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Posted Oct 3, 2017

Clay Matthews' impact goes well beyond sacks


Jonathan from Las Vegas, NV

Hi Insiders, I’m a police officer in Las Vegas, and was part of the terrible events that took place there. I just wanted to say thank you to the NFL and the Packers for reaching out and expressing their support like they did following the tragic events that unfolded.

Thank you for reading, Jonathan, and thank you for your service to the Las Vegas community. I was stunned and saddened when I woke up Monday morning and saw the news. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

It amazes me how overlooked Jordy Nelson is in the league. Since 2014, Odell Beckham Jr. leads the league with 37 touchdown receptions, Antonio Brown is second with 36, and Jordy Nelson is third with 32. Here's the kicker: Jordy missed all of 2015. He is a touchdown machine.

There is only one and the Packers are lucky enough to have him. Jordy Nelson is a wonder. That was a terrific stat I believe Bill Huber should be credited for digging up. It perfectly illustrates why Nelson is so dynamic. He’s a complete receiver. He makes plays all over the field, but his ability to gain separation in the red zone is so critical for this offense. It’s also easier said than done with the defense having less room to cover.

Edwin from Beaufort, NC

Packers defense: Will it decide how far they will go and is there weakness with the defense that needs to be addressed?

Quarterbacks and cornerbacks. Joe Whitt Jr. hit it on the head before the season when talking about those two positions factoring heavily into a team’s playoff chances. The Packers rank fifth in pass defense in the NFL right now despite the absence of Davon House with the quad. The sky is the limit for the defense if the secondary continues to play like it has been.

John Saratoga Springs, NY

Why is Capers still there with the Packers’ poor defense year-in and year-out?

The Packers currently rank seventh in total defense.

Rex from Dillsboro, IN

Did Clay quiet down the people who say he isn't the same player? Maybe those couple picks had something to do with the first play of the first drive. Can't see Clay out of my peripheral; throw the ball before I'm ready. He impacts the game. On to Week 5.

Matthews is on pace for 10 sacks, but his impact goes well beyond what can be quantified in one statistical category. The way he fills gaps and finds the shortest route to the ball carrier has a domino effect on how the defense plays. He’s looked great so far.

Derk from Chippewa Falls, WI

In what areas do you think the Packers have an advantage over the Cowboys, and vice versa?

I’ll be interested to see how the Packers attack Zeke Elliott and the Cowboys’ running game. Alfred Morris reminded everyone last week he’s still a back to be feared, as well. The Packers were able to use their base 3-4 defense against Chicago early because it didn’t fear the Bears’ downfield passing game. The Cowboys are a different challenge. Green Bay’s advantage lies in Aaron Rodgers. He was the puppet master in January, sparking that fast start.

Gary from Wilkes Barre, PA

I know you’ll preach draft and develop but Blount sure looked good yesterday against the Chargers. They have a very strong front four and he shredded them. Maybe one fewer running back drafted and the Pack peruse him as a free agent when the opportunity was there. He certainly showed his worth as a semi-regular last season in New England.

Free agency isn’t an all-you-can-eat buffet. You can only sign so many players. In the end, the Packers ended up signing seven unrestricted/street veteran free agents. If there is one position I’d rather draft than sign, it’s running back.

John from Denton, TX

Nice comment on Cutler, Spoff. He is the real life Nuke LaLoosh – million-dollar arm, five-cent head. But back to the Packers, will we see lots of Nitro or base 3-4 vs. the Cows?

Exactly. That’s my No. 1 question. We’ll see Sunday.

Matt from Greensboro, NC

First: prayers for the folks in Las Vegas. Second: what’s the argument for not having more than two players per season being able to come back?

I’m not sure, but I think the designation to return from injured reserve is one of the best policies that’s been weaved into the fabric of the modern NFL. It allows players to heal completely before returning and doesn’t punish teams by having to carry an injured player on their 53 for two months. These matters can take time, but allowing two players to return and delaying the designation are both signs of progress.

