Clay Matthews is pretty excited about playing with Julius Peppers.
When the Green Bay Packers signed Peppers, they gave Matthews the biggest pass rush threat he’s had in his career. You know, no offense to Erik Walden…
How that translates to the field remains to be seen, but Matthews thinks it’s going to free him up more.
“This guy’s (6-7), 290. I’m 6-4 on a good day and 255,” Matthews told USA TODAY Sports.
“They’re going to double the big guy, and that leaves plenty of opportunities for me. I haven’t had too many one-on-one opportunities, and when you do, you’re expected to win — at least in our locker room — the majority of the time, because that’s supposed to be a mismatch.”
While the thought of Matthews not getting double teamed makes our panties wet, we also have a tough time seeing that scenario play out.
Matthews is right. Pepper is bigger.
He’s also getting up there in age (34) and it’s probably fair to say he’s lost a step. Peppers has also been known to take some plays off here and there.
We’d double the guy who plays like a banshee every snap and take our chances with the old timer. Our guess is most NFL teams will do the same.
That scenario is not without its upside, though.
In Chicago, opposing teams focused on Peppers because, for the last couple years, the Bears defense was pretty much crap.
Now that he’ll no longer be the focal point, it’s quite possible that Peppers will put up bigger numbers than he has in recent seasons and not look like a guy who’s in decline.
Whichever way it plays out, good for the Packers.