Clay Matthews is learning new playbook terminology this spring under a new defensive coordinator Brian Dawkins Jersey , though his overall goals haven't changed.
It's more important than ever for the Green Bay Packers' long-haired linebacker to get to the quarterback.
The Packers didn't add a potential game-changing edge rusher in free agency or via the draft. They focused on another defensive priority and replenished the cornerback position with veteran Tramon Williams and draft picks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson.
That leaves Matthews and Nick Perry as leaders of a pass rush that had trouble getting consistent pressure last year.
"Well, I wasn't surprised with the first two picks. ... But obviously, you look at the depth at the outside linebacker position, and it's not that great," Matthews said. "That's not a slight to the guys who are behind Nick and myself, but you look around the league, a lot of times they're rotating in pass rushers."
The Packers had veteran Julius Peppers in the mix on the edge a couple seasons ago, but he returned to Carolina in 2017. Second-year player Kyler Fackrell and veteran Ahmad Brooks, who combined for 4 陆 sacks, were the primary backups outside.
Matthews and Perry each missed time last season with injuries. With a lack of production from the bench, getting fresh blood seemed to make sense.
Matthews said he understands that signings don't always go as planned for the front office. There are only so many draft picks to make. The salary cap limits spending.
"I'm happy with the picks they made, and at the same time it does show ... their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have," Matthews said. "At some time I'm sure it will be addressed Deion Sanders Jersey , but for the time being the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain."
It would help if Fackrell and second-year player Vince Biegel became more productive. Biegel missed the first seven games last season because of a foot injury.
"The biggest gains we've always made have been from our returning players, particularly the second, third year players," coach Mike McCarthy said after the draft about outside linebacker depth.
The pass rush could get more productive if other areas of the defense also improve.
Tighter pass coverage could give edge rushers more time to get to the quarterback. Green Bay also hopes to get more push up front from free agent signee Muhammad Wilkerson, who has 44 1/2 career sacks.
He joins Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry on the line, which should be the strength of new coordinator Mike Pettine's defense. Pettine was the New York Jets' defensive coordinator in Wilkerson's first two years in the league in 2011-12.
"Everybody's learning, some of the wording is a little different from back years ago when I was with Pettine," Wilkerson said. "We're all getting through it."
Matthews knows that Pettine wants to be aggressive, though there is plenty of time to figure out exactly what role he'll play this fall. It's quite possible that it doesn't change much after Matthews showed the flexibility to play both outside and inside the last few years.
Pettine replaced Dom Capers, who was fired after the 7-9 season. Capers had been Matthews' only defensive coordinator since the linebacker entered the league in 2009.
"Like I said, someone needed to fall on the knife. I think it's all done to get better results, and that's exactly what we're here for," Matthews said. "In the new defense we're getting ready to hit this season strong and Matt Slauson Jersey , like I said, hold up our end of the bargain."
Miami Dolphins players wonder whether Kris Kocurek’s voice will give out, and perhaps they wish it would.
Kocurek is in his first year as the defensive line coach, and he operates with high expectations at high energy and volume.
”I’ve got to watch where I stand on the field with him,” defensive coordinator Matt Burke said following Thursday’s practice. ”Sometimes he’s right there, and I get an earful. … People think it’s an act, and it’s not. That’s just who he is.”
Not everything Kocurek shouts can be repeated, but the thrust is he’s trying to turn around a unit that underachieved last year when the Dolphins went 6-10.
”I’ll just say this: I have a passion for d-line play,” said Kocurek, with a rasp.
Coach Adam Gase lured Kocurek out of Detroit, where he had been the Lion’ defensive line coach. Kocurek joined the Dolphins shortly before five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh departed, but Gase still believes his front four will be better this year.
”Kris has done a really good job of getting to those guys,” Gase said. ”They bring it. How they pursue the ball, get back to the line of scrimmage Tavon Austin Jersey , go to the next play – there’s a lot of energy exerted on one play, and they just move on to the next one. He has developed them. That’s a tough group. They’re really trending in the right direction.”
While Kocurek can be hard on his players, he also knows how hard the game can be. The 39-year-old Texas native played at Texas Tech, and after he was drafted in the seventh round, his NFL career lasted one game and four snaps – for Tennessee in 2001.
”It was a goal-line situation,” he said. ”They stuck me in there, and I just tried to get as low as I could. We actually held them out of there.”
After a fifth shoulder operation ended his career, he turned to coaching and reached the NFL as a Lions assistant in 2009. When Detroit coach Jim Caldwell was fired in January, Kocurek came to Miami.
”I had the same office for nine years, and all of a sudden you get thrown into a little bit different environment,” he said. ”But it has been great. I look forward to cranking my truck in the morning and getting to work as fast as I can.”
He’s working with perhaps the team’s deepest unit. While Suh is gone, Miami acquired two-time Pro Bowl end Robert Quinn. Holdovers include ends Cameron Wake, Andre Branch and Charles Harris, and tackles Jordan Phillips Tashaun Gipson Jersey , Vincent Taylor and Davon Godchaux.
Kocurek yells at all of them.
”He’s high energy,” Branch said, ”so you have no choice but to be high energy.”
Burke said Kocurek’s passionate approach is a good match for the area he coaches.
”People might get mad at me for saying this: I think the bigger you get, the more motivated you’ve got to get from somebody externally,” Burke said. ”With that group, it takes a little extra yelling and pushing.”
Wake, for one, loves Kocurek’s approach.
”He’s a guy that’s old school, hard-nosed,” Wake said. ”He’s demanding. He doesn’t bite he tongue. He tells you how it is. … I love it. It’s a man’s game and there is no room for softness, especially the d-line. This is not quarterbacks, this is not receivers.”
But will Kocurek’s voice make it through training camp?
”No,” Wake said. ”It has already taken a hit. He’s going to have to get some tea or some honey.”
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