After making a successful in-season transition to inside linebacker in 2014, the Packers decided to keep Clay Matthews at an unfamiliar position. Ted Thompson didn’t address the position until the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, so keeping Matthews inside was more out of necessity.
And once again, Matthews made a ton of plays. He didn’t tee off on the passer as much as he would have liked, but he was still able to generate plenty of pressure. Matthews’ interception against Chicago in Week 1 helped kill off the game, and he backed it up with an impressive two-sack performance against Kansas City.
But as expected when playing an unfamiliar position, Matthews wasn’t perfect. He had some issues in coverage and also went missing at times. When he was lined up outside later in the season, Matthews failed to win one-on-ones regularly. Playing inside takes its toll on your body, and it’s tough to then be asked to turn it on outside.
Matthews will be a playmaker wherever he plays on defense, but the Packers want to get him back to the spot where he does his best work, and that’s on the outside.
Next: Julius Peppers