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The Packers Have No Pass Rush Without Clay Matthews

Yep, plenty of time to throw and room to step up in the pocket.
Yep, plenty of time to throw and room to step up in the pocket.

The Green Bay Packers recorded zero sacks against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. From Mike McCarthy:

(Lack of pressure on the quarterback this week without Clay Matthews. How do you get to the quarterback?)
Well, you’ve got to look at how they played, too. They used a lot of seven-man protection. Pressure was not a big part of our plan, because of the way, … it’s always in our plan, but more on how they played, too.

For whatever reason, DE Cullen Jenkins didn't have much success applying pressure up the middle against the Dolphins interior lineman. NT B.J. Raji can provide some pressure at times too, but it's a bit of a dream that he'll become a consistent pass rusher.

With little inside pass rush, they were forced to rely on their outside linebackers. Whatever blitzes they called fell short of getting anywhere near QB Chad Henne. But McCarthy was right, the Dolphins did make sure Henne was protected. LT Jake Long is one of the best in the league, and kept LB Brad Jones away from Henne all day. They even had the luxury of keeping in an extra blocker to occupy LB Frank Zombo, who is a good player, but far from able at beating a double-team. 

That would leave as many as 7 defenders back in coverage against as few as 3 receivers, but Henne had so much time to throw that it often worked out for them anyway. 

The defense can make some adjustments (i.e. blitz more) to make up for his absence, but they're also going to get burned by it when they guess wrong, or the blitz is picked up. There really isn't a good solution available until Matthews returns from his hamstring injury.