Tag:Clay Matthews
Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:10 pm
 

NFL makes yet another disappointing decision

T. Polamalu was fined $10,000 for using a cell phone on the sideline (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Sometimes, the NFL makes so little sense when it comes to its discipline, it’s enough to make you scream. Or give you a mind-bending headache.

After declining to discipline Lions coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for Handshake-Gate (though I much prefer Schwarbaugh-Gate) -- I repeat, for their near-brawl, they were fined exactly zero dollars and zero cents -- the league made a disappointing, yet predictable decision to fine Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for using a cell phone on the sideline of last Sunday’s game.

The reason Polamalu used the cell phone in the first place was because he had suffered a concussion and was calling his wife to tell her he was OK. But the NFL deemed it necessary to fine him $10,000 for the action, making it the world’s most expensive phone call* of the last week.

*I assume this is true, anyway.

Earlier in the week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin tried to plead on Polamalu’s behalf, saying, “He's had a history of concussion-like symptoms and so forth in the past. She was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in regards to some of those things. It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account. He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine, and that was it."

Instead, the NFL decided to discipline him twice as heavily as Clay Matthews for his shoe selection and 10,000 times more heavy than Schwartz and Harbaugh**.

**I realize if Schwartz and Harbaugh had been fined $1, the above would have been an accurate statement. As it is, I know you can’t divide anything by zero. But just go with me here.

It’s a shame and it’s unfortunate and … well, I’m fresh out of adjectives. It just kind of sucks.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 11:36 am
 

NFL fines AJ Hawk $10K for middle finger vs. Rams

Going rate for yellow shoes? 5K. And the ol' one-finger salute? That'll run you $10K. (FOX/Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

This is what happens when your team is so much better than everyone else: you have to find ways to make the game interesting because dominating opponents week after week gets old. Perhaps this explains Packers linebacker AJ Hawk who, moments after sacking Rams quarterback Sam Bradford last Sunday, turned to the Green Bay sideline and gave them the finger.

He later apologized, saying it was an inside joke amongst teammates. Although, apparently, Hawk forgot to let anybody else in on it because cornerback Charles Woodson said he "hadn't heard about it." (Then again, Woodson may have just been hanging Hawk out to dry by feigning ignorance, which makes the joke even funnier.)

Whoever knew what and when might be up for debate, but this much was certain the moment Hawk initiated the one-finger salute: the NFL would be fining him for it.

And so they did, docking Hawk $10,000, FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer reported Friday.

In other Packers-got-fined-last-week news, linebacker Clay Matthews was fined $5,000 for wearing bright yellow shoes against the Rams.


The Green Bay Packers look to remain undefeated as they travel to Mall of America Field to square off against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Join Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan as they take a look at this upcoming matchup. Also: don't forget to check out the Pregame: Packers-Vikings edition.

Details via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein:

"The Packers wore their 1929 throwback jerseys that feature navy blue tops, brown helmets and tan pants. The shoes that come with the gear are dark brown. Some players wore white shoes, but used black tape over them so that they were dark and didn't stand out.

"Matthews, however, wore bright yellow shoes, which the NFL deemed as inappropriate and a violation of the league's dress code."

We'd love to see a copy of the league's fine schedule because it has to good for a few laughs. Last season, Matthews was fined $5,000 for roughing up Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. So in the NFL's eyes, Cutler's worth a pair of canary yellow shoes, and half as much as one of Hawk's fingers?

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Posted on: October 8, 2011 4:06 pm
 

Favre 'surprised' by reaction to Rodgers comments

Posted by Will Brinson



Last week, retired Packers legend Brett Favre said he was surprised that it took current Packers legend Aaron Rodgers "so long" to win a Super Bowl, because of all the talent on Green Bay's roster.

This did not go over well -- current teammates of Rodgers' lept to his defense, and most of the media chastised Favre for refusing to fade quietly away from the spotlight.

Favre, for his part, now says he's "surprised" at the reaction that his comments caused.

"Nothing, for the most part, surprises me anymore," Favre told USA Today's Jon Saraceno. "But I have to admit [the reaction to] this one surprised me."

