Clay Matthews is the key to Green Bay’s defensive woes

Green Bay’s defense last year was terrible. That is an understatement. Green Bay displayed one of the worst defensive performances the League has ever seen last year. They gave up a horrendous 411 yards per game last season. Rodgers and his potent offense tallied up huge points last season and this could have led to the defensive nightmare that they experienced. They pinned their ears back and went after the QB and played for interceptions. They got 31 INTs in the end last season but surrendered far too many yards and this lack of defensive discipline and structure was ultimately their downfall. When the offense had an off day, the defense just couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down.

Last week, Clay Matthews terrorised the tackles. He treated J’Marcus Webb like a turnstile and got right in Cutlers face. He has been credited with 3.5 sacks but his presence was enough at times for Cutler to throw the ball away. Cutler was so irate over Matthews’ dominance that he tore into Webb as they marched off the pitch and he even shouldered Webb on the sidelines in anger.

Matthews is a beast. He already has the same amount of sacks this season in two games as he did all of last season. This may be due to the acquisition of Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy bolstering the line and allowing Matthews to run amok or it could be due to the fact that Matthews had a major chip on his shoulder over last season. I suspect that it is a little of both. He was vocal in the press about how bad they were and promised an improvement this season and my word has he performed. The pressure that Matthews put on Cutler meant that Marshall was closed out of the game by the corners as they did not have to cover him for long before the play was ended by Cutler throwing to someone else (sometimes that someone else was a Green Bay player) or handing off to the running back. Marshall looked on track to make zero catches for most of the game, the first time since 2006 that he has done so. In the end, he recorded only 2 catches.

Even against a lethal 49ers Offensive line, Matthews showed his prowess at breaking tackles. He put Alex Smith down three times in Week 1 and at times, put him down hard. He pressured the passer, threw his hands up to deflect passes, terrorized the tackles and helped his D Line stuff the run. On the night, they gave up 377 yards to Alex Smith. The Bears were only given 168 yards. Matthews is looking on form to match his own sack record in a single season that currently stands at 13.5 sacks in his sophomore season.

The Packers have Seattle next week. The Seahawks are hard to beat at home but if the Packers put in a performance to match last weeks against the Bears, they will make it very hard for the Seahawks 28th ranked Offense to make many offensive yards.