Why They Won: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

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Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker

Clay Matthews

(52) tackles Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) during the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

ILB Clay Matthews

That isn’t a typo.

In an attempt to fix their biggest defensive issue – run defense – and also throw a new curveball for the Bears and future teams to have to prepare for, Dom Capers decided to try using Clay Matthews a decent amount of time on the inside. Of his 53 snaps, 38 were at MLB/ILB, by far the highest percentage for him there.

For at least this game, it was a resounding success! The Bears only managed 55 yards rushing, by far the lowest of a Packers opponent this year. Matthews was able to use his speed, aggression and quick-twitch ability really well all night to stop/contain whatever plays they sent his way.

Could this be the answer at ILB that Green Bay has needed? Probably not full-time. If this gets used too often, a couple of things will end up happening:

1) Matthews won’t be getting put into the best position to make his strongest impact – pure pass-rushing is his strongest asset
2) Teams will be able to game-plan against him, further marginalizing his ability to impact the game.

While it would be great to have an full-time answer at ILB, it isn’t worth putting their top defensive player there when that isn’t a spot he can best put to use his strengths. As something to use in somewhat sparingly and/or specific matchup?

It looks like an impressive plan that could pay great dividends for the rest of the season – and hopefully beyond.