GREEN BAY – Clay Matthews can expect a full workload in 2015.
“Clay’s going to be playing a lot of different spots. We like the way he finished the season. He made a big impact,” Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers said on Thursday.
Matthews was moved to inside linebacker midway through last season, and the change kick-started a defensive surge.
“I thought we were playing our best football at the end of the season,” Capers said.
In an OTA practice on Thursday, the media watched as Matthews was used outside, inside, to drop into coverage and to rush the passer. That about covers it; he’s going to do it all.
“Whatever our greatest need is at the time, that’s probably where Clay will be playing. Opponents wonder is he going to be inside, is he going to be outside? It affects the game plan a lot,” Capers said.
Meanwhile, the Packers’ top two draft picks, cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, flashed their talent for the media to see on Thursday.
“Until I see him cover 87 or 18 with 12 throwing the ball, I’m not going to get that excited,” Cornerbacks Coach Joe Whitt said of Rollins, the Packers’ second-round pick.
Can Randall and Rollins develop quickly enough to contribute to the Packers’ sub-packages?
“I’m not even thinking about it like that. I have a room of men I’m trying to coach. I’m trying to get two ready for our Okie package, three ready for our nickel package, and four ready for our dime package. I don’t care who it is,” Whitt said.
Capers finds himself having to deal with the loss of five defensive players – cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House, defensive back Jarrett Bush and linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. Young veterans and rookies are being counted on to replace those veterans.
“We lost five guys who combined for 31 years of experience. We have to figure out how much these young guys can do. They have to have a pretty good understanding of the defense to come back and have productive training camps,” Capers said.
At inside linebacker, third-year man Sam Barrington appears to have a bead on one of the inside jobs, but linebackers coach Winston Moss wasn’t conceding anything on Thursday.
“We have some guys competing for jobs. We’ll see what happens,” Moss said.
Asked if the competition could be weekly throughout the season, Moss said: “Yes, it can.”
Additional OTA coverage - May 28