HAS EBOLA TUCSON PACKER HAS EBOLA RUSSELL WESTBROOK HAS EBOLA AARON RODGERS HAS EBOLA JORDY NELSON HAS EBOLA AND MIKE MCCARTHY THE BUFFOON HAS EBOLA. ANYONE WHO THE GREEN BAY PACKERS WILL BE A GREAT TEAM THIS YEAR NEEDS TO GROW A FUCKING GODDAMN PAIR OF BALLS. YOU NEED TO GROW A FUCKING PAIR OF BALLS PF4L. THE 2015-16 WARRIORS ARE THE BEST NBA TEAM OF ALL FUCKING TIME AND ME AND MY BROS CURRY AND THOMPSON ARE THE BEST FUCKING BIG 3 EVER WE ARE THE BEST NBA TEAM AND BEST SPORTS TEAM IN THE WHOLE WIDE FUCKING RETARDED WORLD.

          TUCSON PACKER YOU ARE A FAGGOT.

          PACKATTACK I PLAY BETTER THAN ANY ATHLETE I PLAY BETTER THAN LEBRON JAMES AND AARON RODGERS.

        2. Killer July 20, 2016

          PF4L, you find ways to avoid looking directly at truth. Like many a Packer fan, when you are presented with good observations and unwelcome truth, you resort to going on the attack. Sort of like a wild dog getting a rabies shot from a vet trying to help and the dog tries to bite the vet due to sheer instinctual ignorance.

          You first acknowledge I have some valid opinions (good for you!) quickly followed by the conclusion I only can make them due to “obsession” quickly followed by casting suspicion on my motivation. Seeing the truth and making good observations does not require “obsession”. Or at least not for me. As per motivation I like to shine a little truth through the Packer fan windows from time to time so their minds do not completely adjust to their truthless darkness.

          As per work out time. Hunter is an acknowledged work out warrior. A gym rat. Renowned for it. It is his hobby and passion. To learn more about him (though this one does not cover time in the gym) read this: http://www.twincities.com/2016/06/07/vikings-bulked-up-danielle-hunter-earning-admirers/
          OK, I do not have a log of time per work out or exact activities for Clay and Danielle. That is true. But you have Hunter during the off season with no distractions or other obligations who loves to work out. 6’5” frame with long arms going from 20 to 21. Gains 7 pounds. Then you have Clay in HS and college gaining 13.5 pounds per year for 6 years. Now, i do not know what hours he put in at the gym but he is not renowned as a gym rat like Hunter and he had other obligations — High School and College classes. The classes and the study time require a lot of hours. Hours Hunter did not have to spend elsewhere. Although I cannot prove it, it would certainly be shocking if Matthews spent more time per week in the gym in an average week across those 6 years than Hunter did in the last year. At best Matthews could have spent AS MUCH time and yet somehow added double the muscular weight on a smaller frame.

          It would actually be shocking if Matthews was not on roids. You added “Nor would i be shocked if it was a proven fact over 40% of NFL players have taken them.” This is your way of excusing Matthews by indicating so many players do it. 40% could well be true. But it does not make it less wrong. It is cheating and it is shortsighted and foolish. By the way, if it is 40% then few or maybe none of the others are talking as massive doses as Matthews. You think 40% of the NFL gained 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years? It isn’t even 1% that has done so! As far as I can find, only Clay Matthews.

          Think about it: One of your prize players and the hero of Packer fan’s children is a cheater and a drug abuser. Just think about it.

          Think about the message instead of beheading the messenger.

          PS No, I do not want to debate the drug testing procedures. There is no debate. They are weak. But that is another excusing argument to try to exonerate wrongful actions. “It’s not Clay’s fault he cheats, it is the fault of the NFLPA”. It’s like a burglar saying the business did not have an alarm system so it was OK to burglarize it.

          1. PF4L July 20, 2016

            Killer, i’m trying to think of you other than just another troll. Let me ask you this. are you a fan of a NFL team, or is that a secret?

          2. PF4L July 20, 2016

            As far as the 40%. That was brought up not as justification for Mathews alledged steroid usage, but rather me trying to convey the message that most, if not all teams have at least one star player on the juice. So if you agree with that assumption. What exactly was the point you are trying to make singling out one player on the Packers who may, or may not be taking roids. Enlighten us.

