Clay Matthews is happy with his role in Green Bay's new look defense

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When you are your teams best defensive player, you expect to be played in your best position - especially when your name is Clay Matthews and your ability to get close to the quarterback is second to none. 

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However in the packers new look defense - in which they are more often than not, opting to use a 3-4 look as opposed to their previous 4-3 scheme - Matthews has found himself all over the field, as opposed to previous years where he has been positioned as an edge rusher.

In the comeback win over the Jets last weekend he had a rush percentage of just 64.7 percent after rushing 22 times and dropping into coverage 12 times. Compare that percentage to his rushing percentages of 2012 and 2013 which were in the mid 80's you can understand why he only has one sack going into week three.


Speaking on his new role, Matthews told reporters that he is happy with it:

"What we're trying to accomplish is the fact that we're trying to present problems for the opponents' offense and not just lining me up in one spot. But I think the thing about it is you look at the personnel on the field, I think that I'm more than capable of rushing the passer and dropping into coverage."

As mentioned above, it is likely to mean that Matthews will record less sacks this year however he will contribute to Green Bay's defensive stats in a much broader way.

I appreciate that it's only two games in but Matthews' versatility is already being showcased. He has one sack, nine tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass broken up, one forced fumble and a quarterback hit. Not bad for someone who has been hailed only a pass rusher.

It was in the role of edge rusher where Matthews made his name. Since his 2009 rookie year, he has recorded a huge 51 sacks and 194 tackles - which leads me to think of the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it! However Head Coach Mike McCarthy is looking at it from a different angle and believes Matthews' new role causes problems for the oppositions offense:

"When you have an exceptional football player, when you line him up in the same place every single time, you help the offense. If you want to chip him, if you want to slide to him, if you're able to practice it all week...... it's an easier training process for the opponent. It's just really having Clay do the same things he's always done and just move him around." 

Unleash the beast

However former Packers linebacker Brady Poppinga doesn't agree, tweeting:

"Right now on the defensive side of the ball in GB, they are out thinking themselves like no other. Unleash Clay Matthews and [Julius] Peppers"

It's also worth noting that Matthews has had a few serious injury problems over the past few years so reducing his tendency to rush the quarterback may be a good idea, and defensive coordinater Dom Capers agrees:

"I think for him, when you look at the big picture, if he's lined up on the end and he's got a 330 pound tackle blocking him all day, I just think over the long run this is going to be better for him, too."

Regardless of where Matthews is lined up, a tough test lies ahead for Green Bay in week three, as they travel to Detroit to face an offense who - led by Calvin Johnson - put 40 points on the Packers last time they visited Ford Field.

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