Clay Matthews feeling something like a rookie again

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Everything is different for Rams linebacker Clay Matthews right now.

If there is such a thing as being a rookie in an 11th season, Matthews is that.

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Although Matthews has returned home to Southern California, where he has maintained his offseason home, Matthews has never played for another NFL team other than the Packers. So he knew only one way.

But he likes what he has seen from his new team and his new teammates in Los Angeles since signing as a free agent March 19.

“Obviously, I’ve only played for one team, but there’s something different — an energy around here — and I think that stems from being successful, but that ultimately comes from the right people being on this team,” Matthews said, via Clarence Dennis of the team website. “The thing is that when you have a young team, you have to make sure you have that right core of players and veteran leadership.”

Matthews pointed to cornerback Aqib Talib, receiver Brandin Cooks and left tackle Andrew Whitworth as other veteran leaders on the Rams.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has Matthews lining up at outside linebacker in the base defense. He could move around in the Rams’ substitution packages.

“Yeah as far as base defense on first and second down, I’ll be playing one of the outside linebacker positions,” Matthews said. “As far as third-down and pass-rusher situations, it’s so flexible as to where I could play on the outside or on the inside, so I think like they said when I first came here, that’s a little fluid. But as far as where they’ll put me in the program, it’ll say outside linebacker.”

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