  3. Howard July 20, 2016

    Sure making up a lot of shit about PEDs for something that is easily know NFL history and how genetics work.
    Clay Matthews Sr. Played in the NFL in the 50’s at 6-3 220.
    Clay Matthews Jr. and Bruce Matthews are Clay Sr.’s sons. They played in the NFL for 19 seasons each.
    Clay Matthews Jr. played in the NFL at 6-3 245.
    Bruce played in the NFL at 6-5 305.
    Bruce has several son’s in the NFL.
    Kevin 6-3 300
    Jake 6-5 310
    Mike 6-2 290
    Clay Jr. Has two sons in the NFL
    Casey 6-1 245
    Clay III 6-3 255.

    There is no proof of PEDs. There is proof that the size obtained by Clay III comes from his bloodline.

  4. Killer July 25, 2016

    Let’s see if I can address several of the above posts directed towards me.

    Pointing out truths and making observations that are truthful is not being a troll. Trolls are abusive and illogical and I am neither of those. I may not tell you what you want to hear (read) but that does not a Troll make.

    PF4L, I am a Vikings fan. As you know, Vikings fans are renowned for their honor, logic, good manners, wisdom, high education, compassion, and keen minds.

    Howard, I commend your research. However, keep in mind two things:
    1) Clay is the product of two parents, not one, and obtains chromosomes equally from each of them.
    2) My issue is not with his end height and weight. That is not suspect. What is suspect is the rapidity it was gained. He was on target at age 17 to end up, with lots of working out, to be 6’2″ and 195 pounds. Instead, he ended up gaining 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years to end up at 246 pounds, he did not lose any long speed, and actually became quicker. His short shuttle time became nearly unbelievable for a man his size. People just don’t gain 81 pounds of muscle with no loss of speed in a six year time span while attending high school and college with all those distractions and committed time. Even if you argued he did not go to class and was just given his grades and was a social hermit spending all his time in the gym, then people STILL don’t gain 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years. Remember, at age 17 his own father coach would not start him or give him any playing time because he was such a poor athlete and poor football player.

    Years before the information from Sly Clay Matthews was featured on a Roids magazine for the obviousness of his steroid usage. He actually was the cover photo on one of them and the lead article! Roid users recognize other Roid users. Especially when they gain 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years! It really does not take a rocket scientist.

    Sly’s “recanted” “accusation” was actually a hidden recorded conversation when he was talking in a relaxed casual matter-of-fact manner. He was not making an “accusation”. He was just telling a factual story of real events. Once revealed eh was open to lawsuits and, also, one of the people he implicated, Mike Neal, was his close work out buddy. So, of course, he had every motivation to “recant”. One thing we do know for sure. Sly is a liar. He said they did and then he said eh lied then and they actually did not. It is then a matter of determining which one is the lie and which the truth. You look at the circumstances and motivation and it is really very obvious the original comments were the truth and his “recant” was the lie.

    Think about it: If he was going to lie about PED use and requests for prescription-needed painkillers would he frame his friend Mike Neal? Would he include three Packers when he could spread it out among more teams to make it seem more common and permissible? Would he just by happenstance name a fellow who also incredibly gained 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years, a feat that is most likely impossible without PEDs?

    This stuff is, again, not rocket science. It is very clear and compelling. Now, it is also nearly impossible to prove and all these guys are coached up. The NFL is doing proper due diligence in their investigation but almost certainly they will not be able to find actual proof. Just remember: Not finding proof is not proof of innocence. At all.

    Hopefully, this will make Peppers and Matthews pause or even discontinue their cheating and use of illegal drugs. We will know by the end of the season. Injury free with 10+ sacks each? They are still on the juice.

    PS PF4L = I am “singling out” Matthews and Peppers and Neal and Manning (not sure how 4 guys can be “singled” out) because they are the drug abusers who have been revealed. Who of these other alleged 40% of users would I single out when they have not been named? I have carried the torch of truth on all 4 for quite a while. It just so happens this article brought up the ILB position with the Packers. If you are worried about fairness go ahead and provide me with a player named by a PED dealer as requesting or using drugs against league policy, one whose coach father would not let him play at age 17 because he was such a poor football player, one featured on Roid magazines, one who gained 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years (or even JUST 50 pounds of muscle in 6 years), and I will go ahead and post observations and share information on that person as well. Even if that player is a Viking! See? I am very fair.

    1. Big Gay Clay July 28, 2016

      Killer you have posted more paragraphs in this article than I have on some of my old college papers. You are a fuckin joke man, like seriously. Get a life you jackass and fuck off in the process. Please people do not waste your time responding to this turd.
      P.S. I didn’t read a single thing you wrote because you are obviously a troll and suck at life :)

  5. Big Gay Clay July 28, 2016

    What about Jake Ryan guys? I really liked his play at the end of the season last year. Productive, smart, and a sophomore this season. Let’s see if he makes the jump!!