• December 2, 2021

With Another Test Ahead, Matthews Feels Defense Has Made Major Strides This Week

Just like Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has expressed urgency about wanting to play well on Thursday night against Browns, the Birds defense is in the same boat. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo needs his group to show up and play much better than they did against the Steelers. I expect the Birds to game plan for this game for Cleveland’s personnel and strategies in order to insure a better performance.

Rookie middle linebacker Casey Matthews feels the Birds defense have practiced much better the last few days. “We definitely noticed it this week. I think we’ve made more strides than in the other two, of just being more comfortable with each other,” Matthews said.

The guy in the middle is going to be watched closely again this week and rightfully so. Some observers feel that Matthews is being unfairly targeted by critics, but I don’t feel that’s the case. He’s an unproven rookie, who has struggled in his first two games.

The focus is on him because of his family’s NFL history. His brother, Clay Matthews III is currently one of the best defensive players in the game. His father, Clay Jr. played linebacker for 19 years in the NFL. His uncle Bruce was a Hall of Fame guard. His grandfather Clay played for more than a decade in the league. The Matthews last name helped get him drafted, so it’s understandable if he would draw a great deal of attention.

He’s in a tough position because of the lockout and Reid and Castillo deciding to thrust a fourth round pick into the starting lineup, but he’s not being targeted unfairly. Many of the same people who brag about Philly be a city of tough, knowledgeable fans are crying about Matthews’ play being criticized. Should he be made a “Sacred Cow” because his last name is Matthews?

Andy Reid continues to stand behind him, but yesterday he wasn’t quite as strong in his support as he had been. He used the words, “getting a shot”, when talking about his decision to make Matthews a starter. That sounds like this might be the kid’s last go at middle linebacker if he doesn’t play well.

It’s tough being a rookie this season because they haven’t had the OTA’s, mini-camps nor as many reps as usual. Still the rookie from Oregon says he’s ready to go.

“Where I’m at right now, I’m pretty confident. Obviously, I know the playbook and stuff like that. It’s just minor mistakes . . . something you can get corrected,” Matthews said. “That’s what this camp is for.”

Matthews and company may have to control Cleveland’s big, physical running back, Peyton Hillis and second-year signal caller Colt McCoy. Browns head coach Pat Shurmur is a west coast offense guy, who will be running more of a pure west coast offense for the Browns because of they don’t have the speed at wide receiver as the Eagles do. McCoy is very accurate with the short to intermediate throws.

Hillis has been out of action with a hamstring problem and a sore lower back. He missed the last preseason game and didn’t practice yesterday, which could make life easier for Matthews and the defense.

Matthews says he’s feeling more comfortable in his spot as the man in the middle. “I’m looking forward to [playing the Browns],” Matthews said. “Toward the end of the Pittsburgh game in the second quarter I started to feel more comfortable, so I’m just looking forward to carrying on from there.

“If you’re comfortable, things start slowing down. I feel that’s what happened in the second quarter of the Pittsburgh game.”

GCOBB

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23 Comments

  • Matthews is a joke !! a weakside linebacker ,maybe. but Middle Linebacker never . This goes to show you Castillo and Reid don’t have a clue about how to put a good defensive team together ,bring back Buddy Ryan to show these clowns how to put a good defensive team on the field . But it don’t matter because with Reid promoting Castillo to the Defensive Co-ordinator position is going to spell complete disaster and the end of Reid in Philly . And good riddance ,maybe we can get a head coach that knows something about how to put a good defense together and knows how to actually coach during game day meaning he knows he has to have a running game to keep other teams off balance , he can adapt to what the other team is throwing at him as the game goes along , have great time management and know how to use his time outs .

  • BP – change it to nostradamus – you gleaned all this information on Clay M in two pre-season games…… wow. Reid gone becuase he promoted Castillo before they even play one regular season game… Let’s bring back Buddy because he was oh so suuccesful in the playoffs. You are a prophet.

    I do agree he needs to balance pass to run better.

