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Mailbag: Where was Clay Matthews?

Each week, readers are invited to submit questions about the Green Bay Packers via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail. A week after Sunday's overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game, there are still plenty of unanswered questions. We'll tackle some of them here:

Demovsky: That remains the biggest mystery from Sunday's game. Clay Matthews was not on the field for either of the Seattle Seahawks' final two drives of regulation. I remember looking across the field from the press box during the last drive and in my binoculars, I could see Matthews trying to get his legs loose. However, there was no injury announcement made, either in the press box or by the team after the game, and Matthews returned to play the only possession of overtime. After the game, Matthews was asked if his leg was bothering him, and he told reporters: "Yeah, it was a medley of things just catching up to me. Fortunately, I worked with the trainers a little bit during that last drive and was able to get back out there for overtime." Asked about it after the game, coach Mike McCarthy had no explanation. Also, Matthews did not talk to reporters Monday, when the players cleaned out their lockers. It will be asked during McCarthy's season-ending press conference, which could take place this week.

Demovsky: It's probably not necessary for Aaron Rodgers to restructure his deal. The Packers have plenty of cap space, more than $18 million projected for next season, and could pick up more if they part ways with veterans like A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones, as is expected. Here's how Ted Thompson operates: He sets a price he's willing to pay and if they can get a deal done under those parameters he will. Randall Cobb is a no-brainer. It will get done. Thompson understands his value. Bryan Bulaga, on the other hand, is a more difficult decision. He helped himself by coming back from two injury-filled seasons and playing in all but one game this season. It will be interesting to see what kind of value Thompson puts on Bulaga and whether Bulaga will take it or test the market.

Demovsky: Sure, they will be a Super Bowl favorite. But here's one thing you can't measure at this point: What will be the emotional fallout be from such a devastating loss? Mike Sherman never won another playoff game after the "Fourth-and-26" game, the divisional playoff loss at the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2003 season. And it took the Packers three years to get back to another NFC title game after they lost the 2007 one in overtime. Coach Mike McCarthy's biggest challenge might be making sure that loss doesn't sink his team.

Demovsky: That's an interesting theory. To be honest, I hadn't considered it until just now. However, they won a close game at Miami with Rodgers' last-minute touchdown drive. I think it was more about special teams and defense, the two problem areas all season. It almost seemed inevitable that a special teams mistake or a defensive breakdown would be the downfall of this team, if there was one. And there were two of them on special teams -- the Seahawks' fake field goal for a touchdown and the onside kick. Defensively, a stellar game was ruined when they allowed three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.