Each week throughout the season, PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush hooks up with a personality who has connections with the Packers and asks him five Packers-related questions. This week Dan connected with star OLB Clay Matthews the day after Green Bay’s wild-card win over the Eagles in Philadelphia.
1. While you always have your game face on, it seems pretty obvious that you’re actually having a lot of fun doing your thing every week in Dom Capers’ defense. Is that an accurate observation?
Matthews: I do have a lot of fun. I have a great time out there. This defense allows me to really turn it loose and do a lot of different things — rushing the passer … stopping the run … dropping into coverage. It’s full go all the time, and that fits me perfectly.
2. You play with such an edge. Is the underdog mentality you’ve maintained throughout your career a driving force for you?
Matthews: Absolutely. In high school, I didn’t start until my junior year. I had no Division I scholarships. I did not start at USC until the fourth game my senior year. That’s why I am always working hard and making sure that the guy who’s on my tail (on the roster) doesn’t catch up to me. I always feel like I have something to prove.
3. Talk about the great job the Packers have done this season overcoming so many injuries to key players.
Matthews: You know, it would have been really easy to throw in the towel, especially at the season’s midpoint when we were losing some games, and people were going down left and right. It’s a real testament to all the players that we have been able to keep on playing hard, and the coaches for keeping us on the straight and narrow.
4. Speaking of the coaches, how much of your fine season do you attribute to the coaching of LB coach Kevin Greene?
Matthews: He’s been very instrumental. To have a guy relaying information to me at my position who finished No. 1 in sacks and was a dominant force for countless years is something special.
5. You’ve had your share of injury problems this year, with the hamstring early in the year and the shin problem later on in the season. How do you feel right now?
Matthews: I feel great, like I’m peaking at just the right time. There was a four-to-five-week stretch earlier in the season when it was real tough just getting through the week. But the last three games I have been able to turn it loose and really let it go.