Move Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker
Moving Clay Matthews to inside linebacker helped shore up a leaky run defense. Matthews is the ultimate team player and found success rushing from the inside while also running sideline to sideline to make plays in a new position. But his best work comes when he’s teeing off on quarterbacks from outside linebacker.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has repeatedly stressed the desire to get Matthews back outside this offseason, which would require ensuring he’s adequately replaced inside.
Matthews spent five-and-a-half seasons rushing from the outside. In that time, he piled up 52.5 sacks and was easily the Packers’ best defensive player. He still played at a high level at inside linebacker and teams struggled to adjust initially to the move in 2014 — Matthews registered 8.5 sacks in the second half of the season after the position switch.
He wasn’t as dominant taking down the quarterback in 2015, posting just 6.5 sacks, his lowest total since 2011.
Despite being a very good inside linebacker, Matthews is an elite pass rusher on the outside. With Julius Peppers on one side and Matthews on the other, the Packers’ pass rush can improve on a strong season.
Next: An offseason priority