18

September

Clay Matthews Video: Better Speed Pass Rusher from the Right Side?

Clay matthews vs. 49ers

Clay Matthews celebrates a sack of Alex Smith

When the news came this off-season that the Packers would be moving Clay Matthews back to the right side, I did a little jig (ok, since I’m Italian, it was more of a tarantella).

Watching Matthews speed rush the passer from the left side the last year, there was something missing. The initial explosion was still there, but once engaging the right tackle, something strange was happening – usually one of two things. Either Matthews would get stood up and lose momentum, or lose his balance and end up on the ground. In either case, Matthews was easily handled and posed no threat to the quarterback.

Fast forward to this season and Matthews’ speed rush from the right side includes not only speed, but a violent punch, low pad-level and much better balance.

So is Matthews just a better speed rusher from the right side? Um, maybe…

In his rookie season, when Matthews played right outside linebacker, he recorded 10 sacks, despite not starting until game four. In 2010, the Packers’ Super Bowl Championship season, Matthews was moved to the left side and finished with 13 sacks in 17 games, with another four in the playoffs. As we all know, Matthews’ production fell off in 2011, with only six over the course of  the season.

But what didn’t fall off was his quarterback hits and hurries. in fact, they increased over 2010. This happened despite the fact that Matthews was given more responsibility in other areas in 2011. He played more in coverage, had more run game responsibilty and even was asked to shadow or provide contain on some of the more mobile quarterbacks the Packers faced. When he did get to rush the passer, Matthews was still generating pressure, but he just wasn’t completing the final task of dis-engaging from the right tackle. He basically wasn’t winning enough one-on-ones.

Lets take a look at some videos from last season’s Packers – Giants playoff game. In this first video, you’ll see Matthews looking to execute an outside speed move, but he’s never able to get any kind of punch or get under the tackle. Instead, he’s easily forced wide at arms length, and ends up losing his balance and slipping to the ground.

 

14

January

Watch the New Aaron Rodgers State Farm Commercial with Clay Matthews. Discount Double-check

As we told you here over a week ago, Clay Matthews has also done a State Farm Discount Double Check commercial with BJ raji. Here it is:

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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10

May

Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews – More Alike than Different?

With his former USC teammate Brian Cushing earning an NFL suspension for using a banned substance, the whispers have started again about Clay Matthews. And lets be honest,  it’s understandable. One look at Matthews’ physique, after all the “skinny kid” stories, is enough.   But should we suspect Clay Matthews? Is he guilty by association? Of course not.  There are, however,  a lot of similarities in their stories and how they transformed themselves from scrawny kids to muscle-bound NFL warriors.

Brian Cushing was a multi-sport athlete, but in high school, he decided to focus on football after his freshman year. He hit the weight room hard and came back a much bigger player his sophomore year. The change was so dramatic, there were many whispers of steroid use from NJ high school football observers. Yet speak to anyone close to him, and they would emphatically defend him as an honest and incredibly self-motivated kid that would never cheat.

He accomplished the feat by hard work in the weight room, we were told. His development continued at USC, and those closest to Cushing came out publicly to defend him. Videos of Cushing working out were published on the internet:

His high school coach and personal trainer stood by him and still do, even after the recent developments. From an article written by Tara Sullivan of the Bergen Record, a local NJ newspaper:

“This is being handled by his agent and his attorney so I’m not at liberty to speak about it, but I will say this, I support Brian Cushing a hundred percent,” said Fred Stengel, Cushing’s coach at Bergen Catholic High School.”

“I talked to him [Friday] night and people are going to believe what they believe, but I’m behind closed doors with him and on my family, I will go to the death and say he doesn’t take steroids,” says Joe DeFranco, who began training Cushing when he was a junior in high school, guided him through preparation for the NFL combine and continues to work with Cushing in the NFL’s off-season.”

In a public statement, Cushing has explained his version of the situation. “I was substance-tested randomly by the NFL during the 2009 season. The results of those tests indicated the presence of a non-steroidal banned substance.” That substance is believed to be a single elevated hormone level, which led Cushing’s camp to file an appeal.