This is somewhat understandable, given that Favre did have lots of nice things to say about Rodgers and the as-currently-constructed Packers roster.

"It is very [infrequent] when I do interviews," Favre said. "I was very gracious and complimentary of the Packers and Aaron Rodgers."

Again, this is true. However, Favre left the door open for criticism with the way he phrased his words. Had he said, "I knew that Rodgers would win one sooner or later," we wouldn't be talking about this.

But Favre didn't do that. He used the phrase "fell into a good situation" to describe where Rodgers ended up, which is the very definition of a backhanded compliment, especially when, to paraphrase Packers wideout Greg Jennings, Favre couldn't win a Super Bowl with the same roster.
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Posted on: October 6, 2011 9:52 am
 

Jennings: 'We didn't go all the way with Brett'

Posted by Will Brinson



Brett Favre refuses to let it go, doesn't he? The ol' gunslinger recently appeared on an Atlanta radio station and said he was surprised it took Aaron Rodgers 'so long' to win a Super Bowl, given all the talent on the Packers.

This went over terribly; the only defense for Favre's comments were "misconstrued, maybe?" and "backhanded compliment." Neither of those are good excuses. Greg Jennings, who played with both Rodgers and Favre, has a better answer -- Favre just "won't give it all up" (read: admit Rodgers is better) to A-Rodge.

"When you first hear it, you're kind of like, 'What?' " Jennings said Wednesday on the NFL Network. "But knowing Brett, knowing the competitive guy he is, he's never going to really give it all up to Aaron. I don't think he should, because I don't think Aaron would give it up to him, trust me."

"We played with Brett, we had success with Brett, we didn't go all the way with Brett, but we did with Aaron, so I think that that kind of speaks for itself."

Boom -- Jennings just pulled off, as they say in France, "le burn" on Mr. Favre. And there's really no arguing about it -- Favre had a similar (albeit younger) team when he was last playing with the Packers and they didn't win the title.

Rodgers did, making this whole argument moot. It is understandable, though, that Favre wouldn't want to admit that Rodgers is the better Packers quarterback, mainly because it would tarnish his legacy more than ... well, OK, not more than some of the stuff he did, but it would still diminish his role in Green Bay's football success.

Rodgers, for his part, wouldn't take the bait, giving it all up to the team when asked about Favre's comments on Tuesday.

"You know what? Again, I'm just going to say I was really proud of our team," Rodgers told Jason Wilde on ESPN Milwaukee. "It takes 53 guys to win a championship. We had the right recipe last year, and we're trying to do that same thing this season."

And that right there is the main difference between a guy who's supposed to be mowing a farm on a tractor, and a guy who's in the middle of an undefeated season. Clay Matthews recently said that Favre's comments will likely motivate Rodgers, and I imagine he's correct.

But you won't hear Rodgers mention it until -- and probably only if -- he ends up holding the Lombardi Trophy again at the end of the season.

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 11:21 pm
 

Harrison calls Favre 'immature', 'classless'

One teammate thinks Aaron Rodgers will be motivated by Brett Favre's remarks. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Add another name to the list: Rodney Harrison, the former NFL player who now serves as a studio analyst for NBC's Football Night in America, is unimpressed with Brett Favre and his backhanded compliments. In case you missed it, Favre went on an Atlanta radio station to talk up Aaron Rodgers' successes since the ol' gunslinger left Green Bay after the 2008 season, but qualified his remarks by adding, "He just kind of fell into a good situation … [and] I’m really kind of surprised it took him so long" to win.

That went over about as well as a naughty text message.

A day later and folks are lining up to unload on Favre. Cue Harrison, who went on a two-minute tirade during an appearance on NBC SportsTalk.

"You know what, it's just so disappointing to see a guy retire, walk away from the game, and everything that he's accomplished in his career is now diminished," Harrison said.  "What point does it serve for him to come out and criticize a guy like Aaron Rodgers, who's been a complete gentleman, a complete professional, a guy that's had so much success? Why wouldn't you root this guy on?

