Matthews takes advantage one-on-one

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 12, 2012 – 3:25 pm

Last Sunday, San Francisco thought LT Joe Staley would be able to handle Packers LB Clay Matthews one-on-one for much of the game, but Matthews made the Niners pay.

He recorded 2 1/2  of the Packers’ four sacks to open 2012 with a multi-sack game, just like he did in 2010. Matthews only had one multi-sack game in 2011, mostly because he faced regular double teams and there wasn’t enough pass rush from elsewhere on defense for the opposing offenses to change their plans.

So, what does that mean against the Bears on Thursday night? Chicago’s offensive line has faced its share of criticism in recent years for protection problems, and they’ve faced Matthews so much it seems unlikely LT J’Marcus Webb would be asked to block Matthews one-on-one very often.

That could mean Matthews’ defensive mates will get their first real test as to how much pass rush they can provide of Matthews is doubled.

“That’s the overall principle of pass rush is that those who have one-on-ones need to win their matchups, because we believe our guys on defense should be able to take advantage of that,” Matthews said on Wednesday. “We were able to do that a few times this last week.

“If that is the case (that double teams are on tap for him), I’m still going to get after the quarterback, and other guys need to do that as well.”

Injury update: RB James Starks’ return to practice on Wednesday was a surprise development, Mike McCarthy said, but obviously a positive one. Starks was a limited participant and is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game, but he practiced for the first time since developing turf toe in the preseason opener back on Aug. 9.

“That was excellent news this morning,” McCarthy said. “He’s making progress.”

In addition to Starks, WR Greg Jennings (groin) and CB Davon House (shoulder) being doubtful, LB Terrell Manning (concussion) has been ruled out of the game, while LB Jamari Lattimore (ankle) and DE C.J. Wilson (groin) are questionable.

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