Return of Clay Matthews, Mike Daniels fails to boost defense

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The only defensive players who didn't suit up for the Green Bay Packers on Saturday against the Philadelphia Eagles were a fourth-string cornerback (Kyle Sebetic) and a defensive end (Datone Jones) who won't be with the team for Week 1.

So it had to be disheartening to coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers that the Packers couldn't keep up with Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense.

The first time Capers had all 11 of his preferred defensive starters this preseason, the Packers allowed the Eagles to put up 39 points and 325 yards in the first half alone, when quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez combined to throw five touchdown passes.

The starting secondary played the entire first half.

Even if you consider only the first quarter, when Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers played together for the first time this preseason, and the preseason debut of defensive tackle Mike Daniels, the Packers couldn't get a stop. The Eagles scored touchdowns on all three first-quarter possessions.

"I think we're fine, we're just fine," Packers safety Morgan Burnett said. "It's a good learning experience for us. That's something that you need from time to time. We're going to learn from this, we're going to move on together and we're not going to make any excuses. I mean, the Eagles did a good job. They executed their plays. Nights like this, you've got to take it on the chin like a man, find a way to get better and keep moving."

Here's a look at the defensive snap counts from Saturday's game (the offensive breakdown can be found here):

Total defensive plays: 75

Defensive line

  • B.J. Raji: 23

  • Mike Pennel: 21

  • Josh Boyd: 20

  • Mike Daniels: 19

  • Christian Ringo: 13

  • Bruce Gaston: 13

  • Khyri Thornton: 12

  • Letroy Guion: 11

  • Lavon Hooks: 5

Notes: Jones, who is suspended for the regular-season opener, did not play because of an ankle injury. Daniels, who made his preseason debut after missing the first two games because of an ankle injury, was paired with Raji in the nickel package. Daniels made only one tackle and Raji none.


  • Sam Barrington: 40

  • Andy Mulumba: 36

  • Nick Perry: 25

  • Adrian Hubbard: 24

  • James Vaughters: 22

  • Clay Matthews: 20

  • Mike Neal: 20

  • Julius Peppers: 20

  • Nate Palmer: 19

  • Jayrone Elliott: 15

  • Jake Ryan: 13

  • Jermauria Rasco: 12

  • Joe Thomas: 10

  • Carl Bradford: 10

  • Josh Francis: 10

  • Tavarus Dantzler: 7

Notes: Matthews played inside linebacker on all 20 of his snaps and rushed on just five of those plays. On a couple of those rushes, he motioned pre-snap to the outside of the outside linebacker. Barrington got beat twice in coverage for touchdowns – first on wheel route by speedy running back Darren Sproles for an 8-yard score and again by tight end Brent Celek for a 7-yard score. Palmer replaced Matthews in the second quarter, while Perry and Mulumba replaced Peppers and Neal at outside linebacker. Elliott had the Packers' only sack.

Defensive backs

  • Casey Hayward: 50

  • Morgan Burnett: 50

  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: 50

  • Sam Shields: 50

  • Micah Hyde: 29

  • Chris Banjo: 25

  • Sean Richardson: 25

  • Damarious Randall: 25

  • Quinten Rollins: 20

  • Demetri Goodson: 20

  • LaDarius Gunter: 20

  • Jean Fanor: 15

  • Ryan White: 6

  • Tay Glover-Wright: 5

Notes: Hyde struggled in coverage against Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews, allowing catches of 27 and 17 yards before he left with neck spasms. ... Hayward and Goodson had the only pass breakups in the secondary. Clinton-Dix led the group with six tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss in a goal-line situation. For the first time this preseason, one of the rookies (Randall, Rollins and Gunter) didn't make an impact play.