Packers Defense Must Move on Without Matthews for "Multiple Weeks"

Packers Defense Must Move on Without Matthews for "Multiple Weeks"

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy says they will be without their best defensive player for "multiple weeks"
The Packers have piled up nine sacks over the past two games, but one of those cost them their most prominent pass rusher for what Head Coach Mike McCarthy called "multiple weeks" and other reports say could be at least a month.

"Clay Matthews is our best player on defense, but this is pro football," said McCarthy Wednesday. "We've been down this road before."

"We're better with him out there," said Aaron Rodgers.  "We are a better football team with Clay Matthews on the field, but we've had injuries here in the past and it's next guy up mentality."

Only four NFL players have more sacks than Matthews 45.5 since entering the league in 2009, and that says nothing of Matthews ability to disrupt the ground game as well. But with Nick Perry and Mike Neal coming off impressive performances against Detroit, there's a lot of confidence in the locker room that the defense can carry on without Matthews.

"We are going to miss Clay, Clay brings a lot of stuff to the table," said OLB Mike Neal.  "But I think people get so caught up in Clay's ability to make plays that every body else has to play their game.  We are not going to be able to mimic what Clay do, but we can control what we do and as long as we do that we'll be fine."

Last year the Packers pass rush struggled when Matthews missed four games with a hamstring injury, only tallying seven sacks, with five of those coming in one contest against the Lions.  With Perry and Neal combining for three sacks and 11 tackles the Packers may be in better hands now than when they went with Erik Walden and Dezman Moses to rush the passer a year ago.

"Once you get that first taste of blood man you want more," said DT Mike Daniels referring to Neal and Perry's breakout performance Sunday.  "Once you do it the first time it starts to roll now.  You get a better nose for it.  You get a better idea of  how to manuever yourself to get off of blocks a certain way and make sure you get in on the play."

Rookie Andy Mulumba was sidelined Wednesday with an ankle injury leaving Neal, Perry and fellow rookie Nate Palmer as the only healthy options at outside linebacker for now.  So how might that change things on Sunday in Baltimore?

"For me personally, get 3 and outs," Neal said with a laugh. "Clay is a person who can go every single down regardless of whether or not he's tired and I think that's one of the biggest things is knowing we won't have as much depth at that position.  Trying to get off the field on third down will be the biggest thing.  As far as us playing our game,  we won't change anything."

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