"These are the type of guys we need in the National Football League. You hear so much negativity surrounding our players, why can't you cheer for a guy like that? It just shows how classless and immature this guy is."

Harrison was asked if the remarks change the perception about Favre.

"Let me tell you something: this little comment didn't change what everyone else had been thinking the last two or three years about Brett Favre," Harrison said. "They know what Brett Favre is about -- he's about himself. He's about nothing else but himself.  So I have a lot of respect for Aaron Rodgers and what he's accomplished. He's one of the top two or three quarterbacks in the National Football League, and he will continue to get better."

And what about the idea that Favre wasn't particularly interested in helping Rodgers after the Packers drafted him in 2005?

"Do you honestly believe … that Brett Favre was the type of guy that was going to help a young first-round stud coming in and taking his job?" Harrison asked rhetorically. "That's not in Brett Favre's nature. That's not in him to come out and help a guy like that. So does it surprise me? No it doesn't surprise me. Has the last three years of his career surprised me? No it hasn't surprised me. This is what Brett Favre is about. He's about Brett Favre and that's it."

Doesn't leave much room for interpretation.

PFT's Michael David Smith points us to Rodgers' teammate, linebacker Clay Matthews, who said Wednesday on Jim Rome Is Burning that while he doesn't want to make a big deal out of Favre's comments, he thinks it will motivate Rodgers nonetheless.

“I’m not going to get involved with that, but I know 12,” Matthews said, referencing Rodgers’ jersey number. “He hears those comments. It definitely fuels the fire. He’s playing outstanding ball but it’s only going to continue to exacerbate the situation and continue to step his game up, so I’m just looking forward to having him on my team and to see what he is able to do.”

Back in February, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote that Favre apparently wanted to reach out to Rodgers to settle their past differences, but was afraid he might come off looking bad.

“This is one of those situations where Brett can’t win,” the player, who didn’t want his name used, said. “If he calls Aaron it looks like he’s grandstanding. If he doesn’t, he seems like he’s selfish and inconsiderate. I can tell you Brett wants to speak to Aaron. He really does and it’s sincere. I don’t know if they’ve spoken yet. I just know Brett wants to bury the hatchet.”

The solution, clearly, was for Favre to take his message to the radio.

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Posted on: August 10, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Clay Matthews played with stress fracture in shin

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's yet more proof that Packers linebacker Clay Matthews should've won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors over Troy Polamalu last season*. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Rob Demovsky, Matthews, who missed all four 2010 preseason games with a balky hammy, played the second half of the year with a stress fracture in his lower leg.

"That would explain why Matthews was listed on every injury report from Week 9 through the NFC championship game as probable with a shin injury," Demovsky wrote Wednesday.

It may also explain why Matthews' only registered four sacks in the final eight games after racking up 10 the first half of the season (another explanation: offenses started double-teaming him in passing situations). Either way, Matthews looked plenty healthy in the Super Bowl (he wasn't listed on the injury report), and he caused a key second-half Rashard Mendenhall fumble to stall a Steelers drive.

“I don’t make a big deal of it,” Matthews told the Press-Gazette Tuesday. “(It happened) some time in the middle of the season. You can’t do anything about it. I was just taking practices off and showing up on game day and giving it my all.”

Demovsky points out that Matthews only mentioned the injury because he was asked about the loss of defensive end Cullen Jenkins, who signed with the Eagles this offseason. In 2010, Matthews had 14 sacks in the 15 games Cullen played. In the five games Cullen missed, Matthews managed just three sacks.

“I also had a stress fracture in four of those games,” Matthews said. “But nobody knows that. I had a stress fracture in my leg. A sore shin as you guys call it, but that’s all right. Obviously, I’m not making excuses. Cullen is a terrific athlete, and we’re definitely going to take a hit in our defensive line, but at the same time I think they have confidence in the guys coming up.”

Whether Matthews has two good wheels or has to peg-leg his way to a quarterback sack, we don't expect much to change. He seems unaffected by pain, which can only mean one thing: Matthews' strength comes from his hair.