    But I have a question for the masses – what game, or games have the eagles lost becuase of time outs taken at the wrong time> Seems to be a favorite poke at Ried – I think the working theory is that if there is one minute left in the game or the half and you don’t have all three timeouts you have ‘wasted them’ I look back on all the games last year and can’t find a single game where ‘if we just had one more time out’ we would have won –

  • Casey casey casey casey casey casey casey casey!!! Im rooting for you bro! Keep learning and making strides, your gonna be a beast!!! For get the last name hes a player, he was in college at oregon, remember the big strip on cam newton in the championship game? When hes comfortable he makes plays. Someone called him matt mccoy, so far from the truth. This guy will actually get better and better as time goes on not regress…

    G, every rookie in the league is struggling. I havent heard anyone say this rookie LB or that rookie LB is standing out, oh hes a stud, not 1 analysis… Give the guy a chance, i think this thursday night he will show everyone why he should be in there starting… Hes not gonna look great with 2 pre season games and 2 starts in the nfl under his belt, sheesh lighten up a bit guys…

  • Don’t blame Casey for not playing like Clay, everybody knows Clay (along with Brian Cushing) are on the HGH. The truth will come out.

  • Was Clay the Clay matthews we know today during his first year during preseason? Heck No! Not saying Casey will be the player Clay is, but who says that he wont be close? We just dont know, we gotta let him play so we can see… We havent even reached the reg season and already im hearing the cries from the Negadelphians… Channeling my inner bart scott I “CANT WAIT” to see Casey shut up all the nay sayers and go out and perform like he should, he has the ability already he just has to get comfortable to the NFL game and this new position at MLB… And i feel he will really quick… Looks like you cant miss on a Matthews fam member, they all were great… yeah i said it! you cant miss on any of them. The bloodlines, the ability, skills, instincts, the list goes on…

  • Not so fast my friend JH, Here is a Rookie LB playing very well so far
    LB KJ Wright, who I was very high on in the Draft has 11 Tackles (9 Solo) playing LB for the Seattle Seahawks..
    At 6-3 246lbs, this fella is a tackling machine and if you recall JH (with that r impeccable memory that you have) I stated that he would be a great addition to this Eagle Defense and remember that he played along J Chaney for 2 years at Miss State so the familiarity would have made a ncie transition for him to the NFL game.. The Eagles missed on a good one here…

  • Casey should not be judged just yet. He has not had alot of time to figure the position out. Lets see what happens on Thursday and go from there. I beleive it would be better to swap positions with Chaney and Mathews, but I see potential in Mathews. Clay and Cushing are not on HGH if that is the case then you could say that Harrison, Woodley, Ray Lewis, Suggs are as well. Stop being an idiot assuming players are on HGH when you do not know.

  • Paulman, Easy to judge in pre-season Clay still has time to show us what he can do. What about A. Curry in Seattle is KJ Wright outplaying a top 5 pick? Give Clay time alot of people think he is going to be real good.

  • Godson, paul is a believer in pre season for some insane reason, he decides to pick kj wright a guy who he picked months ago as someone the eagles should draft yet they didnt they drafted the guy I SAID months ago that they should draft and thats Casey Matthews. Noone cares about preseason like you do paul your the only one… Give it up already…

  • false starts on all the impulsive eagles doubters
    chill out and trust the F.O. because morrison is still a free agent
    giving matthews all the snaps at the middle (which is his pos.) is the right thing to do
    when in doubt, they got a glimpse of what chaney can do in the middle
    i dont think they want akeem starting, so this is the preseason experiment
    if it passes or they see it could work out by the 4th game then we should be set on D
    if thats not the case, i trust them to make the correct move, either chaney or morrison or some acquisition out of nowhere
    with that said, i am rooting for the ROOKIE that has had a short camp and only played a few quarters of football

  • Give the rook a shot – what were GCobb’s stats his rookie year (both went to USC right?) – a 9th rounder – for Dallas – played 11 years – as a rookie played in 3 games for Dallas – played in all 16 second year – give the rook a chance –

    riddle me this – if you don’t give the rookies a chance during pre-season to see what they can do – when do you give them a chance? Would you rather he looked great in the 4rth Qtr against the 3rd string then get out there and crack heads with the starters?