Chris from San Antonio, TX

After the quarter mark on the season, which set record is most impressive: taking the all-time lead back from the Bears, Rodgers beating all 31 teams, Rodgers finally getting an OT win, or any other I haven't mentioned?

Taking the lead back from the Bears. My grandfather, God rest his soul, was four years old the last time the Packers led in the series. What the Packers have accomplished in the Favre/Rodgers eras is remarkable.

Steve from Phoenix, AZ

Here's what I don't understand. How can he say it wasn't intentional when I saw him take three steps towards him with his helmet down? Shame on NFL for just a two-game suspension.

I’m not entirely clear on what the league protocol is for suspending players for on-field conduct. Some of the guidelines might even be collectively bargained for all I know. I think it could’ve easily been five games like Vontaze Burfict, but I’m not surprised by two given Trevathan doesn’t have a history of unsportsmanlike conduct.

Borivoje from Belgrade, Serbia

Kudos to our man Micah Hyde for taking one away from Atlanta and putting us in a tie at the top of the NFC. All the best to you and your loved ones, Insiders.

Micah Hyde will go down as one of my all-time favorites. He’s a true pro who deserves every good thing that comes his way in life. I had a smile on my face watching him pull down two picks against the Falcons.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I was surprised when I looked at the statistics and saw Rodgers only had 179 yards. It felt like more. That must have set a few personal records for him, including fewest yards with four or more TDs and fewest yards in a more than 21-point victory.

I think the average starting field position (Green Bay 34) had something to do with that number being lower. Points are points and passing yards are passing yards. You can have one without the other sometimes.

Jeff from Oxnard, CA

Reading today's column and enjoying the love McCarthy is getting. Not a question, just a thought. He should have been Coach of the Year in 2010. To hold that team together and get them to a Super Bowl win was incredible.

I don’t know when Coach of the Year is determined, but I’m still stunned to this day McCarthy didn’t get it in 2010 with the injuries and playoff gauntlet Green Bay endured en route to the Lombardi Trophy.

Tou from Eau Claire, WI

What would happen to our compensatory picks if the Packers needed to and did trade for Eddie Lacy back?

The hay is already in the barn. If the Packers would re-acquire a former unrestricted free agent, it doesn’t affect their compensation. At the same time, the Seahawks may be in need of Lacy with Chris Carson’s leg injury.

David from New Auburn, WI

If a player makes the 53-man roster, why place him on an inactive list for a game (example, Mays)? Are teams not allowed to dress all 53 men for a game?

You got it, dude.

Joe from Denmark, WI

From what I saw in the preseason, I thought Aaron Jones looked like a better runner of the football than Jamaal Williams. I saw the same thing when he took over for Williams on Thursday. What does Jamaal Williams do better that lets him keep that RB2 spot?

I haven’t looked at it as one rookie versus another. I think they all have different strengths, but I agree with you about Jones’ running ability. He has good burst and explosiveness at the point of attack.

Randy from Colleyville, TX

Now that Ty and Jamaal are hurt, is it time to offer a seventh-round draft pick for Adrian Peterson to provide depth? I know we fans don't get details on injuries but broken ribs and knees don't seem good. "It is a brutal position" to quote.

Stop. The Packers drafted three running backs for this reason. We’ll see what the timeline is for Montgomery and Williams, but they still have two capable backs in Jones and Devante Mays. That’s not to mention Peterson is averaging 3.0 yards per carry at the moment, as well.

Corey from Mooresville, NC

After seeing Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson in the backfield, as running backs, is it possible Ty and the Pack have started a trend?

Yes, but this goes further back than just Montgomery. The Packers have been using Randall Cobb in the backfield since his rookie year in 2011. They even had some success with the formation early in the win over the Bears. Mike McCarthy has been out in front of this trend for years whether it’s Cobb, Montgomery or even Davante Adams in the backfield.

