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Matthews vows defense will improve

Posted by Mike Spofford on July 28, 2012 – 2:03 pm

LB Clay Matthews spoke to reporters after Saturday’s practice for the first time in training camp, and when asked whether the Packers’ defense would improve in 2012, he basically said the Dom Capers-coordinated unit has no choice.

“We need to be better,” he said. “Obviously when you finish 32nd, that’s not acceptable, especially for the way in which we played the first two years under Dom’s scheme. So we need to get better, we will get better, and I think the guys we brought in here, the attitude, the learning experience from last year, I think we will be better.”

One of the guys brought in, of course, is Nick Perry, who has been with the first unit at outside linebacker opposite Matthews since the day he arrived. When he’s not in the middle of a play or drill, Perry is often seen either chatting with Matthews or position coach Kevin Greene, and Matthews complimented his willingness to learn.

Mentoring a younger player is a bit of a new role for Matthews, but he’s embracing it so far.

“We work in unison together, so obviously he needs to look to me to give him advice,” Matthews said. “We’re going to be working together on the field a lot, so I need to be a mentor towards him, whether I want to or not. But I think that’s the natural progression of not only having the same position on the field, but me, as far as my maturation, going into my fourth year, and believing that I can be a leader.”

In other news:

–LB Desmond Bishop admitted he’s a bit frustrated with his recurring calf injury. He’s dealing with it now after having missed three games last season with the same problem. He said he didn’t have a timetable for his return, but he said he’s in no way concerned about this latest problem lasting until the start of the regular season.

“Minor setback,” he said. “It’s not as bad as it was last year. That’s the positive.”

–One player quietly off to a strong start in camp is WR James Jones. He has made multiple catches by leaping high over defenders to haul the ball in, including one Saturday over CB Sam Shields. The only blemish on Jones’ first three days of camp was his fumble on Saturday, when he was stripped by CB Davon House after making a reception. Jones admitted House “got me good.”

“Aaron has been throwing the ball up pretty good, letting us go up and make some plays,” Jones said. “That’s good, because when the games come, it’s going to be a lot of jump balls, a lot of competitive balls, so to get them started in camp early will help us out down the road.”

–Undrafted rookie RB Marc Tyler has changed uniform numbers. Through the spring and the first two days of camp, he was wearing No. 27. On Saturday, he switched to No. 26, which had been S Charlie Peprah’s number. Peprah was released on the eve of camp.

Tyler wore No. 26 in college at USC. That was also the number worn by his father, Wendell Tyler, a former Pro Bowl RB for the L.A. Rams and San Francisco 49ers.

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