  • I liked KJ Wright in College where he played against the physical SEC COmpetition week in and week out..and was hoping the Eagles would grab him in the 2nd or 3rd Rounds. I also was hoping and probably wishful thinking on my part, that the Eagles would go after the 6-3 250 lbs LB’s instead of all these small LBs that have drafted or acquired in the past…
    JH, you keep saying the Eagles are copycatting the Packers but you are wrong about the size and strength of their LB play.. Look at the Packers Starting LB across the board…

    Matthews at 6’3 255lbs
    Bishop at 6-2 245lbs
    AJ Hawk 6-1 250lbs
    F Zombo 6-3 255lbs
    (Draft Picks) Ricky Elmore 6-4 255lbs , V De’Soto 6-3 255lbs

  • and to JH, there are 2 main reasons why I am putting an emphasis on this years Pre-Seasons perfomances

    #1) Obvioulsy with the lock-out, everyone needs to get their reps to get back into Football shape and develope some consistency
    #2) New Coaching Schemes and bascially an entirely new Defense
    #3) The Addisiton of a bunch of new players, plus 23-25 Rookie and 2nd Year players that need to develop and learn a lot in a very short period of time

    So yes, I do think there should be a little more sense of urgency of how the Eagles are performing wit hall these new playes,coaches and schemes ..
    Teams like the Steelers,PAckers,PAtriots, SAints who have had very little change, then yes, I would agree that Pre-Season is just to get in shape but the EAgles could have 5 or 6 new Starters on Defense, Rebuild the rRight-Side of their OL and break in 2 Rookies at Kicker and Punter.. So they have a lot of Change going on..

  • should have been 3 main reasons..

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  • Paul, the packers run a 3-4 so they have larger LBs and edge rushers so thats no arguement…. Also, so you dont want to allow them to get those reps in the games against other teams? Dag man you dont think that they have a sense of urgency? Theyre trying to cram everything in a short period of time, your the only one moaning and complaining on here give it up bro… Its the PRE SEASON

  • Your not a coach paul, your not a analysis, you probably couldnt even be the water boy… Get over it

  • jon – refer to my previous comment please

  • LOL @ wmonell… I ll have to bro bc this guy paul is nuts…

  • haha deaf ears man, speaking to a wall…
    save ur energy and dont get caught in meaningless hype talk
    if you want intelligent dialogue just respond to intelligent comments lol
    or email me man, seriously i like what you have to say

    here’s a blog of mine that im on/off with, mostly football talk
    awolwest.wordpress.com

  • IM REALLY WORRIED ABOUT THIS NEW TECHNIQUE

    Maybe we are being too hard on Casey. Maybe, its not his talent but rather his teaching…

    hmmm….

    The way there coaching these guys to take on blocks with their hands rather than the traditional hit n shed method kinda worries me. I mean, there is a reason why “NOBODY.. teaches it this way” as Chaney put it. So a 300 lb plus O-Lineman is running full speed to block these guys and there being taught to stop them with there hands??? Good luck with that. Really. G, you were a linebacker, how do you suppose the physics of that is supposed to work?

  • YEAH CASEY, we’ll see how much strides you’ve made when the Cleveland game is over. The only strides you’ll see, is of Hillis & the Browns O-line striding over top of you, when you’re buried on the ground again. This guy needs to go ASAP. Go get a freaking LB Roseman. Damn it!!! Good job taking the LB from last year, that was even worth a damn, & put him out of position, too!! MORONS!! Square peg in the round hole, again, & again, & again. Sometimes I really despise Reid & Co.

  • Stubborn SOB’s! Do what everybody see’s Reid. I don’t care that it is only
    pre-season. They are getting beat up, & have not made one single play, let alone a difference making play. Isn’t this the time when you’re supposed to show the coaches what you have? Ridiculous!

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