Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews the NFL's Best on Defense?

Randy HoltContributor INovember 5, 2010

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers encourages the crowd during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field on September 19, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bills 34-7.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Even as a Bears fans, it's hard not to admire the work that Clay Matthews has done for the Green Bay Packers this season.  After a very impressive rookie campaign, Matthews didn't waste any time shutting up anyone who even whispered the words "sophomore slump".

On a team that has been decimated by injury in the first half of the season, Matthews has been their MVP.  With a linebacking corps that is already short Nick Barnett and Brady Poppinga, Matthews has shouldered the load of the whole defense.

That may not have been more evident in the early weeks than it was on Sundayagainst the Jets.  Despite being held in check for most of the game, Matthews kept attacking Jets' right tackle Damien Woody, eventually sacking Mark Sanchez late in the fourth quarter to almost seal the deal for Green Bay in their 9-0 win.

Matthews numbers to this point in the 2010 season speak for themselves.  He already has 10 sacks, matching his total from last year, an impressive number in itself.  He's on pace to waste his tackle totals from last year, with 27 to this point and 50 as a rookie in 2009.  

It's hard to believe all of this talk is coming from a guy who started just one year at Southern California.  Matthews has become a force to be reckoned with and may have taken over from fellow NFC North defender, Jared Allen, as the NFL's best defensive player.  There's no doubt this is a name that's going to scare quarterbacks for a long time.