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Mailbag: Debating Clay Matthews' move

Each week, readers are invited to submit questions about the Green Bay Packers via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail. By far, the biggest storyline of the week was Clay Matthews' move to inside linebacker on early downs. Let's continue the discussion here:

Demovsky: The Packers probably would not have even considered making the move with Matthews if they didn't have other viable options at outside linebacker. And this season, they have perhaps more than ever with the addition of Julius Peppers and because Nick Perry and Mike Neal have stayed healthy. Perry has played well in spurts, evident by his two-sack game against the Vikings in Week 5. ProFootballFocus.com rates Perry as the 27th-best outside linebacker in the league this season, which isn't bad for a part-time player.



Demovsky: The idea behind moving him inside was mostly run-related, and given how well it worked last week against the Bears, it would be a surprise if Matthews does not play inside again on early downs. LeSean McCoy hasn't been anywhere near as efficient this season. He's averaging only 3.7 yards per carry and doesn't look like the same back who ran for 155 yards against the Packers last season. But getting back to Matthews: Playing the run from off the line of scrimmage might suit him better given his ability to change directions coming downhill. He's able to cover more of the field from that spot, so it makes sense to keep him there.



Demovsky: It's a better fit against the run, but you wouldn't want Matthews off the line of scrimmage when he's rushing the passer. Why delay how long it could take to get him to the quarterback? That's one of the reasons the 4-3 look the Packers experimented with early in the season didn't work. So they need to strike a balance there. You want your best pass rushers on the line of scrimmage. Matthews has made a career out of using his speed to beat slower offensive tackles. The more he's in the middle of the field, the less he's going to be matched up against them.



Demovsky: Maybe you could make that argument early in the year, but that hasn't been the case of late. And Eddie Lacy's yards per carry is actually almost exactly what it was last season, 4.0 this year to 4.1 last year. The difference has been his number of carries. He's averaging only 13.2 carries per game, or nearly six fewer than last season. He has not had a game this season with more than 17 carries. Last year, he carried 20 or more times in 10 games. On the flip side, he's been more involved in the passing game of late. The last three games, he has 14 catches for 201 yards.



Demovsky: Reporters don't get to see much of practice during the regular season -- only individual drills -- so it's difficult to gauge how a rookie like Jeff Janis is doing. However, the fact that he's been inactive the last three weeks should tell us something. However, there's a chance he could be active this week as the No. 5 receiver, given that the Packers have only two healthy tight ends this week because of Brandon Bostick's hip injury. Janis could get the call to take Bostick's spot on the game-day active list, but only if the coaches feel like he can contribute on special teams. However, if special teams is the only consideration, then look for linebacker Jamari Lattimore, who was inactive last week, to get the call for Bostick.