Wilde Blog: Matthews: ‘I Feel Good’

By Jason Wilde Special To Channel 3000

Nov 03, 2011 — 4:27pm

GREEN BAY ? Clay Matthews is feeling good, which figures to be bad news for opposing quarterbacks ? no matter what the Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl outside linebacker?s sack stats may say.

Matthews practiced for the second straight day Thursday, and it appears his days of practicing only on Friday ? or not at all ? because of a nagging quadriceps injury are behind him.

?I feel good. I feel like I?ve been playing at a good level for a while now,? Matthews said during a brief and rare midweek appearance in the locker room during media access. ?My practice schedule shouldn?t alarm people in regards to how I feel or if I?ll be there on Sundays. This position, it?s very physically demanding. If you look at the track record of other linebackers not only on this team but around the league, it?s a physically demanding position. But I?ll be ready for Sunday. I feel good.?

That much is obvious to coach Mike McCarthy, who held Matthews out of practice entirely during the week leading up to the Packers? Oct. 9 victory at Atlanta. Matthews has been appearing on the injury report with the quadriceps injury since Sept. 21. But after sitting out all three practices before the win over the Falcons, Matthews was able to gradually increase his weekly workload and did more in advance of the team?s Oct. 23 pre-bye victory at Minnesota than he had since the injury cropped up.

?I think the bye week helped everybody on our team recover physically,? McCarthy said. ?I know Clay feels a lot better this week than he did in the Minnesota game and the Minnesota game was the best he felt since the opener.?

It sure looks that way. Matthews, who enters Sunday?s game at San Diego with three sacks after registering 23.5 during his first two NFL seasons, has tallied a sack in each of the past two games after managing just one in the season?s first five games.

Matthews was chosen to Sports Illustrated?s midseason all-pro team by writer Peter King, who calls Matthews the ?poster child for why sacks are overrated. Led all players through seven weeks with 31 combined QB hits and pressures, according to ProFootballFocus.com. And sack total (three) should multiply.?

Matthews acknowledged Thursday that not all fans and media measure his worth based on his sack totals ? ?I?m not lumping you guys all together,? he said with a laugh ? but also admitted that the talk of his low sack numbers irked him a bit.

?It?s true. You look at guys around the league, especially defensive ends-slash-outside linebackers, it?s, ?How many sacks does he have?? That?s all people want to know. Which doesn?t tell the whole story,? Matthews said. ?OK, (Sports Illustrated says) 31 pressures or whatever it is and only three sacks, obviously that speaks for itself. At the same time, a couple more would be nice here just to pad the stats.

?Of course I?d love to have more sacks. Obviously that?s what generally the media and the public are going to judge my game on. But the people who matter, on this defense, understand what I bring to the table and what I have been bringing for the past seven weeks, and that?s to put constant pressure on the quarterback, stop the run, and do what my job entails. And I believe I?ve been doing that at a high level.?

And he?s done it despite not being fully healthy. While Matthews wouldn?t say whether the quadriceps injury has bothered him more than last year?s shin injury ? which turned out to be a stress fracture, something Matthews didn?t reveal until a training camp conversation with the Green Bay Press-Gazette?s Rob Demovsky this summer ? he did say that being able to practice more frequently can only help him.

Then again, he said, he doesn?t want to sacrifice being effective on game-day for getting more work in during the week.

?Of course you want to be out there, but ultimately you have to take care of your body, and Sunday is what matters. Especially that week (where he didn?t practice at all), I needed all the time I could get to make sure I was ready on Sunday,? Matthews said. ?We went through like five outside linebackers last year. The fact is I?m out there each and every Sunday. There may be nicks and bruises along the way, but I think it?s just a very physically demanding position and it?s going to test your health.

?Fortunately, I?ve been able to miss only one game in three years. And I hope I keep it that way through the end of the season.?