We've talked about Cliff Matthews this off-season, noting that he's bulked up and should be in line for snaps at both defensive end and defensive tackle in 2013. What we haven't known is how that bulking up and positional shift were going for Matthews.
We have some glowing reviews to go on, now:
Big Cliff Matthews bats down a pass at the line from the defensive tackle position. I like him there. Think he could make an impact. #fnl13— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) August 3, 2013
"He’s playing some roles that require a bigger guy," Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. "He’s bigger. He’s stronger. … I’m excited about Cliff. He’s a good, tough, good hand to have around. We will see how he does with the bigger size."
That last quote is from an AJC story about the extra weight. Taken together with other, similar reports, it's hard not to get excited about what Matthews can offer this defense. The Falcons need additional depth inside and could use a run-stopping, athletic player on the end, too. The fact that Matthews looks so strong and so good early in the process of converting to a hybrid player is mighty encouraging.
Don't pencil Matthews in for a big state line--he barely registered any in 2012--but do pencil him in for plenty of snaps and a future as a useful piece of the rotation for the Falcons.
Your thoughts on Matthews thus far in 2013?