Injured LB Clay Matthews revels in watching Packers defensive ‘superstars’
By Jason Wilde, ESPN Wisconsin
~DETROIT – Clay Matthews did his best. He made a bee-line for the Ford Field visitors’ locker room door the moment reporters were allowed in Sunday afternoon, and he tried to sell those giving chase on the fact that he hadn’t done anything during the Green Bay Packers’ 24-20 victory over the Detroit Lions.
“Superstars are in there!” the Packers’ three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker shouted, pointing inside.
Perhaps, but in truth, what happened defensively Sunday was this: The replacements came through in a big way with their true superstar – the guy with the flowing blonde locks and host of commercial endorsement deals – standing on the sideline with a hamstring injury.
The Packers registered five sacks on Matthew Stafford (two by Erik Walden, one each by Morgan Burnett, Davon House and Dezman Moses), overcame a couple of big Calvin Johnson plays, got the requisite stops late in the game, “held” the No. 2 offense in the NFL to 362 net yards and forced three turnovers, including one of the game’s biggest plays when second-year safety M.D. Jennings returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown.
All without Matthews.
“It shows that they’re probably going to get rid of me,” Matthews said, keeping a straight face.
“It was a great opportunity for the young guys,” Matthews said when choosing to answer the question seriously. “Moses really rose up to the occasion, put constant pressure (on Stafford), especially battling against their No. 1 draft pick for the majority of the game (tackle Riley Reiff). They did a good job overall. Obviously there were a few plays they’d like to take back, but I thought we did a good job. So we’re going to look for that to continue. I really think trial by fire really helps them out, in the coming weeks and in the playoffs.”
As for what the coming weeks hold for Matthews, he wouldn’t say. He danced around questions about a timeline – “We’ll see, I really don’t know,” he said several times – and wouldn’t say if next Sunday’s game at the New York Giants is a possibility. When it was pointed out to Matthews that he missed one game in 2009 with a hamstring injury and came back the next game, he wouldn’t bite.
He did acknowledge that the fact that he traveled to the game was a good sign, and he did confirm it’s his left hamstring, which had not publicly been confirmed before Sunday.
“We’ll see the timeline after this week as far as rehabilitation, see where we’re at, especially tomorrow, what the timetable is then,” Matthews said. “With the bye week, that obviously helped out, getting an extra seven days, but we’ll see. Honestly, guys, we’ll see where we’re at.”
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