Is Not Practicing Catching up With Packers’ Clay Matthews?
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a blurb about Clay Matthews’ recent drop in production and a possible correlation with a shin injury that severely limits his practice time.
On Monday I wrote about how I am done criticizing Aaron Rodgers this season, and I probably could write basically the same piece about Matthews. When examining problem areas for the Gren Bay Packers, Matthews is nowhere near the top of the list.
But Matthews has only 10 tackles and one sack his last two games. That one sack was given to him after Brett Favre slid behind the line of scrimmage early in the Vikings game. Matthews has only practiced once a week since the beginning of November and maybe that is starting to catch up with him. Despite what Allen Iverson says, practice is important – especially in the NFL and especially for a young player like Matthews.
It would have been unrealistic to expect Matthews to continue the torrid pace he set early in the season. He is a great talent, but nobody is talented enough to notch over 35 sacks. After his fast start, teams are now ready for Matthews. They are game-planning for him. They are forcing him to make adjustments, which is tough without practice time.
Most coaches will tell you that half the battle in football is lining up correctly and getting to the right spot once the ball is snapped. It is difficult to experiment and make necessary adjustments without practicing them first. The less Matthews practices, the more difficult it is for him to work on new stunts or schemes to get favorable matchups on Sunday.
Obviously, I am not arguing that Matthews needs to suck it up and practice regardless of how injured he is. He needs to be as healthy as possible on Sunday and he is probably the best judge of whether he can practice or not. But Matthews’ production is something to monitor as the season winds down.——————