Packers’ goal for Clay Matthews is to keep him at outside linebacker

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has played inside linebacker for the past season-and-a-half.
Kyle Terada/Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have been lucky to field one of the NFL’s most versatile defenders in linebacker Clay Matthews for the past seven seasons. The past season-and-a-half, however, have been less than ideal with him playing inside linebacker.

In his end of the year press conference, head coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers aim to put Matthews back on the edge in 2016.

Via the Packers’ official Twitter account:

Matthews is most effective when he’s rushing the passer, but he’s also Green Bay’s best all-around defender. When the Packers needed help stopping the run, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound linebacker was moved inside so he could have a bigger impact on an every-down basis.

The 2015 season was the first in which Matthews played inside linebacker from start to finish. As a result, he posted the highest tackle total (66) and second lowest sack total (6.5) of his career. The position switch helped the Packers field the NFL’s 12th best scoring defense (20.2 points allowed per game).

The experience at inside linebacker now affords Green Bay the flexibility to make an adjustment in a pinch, but expect a vintage, double-digit-sack season from Matthews on the edge in 2016.

Follow Kevin Boilard on Twitter: @KevinBoilard