Packers: Five players to watch vs. Washington in Week 3

Jaire Alexander #23 of the Green Bay Packers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jaire Alexander #23 of the Green Bay Packers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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3. Clay Matthews, LB

It has been a rough first two weeks for Clay Matthews. He’s had two crucial roughing the passer penalties called on him in the first two games at critical moments. Regardless of the controversy surrounding the second one against the Vikings, it’s time for Clay to atone.

Matthews has put some heat on the quarterbacks, though he has been a tick late to get the sack. Matthews’ pressure on Kirk Cousins in the second quarter led to a Kenny Clark sack, but Matthews has none himself. He still gives maximum effort, but his play just has not gotten the same results.

Matthews seems to be a player on the decline, at least as a pass rusher. He has not taken advantage of favorable matchups and has not had the same impact he has in the past. With Brian Gutekunst all but ignoring the outside rush this offseason, the best the Packers can hope for is Matthews to resemble the player from four years ago.

We have yet to see Mike Pettine use Matthews in any kind of exotic or creative ways. Last week against the Vikings would’ve been a good time for that. But now is as good a time as any.

My hope is Matthews comes out and plays like a player with his hair on fire as his way of getting back the call. Channel his frustration into being the player he once was.