Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews talks to Andy Mulumba as they
stretch during NFL football training camp Thursday in Green Bay.
GREEN BAY - Clay
Matthews is getting a refresher course at Green Bay Packers training
camp. It has nothing to do with rushing the quarterback.
linebacker is ticketed for major minutes again playing on the inside
of the Packers defense. Now, Matthews gets to go through a full
training camp to help pick up the nuances of a position that he only
started playing in the middle of last season.
"That's my duty.
I'm playing inside. I need to know what to do. I feel good about
it," Matthews said Friday.
Before 2014, Matthews
had one primary goal: get to the quarterback. He was pretty successful
at it, averaging 10 sacks a season over the first five years of his
But the Packers had a
pressing need inside last season to slow down the run. Matthews was
shuffled inside more at midseason.
The move worked, and
by the end of the season, Matthews and Sam Barrington had supplanted
A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones as the primary guys inside. The Packers
didn't add an inside linebacker in free agency or high in the draft in
the offseason, putting Matthews back in a dual-purpose role.
The inside is still
relatively new to Matthews, so much so that he said he felt like a
rookie again in the spring in starting his first offseason learning
the playbook as an inside linebacker.
not as well-versed as I am at the outside linebacker position ...
being able to kick back outside at a moment's notice," Matthews
said. "So it's really important for me to really grasp this
opportunity and really take it and run with it."
Coach Mike McCarthy
said he plans to have Matthews practice at his normal outside
linebacker position every third day in camp. The majority of snaps,
Matthews predicted, would come on the inside.
"Just to get the
reps from inside and get the full training because he's never had that
from starting in training and going all the way through training
camp," McCarthy said.
opportunities will still be there for Matthews. He noted that the
Packers play in nickel or dime packages about 75 percent of the time
— which typically means opportunities to rush the quarterback in
Last year, 8 1/2 of
his 11 sacks on the season came after moving inside in Week 10. In a
best-case scenario for the Packers, the game of "Where is Clay
Matthews?" will confound opposing offenses.
"But I'm sure
I'll have plenty of opportunities. Maybe it will just come from
inside," Matthews said.
seventh-round pick out of South Florida in 2013, is in a bit of a
tutor's role: He is helping Matthews, who is going into his seventh
season, get adjusted to inside linebacker. Training camp will also
help build the chemistry and communication between the two middle men.
"A lot of
feedback. It must be done. I don't care if it was Roger Rabbit aligned
next to me. We've got to talk," Barrington said.
"Communication is the key."
Other notes from Day
2 of camp:
Jared Abbrederis sat out with a concussion. The second-year receiver
got hurt on the opening day of practice on Thursday after falling hard
to the ground during an interception. McCarthy said Abbrederis was
going through the concussion protocol.
The defensive backs had an active day, including two interceptions by
S Morgan Burnett. Rookie CB Damarious Randall, the team's first-round
draft pick, had a nice breakup late over the middle on a pass from
undrafted rookie quarterback Matt Blanchard.
WHAT'S NEXT: The
Packers practice in pads for the first time on Saturday. "It's
always fun to get back into real football and we get to see what
everybody is made of," said defensive lineman Mike Daniels.