Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews is clearly feeling better.
Despite playing fewer snaps against the Seattle Seahawks (24) than he did the week before against the Houston Texans (29), Matthews’ production actually increased. It wasn’t game-changing, but it was certainly a noticeable improvement for the Packers’ highest-paid defender.
Matthews finished the win over Seattle with two tackles, including one for loss and a QB hit. That’s a vast improvement over the stat line donut Matthews recorded the week before.
Matthews, who was used primarily outside on passing downs, noted that the pain level in his injured shoulder has decreased.
“Last week,” Matthews said, “I was practically rushing with one arm. I felt a lot better. A few times, there was some pain out there, but I thought I held up. I thought I was able to contribute and have some good rushes. Hopefully, it’s that much better next week, and keep progressing.”
A healthy and effective Clay Matthews would be great for the Packers. Matthews is in the midst of his worst season as a pro.
He’s missed four games with a hamstring injury and currently has just 20 tackles and four sacks. He will set a career low in tackles unless he becomes a tackling machine in the final three games. He needs two more sacks to match his career low in that category.
Pro Football Focus has Matthews graded out at a 42.1 this season, ranking him at No. 102 among edge rushers.
None of that is terribly encouraging and the Packers may be better off limiting Matthews as they have been until he’s all the way back. We wouldn’t want to completely bet on these guys, but both Datone Jones and Jayrone Elliott played well against Seattle.
We’re not going to bag on Matthews for an injury he suffered while taking a borderline cheap shot. Nor are we going to bag on him for trying to play through it. That said, the guy hasn’t been effective this year and you can’t really argue that point…