Person of interest: Packers' Clay Matthews
The days of being an unheralded walk-on at USC were long gone by the time Clay Matthews entered the NFL.
Not only did Green Bay choose him in the first round of the 2009 draft, but the Packers traded up to do so and if you know anything about the Green Bay Packers under Ted Tompson, you know just how rare that is.
But Green Bay dealt picks in the second and third rounds to the Patriots for the selection used to choose Matthews, who has only become one of the very best pass rushers in the game.
"He has found ways to make plays that are just outside of the norm because he has such relentless effort," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who coached Matthews at USC. "He is just such a fantastic effort guy that it may be the latest moment of a play and he finds a way to twist or spin or get underneath a guy and finish, to make his plays that not everybody can get to because not everyone plays that hard."
Carroll can thank bloodlines for the fact Matthews wound up at USC. Matthews father -- Clay Matthews Jr. -- played for the Trojans, so did his uncle, Bruce, who became one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL while playing for the Oilers.
"We were lucky that the family had been there," Carroll said, "because we didn't recruit him as much as we just wanted to bring him on."
Now in his fourth NFL season, Matthews has six sacks after playing in two games, which is more than any other player in the league has after playing three. So how does Seattle plan to deal with Matthews on Monday? Well, left tackle Russell Okung was the first name Carroll mentioned in that regard.
"He's going to be on Russell a number of times," Carroll said. "There's going to be times where the tight end will block him. There will be times where the tight ends and Russell will block him. There will be the combination of the backs chipping and protection going that way.
"We're going to do everything we can to not let him bet the factor he has been in the first two games. Six sacks in two games is sick, I don't know how that happened."