* We're kidding -- both Matthew and Polamalu were worthy of the award, and both players, it turns out, were injured for stretches last season.

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Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Top 15 selling jerseys in NFL

Posted by Andy Benoit

USA Today has published a list of the top 15 most popular NFL player jerseys from the past year. Without further ado:

1) Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
3) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
4) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
5) Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos
6) Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
7) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
8) Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
9) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
10) Eli Manning, New York Giants
11) DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
12) Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
13) Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
14) Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings
15) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

The data is based on sales from NFLShop.com.

Last year, Favre ranked No. 1 in jersey sales. Vick ranked 20th. Matthews wasn't even in the top 25.

Posted on: March 18, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 10:35 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Green Bay Packers

Posted by Andy Benoit



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups. Also, check out our checkup podcast:


In the postseason, this 10-6 number six seed got white hot and wound up bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home. Aaron Rodgers played the quarterback position as masterfully as anyone in the last five years. In three of Green Bay’s four playoff games, Rodgers threw three touchdowns and posted a passer rating above 110. The offense was aided by the emergence of running back James Starks, who helped lend balance to Mike McCarthy’s de facto spread West Coast system. But with the way Green Bay’s passing game was clicking, a backfield feature Gilbert Brown Frank Winters probably could have sufficed.

It’s easy to play offense when you have a defense that surrendered more than 20 points in only three games all season. Dom Capers was brilliant in concocting a byzantine 3-4 scheme built around the versatility of rover Charles Woodson, pass-rushing prowess of Clay Matthews, athleticism of corners Sam Shields and Tramon Williams and strength of the B.J. Raji-led front line.


Success, depth
NFL Offseason

Backup receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones both had 45-plus catches and 550-plus yards in 2010. Don’t expect that to be the case in 2011. Tight end Jermichael Finley will be healthy and once again manning the slot in three-and four-receiver formations. Finley, the team’s most lethal weapon, will be priority No. 1. (Note: With Nelson and Jones both on the rise, it’s possible that veteran Donald Driver could become the forgotten wideout.)

With Finley being versatile enough to line up anywhere, we’ll likely see more formation shifts from Green Bay before the snap. For a defensive coordinator, that’s a terrifying thought given how shrewd Rogers is already in the presnap phase.


Not to cop out, but there aren’t any. When you lead your conference in injuries, all holes on your roster will be exposed. Unless, of course, you somehow plug them again and again. That’s exactly what the Packers did in 2010. Consequently, this team is now two deep at every position.

Of course, if you want to push the issue, you could argue for:

1. Backup interior lineman
The Packers brass is said to be high on Marshall Newhouse, but the fifth-round pick from a year ago is yet to see the field. Veteran utility backup Jason Spitz is injury prone and not likely to be back.

2. Outside linebacker
Snatching someone who can start ahead of Clay Matthews wouldn’t be a bad idea if the right player is available. Because of injuries, Brad Jones, Brady Poppinga, Frank Zombo and Erik Walden all started games at this spot last season. The athletic Jones was the best of the bunch, but even he did not shine as a surefire first-stringer.

3. Defensive rover
Charles Woodson isn’t going to live forever. And the 34-year-old is somewhat injury prone, anyway. Replacing the über-versatile veteran is next to impossible, but if Ted Thompson sees a safety he likes (and Woodson is more of a safety than corner these days), he could give his likely future Hall of Famer an understudy. Jarrett Bush, of course, filled in admirably when Woodson was out during the second half of Super Bowl XLV, but Dom Capers still had to trim his playbook.


Anything short of a Super Bowl repeat would be a failure. Every time a team wins a title, scores of hackneyed pundits squawk about how we could be seeing the beginning of a dynasty. That sentiment actually feels true with these Packers.

Rodgers is in his prime. So is the rest of the offense, which happens to be stacked at all the skill positions. Defensively, Dom Capers is the best in the business when it comes to in-game adjustments and variations of 3-4 blitzes. Capers has all the pieces he had in 2010, which includes four Pro Bowlers plus ascending NT B.J. Raji.

The lockout helps the Packers more than most teams because they’re deep and their core has been together for three years now.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com