GREEN BAY — Clay Matthews had read the quote, and the Green Bay Packers star outside linebacker knew that the truth hurt.
After all, it's not as if what San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had told theMMQB.com's Peter King
was an inaccurate depiction of just what was happening with the Packers defense while the 49ers were rolling up 579 yards — and Kaepernick was running for a quarterback-record 181 — in the Packers' 45-31 NFC Divisional Playoff loss last January.
"It got to a point," Kaepernick told King, "where we could hear [the Packers' defenders] arguing while we were in our huddle. 'You're supposed to do this,' or 'You have to do this, then the other.' At that point, our offense was like, It's over. As soon as you start turning on your teammates, you're not going to be productive. You know you have them in the palm of your hands."
For his part, Matthews said Saturday that he won't be drawing any motivation from Kaepernick's words when the teams meet again in the Sept. 8 regular-season opener at San Francisco. But Matthews also said that the defense's horrible performance, while not a focus in training camp, is still a reminder of how much better they must play next time.
"I saw that (quote). They obviously played well that game, they beat us. More power to them," Matthews said after the second practice of camp Saturday. "But we've talked enough about that game. Fortunately, we'll get another shot at them Week 1 and hopefully it's the other way around."
Burned repeatedly by the read option, the Packers defensive coaches brushed up on how to defend the scheme by visiting Texas A&M and defensive coordinator Dom Capers spending time with University of Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. There's also been practice time devoted to defending it, and unlike last year's season opener, when Alex Smith was the 49ers quarterback in a victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field, Matthews knows that the scheme will be used against his defense again.
"There's just been a lot more emphasis on stopping their type of play, which is keeping plays alive, scrambling, read-option, take plays," Matthews said. "I know we put a lot more emphasis on that. It's a lot more stress on the outside pass-rushers like myself as far as keeping contained and not just constantly rushing the passer as we're accustomed to doing. It's a renewed focus on how they play the game, how those mobile quarterbacks play the game.
"It's going to be a good test. We start out with them Week 1, just like last year. We came up short in Week 1 as well, but we played a very good team. It's a good starting point to the season. I'm hoping we can come up with a big win. I know we're kind of looking ahead, but that would be a big win."