Nick Perry and Jayrone Elliott both left the game with injuries, as Perry hurt an ankle and Elliott’s back spasms flared up during the game. However, it seems that Clay Matthews should have his name added to the list of walking wounded this week.
In a locker room interview posted to Packers.com on Monday afternoon, outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell was asked a question about the Packers bringing in free agent linebacker Ahmad Brooks for a visit on Tuesday. He responded with the following, revealing (perhaps inadvertently) the fact that Matthews left the game in Denver with an injury:
With Clay and Nick kind of going down with whatever they have, it does kind of make you realize how quickly a position can become not deep.
Furthermore (and with a hat tip to Zach Kruse of Packers Wire for catching it), Mike McCarthy spilled the beans a bit in his press conference on Monday as well:
Well, we got a little thin there with the pass-rushers going out of the game there fast, with Clay, Nick and Jayrone going out, but did a lot of good things.
A look at the official snap counts published by the NFL (which currently shows only defensive and special teams snaps) shows that Matthews did indeed play fewer snaps than the rest of the starting defense. He is listed as being on the field for seven snaps compared to 11 for teammate Nick Perry and numbers in the twenties for other starters like Mike Daniels and Morgan Burnett. This certainly suggests that it was an injury that would have taken him out of the game rather than a coach’s decision.
As for what the injury could be, that is anyone’s guess at this point. The team made no announcement, and there was no apparent issue on the field. However, this would make the possibility of the Packers signing Brooks an even more appealing move should Matthews have any sort of significant issue.
Stay tuned for updates on this issue as we learn more.