he's watching the same Packers linebacker.
great player," Bruce said of his nephew, Clay Matthews.
"It isn't like he's just some guy out there. He definitely is
the guy who makes things happen on their defense, and he's a guy we
really have to make a pointed effort to account for him, which we're
linebacker is just the best-known member of the third generation
carrying on the Matthews' NFL tradition, and this is the latest
family football showdown. Bruce, a Hall of Fame lineman, spent 19
years with the Houston-Tennessee franchise and played against
brother Clay, a 19-year linebacker with Cleveland and Atlanta, 23
Sr. got it all started with his four seasons with the San Francisco
49ers in the 1950s.
For Clay III,
he said Thursday that his family's NFL success added to his
motivation. He went from a walk-on at Southern California to being
drafted in the first round — just like his father and uncle — by
Green Bay 2009.
growing up in a football family where — you're right, not only my
father played but my uncle and grandfather, played, that's what I
wanted to do," the Packers linebacker said. "Fortunately I
was healthy enough and blessed to fall into the situation I'm in
right now, but they were absolutely instrumental role models in
getting me where I'm at today."
Mike Munchak had a close view of the Matthews' brothers' rivalry in
the old AFC Central as a teammate of Bruce's for years. Munchak said
it's exciting for his offensive line coach to watch film knowing his
job is to stop his nephew from having a good day.
So no pressure
he'll reach out to him during the week and tell him we have all
types of plans for him to kind of discourage him a little bit, maybe
slow him down," Munchak said. "It's a great
has 11 sacks so far this season for the Packers, so watching him
play is a bit different from what Bruce Matthews saw when he studied
his brother during the 1980s and 1990s. Even so, he says his nephew
reminds him very much of his brother, a four-time Pro Bowler.
cover. He can play against the run, and obviously he can rush the
passer," the Titans' assistant said. "It's just a matter
of what they're asking him to do as to some point in the game he
does all three, and obviously, he isn't a one-dimensional guy. He
plays with passion, so it's fun to watch guys like that, especially
when you count him as a family member."
This game was
set to be even more of a family affair until Bruce's son, Kevin,
sprained his right ankle Monday night against the Jets. He had
started two straight games at center, but now may wind up on injured
reserve if the Titans need an extra healthy player.
Kevin said he
had been waiting for this game for both the chance to play at
Lambeau Field and against his cousin. They text often, and Kevin
said Clay had asked him to give up some plays to help him against
him he doesn't need any help from us," Kevin said. "He's
doing a good job this year."
This could be
a preview of coming attractions. Clay's brother, Casey, is a
linebacker with the Eagles, while Bruce's son, Jake, is a junior
offensive lineman at Texas A&M and considered a top draft
For now, the
focus is on Sunday and family bragging rights with the Titans (5-9)
already are eliminated from playoff contention and the Packers
(10-4) honing their game for the postseason. With the Titans in the
AFC and the Packers in the NFC, these teams hadn't played in the
regular season since 2008.
of those things you think about, but you never think it's going to
come to fruition ..." Clay said. "It'll be something to
look back on and talk about. But it'll be more interesting when
Sunday rolls around to see what he's going to do."
He will line
up opposite Titans left tackle Michael Roos, the lone starter left
on a patched-up offensive line. How much help Roos gets from his
position coach against Clay remains to be seen. Uncle Bruce is
giving nothing away before kickoff.
know that we all anticipated the kind of success and kind of rock
star quality he has right now, but it's really fun to watch and I'm
very proud of him. But like I've always said, I love to see him do
well, just not this week."
Titans practiced indoors Thursday due to a soggy field. Winds
gusting to 40 mph kept the bubble over the field swaying, and
Munchak said his key was just not looking up. ... Rookie WR Kendall
Wright (ribs) did not practice, though WR Damian Williams
(hamstring) practiced fully. LB Colin McCarthy (concussion) also
Capsule: Titans at Packers
(5-9) At GREEN BAY (10-4)
— Packers by 10½
SPREAD — Tennessee 6-8, Green Bay 8-6
— Titans lead 6-4
RANKING — Titans No. 25; Packers No. 6
— Titans beat Packers 19-16 OT, Nov. 2, 2008
LAST WEEK —
Titans beat Jets 14-10; Packers beat Bears 21-13
— OVERALL (23), RUSH (19), PASS (21)
— OVERALL (23), RUSH (25), PASS (19)
OFFENSE — OVERALL (17), RUSH (20), PASS (13)
DEFENSE — OVERALL (14T), RUSH (14), PASS (16)
AND NOTES — Titans have won three straight against Packers and
four of six. ... Titans 29-14 against NFC since 2002, 1-2 this
season. ... Jake Locker threw for career-high 378 yards with two TDs
and no interceptions with 113 passer rating in last game vs. NFC
team. Locker ran for first TD of season in last game. ... Chris
Johnson ran for 122 yards in last week's win over Jets, including
franchise-record 94-yard TD run. He has five 100-yard games this
season, and six career TD runs of 80 yards or longer are most in NFL
history. ... Kendall Wright leads NFL rookies with 62 catches. ...
Linebacker Akeem Ayers leads Titans with 90 tackles. ... Rookie
linebacker Zach Brown had career-high two sacks and recovered fumble
against New York. ... Jason McCourty and Michael Griffin each had
two interceptions against New York. ... Packers have won 19 of last
20 home games at Lambeau, 25 of last 27. ... Packers have clinched
second straight NFC North title. ... Aaron Rodgers 174 of 272 for
2,234 yards with 25 TDs and three interceptions with 115.7 passer
rating in past eight games against AFC. ... Packers 26-0 when
Rodgers starts and has 115 or better passer rating. Rodgers has won
24 of past 26 starts at home, and has 64 TDs, 17 interceptions and
110 rating in those games. ... Ryan Grant ran for 86 yards in last
game with Titans. ... Randall Cobb, Tennessee native, had
career-high 115 yards receiving last week. With 892 yards receiving
and 964 yards on kick returns, he can become first player in NFL
history with at least 1,000 yards on kick returns and 1,000 yards or
more receiving. ... With 2,241 all-purpose yards, Cobb is 9 shy of
matching Ahman Green's franchise record, set in 2003. ... James
Jones has career-best 12 TD catches, best in NFL. He had three TD
catches last week. ... Clay Matthews had two sacks last week, his
first game since Nov. 4. He has 10 in 14 games against AFC teams.
... Casey Hayward, who played at Vanderbilt, leads rookies with six
interceptions. ... Packers allowed 107 yards passing last week.