NFL Quarterbacks can’t hide from The Clay
Packers’ Clay Matthews can no longer be ignored
Sept 25, 2010 ~ by Peter King
~It seems so ridiculous now — or maybe it’s a sign that the USC football team should actually have been the 33rd NFL franchise in the Pete Carroll years.
But how odd is it that Clay Matthews, who is playing football with the pursuit ability of Ray Lewis, started only eight games in five years at Southern Cal?
Matthews, Green Bay’s pass-rushing outside linebacker, enters Monday night’s showdown in Chicago between the twin 2-0 Bears and Packers leading the NFL with six sacks.
He had three apiece against the Eagles and Bills. He’s 17 away from setting the NFL single-season record. (“Come on,” he told me from Green Bay. “It’s two weeks.”) According to the redoubtable Bob McGinn‘s film study in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Matthews has been double-teamed on 42 percent of Packer defensive pass plays so far. And he’s still killing it.
I’m not a big fan of comparing young players to guys who’ve done it for years. And I don’t mean that you shouldn’t say, “The way Matthews chases down players reminds me of Lewis,” or, “I see some Emmitt Smith when I watch the Heisman winner, Mark Ingram.”
I mean it’s silly to say Matthews is going to turn into the next Ray Lewis in pursuit, because we need to see a much larger sample size. As Matthews says, “Come on. It’s two weeks.” I’d say, “Come on. He’s playing his 19th NFL game Monday night.” Greatness in the NFL is so much about staying power.
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