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Packers roundup: Life without Clay Matthews begins

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Gazette staff
October 12, 2013

The big story of the last week for the Green Bay Packers has been what the team is going to do with outside linebacker Clay Matthews on the shelf after breaking his thumb against the Detroit Lions. Matthews has left two games early this season due to injury, and it was easy to see the defense wasn't the same after his exit in each of the contests.

Luckily for the Packers, they run up against a team that isn't firing on all cylinders offensively. Joe Flacco has 1,360 passing yards this season, but has thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes.

It would be an understatement to say Ray Rice, Baltimore's do-everything running back since 2008, is having a down year. He's averaging less than 3 yards a carry and is infuriating fantasy owners nationwide.

Perhaps more troubling for the Ravens is that its perennially outstanding defense has continued its backslide this season, ranking only in the middle of the pack in total yards allowed, passing yards allowed and points allowed per game.

For more in-depth coverage from the week, check out these stories from our partners at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Tuesday

PACKERS USE MONDAY REPORT CARDS TO ASSESS PRODUCTIVITY

GREEN BAY--Mike Neal had his best day so far as a converted linebacker when he had six tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit against Detroit. But this is what he said after the game Sunday:

“I haven't had a losing performance since I've been playing outside linebacker.”

He's not talking about the Packers' 2-2 record, or making some kind of affirmation speech in the mirror of the weight room.

He's talking about his grades. Read more ...

WITH MATTHEWS OUT, PACKERS LOOK TO NEAL

GREEN BAY--It's clear that the Green Bay Packers are going to be without linebacker Clay Matthews for awhile, but for the first time they won't have to look in every nook and cranny of their defense to find some pass rush.

Make no bones about it, they can't replace the all-around excellence of their $66 million defensive centerpiece, who broke his thumb Sunday against the Detroit Lions. But unlike previous times when Matthews has been out, they have the personnel to produce something more than a token rush against their upcoming opponents. Read more ...

Thursday

NEAL HAS TO STEP UP IN MATTHEWS' ABSENCE

In Week 1, he was the Green Bay Packers' mystery man. A secret weapon. In Week 6, he needs to be so much more.

A play-maker.

Mike Neal isn't sure if he's sneaking up on anyone.

“You know what? It's best for me to keep myself below the clouds,” Neal said Wednesday. “I don't like to get a big head about anything. If I'm a secret weapon to teams, then I'm that. If they have to scheme against me, then that's on them.” Read more ...



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