Andy from Brookfield, WI

Hello Insiders, I enjoy looking at power rankings to see what "experts" have to say on the teams every week. I thought it was fun to see the Packers jump a couple of spots just by not losing on Sunday. Do you think we'll continue to see upset games at this pace every week, or do you think a few frontrunners will emerge?

It’s a league of upsets. The teams playing in January are those that do the best job of avoiding them. I’ve said before parity is the league’s best attribute and it keeps fans coming back on any given Sunday.

Bob from Birchwood, WI

Is it time to admit that drafting a safety and a basketball player to be NFL cornerbacks was a mistake?

No. Just like how it wasn’t a mistake when Sam Shields struggled in Year 2 or Tramon Williams after the shoulder injury or Casey Hayward after the hamstring issues and no picks in 2015. Fans have seemed to clamor to cut every Packers cornerback whose name isn’t Charles Woodson at some point in time. I challenge you to be patient.

Kelly from Kaneohe, HI

The Vikings just lost their franchise player for the second year in a row. Things could always be worse.

I think sometimes Packers fans feel they get hit hardest by the injury bug, but it’s everywhere in the NFL. This past weekend was a good reminder of that.

Mike from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Mike, I've seen a lot of internet chatter about the phantom/ticky-tack holding call on McCray before Adams' injury. I think the ref simply observed the wrong uniform number. Evans clearly held his man and I assume him to be the offender.

I’m still not sold on anyone being in the wrong on that play. I don’t think the defender got enough on the edge to warrant a holding call on Evans, either. It seemed like he kept his man in front of him and earned the pancake, but what do I know? It definitely wasn’t on McCray, though.

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Did Taylor play well enough to be the first backup at LT when David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga come back?

That’s a great question. I’d have to say so until one of the tackles is ready to return from injured reserve. That’s not a knock on Ulrick John or Adam Pankey, but Taylor has four NFL seasons under his belt and played well considering it was the first time he’d ever played left tackle. He gave them a winning performance.

John from Hudson, WI

So, Wes. I understand why there is a hard deadline in print media, but why would you have it in the electronic age? Self-imposed, er no?

I had what we called a “drop-dead deadline” during night games, which meant the story needs to be filed because it’s immediately being thrown on the page. I still strive to get my story up on packers.com as soon as possible for everyone to read, but it’s also somewhat self-imposed because I have amazing co-workers who are responsible for editing, proofing, posting and socializing my story. I don’t want to keep them here all night. So it’s a different kind of deadline.

Dan from Saint Louis, MO

Hey guy, heading to Dallas this weekend. Can you provide details on a potential pep rally? Hope to see you there. As always, great work!

You can find all the info here.

Ben from Brookings, SD

What are your thoughts on the NFL media calling Deshaun Watson a franchise quarterback? I think they are overreacting to a win, even if it was impressive. No hate for Watson, but give it a season first.

My only problem is we have a tendency to build young quarterbacks up too fast and tear them down even faster. It was a terrific performance by Watson, but the wolves will be back out the moment he struggles.

Michael from Weston, Canada

Mike Daniels superhero alter ego is "Diesel.” Insiders what would your super power/character name be?

Duke.

Jim from Lake Tapawingo, MO

No Q, just a point. I believe training camp was shortened. If so, you have less conditioning and more injuries. Also these stupid overseas games don’t help any. Thanks.

You’re welcome.

Ann from Mountain View, CA

No question, just a comment for Spoff. When I was in grade school my family moved from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Manitowoc. I noticed many people in Manitowoc ended their sentences with, what to my ear sounded like “en so.” When I asked about it I was told it was short for “isn’t that so.” Reading Spoff mention his mother-in-law ends her sentences with “and so” brought back some happy childhood memories.

It did the same for me with my own 86-year-old grandmother. You gotta love Wisconsin-isms.


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