Call on Matthews still per­plex­ing

Packer Plus - - News - Ryan Wood Colum­nist

Pack­ers beat writer Ryan Wood an­swered ques­tions from read­ers Mon­day, a day after Green Bay’s 29-29 tie with the Min­nesota Vik­ings at Lam­beau Field. Read the tran­script at json­line.com/pack­ers.

Q: I am mys­ti­fied about the Clay Matthews penalty. The ex­pla­na­tion I heard after the game was that he picked him off his feet and drove him into the ground. That sim­ply didn't hap­pen. He hit him in stride and tack­led him. That was a HUGE missed call.

A: In gen­eral, I am mys­ti­fied at what is le­gal and il­le­gal when con­tact­ing the quar­ter­back in this league. Be­fore yes­ter­day, my un­der­stand­ing was a de­fen­sive player could not land with his body weight on the quar­ter­back. If he did, the de­fender had to roll off the quar­ter­back. Sim­ply ex­tend­ing one arm to brace the fall was not enough. So when I saw the flag, I knew it was a tough call but (thought) I un­der­stood the rule. It looked like the body-weight penalty to me. Then ref­eree Tony Cor­rente said after the game it had noth­ing to do with the body-weight penalty, but that Clay Matthews was called for rough­ing be­cause he lifted Kirk Cousins and drove him into the ground. If you watch the re­play — and I've seen it many times over -- Matthews cer­tainly does not lift Cousins. So I'm at a loss. I have no idea what's a le­gal and il­le­gal hit on the quar­ter­back. I'm not sure any­body does at this point. It's as con­fus­ing as the catch rule ever was, and a real prob­lem for the league.

Q: Nick Perry was in­vis­i­ble ex­cept for one tackle on a run­ning play late in the game, is he in­jured again? He makes a lot of money for 1 tackle.

A: The Pack­ers edge rush is what it is, which isn’t much at all. It's go­ing to be that way prob­a­bly all sea­son. The good news is the sec­ondary has shown it can re­ally cover, es­pe­cially when Kevin King is on the field. I'd ex­pect the de­fen­sive back­field to only im­prove as the sea­son pro­gresses. Cer­tainly, it's much bet­ter than the past cou­ple years. Is it enough to over­come the lack of pass rush? That's the ques­tion, and we don't have our an­swer yet. But there's at least a fighting chance.

Q: How se­ri­ous is Kevin King's in­jury?

A: Mike McCarthy didn't say much, as ex­pected. We'll have to see if he can prac­tice this week. Wasn't a good sign that King couldn't get back into the game yes­ter­day. The Pack­ers — and re­ally any team in the NFL — are al­ways su­per con­ser­va­tive with soft-tis­sue in­juries. I'd ex­pect this to be no dif­fer­ent. The good news is Wash­ing­ton and Buf­falo sim­ply don't have the pass­ing at­tack of the Vik­ings, so the Pack­ers should have some lux­ury of pa­tience.

Q: It seemed to me that the fans at Lam­beau Field were mak­ing a lot of noise when the Pack­ers’ of­fense was on the field. Were there re­ally that many noisy Vik­ings fans at the game, or does the home crowd not un­der­stand that their noise doesn’t help the Pack­ers’ of­fense?

A: Yes, there re­ally were that many Vik­ings fans. I'd guess there was around 30 per­cent pur­ple in the seats. When the Pack­ers fans got loud, it was to drown out the Skol chants from Vik­ings fans. Other than last sea­son, when the Vik­ings were one of the NFC's best teams and the Pack­ers were with­out Aaron Rodgers, I'd never seen so much pur­ple inside Lam­beau Field. It was pretty stun­ning.

Q: I'm not thrilled with the prospect of the Pack­ers play­ing for the NFC North ti­tle in Min­nesota. What makes that sta­dium so dif­fi­cult for the Pack?

A: Dome en­vi­ron­ments are al­ways chal­leng­ing for op­pos­ing teams be­cause of the crowd noise.

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