Although the Los Angeles Rams experienced some turnover on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, they are hoping the veteran additions of linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Eric Weddle will help stabilize this unit moving forward.
Matthews has played every linebacker position throughout his career thanks to his versatile skill set. Head coach Sean McVay indicated that his position will be ‘fluid’ going into the offseason as the defense adjusts to its new personnel.
This has obviously resulted in a bit of a learning curve for Matthews as he gets accustomed to the new scheme. He admits that there were plenty of questions upon his arrival in Los Angeles regarding where he would play.
According to Blake Richardson of the Los Angeles Times, he feels much more comfortable now:
“When I first got here, I definitely wasn’t comfortable,” Matthews said. “But as far as five weeks in, I mean, everyone has brought me up to speed.”
Matthews added that he has noticed the culture change in being with the Rams:
“It’s just different,” Matthews said. “There’s an energy around here. And I think that stems from being successful, but that ultimately comes from the right people being on the team.”
It is encouraging to see that Matthews is getting acclimated to the place he once called home. Matthews has endured his fair share of struggles over the last several years with the Green Bay Packers and it is clear that he is excited to get a fresh start with a legitimate contender in Los Angeles.
While Matthews enjoyed a stellar career in Green Bay, his production has dwindled in recent years after finishing the 2018 campaign with 43 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Although the 33-year-old may not be as effective as he used to be, his experience should help stabilize this young linebacker corps for the Rams.
The departure of linebacker Mark Barron leaves a notable void on the inside, which Matthews could easily fill. However, he may be placed opposite from outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. to help bring more pressure off the edge to complement defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s presence in the middle.
This would result in linebackers Cory Littleton and Micah Kiser to hold down things in the middle. While Littleton has gained some experience from his playing time last season, it will be interesting to see if Kiser is up to the task. Otherwise, the Rams may be forced to move Matthews inside in certain situations.