One of the most fascinating stories to follow around the Green Bay Packers over the past year has been Clay Matthews' transition from a pure pass-rushing outside linebacker into a versatile, inside-outside player who can line up at any of the four linebacker spots and wreak havoc on an opposing offense. His move last year sparked a defensive turnaround, and has helped the Packers to the league's best scoring defense so far this year.
A few of us here at Acme Packing Company have a theory, which was brought up among the group by our Paul Noonan, that Matthews is the spiritual successor to Charles Woodson. He does for the front seven what Woodson did in the late 2000's for the secondary - both men played every position in their unit, moving around on every play and preventing offenses from ever getting comfortable.
This week, Matthews will need to use every bit of his versatility against a quarterback who processes information as well as anyone - Peyton Manning. And though his arm might appear to have dropped off a bit, the Packers aren't taking him lightly.
How the Packers' Clay Matthews redefined his All-Pro career by moving to inside linebacker | ESPN
This is a lengthy but excellent piece on Matthews, which discusses both the man and his position switch last season. As linebackers coach Winston Moss says, Matthews is "the Terminator nobody has an answer for yet."
Packers expect Manning 'to play his A game' | Packersnews.com
Well, it would be foolish to expect anything else. The key here is that Manning's release is slower than it used to be, which could buy the Packers just enough time to get to the ball or the quarterback. After all, Philip Rivers' lightning-quick release was what allowed him to carve up the defense two weeks ago.
Not himself | ESPN Wisconsin
Here are a few more quotes from Manning, which basically amount to non-answers about his neck surgeries and his general health at this point.
Davante Adams on verge of returning for Packers | Packers.com
This Broncos defense will be the Packers' biggest test of the young season, and they'll need all hands on deck. Thankfully, Adams' impending return should help at least somewhat.
Top 10 NFL Secondaries | Week 8 | Pro Football Focus
The Packers slot in at number 7 on this list - Casey Hayward's good play against the run, Sam Shields' great coverage in recent weeks, and Damarious Randall's emergence are all factors.
Where does the money from NFL fines go? - SBNation.com
It doesn't go to a charity of the fined player's choice, but rather to one of two programs outlined in the CBA that are used to help retired players going through physical or financial troubles.