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When rookies in the NFL are able to get 10 sacks like Clay Matthews did in 2009, that’s pretty darn good for their first year in professional football.
Matthews showed it wasn’t a fluke when he got 13.5 sacks in his second year and finished second in the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year voting behind only the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Troy Polamalu.
It was slightly disappointing for Matthews to be held to a comparatively low 6.5 sacks in 2011, but the Packers had very few other passing rushing threats to take pressure off him.
The Packers have set about rectifying that situation by adding players such as Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy in the NFL draft, as well as Anthony Hargrove in free agency. Maybe with all the new additions to rejuvenate the Packers’ pass rush, Matthews will get back to the double-digit plateau in 2012.
Of course, he’s already solid in other phases of the game. With three interceptions and nine passes defended, he’s as effective in coverage as any 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
He’s not bad defending the run either, but Matthews will have to get used to playing on the right side of the defense once again, where he played during his rookie season.