Let’s be honest, we couldn’t have picked anybody other than Clay Matthews.
(Full disclosure: I hate it when media types call the defensive Player of the Year Award the Defensive MVP. I don’t really know why, but I do.)
It’s actually a little bit funny in a way that a team known for insane levels of offense also employs one of the more exciting and fascinating to watch defensive players in the league. As much as any other defender, Matthews catches your eye on every single play, and not just because he has amazing hair. Whether it’s his ferocious pass rushes or his penchant for making plays even in the most unconventional ways, like this bizarre sack against the Vikings:
Statistically, Matthews was near the best he’s ever been this year. He recorded thirteen sacks in the regular season (and three more in the playoffs), good for fifth in the league, despite missing four games with a variety of ailments. What’s more, he apparently was doing most of the work himself: according to stats from Pro Football Focus as reported in Sports Illustrated, Matthews registered 49 total sacks, hits, hand hurries on 357 pass rushes this year. Dezman Moses and Erik Walden, the guys who spent most of the year starting across from Matthews, produced just 40 on 581 total rushes.
Needless to say, Matthews could use a bit of help, and he may get it next season when Nick Perry returns from injury. Perry notched two sacks in six games last year before being placed on injured reserve (and should have had another, were it not for a phantom flag in Indianapolis), and will hopefully return motivated and looking for more next season.
Regardless of how much help he gets, though, Matthews remains one of the most dangerous defensive players in the league, and he’s certainly worthy of this year’s Packer Perspective Defensive Player of the Year award.